Time to continue west, trying to get away from the humid weather, including rain! We headed southwest from Niagara Falls and ended up back in Pennsylvania. We joined Passport America and have been trying to use it whenever we can as it gives us 1/2 price rates. I found one in Mercer, PA. About 60 miles west of our stop in Penn Wood. Roxie wondered if we would ever leave Pennsylvania. Here is our spot in Mercer:
Mercer was a good time to get some rest and do the standard household stuff (laundry, etc.). Then it was time to move on and we headed into Ohio.
We were able to take advantage of some courtesy parking in Wooster, OH. This one was through the Airstream Courtesy Parking group on Facebook. Jason and Andrea were very accommodating and their spot was oh so nice. Top of a hill with great views and on grass.
It happened to be my birthday and we were thinking about going out to get something to eat but instead, we ate in like this (I actually cooked – grilled cheese):
On our drives around Wooster we saw a few buggies:
But we had to move on. We had a goal, Jackson Center, OH, the Mothership, Airstream HQ! We got there Sunday and found a spot in the TerraPort:
The next day we took the tour and saw Wally’s Gold Trailer and an original Bowlus. As most people already know you can only take one photograph inside the tour so I will not show that one. However, one of our fellow tour takers took a LOT inside.
Over by our spot, I found this plaque by some picnic tables. I am not sure what this means:
We ended up staying for 4 nights (at $10 per). We went down to Dayton to get my tires rotated on my truck and to see Dunkirk in IMAX. However, all fun comes to an end and we got on the road again but stopped up the road in Wapakoneta to visit the Neil Armstrong Museum. Wapakoneta was Neil’s hometown and they are very proud of him. It was a nice little museum.
We were talking with a fellow Airstreamer about this museum and we were recollecting about the lunar landing. I was 8 at the time of the landing (July 20, 1969) and I DO remember seeing it on TV but what I really remembered that the next day was declared, by President Nixon, to be a national holiday. That meant that my ninth birthday (July 21, 1969) was a national holiday, at least for one year.
We tried to do this earlier in the year. We were going to meet some friends there and just relax. The winter is the best time to go to the desert but if you hit the spring at the right time it can be even better. I remember we went to Red Rock State Park one weekend in the spring. The weather was cool but the wildflowers were blooming all around. We saw many of them on a ranger walk. We were hoping that visiting Anza Borrego State Park at the end of March might give us some nice wildflowers also. At least we had reservations this time.
Before we left we had a minor modification done to the trailer. When we refloored our house with laminate flooring we got some extra for the trailer. The installer (our neighbor) did the trailer for us also. We no longer have the white carpet (well mostly white) and have a surface that is easier to clean.
Our reservations started on Monday and we had 3 nights there. One plan was to leave early on Monday from home and get there later in the afternoon/evening for a total of 354 miles! Roxie worked on Sunday but she had a plan. Let’s leave Sunday night when she gets home. I agreed that we could try and we would be able to do another first for us:
Wal-Mart! This was the first time we have ever stayed overnight at a Wal-Mart. This was in Palmdale and we got there about 11pm. I checked with the security guard and he said we would park there no problem but no longer than 2 nights. Suited us just fine. All that I did was put down the tongue jack (remembering to park nosedown) to level it out and I unplugged the umbilical cable. You can easily see why Wal-Mart likes this because we proceeded to spend $80 the next morning at the store. The nice thing was that this evening trip essentially cut the remaining distance in half making a much more managable drive.
Our friends (Rich, Eleanor and Emma) had arrived a day earlier and were not around when we arrived. We went through our normal procedures. When we saw the Luhr’s, they introduced us to some other Airstreamers that met them there also. Ken & Petey, Adam & Susan were introduced to us all and the Airstream bond was created. On Tuesday we all got together and took a road/hiking trip. We were lucky enough to go in style with Ken & Petey. The first spot was the slot canyon. This is where the flooding of Anza Borrego has created very narrow and interesting canyons that you can go hike in. We weren’t concerned about flooding at this time.
The next stop were the wind caves. Cavern type areas carved out by wind and rain. This hike was a bit more strenuous than the first. We had a steep climb to start then some up and down. However it was well worth the hike. The formations are very interesting and a lot of fun to scramble around on. Here is Roxie in a cave:
We also stopped to see Font’s Point which gives you an overview of the badlands area. You can go to my Flickr set of this trip for other photos that I took.
Wednesday we decided to take the hike to the Palm Canyon oasis. I remember doing this when I was a child and the others had done it many times previously so we were on our own. The first part was ranger led and there was a big emphasis on spotting some Bighorn Sheep (the park’s namesake). Everyone was hoping to see some and started out with high spirits. The day was a bit warm, very little breeze and a constant uphill elevation change. The ranger stayed with the group about half way but there were no sightings of Bighorn. The ranger turned back but continued on to the oasis. About 2/3’s of the way to the end (for us) we found a little cave that was in the shade and decided to take a bit of a break. I thought I would scan the opposite mountains for any movement (I can pick up movement pretty good). Looking up about 2000′ above us and I saw something. It was a Bighorn. So now I get to tell Roxie where it is. Not an easy task to try to tell someone which rock(s) out of thousands they should look at to see something that was so minuscule. However she was able to see it. I tried to tell others as they passed by but they weren’t able to see it. But I do have proof:
Look for the arrow and this was at maximum zoom on our camera.
We were able to complete our hike but we were pretty beat. It was very warm at the end. We had just purchased some water backpacks and were depleted also. We went back to the trailer and rested a bit. The next day we took our requisite trip to Julian. It was about the same as it was before but we always enjoy going there.
You can see Rich Luhr’s account of their Anza Borrego trip at his blog.
Here is a shot of our trailer at Anza Borrego and a shot of my parents trailer many years ago. Same campground but a different spot.
Now it is time to leave. Do we go straight home in one day? My birth grandmother lives in Riverside and we haven’t seen her for 4 years so we will see where we can stay for the evening. Riverside does not have too many places to camp and a weekend is coming up. So we try for another first and see if we can take advantage of some courtesy parking. The WBCCI has a listing for that in the membership roster book but Airforums also has a place to list such. We looked for someone in Riverside and found Towster! We had met Vince and Virginia at some other rallies but did not know they lived in Riverside and we contacted them about parking for one evening. They graciously agreed and even moved their trailer so we had room for ours:
We attempted to repay them for their kindness by taking them out to eat that evening. It was nice to visit with them and get to know them better. Sometimes it is hard to talk to people at the rallies since there are so many people. We were able to visit my grandmother twice while we were there and then we pushed on home on Saturday.
A good trip, not rushed, a couple of firsts for us and new Airstream friends (Ken, Petey, Adam, Susan, Vince and Virginia).