Cuyahoga Falls National Park And Stops Along The Way

Greetings from Syracuse, NY! We’re on day seven of our RV trip and we’re really starting to feel like pros. The first couple of days of our trip were slow going and we had a pretty substantial learning curve. For example, all of my various hair products tumbled out of the cabinets the first day we left and it took me about 24 hours to find my dry shampoo, because who knew you really do have to shut and lock all of the cabinets before you drive off? Another moment when we knew we were novices occurred when we flooded the gray water tank (that’s the non-disgusting water thankfully) and there was three inches of standing water in our shower that had to be bailed out with one of Ellie’s toy pails.

We made it to the west side of St. Louis Friday night and rolled into a Walmart parking lot. It was later than we had hoped when we got there, but luckily there was also a Raising Cane’s in the parking lot, so we got the RV situated and then enjoyed some tasty fried chicken for dinner. As we walked back to the RV, we saw there was an antique car show going on in this parking lot as well, so we wandered around looking at old Corvettes and various cars that looked like they came off of a Happy Days set. Ellie enjoyed hearing the engines and being out of the RV for a while before bed.

The next morning was very relaxed. We took our time and made blueberry pancakes and sausage. We finally hit the road around 11:00, hoping to make it to Ohio by the end of the day. The rest of the day we made our way across Illinois, Indiana, and into Ohio. I would like to take a moment to say that Illinois and Indiana have the worst roads I have ever experienced in my life. I would also like to take a moment and note that I am extremely thankful that Ellie takes her best car naps on rough roads. As we crossed into Ohio – and slightly better roads – we found a Walmart parking lot and made our camp for the night.

When I pictured our RV trip, I did not picture making Walmart parking lots my home away from home. I had grand visions of rolling into KOA camps and befriending new neighbors each night. These hypothetical neighbors would let Ellie pet their hypothetical dogs and we would trade funny RV anecdotes until it was time to call it a night. Maybe there were also late night s’mores and scrabble matches in my visions as well. Walmart parking lots don’t really allow for cute RV neighbors, unless you’ll settle for semi-trucker neighbors who don’t actually want to coo at your baby or tell funny stories. There are also no campfires or picnic tables in a Walmart parking lot. However, the Walmart parking lot is free, and it is impossible to ever not have all the ingredients for whatever recipe you want to make.

In our second Walmart parking lot home, I made chicken alfredo and tortellini for dinner. The fact that I successfully cooked a whole meal in our RV boosted my confidence in the potential of the rest of our trip. Sunday morning we loaded up and headed toward Cleveland. We decided to stay at a KOA camp (!) and met our RV neighbors who were from Kentucky, and had family in NWA. Ellie waved at their dogs. It was picturesque just like my visions had been, but involved more cigarette smoke than I had imagined. Our other neighbors who arrived later that evening looked to be a group of college students. We couldn’t quite figure them out though because when they arrived, they immediately brought out several varieties of potted plants and a large cage in which they had several pigeons and a pig. They also had a covered cage that we never managed to see inside. We asked no questions, but we did a lot of speculating on our own about the whole scenario.

At the recommendation of my friend who is an Ohio native, we spent Monday at Cuyahoga Falls National park. It was gorgeous, and because it was a Monday, there weren’t any crowds! We went on two hikes – one to a waterfall and one around some neat rock formations they called The Ledges. Cy graciously carried Ellie in the backpack for most of the hiking. She LOVES being carried in the backpack and she spent most of the hike singing and pointing at trees and dogs we passed. We took lots of pictures and thoroughly enjoyed being outdoors and carefree. We ate a picnic lunch by a lake and met some elderly men and women who were thoroughly entertained by Ellie trying to figure out how to eat a peanut butter sandwich without getting her mouth stuck shut. We also met a man with two giant dogs who knew Chinese commands. I said hello to the dogs in Chinese and their owner got really excited and started speaking to me in Chinese. I then had to explain to him that the extent of my knowledge when it comes to Chinese includes the phrases, “Hello” and “I love cats.” To say he was disappointed is an understatement.

Yesterday morning, we loaded everything up and hit the road. We’re technically on a “working vacation,” so we made a stop outside of Cleveland so that Cy could visit a customer. We grabbed a quick lunch at Chick-Fil-A because we were having withdrawal symptoms, and then headed northeast. We drove through the rest of Ohio, into Pennsylvania, and arrived in New York Naturally Taylor Swift made a cameo as we crossed the state line, which brightened the mood considering the long line at the tollbooth. I marveled at the fact that people were honking at each other while waiting in line at the tollbooth. Cy said, “We’re in New York babe!” I’ve never been anywhere we’re planning on going from here on out, so I’m enjoying all of the newness and seeing places I’ve only heard about. Cy has a plan for our next destination, but he’s decided to make it a surprise!

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