It’s our second day of a marathon trek back to Arizona. Back at home daytime temperatures run up to about 100 degrees, but we knew when we started off this day that it would feel hotter in Ohio. The curse of the Three H’s (hazy, hot, humid) has finally caught up to us and that meant we had to come up with a plan for tonight’s destination. A night of boondocking along some highway with no air conditioning was not going to make for happy travelers.
The forecast called for about 100 degrees, and indeed that’s what we saw all day from western NY to central OH. The problem was that being a holiday weekend our chances of getting a decent campsite conveniently along our route were poor. Eleanor suggested we detour slightly to visit Airstream in Jackson Center, OH, and at first I was reluctant, but then realized it was a brilliant solution. The company always closes for the entire first week of July, and so who would be parked in the Terra Port?
Lou & Larry gave us pause however, with an invitation to stop at their place and take advantage of their 30-amp driveway power, but it would have been a short drive from Buffalo and we can’t afford that at this point. Continuing to Airstream meant nearly 400 miles of driving (again), but we’ve decided that given the weather we’d just as soon knock off a lot of miles in the comfort of an air conditioned car and make our stops later in the trip.
Each time we stopped the Airstream (for lunch, a rest stop, groceries) it was hotter inside. By the time we got to central Ohio the Airstream was 99 degrees inside, and I knew it would take hours to cool back down even with the new 15K BTU air conditioner cranking away. Everything inside is heat-soaked, so cooling the air is only the beginning. Fortunately, we got an early start today and managed to pull into the Terra Port by 5 p.m. As expected, there are only a few other cheapskates like us parked here; a total of four trailers counting us.
Normally it doesn’t take long after you pull into the Terra Port before someone comes walking by to say Hello and find out who you are. This time: doors and windows closed, every trailer sealed up like a tomb. Nobody is going to be walking around outside as long as the sun is up. It’s just too darned hot and humid. Ten minutes outside hooking up the hoses and power cords, and my shirt began to stick to me. I will gladly go back to Tucson heat in a week.
The trick now will be to find stops later in the trip where it isn’t scorching hot. Altitude will be our ally on this one. I’m proposing we keep driving like maniacs until we get to New Mexico, and then stretch out somewhere above 7,000 feet. Or maybe Utah, or northern Arizona. Any of them would be great, as long as we can work around the peak weekend days and find places that aren’t closed for forest fires or bear attacks. Right now all six of the campgrounds in the Tonto National Forest are closed because of a series of bear attacks, for example.
So I’ll be scouting carefully using the Internet tools available, which are considerable. For National Park sites, I use nps.gov. For National Forest campgrounds, I look up the regional forest name and then navigate to the official site for updates. The key is to always check the official sites so you know about closures or length limits.
For commercial campgrounds, RVParkReviews works well. Every state park has a website of course, and while we are traveling we find the app “AllStays Camp & RV” to be very useful. Add all that to a good old fashioned Rand-McNally road atlas and you’re pretty well set.
Tonight we have a few hours in the Terra Port and since we aren’t going out, I’ll get started on the research. We have 1,885 miles to go and somewhere in there, something interesting WILL happen.