Cruising Ohio – The Buckeye State

To Julie and I the state of Ohio symbolizes the beginning and ending of our trips.  It’s generally the 1st stop going west after leaving Rochester, NY and the last stop before heading back to Rochester.  This quick pass through Ohio was no different.

We had left Julie’s cousin Susie’s house in Indianapolis bound for Columbus, Ohio.  The drive was fairly uneventful as you can imagine it would be driving from central Indiana to central Ohio.  It was a beautiful day as we passed field after field of corn, wheat and a variety of other crops.  Soon enough we crossed the Ohio border and headed towards Columbus.

Columbus, Ohio

Julie and I had passed though Columbus a few times while driving to Cincinnati to visit friends but had never stopped in the city.  Columbus for those that don’t know is not a small city.  It is the largest city in the state of Ohio and the 14th largest in the USA.  Driving by it on the highway Julie and I never found it to be that pretty which is why we never stopped.  This time though we thought that we should finally check it out.

Whenever we visit new cities, we simply pull up Google maps and look for the entertainment areas.  These could be areas with a lot of restaurants, bars, shops or pedestrian only areas.  Heading into downtown Columbus it felt as if the entire city was under construction.  Entire blocks and streets were dug up forcing us to take detour after detour.  While we did find the entertainment districts, they were all so torn up from construction we couldn’t find any suitable parking.  We drove around the area a few times but no luck.

Victorian Village Columbus

At this point we were getting a bit frustrated.  The city looked pretty cool but for the life of us we could not find any suitable parking anywhere near the entertainment districts.  It started to get later into the afternoon, so we thought, ok, let’s just stop for a coffee and go on our way.  We found a coffee shop called Boston Stoker Coffee in the Victorian Village area of Columbus.  This area was finally not under construction and was gorgeous.  As the name implies, the Victorian Village neighborhood was full of huge Victorian houses.  Street after street of beautifully maintained homes filled this neighborhood with charm.  After stopping for the coffee, we hopped back into Bubbles and headed to the campground for the night.

We stayed that night at the Sunbury/Columbus North KOA Campground.  As this was going to be our last night in Bubbles for a bit (we were staying with our friends Lindsay & Wayne in Cleveland the next night) we decided to have a bit of a toast.  We had not yet completed our journey as we were not yet heading back to Tampa but as we were going to spend a few weeks in Rochester we decided to toast our Alaskan journey here in central Ohio.  We toasted with champagne and some upstate NY beer.  We made it through tornadoes in Oklahoma and Texas, avoided serial killers in northwest Canada and hail in California.  Cheers to us we thought, we are two very lucky people and wow are we grateful.

RV Maintenance Fun

The next morning, we packed up and prepared Bubbles water systems for a few weeks of stationary life.  One of the things that the RV brochure or commercials never tell you is how wonderful cleaning out your black tank aka your human waste tank.  Gloves on, water hose in hand we have to stick the end of the hose down the toilet hopefully spraying away any waste that has stuck to the side of the tank.  Then pressing a button so that the macerator (built in waste garbage disposal with a pump device) can shoot out everything down the pull-out hose and into the waste pipe in the ground.  For us this usually takes 30-45 minutes depending on how long it had been since the previous time we had done this.  After finishing this delightful task, we packed up and headed to Cleveland.

As I stated in the beginning that Ohio was the start and end of a lot of our journeys; the exact start and end was almost always our friends Lindsay and Wayne’s in Cleveland.  Only being a 4-hour drive from Rochester it was always the logical point to gear up and gear down.  Being able to spend time with amazing friends and their adorable daughter is always a perk as well.

Cleveland, Ohio

We arrived mid-afternoon and after a little bit of catching up we all piled into Lindsay’s car and headed into the city.  A new brewery had opened up fairly recently called Platform Beer Co. and we went to check it out.  The brewery turned out to be a ton of fun.  It was in Cleveland’s quirky and fun, Ohio City neighborhood.  As it was happy hour the place was packed.  A Cleveland fishing club was having a meeting there which added to the craziness.  Overall Julie and I would give the place a 10 for both beer and atmosphere and would definitely go back.

After we finished our delicious beers, we went to take a picture with the famous Cleveland sign.  We chose to go to the Tremont version (there are a few of these signs).  We arrived at just the right time as the sun was just about to set giving us some amazing pictures of the sign with the city in the background.  From there we headed over to a delicious Indian restaurant for dinner before calling it a night.

The next morning, we woke up, had a leisurely breakfast and headed out.  This was a drive we had done many times.  I-90 east out of Cleveland, passing through the Pennsylvania panhandle and the city of Erie, then crossing into New York as the road follows Lake Erie.  From there the road continues northeast passing through Buffalo before heading directly east 90 miles to Rochester.  As we pulled into my Mom’s house, we knew our journey wasn’t over yet, but we had just passed a big milestone.

Next up….We head south back towards the Sunshine State.

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