Day 10 of a Year Long Road Trip Along America’s Scenic Byways
If I had a redo day, this would be it. I’m not going to complain since Scout is doing well after a few days of struggling, but I have to say all my mishaps resulted in a frustrating day. I began the morning in the Brown County State Park where I camped last night. The park is almost 16,000 acres and the largest in Indiana. It had three separate entrances…the southern one was specifically for horse campers. The entrance I came through had a covered bridge and afforded a lovely drive for miles through the park.
Geocaching on Ogle Lake Trail
As I said yesterday, I finally had cell service, so I opted to go caching to make up for lost time in Missouri and Illinois. The geocaching website showed 5 caches around Ogle Lake. After reviewing the trail map, I opted for trail #7, the Ogle Lake Trail. The first cache, which I found, ended up being on the upper ridge and I had to climb up a steep, slick incline to get to it. I tried with the dogs, to no avail, so I tied them to a tree, ran up there, signed the log, and ran back.
In the process, I rolled my ankle, but it seemed fine. We proceeded along the 1.2 mile loop to the area where the next cache was supposed to be. It was on trail #4, 500 feet from trail #7 in a hollow tree. I searched and searched but did not succeed. As a result, I referenced the cache logs to see if others had trouble. At least 4 in a row didn’t find it, but the last person said he did.
Hmmm, well I looked in every hollow tree in the vicinity, it was getting hot, and the dogs were going to need water soon, so I aborted the mission in favor of other opportunities. There were a handful more in the area, or so I thought. Anytime I got near one, the GPS showed them hidden up on the ridge, thus virtually none of the caches were on trail #7. While frustrating, my day was still better than a day in the office. I would just try another part of the park.
Sprained Ankle on Trail 8
As I drove toward the exit, I navigated to a cache at a scenic overlook…number two found! I really wanted to find three (one each for my failures in Illinois and Missouri and one for Indiana), so I went in search of another on trail #8. It was only 0.2 miles away. The dogs just had a long hike, so I left them in VANilla and jogged down the path.
At about 450 feet away from the cache, I stepped on a root, heard a pop-pop-pop, and felt a searing pain in my ankle…yes a severe sprain, and I’m 0.2 miles from VANilla with my dogs locked inside. It’s amazing what adrenaline can do. After a few seconds of hobbling around, the pain dissipated and I returned to the mutts promptly.
The best thing to do for an ankle sprain is to leave the shoe on, apply ice, take ibuprofen, and prop it up above your heart. My best solution was a cooler pack that I had in the refrigerator – not exactly as cold as ice, but still cold. I had to briefly remove my shoe to wrap the cooler pack on my ankle so it would stay on while I was driving. OUCH…the throbbing kicked in! Of course, I had every type of medicine you can imagine, except Advil.
My next stop was supposed to be Nashville, Indiana because I wanted to try the Nashville House’s famous fried biscuits. I thought it would be a nice change of pace from hiking and history, and it was time to test the local flavor. Outside of my free fish dinner, I haven’t ventured out to the local restaurants since I’ve been on the road.
For some reason, however, I got it into my mind that I was supposed to try fried biscuits in Ohio tomorrow, so I didn’t even stop in Nashville despite driving right through it. I didn’t figure out that I have missed my chance until I was almost to Chillicothe, OH, (over 3 hours away) so there was no turning back.
T.C. Steele State Historic Site
Instead of visiting Nashville, on the way out of Brown County, I stopped at T.C. Steele State Historic Site. T.C. Steele was a painter, who was inspired by the local scenery. The barn at his home site, which Steele used as a studio, displayed his paintings. At this point, my ankle felt like it was on fire, so I just took a picture of the barn, limped back to the car, and took The Reader’s Digest’s suggested route to Bloomington, home of Indiana University.
I’m not sure why I really kept going that direction, because I didn’t intend on touring the campus looking for the Auditorium Hall of Murals or the Art Museum which display works by Picasso, Rodin, and Warhol. And while I think it would be fun to watch the Little 500, a bicycle race at the University, it doesn’t take place until April!
