2018 Ohio Lake Erie Shores and Island Rally Recap
June 4-8, 2018

Dates: June 4-8, 2018
Location: Tall Timbers Campground and Resort
340 S. Christy Chapel Rd.
Port Clinton, OH 43452
Hosts: Ron and Mary Bash

Thirty one (31) Born Free Leap'n Lions RV Club members traveled in 16 coaches from 13 states to Tall Timbers Campground and Resort at Port Clinton, Ohio to attend the club's fantastic 2018 Ohio Lake Erie Shores and Island Rally. This beautifully shaded campground, nestled in quiet woods with a calm swimming lake near the southwest shores of Lake Erie, was just a lovely and picturesque rally location. This pre-summer rally held in cool temperatures under generally partly cloudy Ohio skies was all about airplanes, boats, islands, lighthouses, fun, good food and great fellowship. It was superbly hosted by Ron and Mary Bash.

Monday afternoon, hosts Ron and Mary graciously welcomed everyone to the rally at the always friendly and much anticipated wine and cheese social where club members from all across the country reconnected once again. After the wine and cheese social, one and all enjoyed a tasty shared dinner with hosts Ron and Mary providing mouth-watering pulled chicken sandwiches, chips and drinks and everyone else bringing their favorite dish.

After dinner, George Boley gave a splendid presentation on the great activities he and Sue along with Ron and Bobbie Warmbier have planned for the upcoming "Vermont Foliage Rally" (September) and he also discussed the long awaited "2019 Return to Canadian Maritimes Caravan" (June). Next, Helen Hornbake (Club Newsletter Editor) updated everyone on the wonderful things she and Larry have scheduled for the "Historic Gettysburg Battlefield Rally" (September/October). Then Nick and Dee Dee (Club Historian) McClain reported on the special events they have arranged for the "2019 National Rally and 20th Anniversary Celebration" with the theme - Celebrating 20 Years of Fun, Fellowship and Great Times (Amana, Iowa in May). These future club activities have already generated a great deal of interest among club members.

Tuesday everyone awoke to a scrumptious breakfast of delicious mixed fruit, tasty breads and such with the aroma of freshly brewed coffee accentuating the cool morning air. Next, they motored off to the Jet Express Lake Erie boarding dock in cars and a large rented van driven by host/chauffer Ron Bash with passengers assisted in and out of the van by the always friendly Bill Meier (VPNCR). At the dock, everyone boarded the Jet Express ferry boat and cruised across Lake Erie to South Bass Island and the Village of Put-in-Bay. The rest of the morning was spent on an interesting and informative guided tram tour of the island. After lunching at a restaurant of choice, ralliers further toured the island sites by walking or by rented bicycles or golf carts. Some chose to ascend the 352' high Victory and International Peace Memorial for a great view of the surrounding islands including the mysterious Rattlesnake Island. Some visited Put-in-Bay Historical Museum, fish hatchery, state park, wineries, various shops, butterfly house, antique car museum or the South Bend Chocolate Museum prior to again boarding the Jet Express ferry boat and cruising back to the mainland. Later, Gary Gulbranson's excellent fire building skills were much appreciated as his brightly flickering campfire kept those circled around it warm and cozy in the cool June Ohio evening. Some fire watchers talked of the day's boat cruise and the remarkable sites visited on the island. Others noticed small airplanes repeatedly circling then descending overhead on final approach to the airport located just beyond the campground. The pilots were apparently practicing touch and goes.

Wednesday started with another tasty breakfast and then off to Fremont, Ohio for a guided tour of past Ohio Governor and 19th President Rutherford B. Hayes's Presidential Library & Museums including his 31 room mansion. Amazingly, the mansion was occupied by his descendents continuously until 1965 when it was sold to the State of Ohio keeping much of the original decoration and furniture still intact and well preserved. Lunch followed at the local favorite Italian restaurant, Ciao Bella, where everyone had a choice of delicious pasta and pizza dishes. Next it was off to see several lighthouses including the 1821 Marblehead Lighthouse (oldest continuously-operated lighthouse on the Great Lakes - US side) located on Lake Erie at the 9 acre Marblehead State Park. Looking out over Sandusky Bay from where the lighthouse stands you could see fast-approaching multicolored motor boats shooting glistening white waves high up in the air and also catch a glimpse of Cedar Point Amusement Park on the far side. The rest of the day was scheduled free time for activities of choice including another evening gathered at the warm and inviting campfire. Sitting around the campfire, conversations flowed continuously as they normally do when George Boley mentioned that he eats "Flutternutter Sandwiches". As it turned out, no one else had any idea of what he was talking about so off he went to his coach and made one from bread, peanut butter and marshmallow spread. Upon his return, Jack Maxy sort of agreed to eat it, and to everyone's astonishment, Jack pronounced the "Flutternutter Sandwich" good and tasty.

