Wandering Around America One State at a Time – Ohio

State 32:

Welcome to the next post in my series highlighting states we have visited throughout the years. I hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride!

I will be featuring the states alphabetically. The next state in my series is

Ohio

Ohio became the 17th  state on March 1, 1803. The capital is Columbus.

Before our RV days, we made two trips to Ohio to attend family weddings. The first time was to Dayton in 1980. The next time was a St. Patrick’s Day weekend trip to Cleveland. We left home with the sun shining and azaleas blooming. In Cleveland, we were freezing as we gazed at the ice on Lake Erie.

Ice-on-Lake-Erie2
Ice on Lake Erie in Cleveland

Our RV travels have taken us through Ohio a few times. We discovered Sun Valley RV Park in Chilicothe on one of those trips. This peaceful RV park is off the beaten path and a perfect overnight stop for weary travelers. We enjoyed it so much we returned a few years later when our route took us that way again.

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Quiet and peaceful campground in Chilicothe
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Blondie enjoyed the grassy campsite in Chilicothe
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Sunset in Chillicothe

On one trip our journey took us through the Amish country around Mt. Eaton. We discovered Evergreen RV Park, another gem of a park perfect for an overnight stop. I had read reviews of this park which raved about the cleanest and nicest RV park bath house they had ever seen. How could we pass that up? Even better still, there was an indoor pool onsite so after a swim I tried out the bath house and the reviews were right on the money!

We did a little shopping in an Amish store near the RV park. I stocked up on Amish goodies and I was a happy camper!

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Beautiful indoor pool at Evergreen RV Park
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Evergreen RV Park in Mt. Eaton was surrounded by Amish country
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Pasture next to Evergreen RV Park in Mt. Eaton

To read previous posts about the states featured in this series just click on the state name: Alabama      Alaska      Arizona      Arkansas      California      Colorado     Florida      Georgia      Hawaii        Idaho  Illinois      Indiana      Iowa     Kansas     Kentucky     Louisiana     Maine     Maryland     Massachusetts     Michigan     Minnesota    Mississippi     Missouri     Montana     Nebraska     Nevada      New Hampshire     New Mexico      New York     North Carolina    North Dakota

SEC Football at Ole Miss in Oxford

We had just returned home from our fall football road trip when three days later we evacuated for Hurricane Matthew. This post has been on hold ever since.

If you follow SEC college football you know that our favorite team, the Georgia Bulldogs, are not having a good year. That’s all I have to say about that.

I have to say that except for the game on September 24, we had a great time in Oxford during the weekend of the Georgia – Ole Miss football game. The people of Oxford were gracious, the Ole Miss fans friendly, and the atmosphere in town on Friday and as we wandered through the Grove on Saturday before the game was like no college football game I’ve ever attended.

Our home for the weekend was John W. Kyle State Park on Sardis Lake, about a 30 minute drive from downtown Oxford. All through the campground were RV’s displaying their team colors. We didn’t spend much time in the campground but I was able to get a sunset picture over the lake on the first night.

Sunset over Sardis Lake
Sunset over Sardis Lake

Friends of ours were staying in Oxford within walking distance of downtown and the stadium. We met them Friday afternoon to browse the shops around the courthouse square and have a fabulous lunch at City Grocery. As we were enjoying our meal we noticed not one but four James Beard Awards on the wall! The food, service, and company were all excellent.

City Grocery on the square in Oxford, Mississippi
City Grocery on the square in Oxford, Mississippi
City Grocery on the square in Oxford, Mississippi
City Grocery on the square in Oxford, Mississippi
Two of the Four James Beard Awards at City Grocery
Two of the Four James Beard Awards at City Grocery

Kickoff was set for 11:00 a.m. on Saturday so we left the campground early in hopes of beating the traffic. We planned it perfectly and met our friends in time to eat a quick breakfast before heading to the Grove.

The Grove is a large area in the middle of the University of Mississippi campus. On game days it is transformed to a sea of tailgate tents lined up side by side with fans from both teams walking elbow to elbow on the pathways between the tents.

Tailgating Tents as far as the eye could see
Tailgating Tents as far as the eye could see
A few Georgia fans were tailgating in the Grove
Fans from both teams were tailgating side by side
The Ole Miss band marched by before the game
The Ole Miss band marched by before the game
Georgia and Ole Miss Fans getting ready for the game
Georgia and Ole Miss Fans in the Grove before the game

Did I mention it was HOT the whole time we were there? The temperature was in the upper nineties on Friday afternoon and all day Saturday.

If your favorite college football team ever plays against Ole Miss in Oxford, get some tickets and go! It’s a one of a kind experience. And hopefully, your team will do better against them than my team did. And I hope I never hear the Ole Miss Hotty Toddy cheer ever again!

A return to the Mississippi Delta

Two years ago we traveled through the Mississippi Delta area of Arkansas and fell in love with the area. So naturally when we began planning our trip to Oxford we decided to cross the Mississippi River into Arkansas and return to two of the places we enjoyed back then. When we told our friends we were going to Mississippi by way of Arkansas they looked at us like we were crazy.

Our first stop in Arkansas was Lake Chicot State Park. I posted about our first visit  here.  After a long day driving through part of Alabama and all across the state of Mississippi, we crossed the Mississippi River into Arkansas and arrived at the campground hot and tired.

Lake Chicot State Park Site 7
Lake Chicot State Park Site 7

We got set up in time to watch a beautiful sunset over Lake Chicot.

Sunset over Lake Chicot
Sunset over Lake Chicot

The lake was beautiful in the early mornings.

