Saturday, October 4, 2014

Ohio, the heart of it all!

After leaving the Red River Gorge, Zach and I headed out to see his family in Ohio. I haven't spent much time there and was excited to see new people and a new place. It was funny getting there because Zach was sure he could remember the way and didn't want the GPS loaded up (I may have secretly typed in a location to try and keep track of our progress). We started heading in what felt to me like the opposite direction of what Zach had been describing. I took a quick peek at my secret map and was able to give a few suggestions. We got back on the right road and started winding our way through the corn fields on nicely paved roads. I think Kansas should follow suit. The pavement was much nicer then the dirt roads of rural Kansas. 
The view from the front porch!
Ringo and Jazz, the inside puppers.
Jake, the faithful part wolf dog.
He watched over our van for us while enjoying the shade:)
Zach's uncle Joe and aunt Nan had offered us a place to park and hang out for the weekend. I had met them before in Colorado but it was great to see them again and meet all their sweet pets. The farm house they lived in was the one Nan and Zach's mom, with all their other siblings, had grown up in. It was a beautiful house Nan has been updating and decorating. It looks great! The barn is used as Joe's workshop and the other farm buildings are gardening sheds and storage. I loved being out in the yard and enjoying the calm of the country. The corn fields had not been harvested yet so you felt shelter from the tall stalks. The sunsets were beautiful and I tried to make it out each night to enjoy them. Reminded me of the Kansas sunsets from back home:)
We had a great visit with Nan and Joe and I got to meet Zach's other unlces, Pat, Andy, and Eric. They are a great group and it was fun being around family. I have always loved my family hangouts and this one was just as fun. Little Braden was the star of the show and kept doing cute things we all got to laugh about. It was fun meeting Zach's cousins, Ciara, Becca, and Madi. Thank you all for welcoming me into your family and spending time with us. You guys are awesome!
Nan, Andy, Madi, Eric, and Zach.
Pat and his grandson, Braden.
Zach and Joe doing and oil change. Thanks, Joe!
We have already drive over 3000 miles!
Zach's aunt Mary and uncle Gary came up from Dayton for the afternoon with their grandkids, Cameron and Destiny who were excited to drive the Harley Davidson 3 wheeler golf cart around the course Joe keeps in their field. Mary was even brave enough to take a ride along! She survived but had quite the surprised expression on her face. It was so great seeing you all again and enjoying the day! Thanks again for coming up to hang out!
The Dayton crew:) Cameron, Mary, Zach, Sarah, Destiny, and Gary.

Mary's white knuckled ride!

Zach's turn on the Harley:) I got my first Harley ride as well
That night, I got the true Ohio experience as we packed up and set out to the race track a few miles away. There was a dirt track and it was the last race night of the season. Zach's grandpa, Ed Young, had been a part of racing when he was alive and it was fun getting introduced to it. I was pretty excited when I started hearing the engines roar! The race track was 1/4 mile around once and most of the races were 10-25 laps. Different types of cars went at different speeds. They were so impressive to me and I was amazed they could keep control around the corners. 
I did quickly learn why everyone had eye protection on. The dust would blow over the crowd each lap. Nobody seemed to mind too much though and we all cheered them on as they raced around. There were multiple caution flags and if you caused 2 caution flags in a race, you had to leave the track. Nan and I usually picked our favorite car based on the paint job, but most of the time, if the paint was nice, the car was super slow. Maybe they should spend more time on their insides then their outsides. Pat and Andy were also at the races and I enjoyed cheering on the driver Zach's grandpa had sponsered. He was in two races that night and was really competitive. 

Look at that speed!
The crew watching the races!

Fancy eyewear:)
The first thing to do after attending a dirt track race is to take a shower! We got cleaned up and then went to bed. In the morning, we enjoyed a nice breakfast with Nan and Joe. Andy came by one more time and it was great to all hang out again. 
We said our goodbyes in Fryburg and headed out to Bellefontaine to get a tour of where Zach had lived when he was in Ohio. It was a good size town with the claim to fame of the country's first concrete road! I got to see places Zach lived and worked and even went by the ski resort he spent many winter days. The steepness of the hills surprised Zach as he had remembered them being a lot more difficult when he was snowboarding there. It was fun getting the tour.
The slopes of Ohio's ski resort:)
Our final Ohio stop was to see Zach's brother, Rock, his wife, Krista and daughter, Adrianna. We loved visiting with them. Their cat, Smokey, is 19 and Zach remembers her from when they lived in Arizona.  Adrianna, is 11 and loves video games. We all played a Wii game as Mario and his friends. It was fun and we all struggled along. Dinner was so good and we enjoyed spending time around the fire outside relaxing and catching up. Adrianna and I worked on the marshmallow bag and had fun roasting them over the fire. The neighbor had the cutest dog I had ever seen! Her name was Sammy and I loved holding her on my lap. 
More great sunsets!

The fire ring of fun:)

My marshmellow buddy!

The crew. Rock, Adrianna, Krista, and Zach.

Our favorite little video gamer:)

Sammy! Isn't she so cute?!

Sparky, Sammy's crusty older brother.

What a relaxing fire!
We got up early to eat breakfast with Adrianna before she had to leave for school. Seeing that school bus come around the corner, reminded me of my school days. Adrianna was much more prepared and didn't have to have the bus driver honk like I used to have to. It was a fun meeting everyone and feeling such a part of their family! Thanks for the hard apple cider and great company!
Zach and I were heading out the the New River Gorge for some more climbing, but were called to South Caroline for a family emergency. We are here now and just helping out as best we can. Family is so important to me and to Zach as well. I am so glad to have all the support and love from my family as well as Zach's. Thank you all for caring about us so much and we are glad we have this time off to be there for others as well. We are still continuing our vanventure as we can't give up sleeping in the van. Its nice to be self sufficient in our van where ever we go!

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