O’Bannon Woods State Park, Corydon, Indiana

Our next stop, O’Bannon Woods (formerly Wyandotte) State Park , was two plus hours away.  Another nice, short trip without any issues.  We’re always thankful for easy trips and especially thankful when there are no hiccups from point A to B.

LizzieBelle has gotten used to her new riding routine and is doing quite well with the arrangement…

… which means Mama does quite well during the trip making it easier for me to keep us going in the right direction.

We headed west following the Ohio River until we crossed the bridge taking us into Indiana.  Just as we crossed the bridge we were in Madison.  What a great town with an awesome downtown!  It was several blocks long and was alive with shops, restaurants and people milling about.  I would’ve loved to have stopped and checked it out but with the camper trailing behind us and no parking lots large enough to accommodate us it was out of the question.  However, seeing such a lively and happening downtown did my heart good.  If I had all the money in the world I would see to it that all of our country’s historic downtowns were revived such as this one so that there was more of an opportunity to shop local and shop small businesses.

As we neared the campground we wound our way up, down and around noticing markers that stated when various trees were planted and/or thinned – from the 1930’s till late in the eighties.  We were definitely in the woods and definitely without Internet.

O’Bannon Woods encompasses 240,000 acres in Corydon, Indiana.  Within the State Park is a swimming pool with two water slides, a kiddie pool and splash park; a large campground with four sections: A, B, C and D with the D section dedicated as a horse park; horse trails; various trails for hiking and biking; the Wyandotte Cave (which is closed); a nature center; a Pioneer village; and a working 1850 Hay Press. 

We loved this campground.  Each campground has an aura about them.  Some are nice places to simply park our house while others beckon you outdoors to do some real camping.  We were here for ten days.  During those ten days the weekends were nice and cool after rain fell on both Fridays.  We were outside as much as possible during that time.  Monday through Friday, however, was an entirely different story.  It was h.o.t. HOT!!!  There was a heat wave that week with temps in the mid-nineties.  It was not enjoyable to be outside whatsoever.  So Monday afternoon we hung out at the pool enjoying the cool and refreshing water.  Lots of other people had the same idea!  When we figured we’d had enough sun we headed back to the campground and to the bath house to wash off the accumulation of sun screen we had acquired while in the pool.  We spent the rest of the day indoors watching movies, playing games on our iPads and cross stitching (me) while absorbing the cool, air-conditioned air.

We broke tradition by not finding a local restaurant our first night and stayed at the campground.  Instead we finished the marinated cheese and garlic stuffed olives while some Lobster Bisque was warming on the stove. We enjoyed all of it while sitting around the camp fire.

I could not bare to throw out the marinade (olive oil with Rosemary & Garlic seasoning) so I put it in the fridge thinking I might dip some bread in it at a later time.  What I wound up doing was taking a simple grilled cheese sandwich to the next level by smearing it on the inside of the bread before grilling.  SO good!

Speaking of grilling, Ronnie bought himself a small Blackstone griddle while here. During the family camping trip at Fort Boonesborough he watched a friend of ours cook all sorts of stuff on his large Blackstone griddle and he thought it would be a good investment. It heats and cooks up quick with easy cleanup. One morning he made breakfast quesadillas…

… scrambled eggs, homemade hashbrowns, veggies (onions, peppers, jalapenos), and cheese, each placed on a quadrant of the tortilla (make one cut from the center to the edge) then folded over (cheese put on the last quadrant so that it binds all the folds together) and toasted on each side. (We usually add refried beans but we didn’t have any this time.) Those two weeks he cooked up all sorts of stuff testing it out – fish, veggies, french toast, pancakes, chicken tenders, burgers and more. Cooking outdoors and camping just go together. Plus cooking outdoors reduces heat in the camper. It was money well spent.

Tuesday we spent part of the day doing laundry.  Two doors down from the laundromat was Adrienne & Company – a bakery, donut and cafe.  While the clothes were in the washing machine we walked down to check it out.  Everything looked so yummy but we decided on a couple of donuts each and a cup of coffee.  We ate them in the store and struck up a conversation with who, I am assuming, was Adrienne.  By the time we left I was walking out with a free Tiramisu which was quite delicious, I might add, as were the donuts.

The shop had free Wi-Fi so we went back on Wednesday with iPads and computer in hand to catch up on emails and such.  Of course, another donut and some milk were in order.  We were recognized and welcomed back.  While we were eating and computing she came by with a container of assorted cheesecakes and wanted to ask us an R&D question – would we buy this if it was already packaged like this and ready to go?

