From Flatwoods to here was supposed to be a simple 4 hour drive, but got into some crappy, narrow roads so took us a lot longer. Roaring Run RV Park is about 1700' and right in the woods. In the summer they have some amenities, but in the winter we get electricity only and can only use the water to fill the tank. So first order of business was to get a site that we could get satellite, which we did but was tricky backing into. Our next decision was - do we move the rig every few days to dump or buy a portable sewage tote and store? Since Bob has to have his Christmas decorations and didn’t want to take them down every time we moved we decided to go the portable route. There are no laundry facilities here either so with me using the washer everyday, poor Bob has to tote his miniature honey wagon down the road at least every other day. We finished getting squared away, it turned cold, started snowing and we got all our decorations up so here we are. We only had one mishap last night when an internal water pipe froze up but with a hair dryer it was fixed. Tonight we will leave a light bulb on. There are a lot of RV’s in the park, but are unoccupied. A few couples come up on the weekends, but mostly we are here by ourselves. Kind of creepy. There isn’t much to do around here, but we spent too much last month so need to conserve anyway. Also, my leg still isn’t good, especially the knee that I badly injured years ago, so I am still unable to sleep all night and can’t walk without pain. This pinched nerve (sciatica) is not going away anytime soon even though I have had adjustments. It is getting better during the day, but still keeps me up at night .
There aren’t many markets around here so we have to go into Mt. Pleasant to a Wal-Mart to get groceries and along the way is a winery, which was calling my name. Stone Villa Wine Cellars is located on beautiful lake and the building itself is very unique. It was built by the family that owns it. Anyway we sampled and brought home a couple of bottles. You can buy beer anywhere and have actual stores that sells nothing but beer, but to get anything else - like wine- you have to go to a package store. Most inconvenient as they are only in the bigger towns.
The weather turned warmer and no more snow, but down the road we could see a ski slope with snow from the highway. A few days later we went back to nose around and it turned out there is a huge resort (Seven Springs Mountain Resort) down in a valley and they have several ski slopes. When there is no snow they manufacture it themselves (they have the best snow- making system in the world). Along with a 313 room high rise hotel (and more each year) and condominiums, there are ski slopes, a bowling alley, ice and roller skating rinks, a paintball center, swimming pools, 7 eatingt places and much more. They are the #1 resort in the Mid-Atlantic. None of this can be seen from the road so was a total surprise. We plan on having Christmas dinner in their main restaurant - a little pricey, but we’ve been good.
Since we spend a lot of time in the RV I think we have watched every Lifetime Christmas movie ever made. Even Bob is getting into watching Lifetime, but he’ll never admit it. Of course, he has to spend time peddling his honey wagon, etc. while I just lay around with my bum leg. Ho ho ho. To make up for it I let him beat me in cards.
We did splurge and went to see Fallingwater, the most famous home built by Frank Lloyd Wright for the Kaufmann family. It was built in 1935 as a weekend home at the family’s mountain property at Bear Run that features a wild free-flowing stream and waterfall and is surrounded by rhododendrons, laurel and Appalachian wildflowers. Instead of building the home facing the waterfall it was built over the waterfall and all rooms were built to open to the outside. It was totally amazing and well worth seeing. I got to take the shuttle down to the home from the parking lot and the walk through the home was fairly slow so I did pretty good. I sure paid for it that night though
A couple of days later we drove to Pittsburgh (50 miles) hoping to take a tour, but they were all closed for the season. We did drive to the top of Mt. Washington(which is just a high hill in the middle of Pittsburgh) and a great view of the city and rivers. There were some really cute old neighborhoods along the way and on top. Then we went to Station Square which is supposed to be a real tourist attraction, but it is mainly eating establishments and some shops and parking was quite a walk so we only made it as far as Hooters where we had lunch. I wasn’t too impressed and the food was just okay. We decided to drive through downtown and since Pittsburgh is squeezed between the Monongahela and Appalachian Rivers the roads were windy and narrow. All the buildings are old but very well kept up, but not a place I want to come back to. We finally found our way out and back on our way home. As a note of interest - both rivers converge at the point of Pittsburgh to form the Ohio River. It probably was a very beautiful place before civilization.
We rested a day (laundry, dumping, etc.) then took off for a tour of local history, which ended up being a long day. Our first stop was Ligonier, PA to tour Fort Ligonier (built during the French Indian War), but it was closed for the season. We could still walk around the outside and take a few pictures, but would have loved to visit the visitors center where there are a lot of George Washington artifacts. The town itself is very picturesque built around the town square which has a neat gazebo in the center and all the surrounding buildings and homes are very well kept up. The Catholic school is built around the old railroad roundhouse, but we couldn’t really see it up close. The majority of the buildings are original and the town has turned into a main tourist attraction. After leaving there we wandered through the countryside which was absolutely gorgeous with its rolling hills and beautiful old homes.
