Tuesday, December 25, 2012

12/25/12, Tuesday:  Merry Christmas from New Mexico!  It's suppose to be in the 40's today for a high. We've been lucky that it's been in the 60's or 70's in Texas and New Mexico so far. A lot of areas got snow last night north of us. Our furnace and little heaters are runny pretty constant this morning. 

Did we think last Christmas that we'd be in New Mexico the next one? We had no idea at that time. We were still in the selling house, getting rid of things, planning stages. We knew we'd be gone, but that's about it. It's been a lot of learning in the last 8 months.

12/23/12: Arrived at Midway RV Park at Dexter, New Mexico, 7 miles south of Roswell. On our highway we didn't have a Welcome to New Mexico sign, I guess it's too small of a highway for that. But as we went through the town of Bronco, the highway changed and that was the state line and we were in New Mexico. Speed limit changed from 75 to 65. We changed to Mountain Time also.  As we got further into New Mexico there is an area of white sandy soil. Then it started getting more into rolling plains, less trees. Kind of reminded me of North Dakota for a while. Midway RV Park is another small park which accepts Passport America. Most of the campers parked are fifth-wheels which are longer term. There are about 6 open sites for short term. 

12/20/12: We were going to stay at Walmart in Brownfield, TX, but it's a really small lot so we checked to see if they had a city RV, which they do. Coleman City Park is another free city park. This one is free for 5 days. It also has 30 amp and water, and a dump. It’s also at the edge of their park where they have a swimming pool (closed now), tennis courts, horseshoes, disc golf, ball fields, etc. There were 2 other campers when we got there. As we pulled in to the campground, trying to decide where to park, Curt said he smelled something burning. Then we saw smoke coming out of the dash behind the backup camera. He told me to get the fire extinguisher from the bedroom and he took the backup camera out of the dash. He was able to get it unhooked and that’s where the smell was coming from. For some reason, it decided to burn out. Luckily we weren’t driving at the time, and we didn’t have to use the fire extinguisher.  Nothing like spending time thinking that everything we own is in this vehicle, or attached to it, and it could all be gone in a matter of minutes. After we parked and got set up, Curt got on the internet and started searching for a new backup camera. We can’t see the Jeep when we’re driving without it, and backing up with it is a lot easier.

The next morning Curt ordered a backup camera and had it sent to the next park we’re going to near RoswellNew Mexico. I e-mailed the kids and let them know we would be stopping next week if they wanted to send the rest of the packages out. A City employee stopped by and said we could stay free for 5 days. Curt told him we’d probably be leaving the next day or Saturday. The other 2 campers took off after that. Around noon I went for a walk and Curt went metal detecting.  A lot of City vehicles drove through the park during the day; nobody stopped to tell Curt he couldn’t use his metal detector. (Some cities have ordinances against it.)  It seems like the park is a place people come for their lunch hour; there were vehicles coming in and stopping, but not getting out of it. So as I walked around by myself, I started getting kind of leery of that and decided to walk around near Curt. We were outside for a couple of hours; it was beautiful out. There were other people walking, playing basketball and baseball. We decided that since this was free, we would probably stay another day or two.

12/19/12: We stopped at the Haskell Municipal City Park, which is free for one night and $16/ after that. It has full hookups, 30 amps. There were about 6 other campers there, but they were long-term. I went out for a walk around their park/ baseball/rodeo area. Curt went metal detecting. As I was taking pictures of the fountain area, a man walking his dog said that I should take pictures of the sky as the storm comes in. There were wind warnings, and we had driven in wind all morning. It looked like a dust storm coming tonight. The man said that it’s from the fields west of town that are plowed, in between the cotton crop and planting wheat. I got back to the RV before the storm came in, but Curt was caught in it, spitting out dust/sand when he got back. We later learned that there was a multivehicle  accident on the highway because of the storm and one person was killed.

