Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park

Today we traveled from the FMCA Campground in Cincinnati, Ohio, to Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park in London, Kentucky. We are travelling here instead of going directly south in order to visit the Visone RV Boneyard. This trip to the boneyard is both in the nature of a pilgrimage and a necessity.

The day after the slide broke, Murphy and his Law decided it was a good day to come to town. I opened the right hand door of our Norcold French-door style refrigerator and the entire door fell of the hinge, dropping everything I stored in the door on the tile. Luckily, nothing broke (most especially my bare toes), except the door. Turns out (though some of you may already be aware of this) the Norcolds have a bit of a design flaw in the bottom hinge, allowing the plastic to break and the door to fall off the top hinge.

So we needed a new door. Richard temporarily fixed the problem with duct tape so I could access the things I had stored in the fridge behind that door. We took everything out of the door to keep the load light. But this was a temporary fix to be sure, so we would be looking for a new door at Visone.

Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park is a beautiful park in the foothills of the mountains of south-central Kentucky. It’s named for one of the first pioneers of the area, and contains historical sites such as the McHague Mill, the Wilderness Road, and Boone’s Trace (named for Daniel Boone), the two primary routes for pioneers settling in the area.

The drive in recommended by the park is over several small, narrow roads, including one ascent around a right hand curve. There are two routes in, and I would recommend taking the route directed by Google using KY-229.

Image of a pull-thru site at Levi Jackson State Park
A pull-thru site next to us at Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park. The pads are all concrete and level (at least the pull-thru sites are).
Our site is a pull-thru, though from egress angle, it will be difficult to actually pull out of this site, so we are thinking we might have to back out. This park is open year round and still had the water on this time of year, though do to construction further inside the park, they advised us it may be turned off from time to time.

It’s a lovely park, with lots of space and things to do (mini-golf anyone?). Although we are surrounded by trees, there is enough of a clearing around us to be able to get a satellite signal. I wish we were going to spend more time here, as there is much to explore, and good hiking opportunities. Alas, we’re planning on going to Visone tomorrow, then moving on the following day.

Road Data for November 11th

  • Traveled 172 miles in 3.8 hours from Cincinnati, OH to London, KY
  • Used 21.7 gallons of diesel and average 7.8 mpg
  • ul>

Cincinnati Chili Chains

Okay, so the main reason we went to Cincinnati was those free nights at the FMCA campground but the secondary reason was to score some authentic Cincinnati chili.

Now, I should start by saying that I have no intention of offending anyone with regard to chili. I understand that chili is often dear to many people’s hearts, and many people have a specific definition of chili. I like chili, and am all-inclusive in my affection for it. So I like chili con carne, chili with beans, chili with big cubes of steak in it, green chili, etc. I also like chili on lots of different things: chili-cheeseburgers, chili-dogs (known as Coneys in some parts of the country), chili-fries, chili-sizes, etc.

Image of Gold Star Chili's open kitchen
Gold Star Chili in Cincinnatti has an open kitchen and a counter, so you can watch what they make.
Okay, so on to the subject of Cincinnati Chili. Like all regional foods, there are many places that do this dish well in and around the city. And many people swear by their particular local place. On this food mission, Richard and I wanted to compare two chains that are local to the Cincinnati region: Gold Star Chili and Skyline Chili.

I should say that really, Richard was the only one of us able to make the comparison, since we only had the opportunity to go to one and he’d already had chili at Skyline. This left Gold Star Chili as our destination of choice. We’d read online that many people thought Gold Star to be spicier and meatier than Skyline. To some extent, Richard agrees.

I wanted to get Cincinnati chili partly as a tribute to my father. When I was younger, we went to Cincinnati to see the Reds play in the old stadium. My father was always very interested in seeing the classic old stadiums before they were replaced with new ones. We got Cincinnati chili at the ballpark, and I remembered how much we both enjoyed it.

