Volunteer Week Three

A Juvenile Bald Eagle Soaring Along Lake Erie

This past week was the last week for people sixty two or older to get their lifetime National Parks Senior Pass for the cheap, cheap price of ten dollars. As of Monday 8/28 the price will rise to $80. Even at eighty dollars it is a steal. Ten dollars is unbelievably cheap. Ever since the word of the price increase got out, more than one hundred people per day have been to the ONWR Visitors Center to buy a pass. The approaching deadline has doubled that number.

Prior to this past Monday 8/21 the parks department had run out of Senior Passes. That’s the National Parks Department. Not just a local problem. The solution was to record people’s information, allow them to buy their passes, and issue receipts that would act as temporary passes. It was a very time consuming process that kept the visitors center front desk very busy. It all changed as of this past Monday. We received the real physical passes. The first few unfortunate buyers still got a receipt. As of 10:00AM we were able to sell them directly and reduced our paper work by 90%.

The next thing to do, stuff envelopes. Everyone who had received a voucher had self addressed an envelope. That required a pass, or two, or four to be mailed in each envelope. We divided up the duties While one person recorded the pass number and placed a pass in the envelope the other stuffed a flyer in the envelope, sealed it with a sponge pen filled with water and applied a stamp. During the first day we managed to prepare three hundred envelopes before running out of stamps. We had over 1,600 to process. On day two we had three people dedicated to the process. The first person recorded the numbers and handed the passes to the next person who verified the number of passes per envelope. The third person sealed and stacked the envelopes. By the end of day two we had completed stuffing all the envelopes. We had also received more stamps and started slapping them on the envelope corners. The stamping continued into day three but I had another job.

On Wednesday I worked with maintenance to whittle down a chit list. I secured some fire extinguishers to a couple of ATVs and replaced multiple 120 volt outlets. Simple stuff. That was the end of the work week. My sister Marcia stopped out in the evening, We went for a walk, looking for something interesting to photograph. It was a quiet evening. We ate at Blackberry Corners. It’s a little locally owned tavern that has decent food. I can recommend it.

Magee Marsh

I enjoyed my Thursday off with a five mile walk to lake Erie, Magee Marsh and back. Magee Marsh abuts to Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge. The biggest difference is that the state of Ohio DNR operates Magee Marsh. The two areas share a goal of maintaining a natural environment.

The Trail to Lake Erie

I walked along the beach then along the boardwalks. The boardwalks take you through the dense marsh where you can see the wildlife up close. The longest part of the walk was from the boardwalk down the unprotected road to the Magee Marsh visitors center. There are no trees, no shade, and it was a cool, albeit sunny day. I stopped at the Magee Marsh visitors center. The doors were open but it was unmanned. The restroom and water fountain were greatly appreciated. The visitors center has many examples of stuffed wild animals and birds. You can read about the history of the marshes. There is a lot of information to absorb. Take a brochure or two. The final trail is a jointly maintained path leading directly between the two facilities to my RV. It was good exercise.

Later that same day, my cousin Ron, his wife Evie, my sister Chris, and her son John showed up. I met them at the ONWR visitor center. Chris and Evie both qualified to buy a Senior Pass which they did. After a quick tour of the visitor center and a walk around the immediate grounds, we all squeezed into Ron’s Grand Prix and headed down the road to get ice cream. The Barnside Creamery is a very popular stop. I had a soft serve vanilla, orange sherbet twist in a cone. I have been told the food is good too. I saw two fellow workers from ONWR while we were there.

Friday I went for a morning walk and did some routine RV cleaning and maintenance. I lubricated the steps and the stabilizers. I also tried to figure out how to lubricate the slide out motors but never could get to them. I am researching that.

My friend Ken picked me up around 12:30. We met Stephanie to pick up his grand kids, Spencer, and Cayden. From there we were off to the Sandusky County Fair. We took turns riding rides with the boys, eating fair food, and repeating more of the same. There was also a tiger show and a trained pig show. We all had a good time. Spencer had not wanted to go, but his smile said he did not enjoyed the fair too. We ate at Bob Evans just to get some healthier food. It was after 9:00PM by the time that I got dropped off at the RV. Time to call it a night. I was pooped.

Saturday morning I was up with the alarm at 6:30. I stripped the bed, gathered up laundry, and readied the RV to move out. After dumping the tanks, I drove to Oak Harbor, stopped at a bank, hit the ATM for some cash, and went to the coin laundry. The only other person there was busy opening and cleaning up the place. I started my wash, asked the guy if he wanted anything from McDonalds next door (he didn’t) then got my breakfast. By the time I returned, the other guy had finished cleaning, fired up his Honda Shadow and rode off. It was just me, my coffee, and a Toledo Blade Newspaper. During the time it took me to wash and dry the laundry three other people had shown up. It was 9:20 as I headed toward Port Clinton to do some shopping. I stopped at Kroger, Walmart (where I did not buy anything), Cheese Haven, and then Bassett’s Do it Best/ Grocery store. Bassett’s is a huge grocery store. I had already completed my grocery shopping so I checked out the grocery too. I need to check it out more thoroughly.

Cheese Haven is a favorite stop of mine. They have a huge selection of wines, candies and of course cheeses. I like the aged cheddar and garlic. The 10 years aged cheddar is outstanding. The older the better, and more expensive. I recommend a stop at Cheese Haven whenever you are around the Port Clinton, Ohio area.

I met my niece Andrea and her significant other Randy for lunch. I was having a hard time finding a place to park in downtown Port Clinton. The downtown roads are torn up. I ended up parking near the county buildings on the east end of town. Andrea and Randy picked me up and drove us downtown to eat at the Clinton House. The perch was good. The potato pancakes were good. Randy enjoyed his chef’s salad and Andrea liked her Italian Sausage. Good place and the price was right.

After saying goodbye to Andrea and Randy, I drove across Sandusky Bay bridge on SR 2 to a truck wash at SR 101. I had looked it up on line and chose this location because it was the closest. I did not find it very easy to use. After scrubbing and rinsing , I had some grease smears on the back of the RV. The rest of the RV was not a very even wash either. I pulled out and decided to see if there was a worker on duty. I got lucky. The owner was there. He complained about the truckers getting grease on his scrub brushes as he cleaned the brush and then cleaned the grease off my RV. I thanked him for making it right. I may try it again sometime, but may also try to find another wash.

Fishing on Sandusky Bay

I headed west on SR 2 toward ONWR. it was about 3:00PM, too early to head back. I exited at SR 269 found a bait shop where I bought some night crawlers, and stopped at Old Bay Bridge where I fished for a couple hours. I never got so much as a nibble. The word was the same up and down the line. Before leaving I handed off the remaining eleven worms of my dozen to a man who had just pulled in a four inch long white bass, a near minnow.

I finished my evening at the RV site watching the Cleveland Browns.

Along the Trail

Sunday was a quiet day at ONWR. I did not work. I took a long walk with my camera in hand. I saw egrets, herons, and bald eagles along with other common birds. It was relaxing.

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