Three states and into Amish Country

Trip Start Apr 20, 2012
Trip End Sep 01, 2012

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Where I stayed
Mill Creek Campground
What I did

Flag of United States  , Ohio
Tuesday, July 31, 2012

We awoke this morning and knew what we had to do; pack up and move out of our comfortable and cool hotel room, load up Odie and then hit the road for Eastern Ohio and a campground for two nights. We were on the road by 9am and heading for Berlin, Ohio and were pleasantly surprised when Bob told us it was only a little bit over 6 hours to get there and we were all pleased as we had thought it was more like a seven hour drive. We knew that today we were going to be crossing our final time zone of the trip and before long we had and were back on Eastern Daylight Time. This was quite significant as we had now driven, driven that is, through 6 different time zones in the last 84 days on the road and it represented the last big hurdle of coming full circle around the USA. We left Illinois, crossed into Indiana, took a left turn and drove 4 miles to get over the border into Michigan and then turned around and headed out again. Before we knew it we were in Ohio and getting ready to hop off the interstate and cruise the final hour and a half to our campground. On this section of small country roads, we were delighted to discover that we were traveling back roads through what appeared to be quite a sizable Amish community. For those of you who don't know, and pardon me if I get certain details wrong, the Amish are a religious group who don't believe in modern ways and still drive horse and buggy to get places, use horse power on their farms, don't believe in, or aren't allowed to have telephones, or electricity on their properties. There are varying degrees of adherence to these policies between different communities, and the community we drove through all seemed to have windmills on their farms. We did see modern hay balers, but they had been reconfigured so that horses could pull them to make them work (i.e. ground-drive). It was great fun on this section of the drive and we passed countless horses and buggies, farmers returning from work on their bicycles, women and girls driving buggies and without fail, every farm we passed was in beautiful shape, the land was well cared for, the fences tidy and the horses in universally good condition. It is quite a sight to see a family in a buggy on a little country road being passed by large tractor-trailer trucks and the horses just steadily trot on. We did see one interesting sight of an older Amish man in a wheelchair riding in a golf cart. Now whether that was allowed because it was battery power and not petrol, or whether he got an exception, we can only speculate. You can tell the difference between married and unmarried men because once they get married, they grow a beard and not before. Also, I think the Amish have one of the most forward-thinking systems of many insular cultures because when young people get to a certain age, they are allowed to leave home and travel the county, the state and the world and try all of the modern conveniences if they want to…..I think it's called something like 'Ruunspringer' (sic). After their travels, they are allowed to return and are welcomed back with open arms. This is different from many strict societies where if people choose to leave, they are shunned and never allowed to return. What a great way to decide if this is the right life for you or not, go live out in the world and have the benefit of experience and firsthand knowledge informing your decision.
It was in the middle of this great explore that we realized that Bob had sent us to the wrong place and our campground was actually still two hours away, not in Berlin but in Berlin Heights!?!?!?!$#%$^# Blast and tarnation was muttered, but we had no choice but to turn and backtrack over a lot of the ground we had travelled so by the time we got to our campsite it was 7pm and we had been in the car, with only three short stops for 9 hours. But, the major drive was behind us, we only have two short ones to go before we see Grandma and go to the wedding in New York and then on to Maine and a family reunion. So, we quickly set up camp, the kids splashed in the lake and we all tucked into bed and waited for the humidity to fade and the temperatures to cool. Tomorrow we explore Cuyahoga National Park (our last one) and then New Wilmington, Pennsylvania which is another Amish community and where Tim used to spend summers visiting with his Grandparents.
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