What makes Cincinnati chili different from any other chili, you may be asking yourself? Quite a lot, actually. First off, the chili itself is meat only, and more of a sauce. It also uses cinnamon as one of the primary spices. Cincinnati chili is served (when not as a Coney) on spaghetti. Then comes the lingo: three-way, four-way, five-way. Here’s how the different “ways” you can get your chili stack up (listed from the bottom up):

  • Three-way: Spaghetti, chili, cheese (and when they say with cheese, they mean with a ton of cheese)
  • Four-way: Spaghetti, (beans), chili, (onions) and cheese (items listed in parenthesis are choices, you get one on a four-way)
  • Five-way: Spaghetti, beans, chili, onions, cheese (my personal favorite)

The verdict? I am sure that some of the old school, belly up to the counter, non-chain places are better than either of these outlets. But the chili at Gold Star was tasty and quick. They packaged the cheese and the onions separately since we got the orders to go. We could have used the drive-in, but I wanted pictures. Happy eating all around.

FMCA Campground in Cincinnati

Okay, so, everybody likes free stuff. I think I can say that with some degree of certainty. But Richard and I love free stuff. Any day we can get something on sale or deep, deep discount, or best of all, free, is a pretty darn good day.

Which is why we just absolutely had to stop at the FMCA campground in Cincinnati for our two nights per month free. We joined FMCA when we first started RVing, for some of the other membership perks: roadside assistance, discount at campgrounds, medical emergency travel and assistance program, etc. But getting $40 a month in free camping was certainly an awesome perk: even if you only do it once a year, it pays for the membership. And $20 a night beyond the two free is a great price for full hook-ups with cement pads.

All in all, in was a great place to spend a couple of days while we played more with the slide. You may already be familiar with the battle with the slide (if not, start the story by clicking here. Well, the day we left Bowling Green the slide struck back (I was afraid it was going to freeze us in carbonite after this) and got some of our freelance projects done. When you work on the road, sometimes you just have to stop for more than a day to get stuff done.

Actually, the side’s not that big of a deal. Richard thinks the spring probably needs some more tension on it. Right now it doesn’t have enough tensionto hold the aluminum cap up and roll under it. So Richard has to hold the cap up with our all-purpose pole (handy for many things, this originally was bought to wash the coach) while I bring the slide in. Compared to having the slide not work at all, this is nothing, folks.

Anyway, back to FMCA. Couple words of caution. The first is that getting to FMCA is no walk in the park. You’ll want to take I-275 E around Cincinnati, then you have a choice. You can either take several sharp rights to get to Round Bottom road from exit 59 onto OH-315. Or you can take exit 63A and take OH-32 down to a right onto Round Bottom Rd, with the campground only about a quarter mile on the right. We chose the second route and encountered a nasty surprise on OH-32: a steep downgrade combined with a sharp right. Not fun in either the coach or the car with the speed limit being 55 mph and locals screaming past. So choose carefully which of the two evils you’d like to take on: steep hill with curve, or multiple sharp right turns and a longer drive on Round Bottom Rd.

Second word of caution is that there are not that many sites at the FMCA campground (15 in all), so make sure to call a day or so ahead to find out if they have room for you. They don’t take reservations, so if it sounds like they might be busy, have a back-up plan for the night. FMCA makes this somewhat easier, since they have a parking area with lots of electric only hook-ups just in case. But if they’ve got a rally there, or are using the park for employee visits, they may not even have that over-flow area available.

And of course, it goes without saying (but I’m saying it anyway) you can’t stay at the FMCA campground unless you’re an FMCA member. Also, your goose eggs (the black, oblong thingies with your FMCA member number on it) need to be in full display. And (bonus!) you can tour the FMCA Headquarters building on Clough Pike by calling and scheduling a tour in advance.

First Visit to Speedco

Today we left Bowling Green, Ohio, for the FMCA Headquarters Campground outside Cincinnati, Ohio. If you are a member of Family Motor Coach Association then you may or may not know that part of your membership includes two free nights per month at their campground, located at the shipping and receiving building on Round Bottom Rd. So, since we were going that way to begin with, we figured we’d check it out and get our two nights for November.

