The weather has finally warmed up and it’s time to hit the road for the first camping trip of the year. One of my favorite places to camp in Southern Indiana is Indian-Celina Lake, about 25 miles south of French Lick. I prefer National (federal) properties over state properties as the camp sites are spaced out and not on top of each other. I was watching the forecast all week and the weather looked like it was going to be ideal. Of course, things can change…
I-69 is really starting to come together, with only about 20-miles of construction south of 465 remaining. It was a nice drive south towards NSA Crane, through Loogootee on 231, and stopping for Lunch in Jasper. How Jasper is able to support a Sonic Drive-in is beyond me. We can’t seem to get them inside 465 or any of the northern Indianapolis suburbs. Rumor has it Westfield will be getting one soon though. I hope Noblesville (Hamilton Town Center?) or Fishers gets one too, I like the variety of food they have, and its one of the only places you can get a corn dog! The Sonic franchise advertises on TV like they are all over the Indianapolis area but we only have a few.
OK, back to lunch in Jasper. I had a German place and a Pub flagged in Google maps and I felt like some German food. The Schnitzelbank is about as German as you can get in Indiana. Lots of wood trim and wall art, servers in costume, and a pretty extensive menu featuring all the german favorites (along with enough “American” dishes to keep the locals happy).
Since it was lunch, I opted for a German Tenderloin ( breaded tenderloin topped with cheese and crisp bacon) with a side of German Fries (sliced potatoes flattop fried with onions). The tenderloin was more of a fritter but it was decent nonetheless. I don’t recall the bacon and think it might have been forgotten. The fries were outstanding but both items needed salt. The sandwich was already cut in half when it was served, nice touch as it was too big to eat whole without making a mess. For $14 it was a great lunch that I would order again when I’m in the area.
After a filling lunch, it was time to continue the journey down to Ferdinand to check out their Disc Golf Course. Unfortunately, the southern end of the state received a lot more rain than the central region and I arrived at a park with a lot of standing water so Disc Golf was not going to be much fun here. Since I was in the area I decided to grab a Blueberry Ale at the St. Benedict’s Brew Works and consult my notes for other things to do before heading to camp. I like to pin things in Google Maps to make it easier to find things to do when in an area. It comes in handy when plans change & you have some time to kill.
I noted the Ferdinand Fire Tower was just up the road so I decided to take a little drive into the hills to check it out.
After the fire Tower, I decided to check the course conditions at the Saint Meinrad Archabbey disc course down the road and travel some of the back roads in the area. I’m always amazed at what you can find when you get off the main roads. This time was no exception.
Indiana ranks 3rd behind Iowa & Ohio in Chicken production and you can see evidence of that when driving down country roads. Every farm I passed had a similar sign, all related to Perdue Industries.
Not far down the road, I passed another interesting building that looked like it has just finished construction.
After arriving at the Saint Meinrad Archabbey Disc course, I found it to be in a similar situation. A little too wet for me. I still had some time to kill so I proceeded further south to Tell City to purchase some of their famous Pretzels.
To Be Continued… Tune in next week for the rest of the story!
As the temps start to stabilize, it’s getting closer to camping season. I’ve wanted to purchase a small camper but the logistics of licensing, storing, and towing are a little overwhelming (and expensive) right now. At the minimum, I’d have to upsize my existing vehicle for anything but the tiniest of teardrop trailers, and with the supply chain shortages, everything is very overpriced. The RV industry has had record sales these past few years, so I’m hoping to pick up a used unit for a decent price in a few years. Until then I’ll continue to “car camp” but this year is going to be a little different.
For the past several years I’ve been using an ALPS Mountaineering Phenom 3 Tent. It’s worked well and is pretty easy to set up and tear down. It also has enough room for myself and the gear I want to have handy at night. Several of the trips I’ve taken have been interrupted by rain and inclement weather and being stuck in a small tent while you wait out the rain can get a little old. Enter the Gazelle T4 Hub Tent (T4).
Coming in at $350 the T4 is a reasonably priced option for an 8-foot x 8-foot x 6.5-foot tall tent. It’s supposed to sleep 4 but like all tents, you should cut that in half if you want to be comfortable. The T4 will sleep 2 comfortably with extra room for all your gear. Unfortunately, the Footprint (the piece you put under the tent to protect it from punctures) is not available in the US, but I found a shop in Toronto that sells it. They don’t ship to the US but I’m hoping to be up that way next month, so I’ll be sure to pick one up if I can. Until then I purchased a tarp to use that should get me by.
The T4 is a self-supported tent that has a setup time of approximately 90-seconds (munis Rain Fly that’s supposed to take another 30-seconds). This not only makes it convenient but could come in handy if you get to camp and need to set up in the rain. The size also gives me enough room to sit in my Yeti camp chair and wait out a rainstorm in comfort.
I’m looking forward to using the T4 with my ExPed MegaMat during an upcoming trip and will do a follow-up post about how it worked out. According to Amazon, it should be delivered today!
I’ve lived in my current house since 2005 and prior to 2021, I had maybe 2-3 (very brief) power outages in that time. Since 2021 I’ve had about 6. None have lasted longer than 2 hours, but it seems to be more of an occurrence than ever before. During the last one, I stumbled upon a site that shows power outages across the U.S. (including Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico). PowerOutage.US lets you tap on the state and get details for each county. If you have family, or customers, in other areas it’s a good way to see what’s going on during storms, etc. I’m not quite ready to get a generator yet since I have a Jackery 500 that could keep the deep freezer running for a day or so, but the thought has crossed my mind.