Texas is a big state (I know I’ve said that before). We want to go straight west to the RoswellNew Mexico area, on Hwy 380. Trying to find places to stay could be tricky. I did find a Walmart and a city park, so we’ll try that. As we drove through some of the small cities, we noticed a few of them had small RV parks. So there must be a few people that drive this out-of-the-way road. There is a lot of oil activity, so there is truck and pickup traffic. Some of the oil wells are old and no longer working, but there are some new pumps going. The old pumps are small; the newer ones are larger, like the ones in North Dakota.

The terrain varies a lot throughout the state. It’s very dry; some counties have burn bans. It’s mostly flat, but then there’s an area of rolling hills, back and forth like that. Lots of cactus. There are areas with cattle and horses, and then you get to big farming areas. We found out later that it was cotton crops, and after they were done they planted wheat. We had no idea there was cotton in Texas.  There was a lot of irrigated areas. The ground is very red also; reminds me of the scoria in North Dakota. We had watched The Dust Bowl on PBS about a month ago and I could see why it would keep blowing like that. These farming areas where huge with no breaks in them and the topsoil was blowing into the ditches like snowbanks. Some fields still had cotton in them, some were plowed, some planted.

12/18/12, Tuesday:  We got ready to leave, to go to above Dallas, and stop at McKinney to pick up the oil that Curt had ordered. I asked him if the guy had called and said that it came in. He said he wasn’t going to call back, we should just stop. And if it wasn’t in yet, then what? Curt called the company and they said they didn’t order it because McKinney Walmart has it and they can sell it cheaper than he can. Curt was surprised that Walmart would have it, because we haven’t been able to find any. Curt called both Walmarts in the McKinney area and neither one had the oil he wanted. Okay, so much for that idea. Guess we wouldn’t have had to stay the weekend. It was a nice quiet place though. We stayed at Decatur Walmart for the evening. Definitely back in the city noise…screeching tires, honking horns, sirens.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

12/06/12, Thursday: Since Hot Springs, AR is on the way down to Crater of Diamonds State Park, I thought we could stop and see what it is about. There’s a lot of camping around the area, but nothing really cheap (Yes, we’re cheap). We found an Army Corp of Engineers park, Crystal Springs Recreation Area that was open so decided to try that. I think this would be a pretty park in the summer time, right along the river. It’s real quiet now. Four other campers there. 

Before we went to the campground, we drove into Hot Springs trying to find the Hot Springs National Parks Visitor Center. Hot Springs is not a town to be driving RVs, very little parking downtown at all, other than parking garages.  So we went to the campground and spent the evening there, then the next morning we went to Walmart and unhooked and drove the Jeep downtown. We found the visitor center, which is in Bath Row, and walked along Bath Row and the downtown area, and did some caching. There’s a couple of areas that people can fill water jugs with water from the hot springs…drinkable? It’s suppose to be. We didn’t try it, but there were people that were filling water jugs. We weren’t really impressed with Hot Springs; it’s a really old town, not RV friendly  and not much other than state parks and lakes for tourism (other than the gift shops and museums).  I would prefer to stay at the park rather than actually go to the town.

From there we went to Arkadelphia and then on to Crater of Diamonds State Park. We got there in the afternoon, so we decided not to pay for a day of diamond hunting until the next day.  It costs $7 per person to get in. We stayed at the campground in the park. It was beautiful outside, lower 70’s. Curt opened up the awnings and washed them off. They were full of bugs and leaves, even if we haven’t used them in ages. He washed the RV and the Jeep also.  Grilled some burgers – I finally found some hamburger that is decent. Most of the burgers have turned out so chewy you can barely eat them. I miss North Dakota hamburger. That evening it rained, so we figured it would be a total mud mess, terrific. We went over about 10 and it really wasn’t muddy at all. We took our own bucket, shovel and trowel, but rented a screen set. There is a short video to watch with directions on how to sift for the diamonds and what they look like and what other stones or rocks you might find.  The diamond field is basically a field that gets plowed once a month (last done on 12/04) and people come in and dig and sift for stones. It is 37 acres (they don’t plow the whole thing). We just picked a spot and started digging. We started out dry sifting. A park ranger went to the water pavilions and was explaining to some people there, so I went over to see how to do it that way. It seemed like most people were doing it that way, so we went over to do the “wet sifting”.  I picked out some clear “stones”, but they were calcite and other things not worth anything. Curt wasn’t impressed, but I’m glad we stopped to do it.

