Going Places

Posted December 3, 2021 – Narrated by Carmen
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Keep your eyes on the stars,
and the stars in your eyes…
See if you can find out what’s over the next hill,
and the next one after that.
Wally Byam

In late June, at Ohiopyle State Park up in the dreamy Laurel Highlands, Beauty and The Beast worked their Wally Byam magic again transporting us and all of our worldly gear down to Geneva-On-The-Lake, GOTL, up north in a vintage summer resort in Ashtabula County, Ohio.

Lake Erie

The summer of 2019 on Maumee Bay and Put-In-Bay convinced us to adventure more in The Great Lakes region and particularly on gorgeous Lake Erie.

Geneva on the lake
Do not be deceived. Although rare, a sudden, intense change in air pressure can create a tsunami-like seiche. A Lake Erie seiche on May 31, 1942 claimed seven lives.

She’s shallow and temperamental but this wild-child of a lake is a favorite with us. Erie’s reputation for carefree summertime leisure is an American legacy. The long days and tranquil starlit nights hold judgement over tight muscles, strained backs and every manner of toil with all its cruelties. Warm sand consoles aching arches and the tender breeze weighs in with a healing caress. It all feels too good to be true. And it is.

Beneath the mesmerizing confluence of sky on turquoise water, thousands of sunken vessels lie there in ruin. Best to skedaddle in October before lake-effect snow, or there will be hell to pay for the awesome suntan.

Geneva on the lake
Scooped out by glacial ice, Lake Erie is only 4,000 years old. The Great Lakes hold 21 percent of the world’s supply of fresh surface water. Lake Erie, with an average depth of 62 feet is the 4th largest and the shallowest of the five lakes. A fourth of all Great Lakes shipwrecks are because … Erie

Ohio’s 75 State Parks are consistently the nation’s finest for resource management and for thoughtful, functional, and environmentally sound design. Lodging and activities are provided for every taste and budget.

Geneva State Park
Our Electric-only campsite at Geneva State Park

It doesn’t take a geyser to attract tourism. Ohio state parks preserve the natural beauty of eco-sensitive areas while enhancing access and boosting the economy of host communities.

Geneva on the lake
Geneva on the Lake, GOTL, with our Dolphin eBikes.

With few exceptions (such as Gulf State Park in Alabama), no state does Park better than Ohio.

Geneva State Park is another Ohio example of the kind of development and resource management other states should emulate as a solution for safe, pandemic-responsive tourism.

Geneva on the lake
About an hour’s drive east of Cleveland, GOTL is one of Ohio’s earliest resorts. In the early 1900s, the scenic location was popular with the Midwest gentry, including John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford, and Harvey Firestone. 

From the look of the license plates, we were the only Californians there. Apparently, Geneva-on-the-Lake is primarily a weekend summer get-away for Ohioans.

Geneva on the lake
Sturgeon Point. Pioneer fishermen despised sturgeon until the 1900’s when the public developed an appetite for them. Soon thereafter, Lake Erie was overfished and the industry collapsed. Sturgeon are currently being reintroduced in the Maumee River.

They come for a little fishing, boating, water and jet skiing, paddle boarding and kayaking, but most just bask on the sandy, uncrowded beach.

Geneva on the lake

Spending the evenings on The Strip is the correct thing to do if you accidentally brought the children. That’s cool. Makes the campground quieter in the evenings.

This area is ideal for a couple’s vacation. We stayed for two weeks and enjoyed every minute – especially the pleasant and warm little rain showers that spritzed us nearly every day. They were really no trouble at all. We kept an umbrella close by.

Geneva State Park

and still managed to go paddling …

and take long, leisurely walks on the parks trail system …

… where we discovered a wee faerie village in the woods.

On the wettest day we went on a wine tasting tour.

Most evenings we dined at home from Jim’s 600-Calorie recipe book he’s currently writing. Yep, Jim’s a bean-counter who is literally counting beans.

Pork Chili Verde (two bowls each for only 600 calories per person!)

On our 46th wedding anniversary we drove to Ashtabula for a local dining experience at Bascule Bridge Grille in the Historic Harbor District near the Ashtabula River and the Strauss Bascule Bridge.