On the way, we needed to do a little maintenance, though, so we stopped at the Speedco in Beaver Dam, Ohio, right off I-75 to get our oil changed. We had originally planned on doing this task ourselves, but since we had extra work at our work camping job due to employees leaving early, we never found the time. Then we were thinking we’d have it done at the local Pomp’s in Montgomery, Illinois, when we got our tires changed. Plans are never set in stone, and these changed when we discovered we could combine a visit up to Richard’s sister in Wisconsin with getting new tires (at a cheaper rate!). Long story short (too late) we ended up having to leave Big Rock without having the oil changed.

Image of Filters in the Kitchen
All the filters our coach needs, including the massive air dryer filer (to the left) and the filters for the gen set (to the right).
We’d already bought the filters through Filter Barn. Richard spent many hours researching the best filters, then finding those best filters at the cheapest price available. He settled on Filter Barn, which is an online company based out of Wisconsin. We were also able to obtain seven gallons (yikes!) of Valvoline Premium Blue for diesel engines at Rural King on sale for a great price.

We called ahead to Speedco, and asked if they would do the oil change with our filters. They agreed, but we didn’t want to carry the oil with us so we put it in our climate controlled storage unit before we left. We’ll use it when we change the oil next year. We’re happy with changing the oil once a year, though Richard will probably get an oil analysis done before we do so, in case we can push it to longer. So we used their oil.

We pulled into the Speedco and were treated well, even though they usually cater to semis. They had us pull into the garage from the opposite side than the one the semis use because our engine is in the back. They allowed Richard to watch the entire procedure, which is great since at some point we plan to do this ourselves. I sat inside with Chloe to keep her from barking. Their filters were included with the price ($199 with chassis lube, plus the cost of the oil analysis), so now we have another set of filters for next time.

It’s a good idea when walking around one of these places to watch your step, or you’ll track oil or some other fluid into the coach. We were both very careful. To our surprise the oil analysis showed that the oil was still quite good, which is a good sign for the overall health of the engine.

We were both pleased with our experience at Speedco, I must say. We were happy and back on the road to FMCA in no time.

Travel Data

  • 404 – Oops! I guess I forgot to write down most of the travel data for today.
  • Cost of one night at FMCA Headquarters Cincinnati: Free! ($20 a night after 2 free nights a month)

Myles Pizza (And a Treatise on Pizza in General)

As promised, the blog entry about Myles Pizza of Bowling Green, Ohio. But first, let me tell you a little bit of how I view pizza in general, so that you’ll better understand my review.

Margherita's pizza
Two pieces of pepperoni and one piece of (my fav) white pizza with garlic, tomatoes, spinach, and ricotta, from Margherita’s Pizza.

I subscribe to the over arching theory of pizza that people compare all pizza to the best, or most frequently eaten, pizza of their youth. For me, that was Margherita’s Pizza on Main Street in Newark, Delaware. The pizza at Margherita’s is a perfect example of thin crust, foldable, New York Style pizza (though they do have some thick crust Sicilian pizza as well). My father was a professor at the University of Delaware for 33 years. When I would go with him to the office or class, we would inevitably wind up there for lunch, and he often brought it home for dinner.

It is to this pizza that I used to compare all pizza. I was frequently disappointed by a chain pizza or when traveling. Sometimes this happened because the pizza was just plain crappy: bad sauce, tasteless cheese, soggy crust, minimal toppings, etc. But sometimes it was because the style of the pizza was just different from what I’d grown up with.

Image of California Style PIzza
An example of California Style Pizza from California Pizza Kitchen.