There have been diamonds found. In 1924 the largest diamond found in North America was found there; 40.23 carats, named The Uncle Sam. The last “larger” one was in 2011 at 8.66 carats.  It is the only diamond-producing area in the world open to the public. There are people that come back monthly and yearly to do this. A massive volcano brought diamonds to the surface. Over 75,000 diamonds have been found at “the Crater”, an eroded volcanic pipe. On average, more than 700 diamonds are found each year. 

There’s a cold front coming in, so we want to find a campground for electricity instead of using just our LP, and we need to get mail transferred again. I found a Passport America campground in Texas to work our way to that has good reviews for $12.50 a night for full hookups. It’s about 100 miles east of Dallas. We need to fill our propane pretty soon.

12/11/12, Tuesday: Got to Big Cypress RV Park, Pittsburg, TX. It’s a small park, maybe 35 sites. But it’s got full hookups, decent water flow and electricity and sewer. It’s got free internet and even free washers and dryers. We called for our mail yesterday to be sent here. On 12/12/12 we did some geocaching. The closest ones were in the town of Pittsburg, which is really small, and there was traffic and people wherever we needed to go to. I did get 2 though.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

12/05/12, Wednesday: We are now in Arkansas, Central Time zone, at the Downtown Riverside RV Park, North Little Rock. It's a small campground which accepts Passport America, so we are only playing $23.10 for two nights, full hookups. It’s on the bank of the Arkansas River. We’re third row back, but we can still see if there’s barges going through. We checked in last night, leaving tomorrow, heading toward Hot Springs.

Today we walked across the pedestrian/bike bridge which is an old railroad bridge that has been changed to a pedestrian bridge across the Arkansas River. I wanted to get to the Peabody Hotel before 11:00 to see the “famous” Peabody Ducks. The ducks come down the elevator every morning at 11 with the “Duckmaster”, walk the red carpet to the marble fountain to the tune of John Philip Sousa’s King Cotton March, climb in and spend the day in the fountain. At 5 they get out, walk the red carpet back to the elevator and go back up to their “home”.  It was fun to see this. After that we walked through the River Market section on the banks of the river and did some caching. President Clinton’s presidential library is in this area. Also Heifer International, whose mission is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the Earth.

11/29: Cedars of Lebanon State Park near Nashville, TN. This is about 25 miles from Nashville, but thought it would work better staying here and then driving in to town with the Jeep. When we were in Knoxville we had parked at a Walmart overnight, which was too close to town and Curt wasn’t comfortable driving there or being there. This is a nice state park, about 8 miles from the town of Lebanon, just a little way off of the highway, but it’s very peaceful there. One of the better roads we’ve been on going to a state park lately. While we were getting set up, we (I should say I) was met by a cat sitting near by. She was kind of shy, but came over while I was talking to her. I could tell she was tame. As soon as I started petting her, she started purring. Oh, I miss cats. But it would be so hard to have a litterbox in the little space we have. I’ll just enjoy those I find along the way, including Korene’s and Dean’s. One of the neighbors in the campground said someone had dumped her off and people have been feeding her and trying to get someone to take her home. I had a leftover hamburger that I gave her and she gobbled it down.