Then we drove to Ohiopyle State Park that serves as the gateway to the Laurel Mountains. The park also includes 14 miles of the Youghiogheny River that is home to great river rafting and has some beautiful falls. Ohiopyle is a very old town and is now mostly rafting tours and equipment and trains going through constantly. Great viewing area.
Next we stopped at Powdermill Nature Reserve that was established in 1956 as a field station of Carnegie Museum of Natural History. It has over 2200 acres of woodlands, streams, open fields, ponds and thickets and many ecologists world-wide come here to study natural populations - their life histories, behaviors and ecological relationships. The trails were too muddy for Bob to do much exploration, but their exhibits were great and a neat place to visit.
Our next stop was at Kentuck Knob that is another Frank Lloyd Wright home that stands atop a bluff overlooking the Youghiogheny River Gorge which was built in 1954 for L.N. Hagan (owner of Hagan Ice Cream). It was a 45 to 60 min. tour, which I didn’t think I was up to, but we got a very good idea what it looked like at the visitor’s center - very unique. Outside the gift shop were some of the greatest bird houses I have ever seen, plus an authentic English telephone booth and a couple of English mail boxes. There were other artifacts such as a piece of the Berlin Wall, a wall built by Andy Goldsworthy (whoever he is), an Apple
Our next stop was Fort Necessity which was hastily built in 1750 by George Washington for battle against the French. It was round and small and unfortunately built against a hillside so the French was able to overrun it. The only battle George lost in his career. The visitors center had a great film and exhibits that really depicted the French and Indian War and how it led to the Revolutionary War. The conflict started over a turf war between the French and British and most Indian tribes sided with the French, but the British finally succeeded. British Major General Edward Braddock was a major leader that helped build a road for the troops to capture French forts. When he was killed he was buried in the middle of the road so he would not be found by the French. He was later re-buried and has a large monument close to Fort Necessity. Braddock’s road eventually became the roadbed of the National Road that begun in 1811 and was America’s first Federally funded highway and as it was turned over to the individual states for maintenance became America’s first toll road. Parts of this highway are still part of U.S. 40. Also close by is the Mount Washington Tavern that was one of the first substantial buildings built as a stage stop when the National Road was being built. It now contains period furnishings in several rooms reflecting the buildings use over the years. It was closed for the season, but we still got a pretty good look at it. End of history lesson, but it was very interesting as I pretty much had forgotten about that part of history.
On the way home we stopped at Mt. Pleasant to have dinner at an old historic railroad depot turned into an inn and restaurant in 1900. It is full of memorabilia and very quaint and was beautifully decorated for Christmas. We had all you can eat spaghetti and meatballs. It is also very well known for its ghosts even have pictures of paranormal sightings in their rooms. We really loved it. Mt. Pleasant also has a memorial park with walls and plaques of their veterans. It is really pretty and tasteful. In the middle of their circular intersection is a statue of a “dough boy” (WW1 soldier). The first couple of times we asked for directions they said turn at the dough boy and we never understood what they were talking about. It really is a cool town. We finally headed for home and as I said earlier - it was a long day, but well worth it.
Christmas Eve was very quiet and didn’t do anything but watch TV and read. Christmas Day we went for a short ride and then to dinner at the ski lodge. We had the buffet, which was excellent and since this was the only place open it was really crowded, plus there was a huge oriental tour group lodging there. The weather was really crappy (still is) with rain, wind and fog. There were quite a few people skiing, but it started raining so hard they had to close the slopes around 5:00. It was a bummer that we didn’t get any snow which is partly the reason we came here.
Today we had to take all the decorations down and get the rig ready to move tomorrow and now it look like it is going to snow. That figures. We did get a dusting of snow, but didn’t affect the roads very much. It is a 2 day trip to Accord, NY so will have to make a stop at Gaines PA for the night, which is about 220 miles. Our route took us mainly on county roads that were narrow and curvy so took us longer than we figured and was dark when we tried the campground. We finally found the one we were supposed to stay at, but no one was there and it was pitch black so we couldn’t see anywhere to park so we went down the road to another one and got in there (Kearse Campground). It really was a nice spot next to a beautiful pond and has a lot of activities, most of which is in the summer however. It was a long day, but the drive was really entertaining. There was one town after another and in Southern PA most towns were old coal mining company homes - tall, narrow and one right next to the other. The majority were very well kept up though. We also ran across quite a few nuclear energy plants, tree farms and a lot of old churches of every denomination. As we went north the terrain became more farmland, but still one town after another. Here they are called villages, burroughs, townships and, occasionally, a town. From what we could figure out their villages are like our communities, burroughs are self-governing, several townships make up a county and just regular towns, but PA is a Commenwealth instead of a State so they can name their towns anything they want.. All of the towns were very old, but very few of them weren’t kept up. There weren’t many lakes, but lots of streams (or “runs” as they call them) and lots of ponds. They also have a Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, but we weren’t able to see much more than a couple of big hills. That was day one.