When I went to college in California, I was broken of this habit by simply allowing a new way to frame the concept of pizza into my mind. The pizza of my youth was the best example of thin crust, New York Style pizza (even better than I’ve had in New York recently). But there are other styles of pizza in the world, and I found great examples of those over the course of my life. So, in California, I learned to like California style pizza: strange toppings, a sweeter, soft crust, tomato-y sauce (as opposed to a sauce with a strong spice or garlicky note to it).

This new theory was tested when I moved to Chicago, and experienced Chicago Style Thin Crust pizza (different from the deep dish, sauce on top, eat with a fork and knife kind of Chicago Style pizza). This pizza has a thin, crisp crust, the cheese is usually a mixture of cheeses and placed above the toppings, and the sauce is more seasoned than either California or New York Style. It’s also often cut in squares, despite being round in shape. This produces my favorite little bites of Chicago Style Thin crust: the four little triangles on the outer edge.

Okay, that out of the way, on to Myles Pizza Pub of Bowling Green, Ohio. One more thing, though, on pizza in general: if you want to find good pizza, go to a college town. Bowling Green is home of Bowling Green State University, so of course, I expected to find good pizza there. But Myles Pizza far exceeded my expectations.

Our friend who lives in BG and was helping us with the slide and cabinet issues (See posts: The Slide, Slide 1, Lost Ramblers 3, We Have a Winner! and Another Win for the Humans) recommended that after we complete all our projects, we get this pizza as a reward. I think pizza makes a fine reward for anything, so we ordered and had it delivered to us at the Woods County Fairgrounds.

He warned us that it was “Toledo Style” pizza. Now, I’d never heard of Toledo Style pizza, so I was immediately curious. When the pizza arrived with our breadstick sampler (Garlic, Cheese Stuffed, and Pepperoni Stuff Breadsticks) I went out to pick it up and when the delivery guy handed it to me I nearly dropped it. It was so heavy!

Image of Myles Pizza Pub Pizza
Loaded pizza at Myles Pizza Pub

When we got the food inside, Richard and I were astonished. Not only was there mountains of well browned mozzarella cheese, but loads and loads of toppings. We chose pepperoni, sausage, mushroom, and onion. This is a knife and fork pizza like Chicago Style, but unlike Chicago Style Deep Dish, the cheese was on top, not sauce. Also, it wasn’t a pizza cooked in a dish. The crust was crisp and browned like a pizza cooked on the floor of a pizza oven should be. But (bonus!) there was so much cheese that some of it had oozed over the side during cooking and gotten that tasty caramelization that happens to deep-dish pizza. The sauce was spicy with loads of garlic and so good I could eat it with a spoon.

In summary, Myles Pizza Pub serves a Toledo Style pizza that is a combination of many of the great parts of Chicago Style deep dish: lots of toppings, cheese and sauce and a little caramelization on the cheese. Yet it still has some of the characteristics of a hand tossed pizza with a crisp, chewy crust with the body to stand up to all those toppings.

If you ever find yourself in Bowling Green, OH, I say go for Myles Pizza for your night out eating pleasure. It’s well worth it, especially since one slice will fill you up, giving you left overs for lunch (or breakfast) for several days. Enjoy!


Sad note, Myles pizza closed in November 2016. Their pizza will be missed!

Another Win for the Humans

Today started with more brute force. Our BG friend could only come in the afternoon today, so Richard and I did what we could with the cabinet project without him. This was everything up to removing the microwave. For that we would need our buddy, because I have back issues and cannot lift 75 pounds. Yes. I said 75 pounds. Our Samsung convection-microwave weighs 75 freaking pounds. That’s good to know.

After breakfast, Richard took another look at the situation. He figured that maybe we could force the cabinet wall past the attachment block and back into place using the stair support we’d worked into it yesterday. We used a screwdriver to guide it past the block, and inserted a two pieces of 2×1 placed on the top and the bottom of the stair support to protect the bottom of the cabinet and the counter-top.

With much grunting and effort, we managed to screw it up into place. The cabinet was more or less in the proper position, and we’d managed to wedge it past the attachment block. Now we had to wait until our BG friend was available to help, because the next step in the process was to remove the microwave.

