June 1, 2023

Ohio, TN, and Home

On Friday we got up and broke camp. We were both excited to head to Ohio (378 miles) to see Rob’s family. On our way, we crossed over the Mississippi River, drove through Illinois, ran into traffic around Indianapolis but eventually made it to Winton Woods campground. This campground is special to Rob because he and his family camped there multiple times when he was younger. The campground has had quite a few upgrades since then and we liked our paved spot. At check-in, I bought a new sticker for the refrigerator.

After setting up camp and getting the cats settled we headed to his parent’s house 5 miles away. Kolby and Dottie were excited to go to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Rowdy had never been there before but fit right in with the excitement. We enjoyed a delicious home-cooked dinner and then relaxed.

Saturday was much the same. We (the dogs, Rob and me) spent the entire day at his parent’s house. In the afternoon we made Rob’s friend’s 40th birthday present gag gift and spent time with Rob’s brother-in-law, nieces, and nephew. We had LaRosa’s pizza which is one of Rob’s 3 favorite Cincinnati/Northern restaurants (White Castle ✓, LaRosa’s ✓, and Skyline). After dinner we relaxed at his parents for a little bit longer then went back to see the cats.

Sunday was going to be a busy day. We (dogs, Rob, and me) headed over to his parent’s house for Rob’s favorite breakfast, his dad’s biscuits, and gravy. After brunch, we picked up one of Rob’s friends, Fred, who had driven in from out of state for another friend’s surprise 40th birthday get-together. Rob’s friend, Ron, was very surprised to see 2 of his out-of-state buddies there to celebrate with him. He enjoyed the gag gift and we enjoyed seeing his reaction to it! While dodging brief rain showers we learned how to play “The Captain is Dead: Dangerous Planet”. For the role-play gamers in the group, it was easier to grasp but in the end, it was a lot of fun and we didn’t let the bugs take over the shuttle!!!! After the gathering, we headed back to his parents to collect the dogs and head back to the campground.

Monday we broke camp, drove through downtown Cincinnati on the Brent Spence Bridge, which used to house the 71 & the 75. It now only has 75 south and It crosses the Ohio River into Kentucky. It has been under reconstruction since November 2020 when a fiery crash damaged the upper level of the old double-decker bridge. Once into Kentucky, we planned to stop for the last of Rob’s favorite Cincinnati restaurants, Skyline. After gassing up and having lunch we headed for our final campground of this epic trip in Sweetwater, Tennessee (307 miles from our campground). On our drive, we noticed that we were once again hearing the stabilizer pads hitting the interstate when we went over bumps. After locating a safe place to stop, I crawled under the front of MandDy and added some zip ties to the pads so they wouldn’t slowly drop on the remainder of our drive (about 80 minutes). Once we got to the campground, I was happy to see that my zip ties had worked but I was leery about their integrity on the 265 miles drive home tomorrow. After setting up camp we headed to a store that I had heard of before but never experienced, Rural King, to locate another option for the stabilizer pads. Once we arrived we knew it was going to be fun looking around this store. Our 1st stop was getting Rob some new pants and a shirt for his new job. In the past, he has been able to wear jeans to work but now that he is in more of a professional role, rather than a tech role, his boss wants him to dress the part. We then located the zip ties and got ones that could withstand more weight and heat. After perusing the rest of the store we left and headed back to MandDy for dinner.

In the morning on Tuesday, we were both very excited to be heading home. This has been a once-in-a-lifetime 59-day trip but we are looking forward to the space in our house and our king-size bed. While breaking camp I installed the more durable zip ties and was pretty confident that they would withhold the entire trip. We made sure to empty and flush our tanks and prep MandDy to hang out in the driveway for a few weeks. Around 3 pm we pulled onto our street, disconnected the rollerskate, and backed MandDy into her spot. We were happy to see the house in one piece. Special thanks to my coworker, Shelley, for checking on the house weekly! After unloading and bringing all the animals in we sat on our recliner couches, stretched out, and breathed a sigh of relief that we did it and survived. We are so thankful for the safe travels, the memories we have made, the family members that we stopped to see, the tolerance and patience of the animals and each other.

Trip Recap:

Left home: June 5

Returned home: August 3

Days on the road: 59

States: 25

New states for Kori: 7

New states for Rob: 15

National Parks/Monuments/Rec Areas/Historic Sites: 16 (Hot Springs, Rock Mountain, Flaming Gorge, Great Basin, Redwoods, Crater Lake, Olympic, Mt. St. Helens, Mt Rainier, Glacier, Yellowstone, Theodore Roosevelt, Mt Rushmore, Badlands, Minuteman Missile, Gateway Arch)

Miles on MandDy: 7,279

Miles on Rollerskate: over 4,000

Campgrounds: 21 + Dyne’s house

Fridge Stickers added: 31

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