Morning on the fishing dock
Morning on the fishing dock

Lake Chicot is the largest natural lake in Arkansas and the largest natural oxbow lake in the United States. It is a popular fishing destination and many varieties of birds can be seen here.

Egret on the fishing dock
Egret on the fishing dock
Cypress trees at Lake Chico
Cypress trees at Lake Chicot
Cypress trees at Lake Chicot
Cypress trees at Lake Chicot
Cypress trees at Lake Chicot
Cypress trees at Lake Chicot

On our first visit here we had our first taste of delicious Mississippi Delta hot tamales so of course getting some more was on the top of our to do list. One day we took a drive back across the Mississippi River to Greenville, Mississippi to pick up three dozen hot tamales to go from Doe’s Eat Place. We were in heaven as we ate some of those spicy tamales for dinner. The rest are in our freezer to take home. I posted about our first visit to Doe’s Eat Place here.

Doe's Eat Place in Greenville, Mississippi
Doe’s Eat Place in Greenville, Mississippi
Three dozen Mississippi Delta hot tamales
Three dozen Mississippi Delta hot tamales

One day we took a self guided driving tour along the levee which runs along the Mississippi River to protect the area from flooding. A gravel road runs on top of the levee and the scenery changes from borrow pits to farms to woods as you go along.

Egrets flocked to the trees beside the borrow pits
Egrets flocked to the trees beside the borrow pits
Borrow Pit beside the levee
Borrow Pit beside the levee
Cattle with Cattle Egrets beside the levee
Cattle with Cattle Egrets beside the levee
Cattle with Cattle Egrets beside the levee
Cattle with Cattle Egrets beside the levee

Cotton is the number one crop in this part of the Mississippi Delta and we passed many fields on both sides of the river. Soybeans and sorghum are also big crops in the area.

Fields of cotton as far as the eye can see
Fields of cotton as far as the eye can see
Cotton is the number one crop in the Mississippi Delta
Cotton is the number one crop in the Mississippi Delta
Cotton Bolls
Cotton Bolls

Next up: A return to another favorite Arkansas State Park in the Mississippi Delta with some scenic drives, a museum, and award winning barbecue.

Celebrating Ten Years of Wandering

What an amazing ten years! Each marker on this map represents a place where we camped in our RV.

Ten years ago, on July 1, 2006, we spent our first night in an RV park in Tampa, Florida. Two weeks later we left Georgia with no reservations anywhere and a bucket list of what we wanted to see. You can see highlights of that trip at Looking Back on our First RV Trip. Last year I posted a few of our most memorable experiences from our first nine years at Celebrating Nine Years of RVing.

Many of our trips revolved around either visiting family or attending a special event such as a wedding or Titanium Rally. Sometimes we traveled just for the fun of seeing new places. No matter where we were going, we always took the long way around to get there.

We discovered beauty in every state and province we visited. Sometimes the everyday things were the best.

I love watching the changing landscape and seeing the many farms and ranches.

I love seeing the farms as we drive along
I love seeing the farms as we drive along
We always enjoy seeing lighthouses.

Split Rock Lighthouse on Minnesota's North Shore
Split Rock Lighthouse on Minnesota’s North Shore
Seeing wildlife is always a treat.

Black Bear beside the road in British Columbia
Black Bear beside the road in British Columbia
And of course we loved visiting many of our National Parks.

Yosemite Valley from Tunnel View Overlook
Yosemite Valley from Tunnel View Overlook
Sometimes we enjoyed watching the sunset from our campsite.

Mount Redoubt sunset in Ninilchik, Alaska
Mount Redoubt sunset in Ninilchik, Alaska
We did a few amazing hikes.

At the Summit of Enchanted Rock
At the Summit of Enchanted Rock in Texas
Chilling by a camp fire is always fun.

Enjoying the campfire
Enjoying the campfire
Now that we have ten years of RV’ing under our belt, our priorities have changed. Of course, we are ten years older and it is more difficult to make long trips. When we started our wandering, we only had two grandchildren. Now we have four and we want to spend as much time with them as we can. Going on long trips takes us away from them for too long.

Our wandering days are not over. There are still many places we haven’t seen in and near our home state of Georgia so from now on we will travel a little closer to home.

Gulf Islands National Seashore

“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.”
–Jacques Cousteau

A beach with perfect sugar white sand only a five minute walk from our campsite. I think I am in heaven!

Gulf Islands National Seashore at Ft. Pickens
Gulf Islands National Seashore at Ft. Pickens
The beach at sunset
The beach at sunset
Gulf Islands National Seashore
Gulf Islands National Seashore

Our home for a week is Ft. Pickens Campground in Gulf Islands National Seashore on Santa Rosa Island. I’ve been doing a lot of walking on the beach and beach chair sitting.

Site A1 Ft. Pickens
Site A1 Ft. Pickens
Ready for Beach Chair Sitting on the Gulf of Mexico
Ready for Beach Chair Sitting on the Gulf of Mexico

We’ve taken a couple of hikes on the half-mile Blackbird Marsh Nature Trail near the campground.

Along the Blackbird Marsh Nature Trail
Along the Blackbird Marsh Nature Trail

It is nest building time for Ospreys and several nests can be seen in the area. Ospreys are frequently seen soaring over the campground and a few of the nests can be viewed close up from the nature trail.

Pair of Ospreys on the nature trail
Pair of Ospreys on the nature trail
Pair of Ospreys on the nature trail
Pair of Ospreys on the nature trail
Osrey
Osprey

And the sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico are breathtaking!

Sunset over the Gulf of Mexico
Sunset over the Gulf of Mexico

More of the Fort Pickens area coming up in my next post.