Caesar Creek State Park, Wilmington, Ohio
Yep, we hitched up a moved about 250 miles east. I picked a leisurely route, at least the part through southern Indiana, and we were rewarded by rich, rolling hills near the rivers and then flat farmland as we got towards the Ohio border. Some of the road was four lane, divided highway, but most of it was two lanes, and some of those lanes were barely wide enough for the trailer. But if the locals were upset with my speed-limit driving, they didn’t show it too much and it was a pleasant enough drive.
Stopped for lunch in North Vernon, Indiana, a small city big enough to have its own identity but small enough to remain a typical Midwestern town. Joan found us a spot to eat called Grateful Grub, and, once again at 3:00 PM, we were the only lunch guests. Since we were leaving Indiana, I opted for the breaded pork tenderloin sandwich and a beer. Joan had chicken wings in bourbon sauce. Mine was better.
After lunch, traffic started picking up because we were headed into the Cincinnati metropolitan area. I wasn’t anxious to hit downtown, especially at
lunch hour, so we traversed the loop around it through Lawrenceberg, I think it was, and then up Interstate 71. After successfully dealing with Chicago traffic, on a Friday afternoon, no less, I wasn’t too concerned about little-old Cincinnati.
But maybe I should have been. I tend to drive in the far right lane on interstates because I am usually going slower than everyone else. Generally speaking, exits are to the right, so being in the right lane involves the fewest lane changes. In this particular case, though, I didn’t want to exit but everyone else did. So an exit lane opens up and most everyone files into that lane. According to the GPS and the road signs, I should be able to stay in the lane I am in to continue my route.
So we are barreling down this lane at more than 50 miles per hour when suddenly the brake lights on the cars in front of me turn on and well, they aren’t just slowing down, these idiots want to merge into this exit lane on the right and are coming to a complete stop right in front of me as they try to cut into the line. Now maybe I should have been prepared for that, but I wasn’t and, well, you can’t stop a five-ton rig on a dime. If I apply the brakes too hard then there is a real danger the trailer will fishtail out of my lane and into another. So I have to avoid panic stops at pretty much all costs.
My only obvious choice is to veer to the left and try to go around these two bozos in front of me. But that only works if there is no traffic in that lane. But what do I see in my rear view mirror but a huge semi coming up and he is going quite a bit faster than I am. So there I am unable to stop before slamming into nearly parked cars, and next to a semi-truck that would rip through my flimsy trailer like a knife through butter.
I veered ever so slightly left hoping, I guess, that the truck would see me and move over. I’m guessing that is what happened, I really have no idea. I just sort of let the car go with the flow. I braced for an impact, but didn’t even have time to alert Joan. Somehow, by the skin of my teeth, the trailer managed to avoid both the cars and the truck. I have no idea how that happened and it couldn’t have been by more than an inch on either side, but we squeezed through. I literally felt the air pressure through my car window as the semi flew by.
After escaping what seemed like imminent demise, I let out a slow exhale and thought about how lucky we had been. The universe and god were looking out for us. I don’t think Joan had the faintest idea what had just happened. I waited until after we had a glass of wine last night to tell her.
Anyway, we are here now at a beautiful campground in a State Park created around a Corps of Engineers reservoir in the southwestern quadrant of Ohio. The nearest town, according to Google, is Wilmington, but we haven’t been there yet. We are going to be here awhile - there is lots to see in Ohio. So far, anyway, there aren’t many people here. But with nearly 300 campsites, I suspect it will get busy this weekend with campers from Dayton and Cincinnati. At least we have our spot already.
We said goodbye to Indiana. I’ll miss the pork and the rye/maple syrup/apple cider concoction I found. But we are now done with all the bucket list items for Indiana and Illinois. Doesn’t mean we won’t be driving through them on some future trip (like to the Northeast), but we aren’t likely to spend much time there. Now we move on to our third big state, Ohio. And we will be here for a few weeks.
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