Once our buddy arrived, we prepared to move the microwave. The guys decided that they could lower the microwave onto the counter (we placed a piece of plywood on top of the counter so that we didn’t damage the range cover), but that they didn’t want to have to move the microwave any further than that. We found a box in storage in the bays that was just the right size to lower the microwave enough to be able to access the attachment block. It was my job to get the box into place once the microwave was loose.

Getting the microwave loose was no easy task. It was installed by tipping it forward and hooking it on a bracket in the back, then levering it up into place and securing it with another bracket on the top, with the weight distributed with two wooden trim pieces on either side below the microwave.

First the trim pieces needed to come off. There were attached with trim nails as well as glue. The tricky part of this task was to get the trim pieces off without breaking them, since they were going to go back on after everything was finished (with brass screws so that they could be removed easier if we ever had to take out the microwave again).

We were prepared for the contingency that the microwave might drop or need to be supported once the trim pieces were removed, so we placed our Firehouse Subs pickle bucket below it just in case. The guys carefully pried the trim pieces off the cabinet cases. The microwave stayed in place. Then we removed the bracket on the top of the microwave. It stayed in place. At this point the rear bracket was supporting the entire weight of the microwave.

With that much pressure on the bracket, it was impossible to tilt the front of the microwave down so we could lift the back off the bracket. Our friend from BG came up with the solution – to use a screwdriver (the same we used that morning to wedge the cabinet past the attachment block) to bend the attachment points towards the wall, freeing them.

This approach worked, and the guys lifted the microwave off the rear bracket while I switched the bucket out for the box. The box supported the weight of the microwave, which allowed Richard to access the attachment block.

The block was full of ten staples, and was splitting where the staples were inserted. After another trip to the hardware store, the guys came back with a new block for attaching and securing the cabinet (this one made of oak, a denser wood and therefore less prone to splitting), brackets to attach the cabinet to the back wall behind the microwave (for a second attachment point), and various screws.

They removed the attachment block (which had been held on with one screw — one screw, folks, that’s all that was securing that side of the cabinet to the ceiling), replaced it, then secured the cabinet to the new block. After installing the brackets where the cabinet met the wall behind the microwave, the cabinet felt rock solid in its position.

Returning the microwave to it’s position was easier than removing it, and the trim pieces went back in, this time with screws that matched the rest of the fittings in the coach. With the microwave freshly secured, and all the trim pieces back in place, everything worked as advertised: the microwave door opened all the way again, and the annoying sound the fan used to make when the microwave was placed on convection also stopped (bonus!).

We celebrated our triumph over cabinet and microwave with fabulous Myles Pizza. This place was awesome! Highly recommended, but I’m a little tired tonight so I’ll write about it’s glory tomorrow.

Slide 1, Lost Ramblers 3, We Have a Winner!

Today, we witnessed the triumph of men (a one woman, who admittedly did nothing but hold the ladder and hand folks things) over slide. It was a tough battle, but we managed to get the slide arm replaced! Cue trumpet fanfare.

Above is an image of the slide arm after Richard and our BG friend got it off. As you can clearly see, it was super bent. Those slide mechanisms are pretty strong to do that kind of thing.

Image of an acorn nutThe first step was to remove the bolt at the bottom of the arm. This proved to be a little tricky, and the bolt sheared at the acorn nut (for those not up on their ‘nut’ terminology, this is like a hexagonal nut with a little dome on the end). Tapping the bolt out from the other end solved this problem.

With the arm now free and Dave from Florida on the phone helping the guys through it (Thank goodness for Bluetooth headsets!) the menfolk took the tension off the spring through muscle power.

Then commenced the search for the right hole. Now, from what I understood witnessing the issue, there are two holes drilled through the anti-billowing device sprocket and into the shaft around which the awning is wound. Richard needed to insert a pin (such as a hex wrench) through one of these two holes, and then our friend from BG could stop physically fighting the spring’s tension.