Eating well at Ciao Bella's in Port Clinton, OH

Sunshine and a yummy breakfast greeted early risers Thursday morning after which the first stop was Port Clinton's Liberty Airplane Tri-motor Museum for a fantastic guided tour. The airplane museum visit was much appreciated by our aviation enthusiast members especially in a boater's town. Among the museum's several flyable historical aircraft is a beautifully restored vintage WW II North American B-25 Mitchell Bomber (named Georgie's Gal). Additionally, of particular note is the museum's ongoing project to completely reconstruct a 1929 Ford Tri-Motor airliner to flyable condition. The tour was followed by a delicious lunch of chicken salad croissant sandwiches with sides to match and graciously hosted in the museum's conference room. An afternoon of free time was followed by a terrific ice cream social with delicious ice cream, toppings, cookies and snacks all purchased from local favorite Toft's Ice Cream Parlor. Evening found folks once again sitting around the warm and comfy campfire casually chatting and at the same time realizing that both the day and this wonderful Buckeye rally were both now coming to a close.

Tour at Liberty Aviation Museum in Port Clinton, OH

Early Friday morning there was yet another great breakfast with talk now turning to travel preparations and of the good times just had. After breakfast, everyone thanked Ron and Mary for hosting such an excellent rally, wished each other safe travels, and departed this beautiful northern Ohio campground.

Group Picture at Tall Timbers Campground in Port Clinton, OH

Submitted by Dee Dee and Nick McClain.

Additional Comments by Gary Gulbranson

The huge success of this rally was a direct result of Ron and Mary Bash's detailed planning and thoughtfulness. The planned itinerary and tours gave us a sense of history and place. Details were all-inclusive from the restaurant recommendations to the welcome bag including brochures on happenings in the Port Clinton area and the campsite lighthouse markers prepared by Mary (an appropriate rally remembrance).

On Monday afternoon, the rally "kickoff" included local wines, cheeses, crackers, other hors d'oeuvres, and the typical tasty Leap'n Lions potluck (always much variety and more than enough). Each day started with breakfast including Mary's homemade breads, and pastries from local bakeries. Great start to each day.

The trip and tour of Put-in-Bay Island was a lesson in the history of the War of 1812 (the "forgotten war"). The presentation at the Victory and International Peace Memorial provided more clarity about the role of the Lake Erie battles than we ever got from our history books.

The Rutherford B. Hayes museum and home were beautiful and informative. Reviewing topics that were highlighted in 1877 and relating them to 2018 show nothing much is new. (The 1877 election of our 19th president concerned "electoral college and immigration" as in 2018?)

Touring of the lighthouses was revealing. Designs ranged from the typical tall and cylindrical kind found on the Atlantic coast to squat and wooden designs like those at the entrance to Port Clinton harbor.

The Liberty Airplane Trimotor Museum was an unexpected bonus. The World War II vintage planes were beautiful and all flyable. The Ford Trimotor restoration in progress and the video of flights to and from Put-in-Bay vividly depicted how dependent the islanders were on the reliable Trimotor.

Most rallies have an unexpected surprise, and we had two.

Sitting around the campfire, fluffernutters were brought up. Jack Maxy asked, "What is a fluffernutter?" The Boleys made one for Jack (a sandwich of peanut butter and marshmallow fluff). Jack is now hooked, and we've heard that he is searching Lubbock, Texas, for fluff.

As always, "Oh, Hell" card games were being played. Jim Birdsell wants everyone to know that in a 13-hand game he had 13 perfect bids-a miracle for him since prior performances haven't been great.

Thanks again to Mary and Ron for this wonderful gathering and for sharing the history and opportunities in their area.