Friday, December 23, 2011

W-b-N Portsmouth, Ohio

Continued, 7/24/11
I’m now in Shawnee State Park, near Portsmouth, OH – another quiet, beautiful, state park.  Since John and family won’t be back until late this evening, I’ve decided to spend the night here and go into town tomorrow morning.  But I can’t get ahold of John by cell phone, because there’s no cell-phone (or internet service) at this spot.  But there is a pay phone, which I already tried once, to no avail.  I may call his son later this afternoon and have him try to get ahold of his father and tell him of my whereabouts.  This is a pleasant site, green trees in view outside every window, ideal for continuing to write up the last part of the trip, and for working on a couple of manuscripts.
An unpleasant experience last night: I had originally stopped at a shopping mall about thirty miles north of Portsmouth, intending to spend the night there.  But after talking with John by phone, it seemed that there would be almost nothing of cultural interest in Portsmouth, so I decided, about 8:00 PM to try to find Shawnee State Park before dark.  After driving nearly an hour, and with darkness descending, I happened to pass a commercial campground, and thought I might spend the night there.  Usually, in commercial campgrounds, there is a mechanism for registering and paying even if the office is closed.  I saw nothing of the sort at that office.  Another camper poked her head out of a nearby rig and said that the owner lived in the red brick house on a nearby rise, so I went to the house, but got no answer from either knock or door-bell. I pulled out of the driveway and tried to find a level spot near the office, then put up curtains, locked up, brushed my teeth, got into a nightgown and went to bed.  Half an hour later, there was a knock on the door and I got up.  A guy in a golf cart asked if I needed a spot, and I said that I didn’t want to try to park at a site in the dark.  I asked if it would be all right if I spent the night where I was, and would be happy to pay $10.00 for no services.  He went to find the owner, who, when she returned, proved to be a very unpleasant woman, who said that if I wouldn’t go down (a very steep hill) to a campsite, I had to leave. I left about 10:00 PM. 
I drove further along the highway (SR 125), without glasses, having forgotten to put them on.  I also forgot to raise the rear curtain, so my rear view was restricted to the side mirrors.  The road was winding, and I was sleepy, annoyed, and frightened of tipping off the steep edge of the narrow highway.  At one point, I pulled over into a wide driveway of a business establishment in order to let a line of cars pass that had queued up behind me, and I thought that perhaps I could spend the night there, since the next day was Sunday (not a business day).  I drove up a hill into a parking lot, not very level, turned around carefully so that I was heading out, in case some security person asked me to leave in the middle of the night, tried to maneuver the RV into a spot that was as level as possible, and then put down the curtains again.  I got into bed but lay there, still annoyed about the other campground and worrying that someone here would try to kick me out too.  I heard the crunch of gravel once, but no-one come up, and I eventually got to sleep – probably around midnight.  I woke up around 9:30 AM, so I must have relaxed finally, and certainly got enough sleep after my long day of driving and the grueling effort to find a place to spend the night. 
This campground in Shawnee State Park is a dream compared to that other campground.  I should either have come directly here or else stayed in the shopping mall parking lot.

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