"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

WV, OH, IL & IN High Points and The Brake Job from Hell

Ohio, Illinois & Indiana

Our drive through the far north of West Virginia took us through some steep and windy roads.  It was much cooler here too.  We were up early to drive through the Monongahela National Forest where West Virginia's High Point is located at 4,863 feet.  It's a pretty remote section and of course no cell service so we made the decision to spend the day in the mountains as it was Sunday then just boondock at Walmart and get an early start for Ohio.  We've already spent time a couple months ago in West Virginia visiting family and friends so this visit was just for the High Point.

Lot's of winding roads.  The clouds were starting to lift as the sun rose.

It was a short hike in to the viewing platform.  We were the only ones here on a weekend.  I don't think this part gets much attention or attendance.
The viewing platform could use a little TLC.
Up here there was some early fall color for us to enjoy.

High Point marker.
Driving through the little valleys within the park there were several very tiny towns.  Some with churches and many farms with old, worn barns.
Logging and cattle grazing are still big practices up here.

Our night at Walmart was uneventful and we were up early and headed to Ohio. We changed our mind a couple of times on the way and decided to stay at Indian Lake State Park.  Now that we're back on flatter ground, the heat and humidity has come back.
Since some of these High Points are fairly flat they and don't require long drives through the mountains, it's easy for us to find a place to camp nearby.  It also makes it easy to get to once Steve finishes work for the day.  The High Point was in Bellefontaine, just a few miles from the lake.
It's located in an old NORAD facility which is now used as a vocational school.  The grounds are locked after hours so we were lucky to get here before closing.  The beginning of the Korean War was when the facility was built for  the station to function as a Ground Control Intercept and warning station. As a GCI station, the squadron's role was to guide interceptor aircraft toward unidentified intruders picked up on the unit's radar scopes.  The facility closed in 1969 and became a school.
The marker is at our feet in the center of the bricks.
It was soon time to drive over to Indiana.
We stayed at a beautiful little county park called Westwood hidden in the rolling hill countryside.
Very nicely kept and landscaped.
With friendly neighbors.
Again, another short drive out through the cornfields brought us to this little wooded spot.  It is on private property but the owners maintain a small graveled road to the High Point and welcome visitors.
A young man decided to use this as an opportunity to earn his Eagle Scout Badge, so he cleaned it up and put an education plaque on a boulder at the high spot.
I'm not sure if the handprint is his or if that was added by someone else later?
On the way out we had noticed a sign that said something about the Wright Brothers.  At that time we were looking for geocaches and found this really cool spot.
We say it all the time, but it really is amazing the cool things geocaching can take you to.  We might not have found this nice museum, house and grounds otherwise.  It was a nice side trip.
You'll probably have to zoom in to read the information.
The grounds were open to walk through but the house and museum had closed just before we arrived.  A nice gentleman saw us walking around, reading the signs so he came out to talk to us. Turns out he runs the museum and gives tours.  We couldn't go inside, but he walked us all around and gave us a personal tour.  Very nice of him and we really enjoyed it.

On the grounds behind the museum is a huge air field to fly remote control planes.  We have several RV friends who are big into RCs and would have loved this spot!

Another evening out geocaching brought us to this giant shoe!
Turned out to be at the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.
The orange circle above is brick made into a giant basketball with nice detail and Indiana in the middle.

One last early morning sunrise.
Our last stop out this way would be in Illinois.  Yet again,  somehow I missed the fact that this High Point is only available to the public on the first Saturday of June, July & Aug.  Ugg. So this one would escape us!
Since we didn't have to go too far northwest for the High Point we stayed in the center of the state and  made some extended plans to visit some friends once we got to Missouri.  We've been moving every few days lately and were looking forward to staying put a little longer.

I've gotta say that these mid-west states have some of the greatest county/city parks!  Even some of the very smallest towns have them.  We have found them all to have electric and water and usually between $10 and $15.  Many have even been free.
Montrose City Park is just off the highway and $11.  This has been a very hot and dry summer for them.  It's mid September and it's in the mid 90s and very humid.  All the grass is dry.  I'm sure it's very pretty here when it's green out.  Again, we had the place to ourselves.  There was some noise from the nearby highway and train, but not bad for a couple of nights.
We pulled next to the pavilion.  On our way over the back brake had been making some noise so Steve wanted to check it out once we arrived.  He was able to pull the truck under the pavilion for shade.

