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            “A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.”—Tim Cahill

One of two ponds at the entrance to Carthage Gap RV Park. — Photo by Pat Bean

Adventures with Pepper: Day 26

            What I didn’t tell you about my drive yesterday were my concerns about where I would spend the night.

Brandy, sort of my granddaughter for a weekend, in the costume her mom made for her. The outfit included a hook and specially braided hair. — Photo by Kim

I hadn’t seen an RV park all day, and my campground directory listed only one near the end of my day’s drive.  It was the Carthage Gap RV Park outside of Coolville, Ohio.

I was worriedly hoping it would be a nice, safe, clean place because I didn’t fancy driving another 100 miles. I’m happy to tell you my hopes were met — and then some.

The park was located in a beautiful setting, and the staff was enthusiastically friendly when I checked in for two nights. The manager explained that I had come just in time to experience the park’s early Halloween celebration. She offered me the option of being in the middle of the large park, or of hooking up in an isolated section.

I guess I was sort of people hungry at this point in the trip because I chose the small site in the middle of it all.

After the park manager led me to it, and guided me as I backed into the squeezed space, she introduced me to my next door neighbor, Kim.

“She’s one of our seasonals,” the manager said, then hurried off to help other RVers get settled for the busy weekend.

Kim became my guardian angel for the next two days, taking me under her warm wing and adopting me into her brood, which included parents, a sister, a niece, a husband and a daughter. They lived not too far away and their travel trailer was almost permanently parked at the scenic campground, I learned.

The brood had all gathered this weekend for the spook celebration, which is an annual event at the park.

I was the family’s guest at the Halloween potluck dinner that preceded the trick or treating the next night. And I got to sit around their campfire as candy was handed out to the many young treat-or-treaters. The most unusual costume of the night, I thought, was the young boy dressed as a railroad crossing. As a mom, I was never that inventive. My kids were usually witches, hobos or ghosts, things that didn’t require any sewing on their mom’s part.

The second pond at the park. — Photo by Pat Bean

Kim’s daughter, Brandy, was one of the trick or treaters.            “Just wait until you see my niece’s costume,” Tracy had said at dinner. “My sister’s an excellent seamstress and can sew up anything.”

I waited. Tracy was right. Brandy was the most lavishly dressed pirate I think I’ve ever seen.

Since Kim had officially adopted me into the family for the weekend, Brandy felt like a granddaughter, of which I have eight.

I left Carthage Gap with great memories tucked away in the brain’s rolodex. And a bit homesick for my own family, too.

Book Report: Travels with Maggie is still stuck. Too much traveling – I’m currently on the Blue Ridge Parkway in my journey and driving 100 miles takes five hours. I need to settle for a day soon and catch up.

Bean’s Pat: Couch surfing in India http://mymeanderingtrail.com/ This travel blogger, who writes about hiking the Appalachian Trail, is a good model for Tim Cahill’s quote about the journey being more about the people you meet than the miles. And about the kind of concerns all travelers who get off the beaten path endure — and overcome.

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