Parking-lot campers laud Toledo

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 14

When you think of great camping spots, the first place to come to mind probably isn’t downtown Toledo.

But this weekend, it got top marks from a group of Ohio RV enthusiasts.

The Ohio Nomads, an organization of retirees who camp all across the state, left Toledo yesterday after spending the weekend camping in the Toledo Sports Arena’s parking lot.

The Nomads gather for 12 “rallies” a year. But in their 20-year history, they hadn’t been to Toledo, according to group Vice President Vince Chudzinski.

Group member and Sylvania Township resident Lee Mayer thought it was time that changed. So she organized this weekend’s rally, bringing about 25 RVs and 50 people to the city for a bit of urban camping.

“I kind of wanted to show off Toledo, especially the waterfront,” she said.

Campers began arriving Thursday and have spent the last few days exploring what Toledo has to offer: Tony Packo’s, the Toledo Zoo, COSI. They spent time in International Park, right across Main Street in East Toledo, and on a boat tour of the Maumee River.

But the biggest appeal, according to some campers, was the view. Most campers can look skyward at night and see stars; not many can see skyscrapers.

“It was wonderful – all the lights and the scenery,” said Bob Bell, 68, of Anna, O., near Dayton.

Mr. Bell said he hadn’t spent much time in Toledo before this weekend; when he drives to Michigan, “we always take [U.S.] 23 to get around the city.”

But he liked what he saw here on this trip.

“I’ll be glad to come back,” he said. “We’ve been meaning to come up here, but you know us old retired people – we always have too many things to do.”