A long time from now we will be reminiscing about that dinner. The entire experience – every detail from the window seat, the rustbelt-chic views, the kindness of the staff, to the expertly prepared dinner – all is in permanent memory storage.

Downtown Ashtabula

We like GOTL. It’s an idyllic place to pasture for a while and then move on.

After two weeks of Erie we embarked on an impromptu Sunday drive to …

The NEW Airstream Factory!!!

airstream factory
Jim takes the Adventure Stance at the new Airstream Factory in Jackson Center, Ohio

Jay Cullis and Samantha Martin gave us a sneak preview of the new factory floor and Heritage Center on the 4th of July break.

airstream factory

The Heritage Center, housed in the new facility is a world-class interactive romp through Airstream history. With a dignified fleet of historic trailers basking in the glory of Wally Byam’s immortalized genius, The Heritage Center hitches history up to the heart of what it means to be Airstreamer.

The first factory opened in Culver City, California in 1931. Ninety years later, this spectacular modern facility continues the adventuring legacy.

Unfortunately, interior photos of the manufacturing facility were forbidden, so you can only imagine our wonder and delight of seeing Airstreams in the delicate hatching phase.

frank dibona
An Airstream rookery in action. Thanks to Airstreamer, Frank DiBona for sharing.

Sometimes I opine, “They don’t make things like they used to.” Our factory tour put that to rest. Airstream is the exception. With new technology, equipment and procedures Airstream trailers are even better!

We were inspired. I’m not knitting any pink flamingo booties yet, but the idea of giving Beauty a shiny new little sister named Belle puts a twinkle in my eye and a spring to my step.

Now, more than ever before, Northwest Ohio is worth a look-see. The NEW Airstream Factory Tour and Heritage Center is a destination site to pair with the Armstrong Air and Space Museum and The Bicycle Museum of America near Wapakoneta, where we never fail to stop by J. Marie’s for a bite …

The next morning – as we stocked up in The Supply Store – a downpour erupted. As proud but cautious California Snowflakes, we don’t relish driving in the rain. Nevertheless, we continued north to Findlay …

on important business …

pilgrim restaurant
Our third time to Pilgrim Restaurant in Findlay, our happy brekkie place.
pilgrim restaurant
Buckwheat pancakes on a flag placemat and a Christmas coffee mug, in July.

Bay City

Then, we crossed the Maumee River and, soon after, entered Michigan.

We had few expectations for Bay City. This would be our last stop before entering Michigan’s Upper Penninsula.

Our camp at Bay City State Park

Our needs were practical – a “gettin’ place” to shop for provisions, and a location to receive packages before entering The Yoop where services and provisions are minimal.

Our camp at Bay City State Park

Arriving as busy people with an agenda, we were caught off guard by the beauty. Bay City, with the boom and bust of the sawmill and ship-building industry, has a learned wisdom about momentum and agendas. Their motto, A Beautiful view … of life, with those three ellipses, feels like a sigh.

bay city state park

Shortly, Jim and I learned that Bay City is more than a grab ‘n go town. We succumbed to a slower pace … to listen, and … breathe.

bay city state park

The perfect weather and gentle beauty simply would not have us rushing around.

We couldn’t get enough of the Center Avenue District and that ostentatious lumber baron architecture …

We settled in to the comforts of the river …

bay city

and the hometown culture …

The old sawmill town got under our skin.

The campground provided hiking trails to explore the wetland preserve …

The Rail Trail

The rail trail – though still under development – got us where we wanted to go …

… and made driving unnecessary and undesirable …

The lanes took us over the rivers …

and into town …

where we grabbed the last green salads and dining-out experiences we would have for weeks …

Surprise! Bay City has a music legacy.

bay city madonna

The locals do it proud. Really good free music is everywhere.

On our last night we went to a community event featuring a group of young and aspiring rockers. If we didn’t have to wake up so early in the morning we’d have stayed and listened all night.

Hey, keep an eye on these kids. They’re going places.

Now, UP to The Yoop!

If you want to see our exact route, click here.

*photos in this post (unless otherwise noted) were taken and copyrighted by Living In Beauty.