From Chillicothe to Hocking Hills State Park
After driving around the town, I typed Chillicothe, Ohio into my GPS. It promptly led me to a dead end into the campus, so I drove farther away from the University area and tried again. Before backtracking right past Nashville again, I picked up some long overdue Aleve, an ACE bandage, and a McDonald’s burger for Scout who hardly eats with her cancer diagnosis. I find it doubly annoying that not only did I have to backtrack (I don’t like that), I unknowingly had a second chance to try the fried biscuits!!
Chillicothe was now four hours away. I planned on driving right through town to Hocking Hills State Park with a 6:30 arrival time. Mind you, my friend Page had two people lined up for me to stay with in Cincinnati, but I decided it would be best for me to get farther on my route as I had a lot of ground to cover over the next two days.
It was time for David Baldacchi’s First Family “books on tape” or should I say CD. I listened to the first disc, but then needed to concentrate on where I was going. The GPS wanted me to bypass Chillicothe on the way to Hocking Hills State Park. If I wasn’t going to stop, I wanted to at least drive through the town.
According to Reader’s Digest, Chillicothe is the Shawnee Indian word meaning town. It was the first capital of the Northwest Territory and in 1803, the capital of Ohio. The town was smaller than I expected and was home to several historic buildings. I was glad I rerouted my GPS up until I got to the road construction…a long delay. I kept thinking, what are you getting so uptight over…you just have to get to camp and you know the reservations line confirmed 70 sites available.
I guess I could feel the ACE bandage tightening, and I wanted to get my ankle up with some “more ice”. Furthermore, I had reached for my point and shoot camera to take a picture of the Ohio State Line Sign and noticed it was missing. When I stopped for gas, I still couldn’t find it. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out where I would have left it. I looked under every seat, under the dog beds, in the seat pockets. I was only going to have one picture to post from my good camera.
Not only would I have lost my pictures, it would have been the 3rd time something had happened to my point and shoot (one lost and another waterlogged). I did not want to lose another one, as I have to buy it used for it to fit in my underwater camera case. The pickings are slim and more expensive than a new camera. That said, a new underwater camera case is even more pricy. Additionally, it is nice to have point and shoot for the trails. Easier and lighter!
Now Directionally Lost!
By now it was getting late. I had driven for four hours, I was in traffic in the middle of nowhere, I had a sprained ankle, I missed the fried biscuits, and misplaced my camera. I was starting to get frustrated and to add fuel to the fire I got lost as a black cat crosses my path in the dark. My GPS and map steered me along many back road, but I never spotted a sign the Hocking Hills State Park anywhere! There were signs to places in the park, but not to a main park entrance or to the campgrounds. After circling around and backtracking I don’t know how many times, I found a convenience store and the lady there confirmed it was just a mile away…FINALLY.
Hocking Hills State Park
At night, the fee station is generally closed, so the procedure is to pull in, pick a spot, and pay in the morning. Lucky for me, I found a ranger near the entrance who he gave me a map. He said, if I didn’t have a reservation that I could only pick from the 12 or so “walk in” spots. Of course, since the reservations line confirmed 70 spots available, I didn’t reserve a campsite. I wanted the opportunity to look at the locations before I selected one. At that point, however, I didn’t really care how many choices I had, as long as there was one (and hopefully near the bathroom).
I got all set up and went in search for the water pump which I couldn’t find. Soon I realized the bathrooms don’t even have running water…no flush toilets or showers for the “walk ins”. The shower house is in the reserved area. UGH! Additionally, my electric didn’t work and my camera was still missing!
With my headlamp attached, I went to work, and I am happy to say, everything is in working order…electric on…and camera found (hiding between the back seat and the storage cabinet). I think I set it on the back seat when I was wrapping my ankle, and it must have slid to the side. With everything settled, I’m relieved that the day is over. I look forward to some sightseeing tomorrow as evidenced by my lack of photos it mostly eluded me today. At least I managed of photo of the moon, pink from the sunset.
To cap the evening, despite having cell service all day, I have none at the campgrounds. Maybe I should have stayed in Cincinnati!
Map of My Road Trip Across the USA
For a summary about my road trip across the USA, click HERE. For the interactive map, see the below link.
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