Monday, October 16, 2017

Fall Break

  For Fall Break, we went camping with our good friends the Holts, to Morrow, Ohio, along the Little Miami river and bike trail. I've wanted to go camping every Fall Break but it has always rained. Finally this year it seemed like the weather would be nice most of the week, so we took our chances. We camped at Morgan's Riverside Campground about three and a half miles from Morrow, Ohio. 
 The first thing we did when we arrived was pick out the perfect camp site. Out of 72 camp sites, only one was occupied, so basically we had free reign of the entire camp! 
 Brad and Merinda then put up the tent,
 chopped firewood,
  and started a fire.
 Merinda was there for moral support (which she's pretty good at).
 Our campsite was right along the Little Miami river.
 There was some kind of huge bird in the top of one of the tall trees next to our camp. 
 Maybe it was a hawk or something, I don't know, but it was so big and majestic looking as it teetered on the edge of a small branch. (This picture just doesn't do it justice)
 No, I was not playing in the fire (maybe if I was a twelve-year-old scout I would be),
 I was getting the coals ready to start cooking our tinfoil dinners.
I also carved marshmellows roasting sticks for Smores later on (not realizing that the Holts are real campers with real metal roasting sticks!). 

 The Holts arrived just in time for dinner.

 And dinner was just as yummy as I imagined it would be!
 Merinda with her BFF Veronica!
The Holts then put up their tent with some help from Brad.

 It was then time to hang up Austin's new hammock.
 The tricky part was finding two trees the right distance apart that weren't right over the river.
 Austin was a happy camper once the hammock was all set up (in a safe place), and ready to be slept in for the night.
 Rex tried it out and gave it his seal of approval. 

 It was such a beautiful night with the full moon shinning through the trees and reflecting off the water.
 It was then time for what else but some friendly rounds of arm-wrestling. 
 I told Brad that I wouldn't post who won on my blog, so I'll let you figure out ;)
 Veronica did pretty darn good holding her own against Austin. Apparently, it wasn't that long ago that Veronica was the one to beat!
 And of course, you don't need to guess who won between Rex and Austin (in Austin's defense, his arm must have been pretty tired by then!).
 That's what I love about phones, no responsibilities, no expectations! Just arm-wrestling and family games!

The next morning I checked on Austin who was snug as a bug in his little cocoon! 
 I guess you could say that the hammock was a good investment!

 Brad making his Brad-sized pancakes for breakfast,
 and Austin and Merinda lending some more moral support.
 I don't know why breakfasts always taste better when you're camping.
 Another reason I love camping...
 happy family bonding!
I don't even mind doing the dishes when camping. 
 Once we were all carbed up, it was time to bike the Little Miami Scenic Trail.
It was very convenient riding our bikes to the trail, which was right next to our camp.  
 And we're off!!
 We couldn't of asked for better weather for riding our bikes.
 This was my view most of the trail.
 Even though Merinda's sixteen, I still had to stay behind her the whole time (only because it had been so long since she rode a bike).
 Just a picture of Austin riding circles around all of us!

Rex and Brad with their fancy bikes - the seasoned bikers of the group. 
 When Merinda needed a little rest, or a bike adjustment of some kind,
  she just rang the little bell on her handle bars, and we all stopped (such a princess!).
 There are so many great things to do along the river like camp, canoe, and fish, and so many fun things to do along the trail like eat, shop, and explore all the quaint little towns.
 There are also so many things to see like one of my favorite sites in King's Mills, Ohio (also home of King's Island, a 364-acre Amusement and Water park), Peters Cartridge Company building(s), which was a massive munitions manufacturing complex constructed in the 1860's. It made bullets and cannonballs for the Union Army during the Civil War, and continued making bullets and explosives for more than a century. Remington purchased the building for awhile but eventually it closed down and stood vacant by the end of the 1950's. Today, the building is one of the largest abandoned buildings in the state, but word has it that it's in the process of being renovated (which wasn't apparent from where we were standing). 
 Merinda, Veronica, and Austin
 Austin, Me, and Merinda
 Rex and Veronica
The trail is flat since it used to be the location of the old railway tracks.

It's also mostly shaded due to being right next to the river or winding through the forests. 
 I am so proud of Veronica and Merinda who rode 17 miles that day. Not too shabby for riding on new bikes, and for the first time in years. 
 Coming in the home stretch to Loveland, Ohio which concluded us girls part of the trip. Unfortunately, the guys had to turn around and ride the seventeen miles back to camp to come pick us up! 
 A good picture opportunity in front of an old train caboose in one of the small towns along the way. (The Holt family) 
 (Us Manwarings)
The whole gang minus Veronica, who was taking the picture.

The whole gang minus me, who was taking the picture. 
 Before the guys headed back, we all needed some serious refueling at our favorite restaurant in Loveland called The Works, which is a converted old railroad station that makes the most amazing brick-oven pizzas.  
 Every time we go I say "I don't know if I'm just starving, but this is seriously the best tasting pizza I've ever had!"
 And once again, it did not disappoint!
 Once at our campsite again, we all just wanted to chill,
and enjoy some dutch oven chocolate, cherry lava cake (that was really good!). 
 Some of the die-hard's still had enough energy to play card games and listen to some oldies...
 while others were just done (but I won't mention any names).
 Once again, it was another full-moon night.
 The next morning I awakened by drips of water falling on my face. It had began pouring the wee-hours of the morning, and our non water-proof tent (and everything in it) was completely soaked! We took our rain-soaked camping gear to the pavilions to try and drain and squeeze some water from them before throwing them in our vehicles. But, being the true campers that we were, we braved the weather and enjoyed our last day of camping by playing games under Holt's tarp (until it began leaking too much and forcing us to move to the pavilion) and enjoying yummy breakfast burritos for breakfast, and barbecue hamburgers for lunch.

While basking in the serenity of it all as we listened to the pitter-patter of the rain on the tin roof, bus after bus pulled into the camp and began lining up.
 Shortly after, we heard kids screaming and laughing from the direction of the river. 
 Sure enough, we were being invaded! (And we thought we were the brave ones toughing it out)
 It was then that we realized, it was time to pack up and return to the real world,
 but not without a stop to our favorite Italian Ice,Twelve Degrees (which, by now, we should really become partners in, or something!)
 Merinda and I looking our post-camping-in-the-rain best!
 With our Italian Ice showing us up.
 I think the Holts liked their Italian Ice too,
so much so that Veronica took a final group selfie of us celebrating our good food, good fun, and most of all, good friends!!! Thank you Holt family for coming with us, and for being our BFF's!!!