And finally, mountain bile riding has come a LONG way since its popularity grew in the early 80s. The video below shows what it takes to win a World Wide competition these days. Watch out for the trees without safety pads, and try not to get motion sickness while viewing this. 🤮
It’s been nice being out of the house this week after isolating for a week with Covid. There are weekends when I don’t leave the house but an entire week was tough. On the plus side I was super productive working remotely and actually enjoyed working from the house this time as opposed to when I did in 2021 because everything was closed.
Microsoft FINALLY released their award-winning Flight Simulator last week on their Cloud Gaming platform and it’s even better than I expected.
I’m a huge Flight Sim fan and used to play for hours when I was younger. The latest version takes its imagery from Bing Maps and can replicate real-time weather conditions in your current location. So it’s about as real as you can get while staying firmly planted on the couch. The Bing maps are a little out of date but it’s pretty easy to visually navigate around town and fly to various landmarks in the area.
And finally… I was robbed last night. Robbed of an hour due to Daylight Saving Time (DST). I had JUST gotten used to the sun rising at 7 am and now we’re back to 8 am for a while. I miss the days when Indiana didn’t change times twice a year. We even had a special Time Zone on computers called “Indiana (East)”. It’s still there last time I checked even though it’s not used anymore.
That’s it for this week. I have a camping & disc golf trip scheduled in a couple of weeks. It’s going to be nice playing outside again.
The last 4 posts were a recap of my week-long trip to OH, PA & NY to visit the Allegheny National Forest. With the daily rain, and summer temps, the mosquitos were out and looking for blood but I brought a solution to that…
After seeing ads and reviews over the past year I decided to pickup a Termacell Backpacker Mosquito Repeller prior to the trip. This device comes in many different models and is powered by battery or Butane/Propane canister. I chose the latter as I use that fuel for cooking while camping.
The Thermacell uses heat from a tiny gas powered flame to heat a small pad containing a repellant solution. They claim a 15′ “zone of protection” and I think that’s pretty accurate. I noticed an immediate improvement as soon as I fired up the repeller and set it on the table next to where I was hanging out. It was especially useful under the tarp where I was spending a lot of time during the rain showers. It’s not going to work as well of there’s a lot of wind, but the bugs are usually not a problem when it’s windy.
The pads last for approximately 4-hours and cost around $2 each (cheaper in bulk). There is a very slight sweet smell but it’s not off-putting and a lot better than some of the other scented candles that don’t work very well. This being the backpacking model it’s quite small and portable. If you have a larger space to cover they make bigger units for that.
If you’re looking for something to help keep the bugs at bay while enjoying the outdoors check out the Thermacell line of products and see if they’ll work for you.
Last week we ended up in Buffalo, NY after visiting Cleveland and Niagara Falls. This time around we’re going to dip into the Allegheny National Forest and get away from the city. We left Buffalo around 9am and started our journey south.
Ever since I was a kid I remember seeing barns and billboards along the highway with “See Rock City” on them.
When I happened to find a “Rock City Park” in Olean, NY I was excited to check it out. After doing a little research on my return I realized the “real” Rock City is actually on Lookout Mountain in Tennessee but the one in Olean was impressive nonetheless!
After climbing around the rocks for about an hour it was time to move on and check out the town of Bradford, PA. Bradford is the home of the Zippo lighter and Case knife factory (and museum). It’s a busy little town with a lot of little shops in it’s downtown. Unfortunately the Visitors Bureau was not open when I arrived, I think they were at lunch. They DID have a nice setup outside with maps and visitor information, which is what I was stopping by for anyway.
Before lunch I decided to checkout the Zippo/Case museum and see what it was all about.
The Zippo/Case museum was quite impressive, if you’re into these products it’s worth your while to stop by if you’re in the area. The inside lighting made it difficult to get any good photographs without a lot of glare so I concentrated on other items outside.
Lunch was at Togi’s Family Restaurant where the “special” was their version of a Big Mac. It was quite tasty & a LOT bigger than I ws expecting. The hand cut fries were cooked perfectly too.
After the big lunch, and fighting off the feeling to take a big nap, I continued on my way to the next stop, the WWII Museum in Eldred, PA.
What a great museum housed in a very small town in rural PA. This place was HUGE and had more items than a lot of other similarly sized museums I’ve visited over the years. Evidently a lot of the items had been donated by area families over the years and a local hero named Mitchell Paige had a lot to do with its success. He had an entire section of the museum dedicated to him.
After a successful day of traveling it was time to head up to Tracy Ridge and setup camp for the night. Tracy Ridge is a primitive campsite at the top of a bluff. The sites are spaced far apart and this evening there were only 3-4 of us in the entire area. This is my ideal situation for car camping, Plenty of room and lots of piece and quiet. Unfortunately this is hard to find these days with so may people out doing the same thins I’m doing. Traveling and camping during the week is the trick to get access to some great spots.
There were some storms off in the distance that I would need to keep an eye on as it had rained every day of the trip this far, so I expected today to be no different.
Mother nature pulled no punches and let me have it after dark. the lightning got pretty severe at one point but it blew through quickly and I was able to get a decent nights sleep. She came back in the morning just to say good morning with a nice little downpour as I was breaking camp down. At this point once you’re wet you just deal with it and make the best of it. I had another big day ahead of me and it was time to head out!
Stay tuned for the fourth and final installment of the Allegheny National Forest road trip next week. Thanks for reading!