Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Adventure Begins in Ohio

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

When we started planning our route south, I knew we didn’t want to take either of the main routes to South Carolina – Interstate 75 or 77, but something different that would give us an opportunity to add a couple of new states to our map – Pennsylvania and Virginia.

I’ve been wanting to get to Pittsburgh and Gettysburg, and we wanted to visit our RV-Dreams friends, Don & Lois, in Virginia, so we had a general direction.

We needed a stopover in Ohio on the way to Pittsburgh, and after reading fellow RV-Dreamers’ blog about Cuyahoga Valley National Park, we decided on Country Acres Campground in Ravenna, OH, a Passport park about 30 miles from the National Park.

We took I-280 through Toledo,

Downtown Toledo

and then non-interstate highways from there.  It was a pleasant drive through the back roads and small towns of Ohio.

Amish Country

We arrived at the campground on the day before their Halloween weekend,     DSC_0020










and they were gearing up for a big celebration . . . with lots of decorations throughout the campground!

Halloween Decorations



There were even ghouls hanging in some of the trees, and they were setting up haunted houses in the pavilions!








Haunted House

The campground appears to be mostly seasonal, with about 30 daily sites near the front.  There’s a pond in the middle of the park, with sites and a walking path around it.












And a resident goose . . . who we heard wasn’t very nice!


We set up on site 18,

Site 18

Site 18










which is a nice long pull-thru with plenty of shade (water & 50amp), and we were doing pretty well until that evening, when we discovered that we weren’t getting any power through to the RV.  Our batteries weren’t drawn down too much, though, so it seemed that we had an intermittent ground issue.  We ended up switching to a neighboring pedestal, but that meant using an extension cord, which is only 30 amp.  Good thing we had a shady site, so we could get by with just one A/C!

Time to relax

Fortunately, nobody was moving onto that site for the weekend, so we set out for the National Park the next morning.

The focus of this National Park is the Ohio & Erie Canal, which travelled through the Cuyahoga Valley, connecting the Ohio River to Lake Erie.  The canal system allowed Ohio farmers to get their excess crops to the markets in the east, and to get goods in return.


Goods carried on the canal boats

The Canal Exploration Center,

Canal Exploration Center


has displays that explain the history of how the canal was designed, built (hand-dug, 4-feet wide and 308 miles long), utilized for transporting goods and people, and later for tourism, until it was ultimately replaced by more efficient means of transport.

Today, most of the canal system is gone, but within the park, there are sections that are being preserved,

Deep Lock Quarry

and even a working lock at the Canal Exploration Center.  It’s hard to believe that boats travelled through here back then!

The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail follows the path of the old canal, including the section in the National Park, and provides recreation opportunities for biking, hiking and horseback riding.  That was our main reason for coming to the park, even if it was almost 90 degrees on the first day of Fall!

Our first stop was the Boston Store Visitor Center,

Boston Store Visitor Center

Boston Store Visitor Center

we picked up a map, and made our plan for the day.  Tom and I had brought our bikes and wanted to get out on the trail for some riding, but we needed something for Dad to do.  Our first thought was that he could take a ride on the scenic train which runs along the trail,

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Train

Watching the train

but the times weren’t going to work out well to make it worthwhile, and we actually didn’t want to ride too far, since it was so hot.

We decided that we would have our lunch at the Deep Quarry picnic area, and then Tom and I would ride 3-1/2 miles south on the trail to the Beaver Marsh, and then turn around and ride back, and Dad would wait at the picnic area after walking a bit on the trail.

It really was a beautiful day for a bike ride!

Towpath Trail

Most of the trail is shaded, so it was a pleasant ride even on a hot day.

A beautiful day for a bike ride

It’s an easy trail to ride on,

A nice, smooth, flat bike trail


and there are lots of things to see along the way.

Locks and bridges,




historic farms and villages,

and of course the Cuyahoga River.









Cuyahoga River

Tom and I reached the Beaver Marsh,

At the Beaver Marsh

where the informative display pointed out a beaver den,

Beaver Family Den

as well as the series of dams that create a clear area of the pond.

Tall grass growing on the beaver dam










We didn’t spot any beavers, but we did see a turtle sunning itself on the shore of the marsh.

Painted Turtle

We arrived back at the picnic area, and Dad said he he had just gotten back from his walk on the trail, also.  That worked out well!

Before leaving the park, we stopped for two more popular attractions --

The Everett Covered Bridge,

Everett Covered Barn

Everett Covered Bridge

which involved just a short walk from the parking lot,

A beautiful day for a walk, too

and Brandywine Falls, which took a little longer walk through the woods on a boardwalk.

Boardwalk to Brandywine Falls










We stopped at the upper overlook,

Dad waiting for us on the upper walkway

View from the upper overlook

and Dad waited there while Tom and I continued down to the lower overlook.

Walking under the rock shelves


Walking to the lower overlook

It wasn’t much further, but did include a few sets of steep steps.

Nice view!

View from the lower overlook

It was a beautiful day, and felt great to be out exploring again!  We’re glad we can share the experience with Dad!

Wildflowers along the trail


  1. You are definitely going to make an RVer out of Tom's dad yet. I'm sure he is loving the experience.
    Great scenic shots.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  2. Loved it! Your taking the vacation of my dreams... Love love love this.

  3. Really great that Tom's Dad can experience this with you. Tell Don and Lois hello from us!!!


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