Nomadic Life – Week 9 started out with us completing our drive to Columbus, Ohio. We visited Hayden Falls in Griggs Nature Preserve. It is a surprisingly beautiful waterfall surrounded by urban sprawl. We then found a field full of giant corn stalks. They were made out of concrete. People in Ohio are weird and we fit in. I love corn!
Indian Run Falls
We had lunch and then hiked the Indian Run Falls. This is found on another small swath of parkland surrounded by the suburbs of Columbus. The rest of the afternoon was spent doing our weekly chores before calling it a night.
The Columbus Zoo
On Sunday we visited the world-famous Columbus Zoo, home to Jack Hannah. I looked for Jack but only found him on signs. We had a great morning exploring the zoo before returning to YOLOM for lunch where I decided to add to our problems and locked all our keys in the truck cab.
Luckily, I took advantage of a Groupon a few months ago and got AAA. This was the first opportunity we’ve had to use them and the service wasn’t great, but at least the cost was covered. I had to wait in the parking lot for 45 minutes (on a very hot day) for the scheduled appointment. The allotted time came and went and almost another hour before the representative showed up. It took him a shockingly short period of time to pop the lock.
We had just enough time to finish roaming around the zoo before a late afternoon thunderstorm rolled in. We finished out the day by traveling northeast for 2 hours to make the appointment with the camper mechanic for our roof issue the next morning.
On Monday morning we finished the drive up to the mechanic to have an uneventful and mostly unproductive meeting. He was nice enough but we drove a long way. He simply scanned over the part and then said he would be in touch after making a few calls. It wasn’t until Wednesday that I heard back from him that he could get the parts. The estimate for parts and labor was over $600! That is a hard pill to swallow for such a small piece, but it performs a vitally important function so it is what we are doing. I had him order the parts and hopefully, by the middle of next week, we will be back in business.
Huntington Park on Lake Erie
After our brief meeting with the mechanic on Monday, Jennifer and I set back out on the road towards Sandusky, Ohio. We made it to the shores of Lake Erie before setting up our office for the day along the beach in Huntington Park. We spent the remainder of the day working while having the waves lap against the shore. A pretty sweet way to work.
A Temporary Fix
As dark approached we pushed on towards Sandusky. Upon reaching the town we made our way to Lowes where I bought a set of vice grips and had a 2×4 cut to the right sizes to hold up the camper roof. It had been 4 nights without a good mattress and we were ready to figure out a temporary solution to our roof problem since the permanent solution was being evasive. For now, Jennifer cranks up the roof and then I slide the boards into place to hold up the heavy roof. We gently touch the ceiling to the boards and then use the vice grip to lock the crank handle in place. This gives us two ways of holding the pressure created by the weight of the roof. It feels safe and our queen memory foam mattress feels better than ever.
Tuesday was a day I have waited 9 long years for. Today we returned to the Roller Coaster Capital of the World, Cedar Point. Jennifer and I were last here 9 years ago and I have longed to go back ever since. It is a place designed and built for grown-up children like myself. If you like roller coasters this is a place like no other. It also simultaneously makes all other theme parks pale in comparison.
Roller Coaster Records
For the last 30-years, Cedar Point has built only record-breaking coasters. Most of which stood out as originals at the time they were built. They had the first mega-coaster (over 200’ tall) the Magnum XL-200. They had the first giga-coaster (over 300’ tall) the Millennium Force. When built, the Top Thrill Dragster was the fastest coaster on the planet reaching a speed of 120mph in less than 4 seconds and sending riders up and over a 420′ hill. It utilizes the technology that helps launch fighter jets off of aircraft carriers. It is a surreal feeling accelerating that fast.
Since we were last here they have built 3 new coasters and I was eager to try them all and get back on the ones I loved back in 2009. I was not disappointed. Their newest coaster built this year, Steel Vengeance is a hybrid wooden coaster unlike any other. This coaster separates itself from the crowd with 4 inversions, a 90-degree drop, and a ride that is over a mile in length with a super smooth ride. The thrill this unique rollercoaster offers is amazing.
Timing is everything
I planned this trip to Cedar Point to correspond to the final weekdays they were opened during the summer. This is a good time to go as kids have returned to school making the park less crowded. I also decided to spend two days in the park, but we would arrive in the area so that I had an option of 3 different days in case the weather was bad for a day.
The Lighthouse Campground
Jennifer and I had reservations to camp at Cedar Point’s RV park known as the Lighthouse Campground located right on the tip of the peninsula. It is a beautiful spot to call home for a few days. It allows for easy access to the park and guests along with season pass holders get into the park an hour before the park opens to the general public.
Our Stay at Cedar Point
The weather forecast for Wednesday wasn’t great so Jennifer and I decided on Tuesday and Thursday to enjoy the thrill rides. We had an amazing time although Jennifer’s neck injury from a car crash 9 years ago limited her time on the rides to half a day. Wednesday was spent enjoying the Cedar Point beach and campground. The weather did turn bad with a good thunderstorm rolling through in the afternoon. We also got some work done. It is hard to work when you are so close to a playground like Cedar Point. For more images and information on the park’s coasters check out my Instagram account (@nomadicmoment).
Late Thursday night we packed up and left the park. We drove a short distance back into Sandusky, Ohio to resupply at the local Walmart and get a free place to sleep. For those unaware, most Walmarts allow RVs and trucks to overnight in their lot for a single evening. We take advantage of this often as it gives us a place to rest and the ability to do some grocery shopping. The Allstays app helps us figure out Walmart and other options for overnight parking.
Sheldon Marsh State Nature Preserve
Friday morning we checked out one of the local parks, the Sheldon Marsh State Nature Preserve in Huron, Ohio. This was a beautiful last-minute find. It has tons of birds and wildlife. We even found a woodchuck! I never realized how much these creatures look like marmots. I thought we were back in RMNP for a second. During this nice hike, we found out that Jennifer doesn’t know how to pronounce “Huron.” She struggled with this for the better part of 20 minutes before we gave up. Occasionally she still says “here-on” and I say nope. She is astonishingly good at childhood tongue twisters though. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck and others like that.
Balancing Work & Play
Some of you may wonder how we are able to explore so much on a work day and it is fairly easy when we are on East Coast time while still working Mountain Time hours. We effectively have the entire morning to explore before settling into the workday. It doesn’t leave much time in the evening for anything more than dinner though.
Lake Front Park
For this work day (Friday) we settled into the Lake Front Park in Huron, Ohio. The park is beautiful and there were lots of people enjoying the amazing weather. I found it hard to work while still being able to see the Cedar Point rides rising sharply over the water across the lake. I miss it already! It will not be 9 more years before we get back!
After work, we closed out the week by taking a hike along a breakwater on the edge of Lake Erie to a nearby lighthouse. It was a gorgeous sunset and a good way to end a great week.