Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Marblehead, OH and Kelleys Island -- Windswept Shores!

When we arrived at our campground last night the north wind was blowing up a gale. No rain, though. The wind continued this morning and as I write this it is still roaring outside. But we decided nothing would deter us from enjoying our plan for the day. We were going to 8:30 Mass at St. Joseph's but had a little time so we went over to see the park beach. Yikes! We practically had to hold on to a tree not to be blown away. A gaggle of gulls were huddled in the sand mostly with heads tucked in.

At church there was no Mass, but a communion service being run by a lay woman. I give her credit; she did not play priest. She didn't wear an alb, did not stand behind the altar, and did not sit in the priest's chair.  It was simple and dignified although the congregation became a social club after the service. Doesn't anybody believe in reverence in Church or consideration for those praying? Fr. Groschel says folks should tell people to "shut up" but we just knelt and prayed since we were guests in their parish. It's a beautiful church with some lovely statues and mosaic work. Unfortunately, the large crucifix is mounted on the side instead of hanging over the altar, although there is a stained glass window in the sanctuary that depicts the crucifixion. Father will be back tomorrow and we'll attend Mass then.

After breakfast we drove down to the ferry and decided to go as foot passengers and skip the extra fee for the car since we wanted to bike on the island. The waves were monstrous and the 20 minute ride was a bucking bronco adventure. We met Bob in the passenger room. He has a house on the island and a farm on the mainland and travels back and forth. He showed us on our map the best things to do. He also warned us that if the wind continued and shifted to the east the ferry might be cancelled and we could be stranded on the island. Apparently when the waves hit the ferry from the side it can be a dangerous journey. Fortunately, the weather calmed a bit and our ride back was actually less pitching than the ride over. One of the funniest things about the ferry ride back was that two of the workers must have been identical twins. When we saw them together we did a double take!

The ferry landing doesn't have a bike rental so we started to walk into the little town, but a nice man offered us a ride in his golf cart. We keep meeting nice people who volunteer to help us. It must be the intercession of our guardian angels and the three saints we asked to be special helpers on this trip: St. Joseph, St. Benedict, and St. Michael.
At the bike rental I got a pink, really pink, bike. (You would love it, Little Foo!) We peddled around the western perimeter of the island passing charming Victorian homes decorated with plenty of "gingerbread." Some were as colorful as garden flowers. Along the shore we saw cormorants resting on some rocks and a flock of gulls.

When we got to the state park, we stopped to look at the glacial grooves. Some fascinating interpretive stations described the theory of how the grooves formed. No one knows for sure, but the theory is that as the glaciers moved and miles of snow packed on, the snow at the bottom became ice and moved slower than the snow on top. It grooved the limestone as it moved and bits of rock and clay etched out ridges. In some places there are signs that flowing water formed channels and created humps. It was a fascinating stop. From there we rode over to the state park and biked through the campground. We decided it would be a great place to come back to with grandkids.

Near the park was a cemetery so we stopped to pray for the dead. The oldest gravesite I saw was a woman born in the 1700s. There were many from the 1800s. American flags flew at all the graves of vets. Among the marked graves were those for soldiers who served during the Civil War. The saddest grave I noticed was for a little girl named Laura who was 12 yrs., 1 month, and 8 days old. That poignant remembrance made me tear up thinking how painful the loss must have been to her family. So many little ones died in those days before penicillin.

A few places on our bike ride we headed into the wind. Wow! It was hard to make progress. I was thinking what fun it would be for a kid to have a skateboard and a sail. He could go for miles with little effort from all that wind energy.

After returning the bikes, where I stopped for a rest in the Papa Bear's chair, we  lunched at The Pump across the street which had a sign saying, "Best perch on the island." Well, having nothing to compare it to, we can't testify to their claim, but we ordered the perch basket (basically fish and chips) and it was delicious with an unusual kind of tartar sauce that complimented it well. Yum!

Our ferry ride back gave us a good view of the Cedar Point skyline although it was pretty far away. I love ferries and they may be the closest I ever get to a cruise since I don't like the idea of being out in the middle of the ocean with no choice about getting off. We rode on the outside top deck. The windw asn't quite so wild and the ride was delightful. It wasn't far from the ferry landing to Marblehead Lighthouse. Unfortunately, it was closed for the season. I would have liked to climb and check out the view. But we had an enjoyable time walking around and I got a good photo of the Cedar Point amusement park (much closer than from the ferry).

We finished our afternoon with a ride out to Catawba State Park which turned out to be little more than a boat launch and a picnic area, but it was a pleasant place to sit for awhile and watch the sun peaking through the clouds to set diamonds dancing on the lake. It was the first time all day that I was warm enough to take off my jacket and soak up some rays. We skipped a few rocks and said our rosary before heading back to our campsite for the first campfire of our trip and  hamburgers cooked over it for that smoky flavor. As for our stowaway -- we've seen no sign of him at all, so perhaps he's moved on to greener pastures. I hope!

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