Saturday, July 28, 2012

July 27, 2012

We are now at the Mill Creek Campground on Berlin Lake, Ohio, another Army Corp of Engineering flood control project.  I am getting good experience on backing into hard places at these sites, so far it seems that I am 3 for 3 at getting the hardest site in the place to have to back into.  The Lake water level here is very low, locals are saying they have never seen it this low.  This is mainly a boating and fishing lake, not much in the way of hiking trails.  It has been stormy weather since we arrived with thunderstorms and rain on and off day and night.  I felt sorry for the tent campers next door last night in the pouring rainstorm.
We have explored a couple of local small towns, good material for a John Mellancamp song.  The town of Alliance in particular, appears to have been a prosperous town in its day until the Steel Mill died out, now the downtown is struggling.  This trend seems to extend all per PA, the old towns are dirt poor looking.  Another odd thing for us is the drive-thru beer, soda, lottery and cigarette stores that are everywhere.
We plan to make trip to Cleveland tomorrow to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and check out the Lake front area. More photos to be added latter.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

July 25th
Our last night at the Fox Den Campground, we've seen so many people come and go in the past week, we feel like regulars here.  The local camp cat, with no tail, even comes over and hangs out on our step, our guy Marley doesn't get too excited.
Since the last post, we have wandered around a couple of the local towns, Scottdale and Connellsville.  Downtown Scottsdale has a post office with original painted murals from 1936, an old seedy looking Hotel, a few nice shops, several vacant shops, a railroad running through it, a mining history, a mining tragedy (107) miners died in 1899 mine explosion nearby) and a modern "miracle mile" area.  It also has a "Sheetz" convenience store, they are the hot thing here in PA, always busy 24/7.
Downtown Connellsville has much history also, it has a Carnegie library (we peaked inside), an impressive old Mason Hall (seen better days, with rough looking people hanging outside), lots of vacant shops, an abundance of overweight young women with bad tattoos and this enormous old condemned brick furniture building (Aaron's).
After that to get some fresh air , we headed to the Laurel Highlands to visit "Falling Waters", the famous house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The house was spectacular in it's setting, perched over a waterfall and in it's integration into the surrounding forest and especially the vast outside patio areas.   Personally, I was not so impressed with the house interior.
We then went up the road to the town of Ohiopyle which is a Mecca for biking and water sports as there is a rail trail that goes for a few hundred miles and a great fast flowing rapid strewn river.We went hiking looking for the big waterfall, in the wrong direction for miles, got caught in a thunderstorm, got wet, then found the waterfall almost next to our parking spot.  We then found a nice bar in town and had a beer, seems like everything ends that way !
 I have many photos to share, but am in the middle of trying to transfer my old photoshop catalog from the old windows PC to the new Apple PC, I thought it would be easy, actually I thought Sue (Twinkles) would know just what to do, Ha!
We move tomorrow to Mill Creek Campground on Berlin Lake, Ohio, another Army Corp of Engineers flood control project site.
More will be revealed, good night.

Aaron's Store in Connellsville, PA

Downtown Scottdale PA in times past

The "Bird boy of Scottdale" early aviator lost on trans-Atlantic flight

Butterfly at Ohiopyle

Rail Trail at Ohiopyle

Rail trail over the river

The Ohiopyle Falls

View from the river

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Hello,  We are keeping very busy,
I'm finding it hard to take the time to update this blog.
On Saturday, July 21st we drove to downtown Pittsburgh, parking at the Point State Park area and visiting the Fort Pitt Museum.  It's a wonderful museum that gives you a good appreciation for the wild, turbulent times during the French and Indian Wars in the mid-1700's.  The French and the British were fighting to gain control of the land, with the native Americans caught in the middle trying to fight for the side most beneficial for them and then the new American immigrants pouring in and eventually taking everything from everyone else.  You think we have an immigration problem now in this country; the native Americans really had a problem!!!  After soaking up this violent, killing period of history , we watched a water balloon fight event involving hundreds of participants for charity in an adjacent park.  Now that's how wars should be fought !  Next it was a 20 minute walk over the bridge to the Duquesne Incline where we took a ride up and down and gearslip marveled over all the gears and cables.  We then walked around the downtown area, mostly closed on Saturday, took some photos until Twinkles starting getting a little tired, bored, hot and Testy and then ended up at Market Square where we had a cold adult beverage.  That calmed her down.  Then it was  back to the dually (now referred to as Lewis) and amazingly found our way out of the city and back to camp without getting lost !

