Friday, June 30, 2017

Biking Kelleys Island

We’ve been to the Sandusky, OH area many times in the past, but we’ve always camped right at the Cedar Point Campground and spent all of our time there.  We’ve never spent any time exploring anything else that the area has to offer! 

Site PT-22

So, when we decided to spend the summer here with Bryce, Tom and I knew that we’ve had our fill of Cedar Point, and we plan on spending our free time exploring the rest of the area.

We wanted to get the bikes out for a ride, so I researched the islands in the area in search of which might be the best for a day of biking.  All of the islands are bike-friendly, but Kellys Island sounded more low-key than the others and offered a couple of natural areas to explore.

We loaded up the bikes on the Jeep on Saturday morning, and headed down to Marblehead to catch the ferry over to Kellys Island.  They had parking at the ferry dock, but charged $10, so we opted to park in the free city lot and ride our bikes the couple of blocks to the ferry dock.  We arrived at the ticket booth just as the 10:30 ferry was loading, so we missed that one and had to wait for the 11:00 am trip over to the island.  We paid $75 for three round-trip tickets for ourselves and our bikes, including a small military discount for Nick.  It was kindof expensive, but the best option for getting to the island.

Ready for a day of biking

The ferry arrived,

The ferry arrives!

and we loaded up and left the mainland behind.  These ferries stay on a tight schedule – if you’re not right there, ready to board, they leave you behind to wait for the next one!

We left the mainland behind,

Houses on the lake

and made our way across Lake Erie.  It was a beautiful day, but the lake was pretty rough!


We arrived on the island and started riding along the loop road,

Kelleys Island

Taking a break

through the village, past restaurants, hotels and bars that over look the lake.

Near the village, there were some really beautiful old homes overlooking the lake.



On the northern side of the island, we rode through a wooded area where we were startled by a couple of deer running across the road in front of us.  Nicolas had just said, “What kind of wildlife could be out here – it’s an island!?!”  I guess he was wrong!

On the northernmost tip of the island, we reached the Glacial Grooves.


This area of Ohio has a lot of limestone, and there are several quarries in the area, including some abandoned quarries on the islands.

Abandoned Stone Quarry

The glacial grooves are an area of preserved limestone that was carved out by glaciers as they traveled across North America.

Glacial Grooves on Kelleys Island

They were really interesting to see,

Checking out the glacial grooves

and I thought they looked like waterslides where all the water had been drained out.

Glacial Grooves - looks like a waterslide

From there, we continued on to the state park, where there was a beach

State Park beach

which was pretty busy on this beautiful Saturday afternoon.

A few people in the water

There was also a boat launch and fishing pier out into the protected bay.  We walked out on the pier, where we had a nice view of the beach and campground.

View of the beach from the pier

Campsites along the lake

There were fishermen around, in boats and on the pier,

Lots of people fishing

and as Nicolas was climbing on the rocks, he spotted a huge snake!


Nicolas spotted a snake!

Walking back to our bikes, we spotted a Great Blue Heron doing some fishing, too!

Great Blue Heron

We rode through the campground, too, and were surprised at how nice it was.  The roads and sites were all paved, and there was one loop with larger full hook-up sites.  Plenty of room for larger RVs, but I don’t want to think about how much it would cost to bring the motorhome over on the ferry!

From the state park, we made our way back to the village for some lunch and to walk through the few shops in town.

Downtown Village

It’s a cute little village!

Hippie Van

We planned on going to 4pm mass back in Marblehead, so we wanted to make sure we got on the 3pm ferry at the latest.  As it turned out, we got there just as the 2:30 ferry was loading, so we got on that one – although they almost didn’t wait for me, just a few feet behind Tom and Bryce!

They did, though, and we rode back with just a few other people.  Tom and I road on the upper level, while Nick stayed with the bikes.

Nicolas watching the bikes

The ride back across was pretty rough, especially with the lighter load!

Since we got on the earlier ferry, we had some time to kill before mass, so we went to see the Marblehead Lighthouse.

Marblehead Lighthouse

Lighthouse Keeper's House

It’s a very pretty lighthouse, in a nice park in the small town of Marblehead.

