From Dayton to Peoria in a Day

Our night in Dayton was a bit different than planned. We had originally thought to camp at Walmart, but there was a part of us that wasn’t thrilled to be solo in their parking lot for the night. Not uncomfortable, but not comfy, I did a quick search and saw there was a Flying J only 15 minutes away. They’re a well-loved travel plaza chain, so we headed there, found a spot for the night and settled in. The next morning we had breakfast and hit the road after much discussion of interstate vs. not. We settled on interstate to allow time to visit the Luthy Botanical Garden in Peoria, IL. All went well on the drive, although the wind was often intense. We ate lunch at a beautiful rest stop in Indiana (our first time there) and we’re making great time. But when we arrived at the BP Google had suggested, it was tiny, so we retraced our steps to the Cracker Barrel in the outside of town. Once the night’s lodging was acquired, we booked it back to downtown, which gave us a half hour inside and all the time we wished outside to explore the beautiful garden. Ross gets credit for finding this and it was really wonderful! Tons of art and sculptures, birds and squirrels and a bunny, nooks and crannies and seating and the setting sun. Such a wonderful way to spend an hour or two. And it’s free!
Peoria didn’t WOW us like Cleveland, but it was nice enough and we loved the area with the garden, which had other things including a playhouse. Some of the residential areas were really fancy too – and some seemed to have two houses but one driveway. Old homes perhaps? Only negative was both children and adults crossing busy streets without crosswalks!

After a quick snack on our drive, we were back at Cracker Barrel. After some debate we decided to sit down for dinner. Unfortunately they aren’t very good at taking to people with allergies but we had a good meal (and I got my coveted cinnamon sugar baked potato) and Ross has more than enough food for a meal or two today. We’re hoping for a midday adventure before meeting our friends tonight! 

Besides seeing two new to us states yesterday, Ross described how much he enjoys seeing things that are different from what we know in New England. Big farms and open fields, wind turbines and even the steel architecture (including some reminiscent of Dayton’s plane history) excited him. To me, they weren’t that much different from North Dakota, but I do love realizing we aren’t in NH anymore. The adventure has definitely begun!

Rainy Days are not Lazy Days

What a wonderful two days we have had! Wonderful is subjective, of course, but we have had so much to be thankful for. I still can’t believe we are doing this! 

After our wonderful Thursday adventures visiting Auburn and the House of Guitars, we settled in for dinner and for the night at Cracker Barrel. They had six RV spaces I had learned were highly coveted, but we were shocked to be the only overnighters! It was a great neighborhood, only about 25 minutes from Rochester, very high end. We got cozy there quickly and had a nice night’s sleep, even if using the restroom and such were a bit awkward. (We bought another treat the next morning as a thank you.) We decided to winterize our RV before leaving NH, which was the right call but which means we need to avoid using our on board bathroom unless it’s an emergency. 

Enough about bathrooms. The next morning the deluge of rain continued, so as soon as it was light – in fact, quickly after 8, a new record for us – we hit the road to try to escape the rain and at least take advantage of daylight. I was worried our drive would look like our stressful Rochester driving (pretty tame compared to Boston but still), but we were quickly out of the city and enjoying the hills and mountains of NY, incredible foliage and my favorite, a gorgeous drive through New Harmony that combined big mountains, lakes foliage and an aerial view. Wish I had a camera to capture those! 

We left as early as we did, in part, to give us time to visit Cleveland. After much investigating I had settled on Punderson State Park, 45 minutes outside the city, to spend the night. With 20 amp electric, showers, restrooms and a gorgeous setting for only $25, we were really excited. After we chose our site, hooked up and made an early dinner, we headed to the Cleveland Museum of Art. The drive was a breeze until maybe 3 miles in. Old historic homes, huge forested properties, bike trails and bus lines – we loved it! The last few miles were a little stressful as it was true city driving, but Ross handled it like a pro. We loved the architecture in Cleveland and despite the rain we were really looking forward to it.

I think Ross fell hard for the museum almost as soon as we got there. I had to check my water (!) but there was no ticket required for this gorgeous free museum. To do it all would have easily taken 4-5 hours, but we crammed as much as we could into less than 2, marveling at Monets , Tiffany windows and Egyptian tombs as we learned more through the museum’s easy to use app, which included audio and visuals to enhance our experience. When 9 pm arrived, we and the multicultural crew who were also enjoying the incredible exhibits made our way out of the building and to the parking garage. We love you Cleveland, and we will be back! 

Yesterday was a nice break. We relaxed at the campground since we had learned we didn’t need to checkout until 1 pm! We were on the road by noon, and we stayed at a Flying J in the Dayton area which was a wonderful, comfortable plaza for the night. I visited the Carriage House MetroPark which is charming – a living history museum, horseback riding, petting zoo and more animate this charming historic 1880s country setting in the middle of the city. Today I we continue on to our destination, which we hope to arrive at tomorrow. 

Thanks for reading, and have a great day!