As we were heading out of Columbus, our plan was to stop at a Discount Tire and get an upgrade to “H” rims and tires. They can carry more weight than our current “G” tires, to take full advantage of our Mor Ryde 8000lb axles, and they are an all around heavier duty commercial tire. Lee had spent time on the phone and even driven to the location twice to make this as seamless as possible, but unfortunately the person he had been dealing with was off that day. The tires were already on the new rims, but when we arrived there was confusion about who we were. It took 30 minutes for them to get started and they immediately discovered we had the wrong lug nuts for the rims they had ordered for us. Ours are conical, but the new rims were flat, and after waiting another 30 minutes we discovered it would take hours to get the new ones and an additional cost of nearly $500.
At this point we had a conversation and decided to walk away. Even though we had prepaid for the tires and rims, we knew American Express would have our back on getting a refund, and thankfully the manager himself agreed they were at fault and refunded our money. So we were on our way to see Kelly and Bill but with no new tires and no plan. It was only a four hour drive to Somerset and thankfully we had no issues on the drive.
Kelly and Bill are staying in a seasonal site in Hickory Hollows campground because it is close to their daughter and granddaughter, and the owners are fine with Bill doing solar installs at their location. It is surprising how many campground wont allow that type of work, but this one likes the extra business Bill brings in and the proximity to their granddaughter is a huge bonus. It’s a really large piece of property with lots of sites, but during the time we were there it was very busy. More people are camping even this late in the season this year which is definitely unusual.
Despite it’s remote location there is a ton of things to do in this area, and I took a day off so Kelly and I could explore. We went to a farmers market, a couple of great thrift stores, and also had lunch. There are covered bridges in the area and in future posts I will talk about trips to the 911 memorial and Ohiopyle state park. For this post though let me show you some pictures of what we did.
After visiting the farmers market we drove to see Kelly’s daughters house and were able to meet Freya. I wore my mask since Maeve is 6 months pregnant, but it was still nice getting to see Freya their granddaughter. She is 18 months old now and cute as a button, Made me miss Oliver.
It was a nice day and the only downside was only about half of the people we saw were wearing masks. Coming from a larger city where it was more prevalent it was a bit of a shock. We keep seeing this as soon as we hit the more rural areas, and always find it a bit jarring. Kelly has really been struggling with it because she is staying extra safe for her daughter and the lack of mask wearing has really stopped her from many activities. She still hasn’t felt comfortable getting a hair cut for example and they are doing grocery pickups.
The best place for mask wearing Lee and I went the entire time was the Kings and Queens Restaurant. It was this funky little castle shaped place Lee found for lunch one day and they strictly adhered to the best practices. Also the food was amazing…I mean that I gave it five stars on YELP. It was super kitchzy for sure, but there is a darn good chef in that kitchen and the service was phenomenal.
While we were out seeing the countryside we also stumbled across a cool covered bridge. Many of these are on private property, but the owners allow access.
Along with the exploring, I made dinner one night (air fryer chicken parmesan and fresh green beans) and we had a couple of fires. One at Maeve’s house and the other at Kelly and Bill’s campsite.
And Lee worked on some repair projects including replacing a slide cable (post forthcoming) and putting up some K Cup holders for our new Keurig.
One last thing I wanted to mention (I am going to try to do this without in anyway being political), but I was surprised by how strong the support is for President Trump here. What I mean by that is almost every house has a sign (and in some cases many signs) out front and there is more fervent support than I have seen anywhere. When we asked about it, we learned that this is the heart of coal country and the environmental policies of President Obama really hurt the area. Large wind turbines did come to the area as an alternative fuel source, but the corresponding jobs did not. The people who did most of the work came from outside the area and that did not sit well with folks here.
As always when we visit an area we like to meet and talk to people from that area. Visiting Kelly, Bill and their family definitely gave us a chance to get an inside look to the area which was really nice.
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