Marblehead Lighthouse

Apparently, it’s a nice spot for wedding pictures, but I don’t think I’d want to have all these strangers in the background of my pictures!

Somebody's getting married!

We also had a nice view of Cedar Point from there – we can see Bryce’s roller coaster!

Cedar Point

Nicolas by the lighthouse

It was a beautiful and enjoyable day – sunny, 70s, nice breeze – perfect weather for bike riding!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Settling in at Camp Sandusky, and our Sailor finally arrived!

Sailor boy arrived!

As we were packing up and preparing for our short travel day from Monroe, MI to Sandusky, OH, Nicolas packed up all of his belongings and finally made the move from Charleston, SC to Norfolk, VA.  He just made a short stop there to unpack his stuff into a storage unit, and then he met us in Ohio to enjoy some well-earned leave time!

He was tired when he finally arrived, and ready to relax for a while!

Casey was so excited to see him, and could hardly wait for him to come through the door!  She hardly ever leaves his side now!

Casey loves spending time with her boy

We spent a few days back in Michigan in order to get some things taken care of right away when he arrived – renewing Nicolas’ drivers license and applying for his passport, dinner with the family on Father’s Day,

Dinner with the family

and Hannah’s graduation party.

Hannah's Graduation Party

Unfortunately, Bryce had to work and couldn’t spend the day with us.

Back here in Sandusky, the guys got my brakes working on my bike,

Fixing my bike

we enjoyed some fabulous ice cream at the local dairy,

Mmm . . . enjoying our ice cream!IMG_4241

and found a beautiful local church to attend.

IMG_4250St. Mary's

After that first weekend, Tom and Nicolas got serious about searching for a truck for Nick.  We had gone back & forth quite a bit about the truck and RV that will serve Nicolas best, and although the last couple of months he had been focused on a Super Duty, we ultimately decided that he should go with an F-150 instead.  So, with that decision made, they searched for ones that matched Nicolas’ criteria for what he wanted in a truck.

They spent a full day looking at several available trucks, driving the ones he was interested in, and calling on a few more, and then he picked one – once he had it narrowed down, it was actually a pretty easy decision.  On Wednesday afternoon, we all returned to the dealership to complete the purchase.    

Nicolas found his truck!

He’s a happy truck owner!

Happy boy

Dad’s happy that Nick got what he wanted!

Dad's happy that Nicolas found the truck he wanted

The first order of business after getting the truck home, was to find a tonneau cover for the bed so he could get his stuff out of our Jeep and into the truck.  He found a nice tri-fold cover by Lund that is a fabric very similar to the Jeep convertible top.  We ordered it on Amazon (birthday present from Mom and Dad), and it arrived the very next day!

It was a breeze to install . . . lining it up on the bed,

Installing the tonneau cover

checking for gaps,

Checking for gaps

and it looks pretty good!

Fits perfect!

With our work complete, it was time for a weekend of fun.  Saturday started with an adventure that will get it’s own blog post, and we finished it off with a campfire – the first one we’ve had all year!  Nicolas says we’ve forgotten how to “camp”!

We were joined by our neighbors – a nice young military family who are on their way from Norfolk, VA to their new duty station in Anchorage, Alaska.  With 2 young boys, 3 dogs and a cat, they decided that an RV was their best option for making the cross-country trip.  We really enjoyed getting to know them over the weekend, sharing RVing tips with them while they shared information about Virginia and military life with Nicolas, and watching the boys play reminded us of our own early camping days!  Safe travels, Adam and Blanton!  Maybe we’ll get to Alaska while you’re still there!

On Sunday I got laundry done after picking strawberries at a local farm.

Polter's Berry Farm

Strawberry Fields

It was a beautiful day,

Beautiful day for picking berries

and I came home with 10 lbs. of delicious berries!

10 lbs. of berries!

Meanwhile, Tom and Nicolas ventured to the nearby town of Norwalk, OH for the NHRA Nationals.  They had a great afternoon of father/son bonding . . . although they wished they had earplugs!

Great day at the races

race 2

They had fun, though!

Nick at NHRA