Friday we drove to Nashville. We drove around a couple of blocks trying to find parking near the visitor center down town, which is part of the Bridgestone Arena (hockey area).  Finally found an empty parking meter. We got some city maps and had the option of either feeding parking meters or going in a church parking lot for $7 for the day. Since we had no idea how long it would take us downtown, we chose the $7. As it was though, it would have been cheaper for us to feed the meter, but we didn’t have to rush this way either. We walked along blocks of country music and bars and restaurants. The Ryman theater is downtown, the Country Music Hall of Fame museum. They’re building a Music City Center downtown; it’s going to be a huge, fancy building. The amount of money spent on the buildings downtown is unbelievable. After that we went to find the Grand Ole’ Opry. Supposedly free to see it, and all decorated for Christmas. There’s a large mall by it, called Opry Mills. Well, it is closed to tours until February because of the Christmas shows that the Rockettes are putting on there. We couldn’t even peek inside the theater part, just the ticket stands and gift area.  Okay, so much for that idea. From there we went to see the Parthenon. It is a replica of the building in Greece (I have no idea why it is in Nashville).  This, we were told, was free also. Nope, only if you’re a member. By that time Curt had a headache and wasn’t really enjoying driving around any more, we decided to go back to the campground and enjoy that instead. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

11/28/2012, Wednesday:  Left Seviersville, TN after being there for 7 nights. It’s a nice campground, Cove Creek RV Resort. They’re relatively new, still adding concrete pads, etc. It’s out of Pigeon Forge about 8 miles, so you don’t have the busy roads and traffic. We are working our way to Nashville.

Got to Cove Creek RV Resort Wednesday afternoon, November 21st.  Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg are definitely a tourist trap. There are amusement parks, gift shops, restaurants, etc, etc. I didn’t expect it to be busy at Thanksgiving, but I guess it’s a popular place at this time. After Sunday things did slow down. We decided not to fight traffic on Thursday, so grilled a turkey breast and washed clothes, baked cookies and bread. Friday we went to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, thinking everyone would be shopping on Black Friday; but everyone who didn’t go shopping must have thought the same thing! There was so much traffic at the visitor’s center and going through the mountains, we couldn’t believe it. Any of the scenic outlooks or trail heads were full of cars. It started raining and was real foggy, so we decided not to do any trails, but went up to Clingman’s Dome, which is paved all the way. Little did I know that it is a ½ mile trail, practically straight up the mountain. High altitude didn’t help either. It's 6,643 feet, the  highest point in the Park. I wasn’t the only one stopping for breathers on the way up. My shins hurt so bad the next couple of days. And, once we got up to the top, it was so foggy that we couldn’t see much farther than the dome area itself anyway. (:  So, we decided to sit around over the weekend and not see anybody or any traffic. We didn't do much on Monday or Tuesday either. We had gotten mail and had to send some out, so found the post office and drove around town for a while and did some caching and got a smashed penny. It was really nice not doing anything. Curt was researching stuff on the internet and I added my Kindle books to Goodreads.com book shelves. I am embarrassed to say that I have over 700 books! Some I had gotten before the iPad, and was able to read them on my computer. I've probably only paid for maybe 4-5 books I'd say, the rest were all free. I've got a variety; from mystery to classics to Christmas, cookbooks, kids books, pets, memoirs.  Maybe I need to start reading more and quit finding more! (And yes, it took more than one day to enter them in.) 

11/18: Got in to Tennessee, with hills and mountains and rock. Stopped at Norris Dam and did some geocaching There was a grist mill and museum there, but the museum was closed. It was a nice area to cache in. Working our way to Knoxville, to a Walmart on the outskirts. The only problem with outskirts of a city, is that it still is a busy part of town. It was busier than Curt would have liked, but finding a place was not easy to do.  We went in to Knoxville, to a visitor center downtown. They had a radio music show going in there at the time we were there. We walked a little around downtown, and I took some pictures in a sculpture garden as I figured they’d be waymarks. Curt wasn’t too impressed. We went to find the Sunsphere Park, which is where Knoxville had the World’s Fair at one time. We rode up to the 3rd floor, I believe it was and then walked around the dome to see outside. We went to see a small fort area, which was closed. Across the street from that was the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. Got some pictures of that and a cache at that site.

