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Day 25 (9.26.07) - Ohio Turnpike to Pittsburgh

A little bit of Lake Erie, some Rain, and narrow streets in Pittsburgh

overcast 0 °F
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Starting Mileage: 113983, Port Clinton OH
Ending Mileage: 114201, Pittsburgh PA
Weather: 80 F, Overcast, occassional Rain, sometimes hard

Housekeeping - I have added photo's to Days 8, 9 & 10 and just as an experiment, a simple video to Day 15...

We left the nice RV park a little late, as I took the opportunity to do housekeeping again (drain tanks, fill water, etc.). The atlas looked like a nice peninsula into Lake Erie, so we tried it. Mostly, what we saw was the town of Port Clinton, although we did stop at a nice city park & beach. Mom suggested we wait, but I wasn't sure what sort water access we'd have later on so we stopped and she got her sand. As it turned out, we didn't have much water access later in the day and what we had was rock bulkheads - so it's good we stopped.

After negotiating some nasty roadwork (like having to go 5 miles in the wrong direction), we got going again. We took Hwy 6, part of the Lake Erie Circle Tour - only there is very little of Lake Erie to be seen unless you turn off. We went through a lot of farmland intermixed with industrial buildings (both old and new), all in all not as pretty a drive as we had on Lake Superior on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We did go through the town of Sandusky, Ohio. It had several marina's and retirement homes on or near the water. It looked like it is a waterfront resort area for folks in Ohio, although I'd probably not choose to vacation there from too far away. On the map was a place called Cedar Point that looked like either a spit or an island, which we thought might be interesting. It turned out to be a giant amusement park, home of some of the tallest and fastest roller coasters in the world - we both elected to turn around (neither of us being very fond of roller coasters).


On the way out of town, I did spot an Egret standing by a canal. We stayed on the Lake Erie Circle Tour (Hwy 6) for a while longer, but still didn't see much of the lake (I did skip by a couple of wildlife refuges, which might have been interesting though).


Having spent the better part of 3 hours driving the lake route without seeing too much, we elected to head towards the Ohio Turnpike (I-80) and make some tracks towards Pittsburgh. We are on our way to visit my cousin Paul, who lives there with his wife Sharon. The turnpike was a pretty decent road, but I was surprised that part of I-80 could be a toll road. I had driven it about 30 years ago, but don't remember this part. It's probably better not to get me started on the public policy issues surrounding user charges (toll roads) vs taxes to pay for public infrastructure, but I am not in favor of the former. The toll wasn't very much however and there we were running late, so we took it until almost to Pennsylvania. We got off the turnpike thinking that the two lane highways would be more scenic and we would be more likely to find RV parks along the Ohio River.


We were wrong. There are no RV parks within a 45 minute drive of Pittsburgh (or hour to hour and a half in my rig). We drove on into Pittsburgh before discovering this of course (par for the course, I haven't done any homework to speak of on this trip.) So after considering our alternatives, we parked at Wal-Mart near downtown Pittsburgh and are cautiously hoping their policy of allowing RV'rs to park at any Wal-Mart is good here also. I say cautiously because this store is in a big shopping mall with a lot of other stores. If the parking lot is controlled by the city or the shopping mall rather than Wal-mart, we may get a nasty knock on the door in the middle of the night by a security guard! However, there are no "No Overnight Parking" signs that I can see, so I'm trying it...

Shortly after we parked, I started seeing lightening flashes out the window. Sure enough, a little bit later we heard thunder and saw a lot more lightening (sheet lightening I think), then got very heavy rain. It's been about 30 minutes since that started, and is no longer raining - just a quick thunderstorm I guess (like most of the day once we left Lake Erie).

I called my cousin Paul, he'll be by after breakfast and we'll finally get to meet. OK, I guess we did meet once before, but when we were kids, so I don't remember much about those days.

Posted by jl98584 16:48 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel

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I'm glad to know you got there safely, but sorry you had some rough times. Maybe I should have shown you a little more on the map. And I hope you don't get awoken in the night by security. As for meeting Paul, I don't remember if you did actually ever meet or not. I think the only chance would have been at Soquel campmeeting when we came through from Korea ('64?), and I remember than one girl was missing. It was either you or Penny--I think stayed at home that day. It's fuzzy now in my thinking. But I'm very glad you can see each other tomorrow.

by msj

Sure hope you are safe there! Downtown Pittsburgh isn't where I would choose to park. Well, if you don't like tolls, be sure to avoid the interstates throughout the northeast. They are all over the area, and not so inexpensive either. On the other hand, given the congestion near the cities, it is worth paying the toll in some of the areas.

by TexasRTJ

Thanks for your suggestions, I'd prefer to stay off the interstates anyway when we can. Security did not wake us up last night (can't say the same about the rain however). This may not be such a bad place to park, they do have lights and security camera's at least. Depending on how long we spend with Paul today, we will probably head off to an RV park tonight near "Falling Waters", the Frank Lloyd Wright house.

by jl98584

Paul and Sharon took us to Falling Waters once, and it is an interesting place. I'm sure you will enjoy it.

by msj

I agree that Interstates are necessary and often save a lot of time. Since one of my objectives for this trip is to learn about different parts of the country (and to enjoy the rural areas), it's better for us to take back roads when we can. I should clarify, it's not that I mind paying toll on roads that are designated toll roads so much as it's that my political bent is that roads and highways are necessary infrastructure and do benefit everyone whether they use them or not. We all buy goods and services that use roads, bridges and highways for transport, so my theory is that they should be paid for out of general funds, not user tolls. So this is my political theory, democracy has voted otherwise - especially in recent years and I am willing to abide with the majority decision (while expressing my own differing opinion...)

by jl98584

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