Good thing he checked!  Turned out that noise was the sound of a very worn out brake pad.  Steve has the tools and the ability to do it himself so that's what he did.  Unfortunately with the dually, the  C-clamps he had were not quite big enough.  Being a Saturday in a small town we were a tiny bit worried we wouldn't find an open shop.  We did find one and it was only 6 miles away.  BUT, we had no transportation now except our bikes!  Before I could say anything or get him a water bottle, off Steve went on his bike to get the bigger C-clamp.  I called the shop to let them know he was on the way, but it would be a while as he was riding a bike!  In the mid 90/high humidity temps, wearing all black and with NO water!  I gotta say, I was a little worried.  I kept checking in with the young man and finally he told me he had to close so he took the parts and drove in Steve's direction.  They swapped cash and parts and he offered Steve a ride back.  Steve said the bike would've never fit on that kids tiny car so he thanked him and kept riding.  I asked him why he didn't just leave the bike behind a tree or something and we could've picked it up later.  He said he must've been a little delirious and overheated and didn't think of that!  We laughed about it later.  Poor guy.  He looked awful when he got back.  I suggested he take a cold shower and lay in the A/C for a bit but he wanted to finish up the brakes first.  It turned out to be the brake job from HELL but when it was all done I suggested we go out for dinner.  There was a little Mexican place in Effingham that had $2 margaritas.
The food was ok but the drinks were awesome!  We had a couple.  All's well that ends well!

Yes, these are headstones.  There is also a small cemetery next to the campground. You guys know I love cemeteries.  I can wander around in them for hours reading the old inscriptions, fascinated by the far away locations they were born, and sometimes the details of their death. In the Midwest I have noticed that even in the poorer looking areas, they don't skimp on their headstones.  This little cemetery had some of the most intricate headstones.  Some, like the one above, had what I'm guessing is laser etched scenery on them.  I'm thinking this is an areal view of this persons farm.  The detail was very impressive.
This one had color etching.  These are very large headstones too.  Sadly, in this cemetery there were a large number of children buried.  Also there were several entire families that died on the same day.  Maybe a car accident or home fire?  Very sad.
We also found that there was the largest cross in the US out here.  We took a drive and enjoyed reading about how it came to be.  It is 198 feet tall and 113 feet wide, made of out of over 180 tons of steel anchored in cement. The cross can withstand winds up to 145 mph.  There is a huge Corvettes of the Cross car gathering each year.  It just happened to be winding down while we were there.  We loved looking at all the beautiful corvettes that were everywhere.
Our friend Cori, said there are many other "largest" items just south of us but we had run out of time.

Enjoying our time in the "fly over states" of the mid-west. 
Next up: time with new RV Friends and old Goat Friends!


  1. Finding and visiting all those places is fun in it's own way. So much better than just getting on the interstate and driving through. As the expression goes "All who wander, are not lost."

    1. I agree Merikay. Didn't do a lot of big National Parks this year.

  2. Excellent pictures and story to boot. Glad to hear Steve was able to fix the brakes. Really would have sucked if y'all had to wait until after the weekend to have a shop work on them. Pays to be handy!

    1. Thankfully Steve got it all taken care of! We sure didn't want to spend the weekend there and then have to find a tech in a tiny town like that.

  3. Love the fact that you sourced out the highest point in a state and then try to visit it. We love hiking so that could get really interesting in some states and perhaps a little on the chilly side. You found some great campsites for little to no money. We have also found that the mid-west is great for that in the small cities and towns. Glad you got the brake job fixed but what a hot job that would have been.


    1. It's been fun doing the High Points this year. Not enough of them were as challenging as we'd have thought in the beginning, but it was fun and led to other interesting things. I felt so bad for poor Steve and that brake job!

  4. As far as tombstones go, those are some pretty intricate ones!! Don't think I've ever seen any like that before....

    1. I've seen some cool ones, but this little cemetery had so many and so fancy!

  5. The variation of the highest points across the country is very interesting. I would have thought each of those states would have had a point higher than 2,000. I wonder that the lowest highest point is....

    1. We were surprised to find how many mid-states had elevations over 4000 feet. Florida is the lowest at 103 feet. It was a blast getting to the 27 this year that we did. It brought us to very out of the way places and it turned out to be a fun year. No place special, just wherever the "peaks" took us.

  6. That was quite the brake job! I think that story is just one reason we keep my car! Thankfully the store wasn’t further away! He definitely earned that margarita! Glad it all worked out!


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