Charles Mill Lake Park and Repairs

This morning we’re waiting at the local Mercedes dealership in Mansfield Ohio, the Mansfield Motor Group, awaiting a diagnosis and repair of our 2008 Winnebago View.  We were up at 6:30, had breakfast, put everything together for getting on the road and went to the dump station so we’d travel light.  It was freezing last night.  There was frost everywhere and the connector to the discharge end of the dump hose apparently wasn’t on tight enough.  Oops, a shitty start to the morning.  Cleaned everything up, and were off to the repair shop.  We made it there on time, talked to the service manager, Jason Resendez, who said he would do his best.  Our repair appointment is at 3PM, and we’re hoping to get in earlier.

We’ve had a great two days waiting for our turn in the repair shop. We headed out to Mansfield and the surrounding area looking for a place to repair the Sprinter portion of the RV.  We found a local Dodge dealership; the label on the chassis is Dodge, even though the chassis was manufactured by Mercedes, overseas.  The Dodge dealership was really small and only open for sales on Saturday, so we looked around and located a Mercedes dealership, and there on their sign was a large advertisement for Sprinter! Success! We talks to one of the weekend service representatives, Jesse, and he advised us that only the oil change guys were in, the Sprinter people would be in on Monday.  He made the 3PM appointment for us.

We located a Wal-Mart and bought some movies from their bargain bin and a small 1500 watt space heater to use at the RV Park so we wouldn’t have to use any propane to keep the coach warm. WE returned to the RV Park and settled in, leveled the RV, and filled the water tank. The heater worked great, and with the sun shining, the coach was too warm, in the mid 70’s. While we ate lunch it was almost like summer looking out over the lake.  The park is the prettiest of all that we’ve stayed in.

After lunch, we took a walk.  We met a woman named Pam about our age who seemed single and was in the process of moving her trailer to a winter storage location nearby uphill.  I asked about the availability of Wi-Fi, as it was advertised for free, but it seemed to need a username and password.  She was unaware of any Wi-Fi at the park and I asked about the camping arrangements at the park, since it seemed that there were a number of people who looked like that their trailers, fences, gardens, decks and planting had been there a long time.  Pam explained that there were a number of places open for rental on a daily basis, and the rest were seasonal.  In order to get a seasonal spot you had to enter a lottery for any new free spaces that came up for the next season.  She said that some people have to wait years to get a spot. Once you win the lottery, you are guaranteed that spot for the following year.  Some of the places flood in the spring, as the lake is part of a water management product, and the dam that created the impound lake was built to control flooding downstream, hence the number of people that have to move their trailers in the off season because they are on or near the lake.

Louise and I continued our walk and met another group that contained a fellow named Matt, whose brother had been the superintendent of the park, gave us a first class tour of the entire park, there are two sections.  They just finished construction of an excellent activities center located on a raised point of land jutting out into the lake.  He introduced us to Dan, the head of maintenance at the park, who promised that he would stop by later with the Wi-Fi code.  Matt dropped us off at our spot.  During the ride, he filled us in on how the seasonal sites work, where the floodwaters rise to, a tour of the marina, and explanation of how local Ohio lakes are rated.  He said the lake was a 9.9 lake; others were 20 lakes, others unlimited.  I had no idea what he was talking about until he explained that that was why all the boats had 9.9 HP outboards on them.  Larger engines were prohibited.

Some soup for lunch warmed us up, and tried to plan how we would manage the rest of the trip while Louise read some guide books.  At about 3 we had some tea and some cheese and crackers and then watched the movie ‘Mrs. Brown’ with Dame Judy Dench.  We enjoyed the movie.  Dinner consisted of a roast loin of pork that I brined in order to thaw it out.  You have to love Winnebago.  The oven/microwave they put in the unit is amazing.  The roast came out perfect, and in only 30 minutes.

I worked on the route for the remainder of the trip and we went to bed early.  I set the thermostat in the RV for 60°and set the Wal-Mart heater on low heat, figuring that if the Wal-Mart heater couldn’t keep up, the coach heater would.  The Wal-Mart heater kept the coach at about 64°, which is fine for us.

Sunday morning was clear and cool, just above freezing.  We had a pancake breakfast and took a walk to see if we could locate the pool and whatever else there was to see. I carried the laptop and located a weak signal for Wi-Fi near the pool.  The confusion over the internet connection became clear.  The Marina put in Wi-Fi at about the same time as the Wi-Fi at the campground.  The Marina charges an expensive (according to the locals) rate for connectivity and the marina has a REALLY strong signal that overpowers the free Wi-Fi.  I was sitting next to the Wi-Fi antenna and had difficulty getting smooth connectivity.

Our walk took us south on the road by the Park and we located a trail that appeared to lead to the lake.  It actually led to the site of a gas well, one that was leaking.  The shoreline was filled with brush and brambles, but we did get a decent view of the other side of the island that we had been looking at.  We returned to the RV, had lunch, saw a number of blue birds, enjoyed the sunshine, read, and watched the neighbor and his family remove the trailer, dock, deck and outside storage units from his site.  An afternoon movie starring Robert Downey Jr, and a nice steak dinner with a great bottle of red wine finished out the day.

We had lots of water to use before we were on the road, so turning up the heat and hot showers were in order.  I’m sure that there are worse places to have an RV not in running trim, but I’m not sure that there are any better.  We will miss the park.