First of all, there are TWO Corps of Engineers Campgrounds at the Lake Astabula “Crossing” location, one on the East and one on the West side of the lake.
The one we stayed in, on the West side, is more rustic. There are few facilities, only drinking water and vault toilets. If a shower is wanted, then one must drive on over Lake Ashtabula to the East Crossings campground where there are also electric hookups.
A couple of things the West side has going for it this time of year: It is very quiet (we were the only campers) and it has a great camp host.
“Ron” was born not far from the park in the farming community of Hannaford. He spent his youth working the land with his family and fishing. The day we met him he was wearing his signature t-shirt: “Work is for people who don’t know how to fish.”
Before too long, Ron and Jimmy became fast friends. (The only thing Jimmy likes more than hunting, is fishing.)
It seems that Ron just happened to have a freezer full of perch. Within minutes a deal was struck to exchange fresh filleted perch for a jar of Jimmy’s recently smoked and canned tuna caught off the coast of Oregon.
— Text and photos: Julianne G. Crane