Wow, so many events, so little internet connection with which to post a blog about them! I’m going to have to cram a lot into this blog, but first, here is a brief review of Virgin Mobile’s Broadband2Go service:
It. Is. Worthless.
We knew we were going to be on the road for an extended time, mostly in campgrounds, and access to free Wifi hotspots would be limited. So we shopped around for a portable, temporary solution. We chose Virgin Mobile’s Broadband2Go because it seemed like the most reliable and sound choice. We paid about $80 for a USB stick that scans the skies for a signal, and $60 for one month worth of service (5GB worth of emails, net surfing, streaming Netflix for those boring nights in the tent, etc.).
We are now almost done with that month and still have 4.7GB left because we can’t get a signal anywhere. When/if we do get a signal, it’s so weak that it takes forever to upload the pictures for this blog or even check my email. Never mind streaming any Netflix. Ain’t gonna happen. Heck, I get a cell phone signal on my cheapo Net10 phone, but Virgin Mobile can’t hook us up? I’m just sayin.
But enough bitching. I’ve said what I want to say. So there. Back to the trip. (But in case you’re curious, I’m sitting at a picnic table, in the dark, posting this by leeching off the campground office’s wifi.)
When last I wrote, we had settled in to our campsite on the OH/PA border and planned to return to Cleveland later in the week to fix the muffler and eat at Noce Pizza in Chardon, OH on the way in to town. We did both of those, and here is a brief review of Noce’s Grecian Pizza:
It. Is. To. Die. For.
Oh my, it is so incredibly tasty that words fail me. The crust is sublime and the toppings, similar to those on a gyro, are exquisite. I ordered an entire pizza and ate nothing but for the next two meals. (I would have continued, but we have no fridge and pizza doesn’t keep for long in a cooler or a tent.) If you are ever in Chardon, you would be making a big mistake if you didn’t stop in and eat mass quantities of their divine slices.
While we’re on the subject of food, we finally made some Campstove Spaghetti. In the early 90’s, Jeff and I moved to Los Angeles to try to become famous comedians (it didn’t pan out, obvs). We lived in a tent for six months, on the beach and in a nudist resort, and perfected the best spaghetti we’ve ever made.
This spaghetti can’t be replicated on anything but a Coleman stove (using Coleman fuel, not propane). That is apparently the secret ingredient, because we’ve used the exact same ingredients on many stoves since then, but like a charcoal grill adds a specific taste to burgers, Coleman fuel adds a nuance to spaghetti. I know it sounds gross, but believe me when I tell you we were literally two happy campers that night.
Let’s see … what else? Oh yeah, I took a ride in the little outboard fishing boat that Jeff rented! I haven’t been in a boat since I was in a pretty serious boat accident the summer that I was 14. Between the vertigo that I deal with on a daily basis (which causes seasickness) and fear of boats, I stayed far away from them.
I also now have a new euphemism for going to the restroom. This campground, unlike the last one with its horrid portapotties, has real toilets, in a nice solid brick building. However, it is still a campground, so there are lots of bugs and spiders in there. At night, there is a gigantic toad staking out the stalls, keeping us all safe from creepy crawlies. So, now whenever either of us has to use the facilitah (for you, Stacy and Kristina) we call it “visiting the toad.”
No trip to Lake Pymatuming would be complete without feeding the fish on the Spillway in Lineville, PA. This is a place where—for some reason that I’d look up if I could get a freakin’ internet signal—an unfathomable number of carp know that people will feed them bread if they just wait for it. They are rarely disappointed. You can buy bread from the Spillway concession and watch this nauseating show yourself, if you’re in the area.
Why is it nauseating? Well, it’s hard to describe without sounding mean, really, but there are thousands of these gigantic, oily, filthy fish fighting each other to get to the bread that is thrown. They gape their gigantic mouths and make disgusting smacking sounds while they practically kill each other over some stale bread (of which there is no shortage … these are not hungry fish, they are greedy fish).
On the other hand, feeding the seagulls at the Spillway was happy-fun time, even if they are just enormous pooping machines with wings. They catch the bread in midair and put on quite a show. Besides, I like seagulls. They’re fun birds.
At the Spillway, you will find the obligatory “name that nature” sign, where they tell you what wildlife you might see. I got a real kick out of the sign that tells you what kinds of birds are in the area and what they say. My particular favorite is how they describe the call of the Song Sparrow: “Maids! Maids! Maids! Hang up your tea kettle-ettle-ettle!” Personally, I think that whoever translated that birdspeak had taken a heroic dose of hallucinogens beforehand. But that’s just me.
In addition to having to fix the muffler on the car, first we had to find a muffler for such an old vehicle. And since we don’t have a friggin’ internet connection, we couldn’t just call around first to find out who might have one in the area. We drove around Cleveland for about an hour before we finally found a place that had one in their warehouse in Euclid, so we had to go all the way out there for the muffler.
Now the muffler is fixed, and we also now have brake fluid (which we apparently did not, previous to that moment), but we were driving down a back, country road when suddenly the car started misfiring. We managed to find our way to a local garage in the nearest town, where a very kind and generous mechanic simply reached in and reattached one of the wires that had not been fastened properly when we had the car tuned up, in Florida, before we left lo these many moons ago (it feels like years since we’ve been home).
But the kicker is, yesterday as we were packing up our gear to get ready to leave northeast Ohio and head to our next destination, Jeff drove up to the campground store to get a bag of ice for the cooler.
Let me first ask you this: have you ever driven 10 miles per hour? Can you drive 10 miles per hour? I’m truly anal about going the posted speed limit, and even I can’t drive 10 miles per hour. Hell, the car won’t GO 10 miles per hour, without riding the brake! Are you beginning to get an inkling of what’s coming?
Yes, he got pulled over by the park security officer for going 20 in a 10 MPH zone. But since he had a beer in the car with him (remember he was within the campground, not out on the public roads) the park cop gave him a ticket and he has to appear in court next week. Never mind that we live in Florida and he would have to drive back up here to appear. Never mind that he could just pay the fine by mail. He has to stay here in the area to go to court to pay a … drumroll please … 500 F*CKING DOLLAR FINE!
So, yeah. We’re staying here in northeast Ohio another week, at the same campground we’ve been at all week, where we’ve already done all the local things we set out to do. We had to move to another campsite, however, because it’s Labor Day weekend and the primo site we had was already booked. But I like the new site better, actually. It’s huge and lovely, and has lots of trees, with a really homey vibe. So I guess I’ll just do some writing (no internet surfing, natch), and Jeff will do some fishing, and we’ll, once again, reboot and remain Zen about this latest debacle.