Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Back Roads and Beaches GeoTrail

68 degrees in Michigan and Ohio in FEBRUARY! 

That was the weather forecast over President's Day weekend. Inspired by this sudden reprieve of the Michigan drizzlies, ShelleyJean invited TaGeez and myself to an overnight adventure in Lorain County, OH! Ladies and Gentleman, I introduce you to the Back Roads and Beaches Geotrail!

LoCo BRaB - Vermilion Main Street Beach GC5DPD8
Sponsored by the Lorain County Visitors Bureau (Hi, Victoria! You were right about staying in Vermilion!) geocachers need to find 15 small and regular caches between Lake Erie and Wellington to qualify for the BRaB geocoin. Our first stop was the lighthouse in Vermilion (which is also a Virtual).

ShelleyJean at LoCo BRaB - Bacon Anyone? GC5DM17
The weather was stunning, and we experienced so many types of GZs - lighthouses, gazebos, downed trees, community centers, parks, a winery and a cider mill. We drove with the windows down!

Lovely Limestone cliffs!

And driving the back roads were lovely - barn quilts and apple trees, deer and seagulls.

LoCo BRaB - Sweet Smell of Cider GC5DNNQ
Look at this sky! This was a winery on the Gore Orphanage Road! Yes, I'll repeat that... Gore Orphanage!  But the name was scarier than the apple tree-lined road. Googling came back with the "most haunted area in Ohio" and "the most misunderstood legends of Ohio." What a cool and creepy name!

LoCo BRaB - Vines and Wines Equal Good Times GC5DQBW
Midway through our passport, we entered Common Grounds in Oberlin. Its website reads, "Our mission is to provide transformational opportunities for individuals and groups to realize their potential through conscious living. Our 2.5-hour canopy tour consists of a variety of fast zip lines, aerial bridges, stairways and soaring platforms." Not what two girls from Michigan with a joint fear in heights wanted to hear! Luckily there were no witnesses this time of year to watch us make fools of ourselves.

LoCo BRaB - Let's Find Some Common Ground GC5DNHA
Phew! Halfway through it's time for lunch in the nation's cheese hub (during the last half of the 19th century - come for the summer cheese festival!).  TaGeez found Dog Tracks Diner online, and it was delicious! Fried pickles!

TaGeez on his Jolly Trolly - nothing can keep him down!

Dog Tracks Diner Frickle Burger - yummy fried pickles!
And then onto a nearby cemetery (we actually stopped at a half dozen over the weekend). This one in Wellington is the final resting place of Archibald Willard, the painter of the Spirit of '76. Wise, local geocachers placed 2 caches in this cemetery!

Spirit of '76 PTMMD GC2V7QF
Have you ever heard of an "upground reservoir"? It's exactly as it sounds and quite popular with fisherman and walkers enjoying the weather. These blue summer days were a little misleading, though. We were reminded of the recent Winter thaw as we squelched to the cache here. 

LoCo BRaB - Wellington Upground Reservoir GC5DPBB
Time to turn North towards Pittsfield and Lorain -- back to the beaches! Here the parking lot and pathways were filled with short-clad locals -- walking dogs, sitting in lawnchairs, blaring music.

LoCo BRaB - Beautiful Lakeview Park GC5DQD5

Yet another lighthouse! This one in Lorain
Our final stop on the BRaB was along the Black River.

LoCo BRaB - Black River GC5DMAB
This park was the final station to freedom along the Underground Railroad (you forget how close we are to Canada here!). 

15 fun finds in Lorain County. We grabbed 15 BRaB code words and smilies -- we left behind over 20 trackables from Michigan!

Lorain County Back Roads and Beaches Geotrail

ShelleyJean, TaGeez and I headed off to a victory meal at Quaker Steak & Lube! How could we not eat at a place that offered Lube Sauce and Boom Boom Shrimp? There were actually people sitting outside on the deck in shorts eating dinner.

TaGeez in the elevator
Typical for us... any time there's a photo op and laughter, we're in the middle of it.

Scrapcat and ShelleyJean
Sunday morning found us at lakeside again. This was a sweet memorial garden about 2 miles from our hotel.  The cache owner had permission to place the cache here, and it's been here for quite a few years.

Dombrowski GCPCHJ
With the completion of the geotrail, we decided to head North and follow Lake Erie along Route 6 towards Sandusky. We grabbed several more caches and snapped pics at a few more lighthouses.

My picture of the lighthouse in Huron, OH

Shelley's pic of me snapping a picture of the lighthouse in Huron, OH

We stopped at the Cholera Cemetery in Sandusky. I'm surprised to discover this is actually featured on Roadside America.  From Haunted Hocking:
In 1849, a cholera epidemic swept through Ohio. In desperation to escape the sickness, trainloads of people from Cincinnati and other cities sought refuge here. However, with the refugees, they brought the deathly disease. At least 400 of the 3400 residents in the town died and were buried in a mass grave here. Their ghosts are said to haunt the area - angry voices are heard near the graves and lights have been seen along the grassy area.
It was rather peaceful when we visited Sunday morning.

Cholera Cemetery GC1QM4H
Speaking of cemeteries, recommended the Confederate Stockade Cemetery on Johnson's Island as one of its recommended stops in Ohio. Things they don't teach you in school: there was a Civil War-era Federal prison and Confederate cemetery on a little island in Sandusky Bay! I would've thought it too far from action to be possible, but that is one of the reasons it was selected. It held primarily Confederate Officers in its 3 years of existence.

Currently there is no geocache there, but the view and the history makes it a must-stop outside Marblehead.

We were heading towards Marblehead to see the last lighthouse on the trip. Marblehead Lighthouse has 2 Earth Caches and extremely picturesque views. You can see the rides of Cedar Point off in the distance across the water. 

This is a Prime Location for a Seiche GC16H4G
Marblehead Glacial Grooves GC1X4PR
And speaking of Roadside America, we stopped for handless Jacques and a cache. Actually, it was the worse cache of the trip - the plastic pencil case under Jacques right foot was not watertight and was OH SO GROSS! But snapping a picture of Americana was worth it!

Marblehead Muffler Man GC1GN9R
I think our last cache of the trip summed up the essence of the weekend: amazing blue skies, point-worthy caches, and great friendship. Being so near water for two days was rejuvenating after such an ugly Winter.

Water's Edge GC1Q492
Thank you, ShelleyJean and TaGeez, for another amazing adventure! We need to do this again soon!


If you are interested in earning coins or path tags, check out this list of GeoTours and Reward GeoTrails. See if one is in your area. Before you go on an adventure, remember to check if the geocoins/rewards are still available and the caches are still active. Happy Caching!

1 comment:

  1. Back roads are just the best!! I love that you brake for the same kind of weirdness that I do. Marblehead Muffler Man! Quaker Steak and Lube? So funny. Keep 'em coming.


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