Well, these holes could not be found. We weren’t discouraged, however, because Dave told us that sometimes he couldn’t find the holes, and he’s a professional. So Dave told us to drill a hole, and leave the drill bit in to serve as the pin. That worked great.

With the tension off the arm, it slid out of the shaft relatively easily. The new (old) arm slid in just as easily. We removed the drill bit carefully, and the arm took up the tension again.

At this point, a trip to the hardware store was in order to get a new bolt and furnishings.

Richard and I went to the Ace Hardware in downtown Bowling Green, which is a lovely college town. The Ace Hardware on Main Street was pretty complete, and the workers there were knowledgeable and helpful. It wasn’t the usual trip to the mega store with lots of walking around feeling lost, trying to find the right fitting. A Santa Claus looking gentleman helped us with what we needed right away.

Back at the coach, we replaced the screwdriver we used to secure the arm with the new bolt, and everything was hunky-dory again with the living room slide.

Unfortunately, now the menfolk moved on to the cabinet. They removed all the trim and examined the situation. Some attempts were made to move the cabinet back by brute force, but those failed. The idea to use some mechanical aid was brought up, and I suggested the little stair support we have. It is two metal plates with a screw lift connecting them. This approach lifted the cabinet a whole 1/4 of an inch.

I’ll take this opportunity to say some thing about the way our particular cabinet was secured to the wall. Although I generally follow the rule of, “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all,” this was so egregiously stupid, I’ve just got to say something.

The cabinet was connected on the side next to the range by one piece of pine (!) 3/4 of an inch by 3/4 of an inch by six inches. It was stapled on from the microwave side by about 10 staples reached less than a 1/of an inch into the side of the cabinet. Not only had all the staples torn out, but the piece meant to secure the cabinet to the slide frame had cracked through where it had been stapled.

Now, I’m going to proceed to give Holiday Rambler the benefit of the doubt because we really like their coaches. I’m just going to imagine that maybe the worker in charge of our particular cabinetry was either a) having a really bad day or b) hurrying to finish the job because his wife was in labor/her family was in trouble.

After examining the cabinet, we all decided to tackle it in the morning, especially since it was clear the microwave would have to come out to properly re-secure the cabinet. But! I consider today to be a great win in the history of human’s struggle versus slides! Yeah humans!

The Slide

For those of you who have read my first post and already know about the problem with the living room slide, please bear with me a little while I exposate, expositionate, uh, while I provide a touch of exposition.

Day before we’re supposed to leave: Massive failure of slide including yucky grinding noises, a thunk, and a bent Omega Slide Topper Arm. Slide goes in, but slide does not go out. Day we leave: On the road with no slide, much “excuse me,” “no, excuse me,” and “get the f*$! out of my way!” (Not really.)

Image of new (to us) Omega slide topper armsWe detoured down to Indy to pick up some used Omega slide arms from a guy Richard met on iRV2. He gave us four of them so we can change the both arms on the slide and have at least the pair match. We could also change the arms on the bedroom slide to match, which is another set of Omega arms. Nothing has gone wrong with them, though (yet).

Okay, now that that’s over with, we get on to fixing the darn thing. One thing that we’d been kind of putting off was getting a ladder. We he-hawed quite a bit on that, trying to decide if, yes, we really did need some kind of light-weight aluminum one that expands (a la the Little Giant Ladder) or no, we could get by with the aluminum 8’ that is currently in storage. There was a lot of angst in this decision on both our parts, only heaven knows why.

Image of Werner Multi-Purpose Ladder
Optimus Prime
This event forced us to make a decision, and we decided to get a light-weight Little Giant-esque ladder. Richard and our BG buddy went out to our friendly all-things-construction store and purchased a Werner Multi-Purpose Ladder on sale. It’s pretty nifty. It can go from a step-ladder to an extension ladder and be used as two ladders or a scaffold base. Its, like, the Optimus Prime of ladders.

