Background Music: "Let's Move to Cleveland" by Frank Zappa, live in 1984.  Edited for time (sorry Frank)
     note: We don't really want to move to Cleveland, it's just a fitting song. We're still setting our sights on Vermont.

Maybe because it’s getting close to the end of our trip and we’re getting a little road weary, or maybe because the cost of gas at the local gas station has gone up 25 cents in the last two days, but we’re staying close to camp this stop.

We’re in Jefferson, Ohio. The scenery here isn’t much different from the surrounding states. Farms, small towns, and a few acres of trees crop up every so often. It’s nice here. We’re camped right next to a meadow and at night masses of fireflies twinkle over the grass and sparkle in the trees.

Staying relatively close to camp hasn’t been bad at all. We have some interesting things nearby, like Cleveland, which is only a short drive away. We visited the botanical gardens there, which had one of the biggest indoor butterfly gardens we’ve ever seen. After the gardens we went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, something that had been on Travis’ to do list long before we even started planning this trip.

In the little town of Jefferson, we got a map of the local covered bridges at the city hall, and took the afternoon driving the rural back roads of Ashtabula County. We saw about a dozen covered bridges in some beautiful farmland. We met a cat at one bridge and a dog at another, both looked like strays, but they were too afraid of either us and/or Marley for us to attempt a rescue. Another near miss, Travis might say. We’ve had several on this trip. There was the stray puppy at a Louisiana bayou who we were told would be eaten by an alligator before summer was up. By the time we got back from our boat ride, though, he was gone. We hoped someone had taken him home. In South Carolina there was the frog who stowed away on our camper. We decided he should stay local, and found him a home at a nearby lake. In Tennessee there was another tiny little dog that had been left at a rest stop. He ran around the parking lot, trying to avoid getting hit. We tried to coax him to us with Cheetos, but he was having none of it. Other people tried to catch him as well, but he was too scared of anyone to let them help. By now, we would have a menagerie of stray animals to bring home with us if fate hadn’t intervened in every case. Maybe it’s just as well. One dog on the road and in this little trailer has been plenty fun enough.

Other than Cleveland and The Bridges of Ashtabula County, our nearly week long stay here has been spent at the campground, doing things like washing the trailer, changing yet another tire on the truck, and watching the busy lives of the two birds camped in the next site over.

Mr. and Mrs. Killdeer are proud parents to four little spotted eggs. The Mrs. laid them in the gravel, right in the middle of the campsite. They’re very protective. When we unknowingly got near the nest, Mrs. Killdeer went berserk. She puffed herself up, spread her wings and squawked like she was on fire. Mr. Killdeer ran a little ways away and began flopping around spastically on the ground, pretending to be easy prey to lure us away. When we walked close to him, he ran off, and then when he was once again at a safe distance, the flop routine continued. When we finally left, everyone calmed down. The dad ran back to check that everyone was okay and finding that they were, the couple resumed their lookouts. They are a really cute little family, although maybe a bit excitable. We hope their eggs make it. With the upcoming holiday weekend, they may have some trouble keeping their spot. The campground isn’t quite full, though, so they just might have a chance.

Travis did ask the campground keepers about them. He got as far as, “There are some killdeer with a nest there, and I wonder if you might consider…” The groundskeeper cut in, “Killing them? Getting rid of them?” “NO!” said Travis, horrified. “I was going ask if you would you consider closing the spot if there are enough sites?” It turns out that there are lots of killdeer out here, and four eggs won’t be missed, so “No”. Now that’s just sad.

Maybe it is a good thing we don’t have the stray animal menagerie. I mean, heartfelt pleas to save little birds nests, Oregon plates, tie die shirts, long hair and world peace bumper stickers…if we had a trail of animals in and out of our trailer, people might think we’re hippies or something.

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