Absolutely!  There are times you’d like a piece of cheesecake but a whole one for two people would be too much and could possibly go to waste.  (Not to mention the waistline from a whole cheesecake when there’s only two of you!).  There are also times when you can’t make up your mind as to which kind of cheesecake you would like. Having four slices packaged and ready to go is a perfect solution.  We wound up walking out with the container of cheesecake as a thank you for our input.  YUM!!!

It was still blazing hot on Thursday but we knew we needed to get in some bike riding to counteract all the yummy sweets we’ve consumed so we decided to check out the 1850 Hay press a mile or so down the road first thing in the morning before the temperature started to climb.

We were fortunate to meet the ranger in charge of the hay press where he explained its origin and how it operated.  He even popped in a video for us to watch showing the press in operation.  A demonstration of the hay press takes place six times a year (typically on holidays and a couple local special events) and at the end of the demo a large bale of hay is produced.

Of course, Ronnie and I were fascinated with the barn itself which was built strictly as a hay barn.

Barns are used for many things but they are typically built with a certain use in mind such as for livestock, horses, tobacco and in this case, to house a hay press.  Our barn at the farm was an old tobacco barn with stalls for livestock added after the farm stopped producing tobacco (long before our arrival).  This particular barn (the Leavenworth-Lang-Cole Hay Press and Barn) was donated in 2000 by Dr. Cole to the Department of Natural Resources to be moved a few miles down the road to its present location in the park.  By this time there were less than a dozen hay presses remaining in the United States and none were operational or open to the public.  The barn had fallen into some disrepair but many timbers were salvaged and are original.  Since the barn was going to have spectators more requirements were necessary to make it structurally sound such as a solid foundation and rocks at the base of the vertical supports.

The press is three stories in height and sits in the center of the barn. It is a structural part of a post and beam barn that is about 60 feet wide by 130 feet long…

And here is an explanation of how it basically works…

The engineering and fabrication of such a thing – genius back in the day!

Forrest, the ox, is the muscle behind the press.  Early Friday morning we rode our bikes past the hay press another half mile to see Forrest and his mini donkey buddies in their paddocks.

Forrest was resting in some hay chewing his cud and those donkeys – they were so adorable I just wanted to take them home.  Good thing home is the travel trailer making it out of the question.

Behind the barn is the Pioneer Village…

This particular building is the summer kitchen…

With the heat wave we’re currently having I can see why a summer kitchen is a smart move – keeps the heat out of the living quarters during the summer.  Our old farmhouse didn’t have central air so there were many times I had longed for a summer kitchen especially when it came time to put up (or can) the harvest from our garden.  With the stove going for hours during that time it didn’t take long to heat the ol’ house up.

As we walked back to where we had left our bikes I noticed a barn with all sorts of stuff stored in it…

…along with many types of carriages. This one caught my eye…

What a beauty it probably was back in its heyday.

It was still hot Wednesday and Thursday but Friday morning’s rain showers brought the temperature down making it another gorgeous weekend.  Yay!

By Friday afternoon we were watching the campers and horse trailers pour in.  We enjoyed riding around the horse park and seeing all the beautiful horses enjoying some hay after taking their owners for a ride on the horse trails…

Camping and horseback riding – what fun for both the horses and their owners!

This was the first campground where the only hookup we had was electric.  We were quite shocked that we there was no water hookup but since we had no other choice we did as all the other campers were doing and stopped at one of the many water spigots throughout the campground to put water in our holding tank before heading to our site.  We didn’t quite fill the tank so we (OK, I) was concerned about having enough water for the length of our stay but using it sparingly we had more than enough to get us by for ten days.  Good to know.  We (OK, I) also figured out how to lower our awning.  This is our first time having an awning that can be brought in or out with the push of a button so we were unfamiliar with the arm mechanisms and didn’t know how to raise or lower them.  Our awning has always come straight out with no pitch whatsoever (which is the only way it can be brought in or out) but having no pitch means it will collect water when it rains.  Common practice is to lower one end of the awning to encourage the water to runoff rather than pooling.  With this awning we could not figure out how to do that, that is, until Friday morning when it looked as though it might rain.  I studied the arms and noticed a small silver button on each arm.  In line with the button were six small holes.  Surely that had something to do with it.  Since I couldn’t reach it I pointed it out to Ronnie where he immediately checked it out.  Sure enough!  One can push the small button in and slide the arm up or down until it clicks into the desired hole.  Viola!  Now we can finally lower one end of our awning if necessary and we now have a good estimate on water usage from our holding tank – two good things we learned about our camper on this trip.

All too soon it was time to pack up and head to the next campground.  O’Bannon Woods we had a blast!

Dates at O’Bannon Woods SP:  June 10 – 20

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