When Richard got the ladder home, he went up and took a look at the problem. Yep, the arm was bent. Yep, the bent arm was keeping the slide from moving appropriately since it cocked the awning and made the slide hang up at the top. Yep, we were pretty well screwed.

But Richard, ever the premiere problem-solver, decided to give Carefree a call and see if he could talk to someone about it. At the very least he’d be able to talk to someone who’d recommend a shop we could go to. So Richard called and waited on hold to speak with someone. Turns out, Carefree no longer offers support for the Omega Series. (sarcasm)Great(/sarcasm). But they did know someone in Florida we could talk to. (oh yeah)Awesome-sauce!(/oh yeah)

So after speaking extensively with Dave Jones of Florida (Dave, if you’re reading this, let me know the name of your awning company so I can update), Richard confirmed that this was a three man (or two men and a woman) job. Richard got up on Optimus Prime and described the situation to Dave. There were a lot of “yeah”s and “uh-huh”s.

The complicating factor in this project is that the arm in question is the slide right arm, the one that’s spring loaded. So, someone would have to hold the arm while the tension would be released by the second person so that the arm could be removed and the new (old) one put on.

The light was fading and all four of those involved (Richard, me, Dave and our BG friend) decided it would be best to tackle this beast in the morning.

But now we had a game plan. Tomorrow Dave would call Richard and walk him through the procedure. How awesome is Dave?

Richard, our friend, and I went inside for some homemade chili and to discuss the secondary issue with the slide. On the surface, this one seemed not as bad, at least to me. The cabinet to the left of the range and microwave, over the sink, had displaced itself about a half an inch downward. This caused the microwave door to not be able to swing open all the way. And Richard and I were concerned about the cabinet suddenly dropping while we were traveling.

As the guys discuss this issue, we discovered that this problem may be more trouble than I thought. We can’t just manhandle the cabinet back into position because it has wedged itself below it’s support (more on this little gem of engineering later). So now we have two problems: the slide that won’t budge and the cabinet out of whack. Fabulous.


All Images courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

NANOWRIMO stands for National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write a novel consisting of at least 50,000 words in the month of November. I have participated in this event six out of the past seven years, but have only completed once (although they do have a spring/summer writing event called CampNANO where the goal is only 40,000 words – I did complete that once).

I absolutely love NANOWRIMO. It pushes you to just write, and to heck with how good it is. Just get the thing down on paper. I walk around with several fiction novels brewing in my head at once, so once (sometimes twice) a year I devote a month to getting one of them down on paper.

This year it’s a little hectic because it is the first year that I am combining NANO with full-time travel, web design freelancing, and blogging. Whew! All I’d need is to throw some work camping into the mix for a full on over-whelm-fest.

This experience is causing me to carefully pay attention to time and priority management, which I think is a very good thing. Of course, my freelance web contracts come first, unless something has to be done on the RV in order to keep our southward momentum going. If all these things are attended to, then comes blogging.

NANO comes last in the priorities, even though it is closest to my heart. Sunday and Monday I didn’t hit my 1,667 word goal for the day (the amount of words you have to write per day to hit 50,000 on November 30th. Hopefully in the coming days here at Wood County I’ll be able to write over my goal and try and catch up.

I thought I’d be able to write or design while traveling, but Chloe put an end to that hope quickly. She hasn’t yet adapted to her house moving. So she usually sits on my lap and demands to be petted most of the time we’re moving.

National Novel Writing Month is supported by a non-profit (formerly called the Office of Letters and Light) dedicated to encouraging everyone to write that novel they’ve got in their back pockets. They also fund writing programs at all levels of education. Their Young Writers program is particularly effective.