Ft. Pitt Blockhouse, oldest building in Pittsburgh and only thing left of the original fort

Old 1700's Canon in Ft. Pitt museum

Pittsburgh skyline

DuQuesne Incline car

Incline gears and cables

View coming down on the Incline

Downtown building detail

Penn Station

ornate downtown clock

Saturday, July 21, 2012

July 20, 2012
We arrived at the "Fox Den Campground" in New Stanton, PA on Thursday, July 19th just in time for a heavy downpour. It is an easy living campground, pull through spot with all the amenities.  Also has something akin to an old general store and a museum of old hunting, fishing, indian artifacts and hundreds of mounted dead animals covering all walls. Actually a very nice old school campground that I find comfortable.  We went for a ride on Friday to Latrobe, PA to visit the town famous for Mr. Rodgers, Arnold Palmer and the Rolling Rock Brewery.  We expected to find a folksy little town filled with happy people working in the happy brewery putting out the beer in the green bottles with the mystical 33 on them. We came away totally disillusioned, it's now owned by InBev of Belgium and it's just a large ugly plant with not even a Rolling Rock sign, no tour, no gift shop, no museum.  They should put up a sign saying "Keep Out".  We also walked around the town, not much activity, the only place that seemed busy was the Army-Navy store.  I did find a couple of cool old buildings so it was still good. Next adventure is downtown Pittsburgh ?   More will be revealed.

Fox Den Camp Store

Store interior

Totum Poles at store

Pond at Campground

Mozart Hall in Latrobe, PA

Thursday, July 19, 2012

July 19, 2012

On July 17th, we packed up and departed Ives Run and moved 170 miles to another Army Corp of Engineers location at Seven Points Campground on Raystown Lake at Hesston, PA. This lake is huge, (largest lake in PA), with a full service marina, beach and interesting history.  We had a really nice spot up against the forest, but no sewer or city water connections.  They did have a convenient bath house and fresh water connection so we were able to give our fresh water system a good test. I was able to confirm that the water pump mounting and piping connections are terribly noisy!  Really horrible engineering !  We are also learning the secrets to using the bath house facilities.  We took a "killer hike" on the "Old Logger Trail", 7 miles, all up and down it seemed, with high humidity / heat, but it was beautiful.  I sweated away 4 lbs on this hike, not allowed to show the photo of Twinkles laid out on the ground panting.  We also visited the town of Huntingdon, PA (famous for the invention of the writing tablet) and cooled off with a cold beer at the "Friendly Tavern" and then had a nice meal at the "Boxer Cafe" across the street. Both are highly recommended !  Next stop on the tour, the "Fox Den Campground in New Stanton, PA near Pittsburgh.

Raystown Lake

View from Old Logger Trail

Trail marker

Huntingdon history mural

Boxer Cafe

Huntingdon mural

July 19, 2012 update

July  17, 2012

We are struggling to maintain this blog, but will persevere until we get it right.  We moved to Ives Run in Tioga, PA on July 11th for six nights.  Ives Run is an Army Corps of Engineers project and is a beautiful campground on Tioga-Hammond Lake.  We did not have a sewer hookup so it was a good learning experience on conserving waste water.  It also forced us to purchase another 25 foot length of power cable and 25 feet of water  hose to reach the service post. We also learned to always close the bathroom roof vent during a thunderstorm, (the hard way !).  On the positive side, we were across the road from a bathhouse with a really great shower !  We did some hiking there and I escaped for a few hours to the town of Wellsboro to explore.

Bright berries

Wellsboro Diner
Misty morning at the lake

Friday, July 13, 2012

Hello out there,  This is Slick, aka gearslip, Pop-Pop or just Paul.  I drive the RV, maintain it, do the heavy lifting, take many photos (to come) and keep Twinkles in check as best I can.

Day 2, July 12:   We took a drive to the beautiful town of Jim Thorpe, PA and hiked on the Lehigh River Gorge rail trail.  It was great, only had to pick up Twinkles once when she tripped on the trail.  We then toured downtown Jim Thorpe with it's wonderful Victorian architecture and train station, it's a gem of a coal town !

Day 3, July 13:  On the road again with a very rough start due to a truck accident on Rt, 80 which forced us to modify our route. Our destination was Ives Run campground in Tioga, PA.  Ives Run is a Corps of Engineer recreation area.  We are relaxing here for six days, visiting old friends and getting into the RV frame of mind before proceeding further.  

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Day 1


 My name is Twinkles - my husband Slick, my cat Marley, and I started a huge adventure today and I am incredibly excited. After months of work, yard sales, free sales, donations, etc., we sold/donated most of our possessions, our house, our cars, and have moved into our new 5th wheel RV! We are going to be living our old dreams of heading into the great wide open, back-to-nature and all that wholesome stuff. We are from Hightstown, NJ which is a great little town, but there is so much more we want to see. 

 Today, being our very first day of full timing, was a short 3 hour drive. We are in the Poconos at the Poconos Vacation Resort. It's not wildly exciting but that's fine with us since we are still unpacking and getting organized. We went to downtown Stroudsburg for a walk and dinner at Siamsa Irish Pub. Very tasty indeed!