Well, we got the hell out of Pokagon as early as we could on Saturday, August 19, 2023 and drove 239 miles to Geneva State Park on the shores of Lake Erie in Geneva, Ohio. This is our second time staying in Ohio (first was back in 2021 when we started), but our first time at this park.
This was a pretty nice state park. The section we were in was NOT on the lake, but all we had to do was cross a two-lane road to get over the section that WAS on the shore of Lake Erie. The best thing was they had a couple of washing machines and dryers so we could do our laundry while there.They also had showers that looked to be clean and in good shape. We still opted to use our own.
The site was fairly level and was as long as advertised, so we had no issues with both Nomad and Voyager in the site.
We were only here two nights, but they were both filled with adventure, lol.
The first night I woke up at midnight to raucous laughter from the site across the street from us. There were two young women staying there but they had visitors. The park rules say you can have visitors but they must leave the park by 10 pm. I was awake so I got up and sat in my recliner reading for a while. The visitors finally left just before 2 am and then everything was nice and quiet. I went back to bed around 2:30.
There weren’t any trails so we just walked Bella around the different loops the next morning. We also drove across the two-lane road to drive through the lakeside section of the park and took a few photos. From this vantage point, you may as well be looking across an ocean. Lake Erie is HUGE and you cannot see the other side of the lake.
That afternoon I was sitting in my recliner reading when the normal campground peace was shattered by a man shouting and something that sounded like wood shattering. I looked out the window in the direction of the noise and saw two people at the end of the road and thought they were the source. But then as I was watching them there was more shouting and the sound of wood cracking or being broken and I could see other campers looking in the direction of a trailer between the end of the road and two spots down from ours.
People were gathering in the front of their sites looking toward the trailer, but no one was approaching it as the yelling continued. All anyone heard was the man’s voice shouting and what may have been him hitting the walls of his trailer, so I (and probably everyone else watching), imagined he may have just been having an episode that was limited to himself.
But then I saw a little boy run from the trailer towards the woods. He couldn’t have been more than three years old. He darted into the edge of the woods then came back out.
As I put on my shoes I told Cindy (who had her AirPods in watching a show) that I needed to go down there before the little boy got hurt. As I walked down there I passed the site across from all the screaming and a woman was watching the trailer. I asked if there was anyone else inside and she said it was a domestic dispute and the people next to them had already called 911. People were standing outside their tents and trailers looking.
I turned to look for the toddler boy and he was in the bed of the truck and now had a little girl who was perhaps two with him. Brother and sister was my assumption since they looked so much alike. They both waved and smiled at me and I waved and smiled back. Since I knew they were safe I moved closer to the door, but was going to wait until the police arrived unless I heard any sounds of distress from the woman that I was told was in there. During this entire time since the shouting and wood cracking sounds had started, that had been the only sounds anyone heard. Since no one had heard another person my assumption was he was yelling and hitting walls or furniture, but not anyone else. Then the children got out of the bed of the truck and started to go inside.
I tried to motion them back away from the door with smiles and hand gestures, but they were almost to the door and not stopping. Now I felt like I had no choice but to intervene. If their entrance angered their (father?) more than he already was, it could be dangerous for them.
Stepping to the door so that I blocked the children from entering, I banged hard on the outside wall with authority so he knew it was an adult at his door, but stayed on the ground rather than standing on his steps. The yelling stopped and he stuck his head outside of what I guessed from its placement in the trailer was the bedroom, looked at me from about 8 feet away and snarled “What?” He was in his mid to late twenties and judging by his accent, German.
The way he was tensing his body I thought for a moment he was going to run and throw himself at me and I was ready to use his motion to flip him all the way over and slam him to the ground if he did. I really did not want to fight him. I’m old and slower than I used to be. But thankfully he just looked at me.
“You need to calm down and stop what you’re doing. You’ve scared your children and your neighbors and they’ve already called the police.” I said, trying to make sure my voice was calm yet direct.
He disappeared back into the bedroom and began shouting “Nein, nein” and some other words in German so I banged even harder on the outside wall and shouted “HEY!”
He stepped out of the bedroom and said, “OK, I’m coming out” and he did. He walked down the steps, faced me and I still thought he might take a swing, but he looked down and away when I looked him in the eye. “You need to sit down in that chair (I pointed to one of his outdoor chairs) and calm down. The police will be here in a minute” I said, again with as much authority but calmness as I could. The days when I used to be a bouncer came back to me, making sure I used my size and voice to establish some measure of being in charge. Whether I felt like it or not.
After he sat in the chair, the children ran inside. I wanted to go see if anyone else was in there, but I did not want to antagonize him by walking into his trailer. I stood there for a minute and no one came out and the children made normal children playing noises. He remained in the chair, looking toward the woods, and it felt safe to leave. If there was another person in there, I never heard them make a sound.
I kept my eye on him as I walked away. The woman across the street whispered to me as I passed by her, “Thank you for intervening” while cutting her eyes back to her husband who was sitting farther back in their site. I got the impression she had urged hi to and he had not. Honestly, I don’t blame him for not getting involved. Domestic disputes (if that’s what this was) are THE worst. I didn’t know if there was a another person involved, but I did know there was at first one child and later two that could have been hurt. THAT I could not just stand by and fail to try and help.
Cindy was walking down the street toward me saying “Please, just call 911” and I told her they had already been called and that he was calmed down. That seemed to calm her down. You’d think she loves me or something.
About two minutes later four police cars and two park rangers pulled up. I guess they were there for about 30-40 minutes. I had always been told that if there was a domestic dispute with violence SOMEONE was going to jail, but they did not take anyone away. Until we left the next morning we never saw him, the children, or anyone else outside the trailer again. That in itself worried Cindy and I. I don’t know to this day if there was another person in the trailer or not. Maybe he was just having an episode and there was no one else. But if there was, that person was apparently not physically hurt or it seems they definitely would have taken him away.
So those were our two adventures during a two-night stay at Geneva State Park in Geneva, Ohio. I could have done well without either one of them.
Join us next time in Niagara Falls.
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