For all you bloggers out there, this month is the month to write that novel! We’re only a couple days into the month, so it won’t be hard to catch up. Just do it. You’ll thank me when you’re done. 😉

Click here to get to the NANOWRIMO site

Current NANO Stats (Updated Nov. 18th)

  • Average words per day: 1,641
  • Words written today: 2,435
  • Total words written: 29,549
  • At this rate I will finish on: Dec 1st

A Day (or Two) at the Fair

We left Indianapolis today after meeting with the gentleman from iRV2 who gave us the new Omega arms to fix our slide. We’re still living with a living room slide that doesn’t open, but hopefully we’ll fix it with a little help from our friend.

When we were looking at coaches over two years ago, we’d looked at our first Holiday Rambler, a 1999 Vacationer without slides. Without having looked at one with slides, we tried to tell ourselves that we could live without them. The price certainly was right. But then we saw some coaches with slides and we decided there was no way we could live without one (even though I still think every slide you add to a coach is another thing to go wrong).

At the Wood County Fairgrounds
Our site at the Wood County Fairgrounds
This experience of living without a slide has certainly proven that, though it may be fine for some, it’s no way for us to live! We can’t pass each other without someone getting squished. Poor Chloe is constantly underfoot. And we can’t eat at the kitchen table and both of us see the TV at the same time. Tough times, eh?

We left at a 11 AM, and got into Bowling Green, Ohio with plenty of daylight to set up and relax. We’re staying at the Wood County Fairgrounds for the next couple of days.

When we decided back in August to visit our good friend in Bowling Green, we wanted to stay at our favorite campground there, Fire Lake Camper Park. Although this park is mainly a seasonal place, they do have three pull-thru spots along their rectangular lake, and we’ve always been there in either autumn or spring. We’ve found it relaxing, and the views of the sunset over the lake are lovely.

This time, however, Fire Lake was already closed for the season when we’d get to BG. So, the only choices for camping in BG are Mary Jane Thurston State Park which is kind of far from Bowling Green, and the Wood County Fairgrounds. We’d never stayed at a fairground before, and I was not sure what to expect.

V=Beef Barns at the Wood County Fairgrounds
The Jr. Beef Barn next store to our site.
Long story short, we love it. Even though the grounds are shuttered up and kind of lonesome, it is still neat to be able to walk the grounds without a huge crowd of people. There is only one 50 AMP hookup: right between the Fine Art Barn and the Jr Beef Barn, right down the street from Gate C. The site is very large and although not quite level and grassy, we still managed to find a spot that, with the jacks, left us level enough.

Although shuttered-up, the grounds are far from empty. Workers are doing maintenance that they couldn’t do during high season, and people are dropping off boats, trailers, and RVs for winter storage.

There’s a guy training his horses for cart-racing in the track right across from our site this morning. First he runs the horse around the track to practice their trotting. He has this contraption on the back of a pick-up truck, and he hooks two horses at a time up to it. He drives around at trotting speed and the horses practice keeping their pace steady. Then he goes round the track with each of the horses several times, riding behind them in the cart. I liked watching him and imaging the chariot riders of ancient times, racing around a similar track to cheering, wild fans.

The fairgrounds manager is very friendly and made us feel welcome. He answered all our questions about the grounds and the Wood County Fair, which has been held in Wood County for the last 143 years. Last year they saw attendance grow to 103,000. For camping at the fair there are 600 campsites. They usually fill about 550 of them (!) and it costs $150 for the 8 days of the fair.

What I think is most exciting about the Wood County Fair, and what may bring us back to BG next August to attend, is the very unusual Combine Demolition Derby. When he told me about this, my jaw just hit the floor. I’ve only ever seen regular Demos on TV. I could only imagine how exciting it would be with COMBINES (*grunting sounds* More power!).

If you’ve been to a Combine Derby, please, let me know what it’s like in the comments.

Road Data for November 2nd, 2015

  • Traveled 213 miles in 4.5 hours from Mooresville, IN to Bowling Green, OH
  • Used 24.2 gallons of diesel and averaged 8.7 MPG
  • Cost of one night at Wood County Fairground is $20