Since the main reason to travel east to near the Ohio – West Virginia border was to get reasonably close to Maryland last week, this trip was primarily west and a little south to put us back on line with traveling south for the winter. We literally followed the Ohio River, staying in Ohio, for a couple of hours to a USFS campground near Ironton, Ohio. Now that we are getting back into the southeast, the number of federal campgrounds with the COE and USFS will increase and I have reservations for the next couple of months. We can hopefully start saving some money every month again since the camping fees will be less than $20 a night instead of the $35-$40 we have been spending all summer. This also means we will be further away from metropolitan centers and TV and phone reception will be more of an issue. It also means we are more concerned with our GPS getting us into trouble pulling the RV. Sometimes it is bad back roads and sometimes leading us to the wrong location. So far, we have been able to get turned around when this happens. Thankfully, the GPS led us directly to the campground, although it was a pull to get the RV up the winding road to the top of the hill above Lake Vesuvius to the campground. Once we got there we passed the dump station and one loop of the campground without coming up to an entrance station. We did know our site number, 25, and since we had no choice but to continue we drove into the main loop. By this point the road, which at least was paved, was a single lane one-way road winding through the trees. The turns were very tight and we had to be careful with some trees leaning over the road. Once we got to the back of the loop the site numbers were still in the 20s and it was obvious our site was not on this loop. I walked around to make sure and even checked the bulletin board at the rest room without finding a site map. There were a couple of volunteers camping on this loop, but nobody was home. There were not very many rigs in the campgrounds, but there was one with the couple at home. They were not sure where site 25 was located and did not think the numbers went that high. Thankfully, by this point, Kal had got our hot spot working and looked up the campgrounds finding a site map. It turned out that site 25 was on the loop we had passed coming in, so we carefully made our way back down to that loop. It turned out that if we had just checked this loop our first instead of trying to find an entrance station, we would have saved us a lot of grief, as site 25 was the first site on the right in the loop. It was a very nice paved pull-through site overlooking the woods as the slope dropped off towards the lake. We were able to get the RV quickly leveled and set up. Although it did not have a sewer hoopkup, there was water and 50 amp electrical service. While the main loop had a nice flush bathroom facility, this loop had nothing more than a pit toilet. It would have been quite a walk to the other loop, so we just used the pit toilet all week. When we pulled in there was only one other camper on the loop and they pulled on Tuesday morning. For a couple of nights we had the loop completely to ourselves and the wildlife. Kal was sure she heard some coyotes yipping at the moon one night!! However, by the weekend the loop was packed and since Monday was Columbus day, it stayed that way until we pulled out. While the hilltop improved the TV reception and we had all the major stations, the remote location made phone reception very spotty. Consequently, our internet connection was also useless for much of the day. I guess there has to be a price to pay for staying a week in such a beautiful location near the Ohio River.
We really did not have any pressing reason for staying at this location in Ohio, so we spent most of the week just relaxing in the campground. Wednesday was laundry day and since the RV had been cleaned before we went to see William, I decided it did not really need to be cleaned and went with Kal into Ironton to find a laundromat. We found a nice one and spent a couple of hours doing the laundry and going to the store. I convinced Kal to get a late lunch at a Mexican restaurant next to Kroger since it was the beginning of the month. On Thursday, we went to check out the nearby Vesuvius Furnace which was an iron furnace from the 1800s. All that remains today is the stone furnace, although it was a large enterprise at one time employing hundreds of workers before it closed down in 1906. It was one of 69 iron furnaces in the area and was a major industry at the time. From the furnace we explore the shores of Lake Vesuvius along an 8 mile loop trail around this long and narrow lake. As it was along the lakeshore the trail was fairly level and an easy walk. After about 1.5 miles, we turned around and returned to the truck after a very pleasant walk.
The only other thing we did, besides relaxing at the campsite was to head into a nearby Buffalo Wild Wings in Ironton. Friday evening we caught the US Men’s Soccer team defeat Panama in a must win for World Cup qualification. It was a great game with the US winning 4-0 in a convincing win that greatly improved our chances to qualify. I should also mention that once they found out we were interested in the game, they put us in a booth that had its own TV!! Although there was no sound, it was a great way to watch the game without anyone getting in the way of the picture!! We liked it so much that we returned the next day at noon to watch the Auburn football game on our own private TV. We only stayed through the first half, as Auburn was totally dominating Ole Miss in the game. The weather forecast on Saturday was for rain late in the day and Sunday would be rain all day as the remnants of Hurricane Nate going right over us. While they were correct about the rain, it was much less than they had predicted with Nate dropping between 1-2 inches of rain. However, all day Sunday was heavy fog and light rain, which was the first time we had experienced a completely foggy day on our travels. At times you could not even see across the road to the other campers who by then had filled the campground. Thankfully, Nate moved faster than originally predicted, so by Monday morning we were able to hook up the RV without being rained on.