We started out day 2 and went through some beautiful farmland and crossed the Susquehanna River several times and followed it for quite a while. They don’t call anything a river here unless it is a big running body of water. Our rivers in Wash. (other than the Columbia) are called creeks here. Anyway, it was beautiful and we also ran into the Allegheny so had a lot of interesting things to keep up busy. As we crossed into New York the terrain changed and became very crowded with two story narrow homes that were pretty scruffy. Then everything started going wrong. We lost power and the “check engine” light came on so we pulled over and called Workhorse (our engine and chassis manufacturer) and they arranged for a tow back to Wilkes-Barre PA (60 miles) where the nearest authorized dealer is located. It took over 2 hours for the tow truck to come and another 45 minutes to get properly hooked up. We followed the tow truck in the jeep and it looked like we could be there in a couple of hours; however, the drive got lost 2 times. The first time it wasn’t too bad getting turned around, but the 2nd time we pulled into a small parking lot from a narrow 2 lane road and ight across the street was a very busy pizza parlor that was having parking problems of its own. Then some idiot ran into another car right next to the tow truck so we had to sit there for awhile, but after that was straightened out the police did help us to get turned around. From there the tow truck followed us and we finally found the repair facility, Wilkes-Barre Truck Repair, but by this time it was dark and the lot was muddy, plus we didn’t have any power left at all so no slides would come out. The tow bill was $1400 and Bob was furious, plus the guy forgot the credit card imprinter and was going to have us trust him to send us a receipt the next day. Bob got more furious, but they finally got it settled,. we went to dinner and then just crawled into bed, which was all that we could use in the bedroom. Of course, without having the slide out we couldn’t get to clothes, underwear and worst of all - NO MAKEUP. The dealer worked all day on it, but never could get it to repeat the malfunction. So We decided to get back on the road again.
By this time we couldn’t make it to Accord so found a Jellystone RV Park that would take us which was recommended to us by the dealer. Also it was the only campground anywhere within reasonable driving distance. Even so it was 40 miles of backtracking. It was in the middle of renovation and it was very muddy so we couldn’t let our levelers down, but it did have full hookups, which we were okay with until he charged us $40. By this time we were both livid.
The next day we took a different route into New York and the terrain was mostly all farmland with one town after another of really old buildings and a lot of historical markers. There is going to be a lot of backtracking in the car to see some of the places of interest. There are many towns along Route NY209 which were established in the early 1700's so there are some very interesting sights. Lots of very old churches, government buildings and just plain old homes and some of the old farm homes are huge. The farmers back then must have had very large families. These buildings are almost all built out of stone
When we first turned onto NY209 it was at Port Jervis, NY. Everything was going smooth and then we came around a corner and there was a railroad underpass with a clearance of 12' 8". Guess what - our motor home is 12'10". Luckily we were able to turn off without having to back up. We stopped on a side street and a mail lady told us how to bypass the underpass and get across the tracks. It was about a mile detour but much better than making a convertible out of the motor home.
We finally got into Rondout Valley Resort in Accord, NY. It is a beautiful huge campground so thought things were looking up. Wrong. They have electricity and sewer, but no water hookups in the winter so we have to move every 3 days to fill up with water. We were not pleased since they said they had full hookups. Also there is no phone service here so we will be looking elsewhere. Because of all the extra expenses and we are pretty much tapped out, we decided not to go into New York City this time. It would just be too expensive so will come back when we make the swing through the North East at another time. I am still having a lot of trouble with by left knee and leg so can’t do hardly any walking at all, plus it still keeps me up at night. Hopefully, when we stay in one place long enough I’ll get to a doctor that has an MRI. Bob gets so mad at me when I try to do to much, but old habits are hard to break and I have my martyr act down pat. Other than no water (during the winter) the RV park is beautiful and has over 400 sites and Millbrook Stream runs along one side and Rochester Creek on the other. Over the summer they have over 100 different activities going and they have a 5 star rating. They have a great lending library here so we were able to swap the 15 books we had already read for new one. They also have a workout room, but we haven’t partaken yet. There are a lot trails through woods so this is a mecca for ATVrs. We are having trouble finding anyplace else to move so decided to bite the bullet and move every three days to fill up the water tank, beside which we are getting very proficient at doing that.
On my birthday we went out to dinner and I had a full lobster for the first time. It was very good, but was a lot of trouble to crack open so will stick to lobster tails from now on. It had a casual, but nice atmosphere and their menu was top notch. With the lobster we got salad or soup, a full plate of pasta with marinara sauce and a plate of broccoli for a reasonable price. It was delicious and hopefully I will get to go back