Sunday, August 29, 2010

Quick Jaunt to Cedar Trails

A trip to Ohio has been on my agenda all summer, but every single weekend that we both had available was already filled. We proposed several dates, and all fell through. Lucky for us, some of the other plans fell through at the last possible minute on the first Friday of August. We both managed to take off work Monday for driving back -- we were set for a trip! Assuming everything goes right, that is.

Friday, after a full day of work (6:45pm), I scurried around collecting everything we might need for the trip and called up Chet and Lydia once I was on the road. I had no time to fire up the computer and plan the route, post my intentions on Twitter, or contact others to meet up with in Ohio. I had no time to double-check that I packed everything we needed. The plan was to pick up Percilla at 8pm and drive her clunker (which is better than my clunker) all night across several states to meet up with people we've never met before. What could possibly go wrong?

After being awake all night, I was lucky. I've pulled plenty of all-nighter's before. Sometimes I drag through the second day. Sometimes I feel sick. This time, as with only a few others, I actually felt awake the second day. I didn't even feel tired through the night until the sun was rising. After the sun was up more, I felt awake again. It's strange how that works.

We almost-blindly followed the GPS's recommendation for the fastest route, which resulted in a path that I would never want to drive in the daytime. Straight through Chicago, take a normally busy exit, follow a straight road with tons of stoplights through most of Indiana, then take alleys and county roads through small towns and rural areas until somehow ending up on the interstate we need.

We made it to mid-Ohio by 6:30am, jumped in Chet's car, and rode to Cedar Trails in southern Ohio. A stop had to be made at a small town store for some sandals and other forgotten supplies. We went from interstate, to nice roads, to skinny roads, to a really skinny gravel road. Cedar Trails is really tucked away. I like that.

The weather was perfect, but Cedar Trails still had a minimal crowd of around 25 when we arrived. Although crowds of naked people can be fun, having 60 acres to explore and most facilities nearly to yourself is an enjoyable experience as well. The exception to this was Saturday afternoon and evening, when the crowds doubled for the dart tournament and pool party. There was a good mix of people too, including 4 other couples our age and some teenagers who were having a blast in and around the pool area.

After arriving, the tent provided less entertainment than Chet was anticipating. Percilla and I work like a machine to get the tent raised, the air mattress full, the bed made, and everything moved into the tent. Perhaps the most entertainment he had was watching me pound in the tent stakes with my boot. Little did he know, I've done that ever since we've had a tent and it has always worked great -- so much so that I don't even bother packing a mallet. He at least helped in tying the side flaps down (something I never do), and in lending us a much better air mattress, pump, and lantern. We only spent nights in the tent. During the daytime, we all went to their air conditioned camper.

Saturday and Sunday had nearly the same routine. Breakfast, laze by the pool, lunch, some physical activity, supper, and an evening round of pool at the club or relaxing among tiki torches at the pool party. The food, generously provided by Chet and Lydia, was excellent! (It was better than what we normally eat.) Lazing around by the pool wasn't my favorite activity, but everyone else seemed to enjoy it. Percilla and I hid our pale Wisconsin skin under a large beach umbrella and some SPF 85. Lydia relaxed in the lounge chair under the sun, and Chet was blissfully gathering rays by floating in the pool. They're both well on their way to a chocolate bar tan. We at least got a little color during our stay, and it wasn't red.

The afternoons consisted of taking the paddle boat out for a spin around the lake, playing darts, playing bocce ball, playing pool, trying to get wifi from the camper, and hiking the trails. The paddle boat was fun, but the lake was a bit small for it and we were warned that it might bottom out in places. (The lake will have water added soon.) The bocce and horseshoe pits are excellent, with all needed items available. The pool table has everything too and is in great condition. We didn't try the badminton or volleyball, but I'm confident they're in similar shape.

The couple miles of trails were especially enjoyable for me. It's not often that I get to freehike with others and not have to worry about prudish textilers. The trails were well maintained, but that may change now that the person who created them has left. They were all nicely mowed during our visit. Trees were marked with orange tape, and fallen tree branches were placed on the sides to help identify the trail. At the top, there's a lovely prairie with wild flowers, horses (sometimes), and a lookout across a meteor crater.

It was apparent that I was at home on the trails. I could glide through them all with little effort. To be fair, everyone could keep up with a good pace, but I was the least tired and could've gone multiple times in a row. I was also the one spotting the wildlife, with one exception being a spider on a web that Lydia nearly ran into. When the four of us were hiking on Sunday, I was calling things out. "Look -- there's a tree frog!" "Look -- there's a baby snake! Don't step on it!" Saturday, when Chet and I first went on the trails, I spotted the only wildlife. "Look -- there's a skunk only 15 feet away with it's tail in the air!"

We stopped dead in our tracks. There was absolutely no scent, so it didn't feel too threatened yet. It was also facing us, which is a good side to be on. We slowly crept down the trail to get by it and it also made a slow retreat into a trench. Whew! We didn't even want to consider the consequences if we would've been sprayed. Chet and I would've been confined to the tent and shower stalls, and everyone would be avoiding us. The car ride home would've been unpleasant too. We might've even used up all the water getting that scent off.

Water is an issue at Cedar Trails. Due to some obscure regulations, water needs to be trucked in from the city for public use. The owner does this himself -- a few times each day he'll take a truck with a big tank in the bed to the city, fill it up, and unload it into large tanks around the resort. I'm unsure if the water can be considered drinkable, but none of us chance it. The locals know about the water situation and really try to minimize their use of it. Day-trippers might not know. My suggestion is that a sign should be posted informing everyone that water gets trucked in and to ask that they minimize use of it. I took navy showers while I was there.

The bathhouse at Cedar Trails is absolutely brilliant for the purpose it serves. It's the best designed bathhouse I've ever seen. The picture on the website shows the front. It has an entry door on each side, with large custom windows to let light in. The inside has two open showers between the doors which allow easy access between sides if the showers aren't in use. There is no male/female designation. There is no ceiling, just the roof, so the window light goes everywhere. There is a private toilet stall on each side, along with a regular sink, mirror, shelf for putting things on, and a large sink for washing dishes or clothes. The lights by the sink and mirror are on a 15 minute timer. Additionally, you'll notice on the picture that there is something between the doors. This is a whole-building 75 minute timer, which controls power to the lights, hot water heater, small heater (when needed), small air conditioner (when needed), and ceiling fans. Lastly, cleaning supplies are readily available with a sign saying "Please clean up after yourself. You're mother doesn't live here." Based on how clean it was, I'd have to say that people adhere to this guideline.

Another wonderful idea they tried was a Snorkel hot tub. (Snorkel is famous for having a wood-fired aluminum stove that sits right in the water.) The first problem they had was keeping the temperature comfortable, which they eventually mastered. The second problem couldn't be fixed. As people get in and out of the tub, the water level would constantly get low. Low water is a problem for the Snorkel stoves because if there is not enough water around them, they can overheat and melt. Their conclusion is that the Snorkels are great for home use, but not as a resort centerpiece. I plan to buy one for our personal off-grid hot tub.

Cedar Trails has a certain kind of charm that is rare to find. The couple that purchased and developed the land have put their hearts and souls into creating a high quality nudist retreat. As far as I can tell, they've succeeded. Percilla and I had a great time, with great company, and are looking forward to a return visit in the future. Maybe next time I can plan things a little better!

1 comment:

Rick said...

I'm glad you got a chance to make to Cedar Trails. I wish I'd known you were going but I understand how it is when an opportunity suddenly presents itself. Another time perhaps.