West By Northwest At Last!

Just above the main falls at Niagara
At least I’m headed in the right direction!  It’s been forty days and forty nights since we departed Austin; and never once have we driven TOWARD Alaska, our ultimate goal.  At least, that is, until now.

We sadly dropped Jen off at the airport last Tuesday, and have begun making our way across Massachusetts, New York and around the southern shore of Lake Eerie.  Except for a brief visit and photo-op in Niagara Falls State Park, we’re actually trying to put some big miles behind us.  On the entire trip, my goal has been to limit driving to between 100 and 150 miles per day. That’s a comfortable distance that leaves plenty of time for exploration and relaxation.  However, it looks like I may need to compress the trip a little bit.  I had originally intended to be back in Austin by late October; but now it looks like I need to be back in September.  So, since we’ve spent plenty of time in this area already, Boots and I have decided to put some miles behind us for a few days.  That allows us to preserve the bulk of our originally-intended route, without sacrificing time spent in areas that we are eager to explore.

Another lovely Walmart morning!
We had already driven 275 miles to get to Niagara Falls and had originally intended to either camp there or a nearby Walmart parking lot.  But the mercury was topping out at 80+ on the thermometer and we still had a few hours of daylight left.  We decided to take advantage of the air conditioning in the truck and put even more miles behind us.  Sick of driving, we finally pulled into Ashtabula, Ohio for an overnight in their local Walmart parking lot.


Ashtabula is from the Lenape word meaning “enough fish for everyone”. I’m not sure the Walmart seafood section was what they had in mind, though…
I did learn that the name Ashtabula is derived from a Native American word that means “enough fish to go around for everyone”.    Indeed there was plenty of food in the aisles of that vast retail cavern; but I’m pretty sure that wasn’t what the native Americans had in mind…. Beyond my interesting etymological discovery, there really wasn’t a whole lot more of interest in Ashtabula.

Ahh… Back to real camping!


Another Walmart parking lot in Angola, Indiana followed by another 250 mile drive finally brings us to the Lake Michigan shore, in the Huron-Manistee National Forest.  We’re gettin’ there!  We’re also back to camping the way we like to camp.  Dispersed forest camping sure beats waking up every morning at Walmart!

Mahalo Y’all