11/16: Blue Heron Campground, in the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area in Kentucky. Another area of hills and trees and rock and natural arches. It’s a smaller campground with electricity and water for only $17/night (federal).  Bear signs again, but all we saw was wild turkeys. We drove to a small mining camp which you could pay to go 300 feet into a mine and see some of the buildings that they’ve recreated. Decided not to do that. Then we found an area that is free, that showed the basics of a mine camp (no actual buildings, but the shapes) and the railroad cars, etc. There was an information center and some trails there too. It was an interesting place. It is through the National Park Service. We went to Cumberland Falls, which is tagged as the Niagara Falls of the south. Definitely not Niagara Falls, but it was nice.  

Pics to come later - I have a lot to go through and since I'm using Curt's camera most of the time now, I have to make them smaller to load better.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

11/15/12, Thursday: I didn't realize Kentuckians had an accent, but we've got the you-all and everything that we're not used to. We were at Natural Bridge State Resort Park for one night; they closed the next day. But we were able to hike to the Natural Bridge and down into Devil's Gulch. The calves of my legs still hurt. It's not so much the miles, I think it was only 2, but the steps straight up and down. The next morning we drove to the Red River Gorge area and hiked a few short trails to see some of the arches and rocks. Those were easy except for the fact some were close to cliff edges. And one bad part of hiking in the fall is that leaves are all over the trails, so if they're not marked real well or hiked a lot, you're not always sure where you're going.

Monday, November 12, 2012

11/12/12, Monday: Waiting for the rain to quit again. We've had over half an inch of rain today. We were going to  head to Natural Bridge State Resort Park, but since it was raining so hard and was really windy, Curt felt he'd rather wait until tomorrow.

We are at Kentucky Horse Park Campground near Lexington, Kentucky. Definitely a change in scenery. We lost our mountains and have rolling plains and cattle and horse ranches. The campground is next door to the Kentucky Horse Park, so we went to see that yesterday. I think that would be a fun place earlier in the year when they have horse shows and more going on. We were able to go through barns and there were 2 events to meet people/horses, but the races or shows have quit for the year. There's 2 museums there and some statues of famous horses; even a cemetery.

They're decorating for Christmas

Some horses make a lot of money


English Shire 



Man O'War statue and he is buried there
along with some of his children

Friday, November 9, 2012

11/09/12: Friday: It's been a long 10 days waiting for mail. I called Barboursville post office every morning asking if our general delivery mail came in; no. Then I would call The UPS Store in Dickinson to see if they received it back yet; no. Today we decided we can't wait forever; it may never come.  We called the motor vehicle department to find out how to get a duplicate registration card and new tabs, so we got that started. We went on to Morehead, Kentucky Lowe's to catch up on internet stuff and then will go to Walmart for the night.  Morehead is about 60 miles from Barboursville, so if we have to go back tomorrow, it won't take so long. After we got to Lowe's, we got a phone call from The UPS Store, and our mail was sent back to them. Yay!!!! I told her to hang on to it until we get to a new campground and will have them send it again; this time with tracking numbers.

In the last 10 days we've stayed various places, thinking we'd only have to be in town for a couple of days. Obviously that wasn't happening, so we went to Beechfork State Park, about 10 miles from Barboursville. There I did baking, cleaning, cooking and we went did some hiking and a little driving around. Curt was able to get on the internet off and on tethering his phone, but cell service was spotty. We were able to get television service believe it or not.  The weather has been nice, so being outside in the sun felt good.  Two nights it got pretty cold out and the water in the hose froze. (We had full hookups for only $22/night.)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

10/30/12: At Robert Newlon AirPark at Huntinton, WV waiting for the mail to come and the rain to stop. It is a Passport America participating campground. We ended up getting some snow, which became slush with the water on the ground. At least we have electricity, so I did some baking and washing clothes.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

10/28/12, Sunday: Spending some time in Barboursville, West Virginia, waiting for mail to come to the Post Office. It’s a drizzly day, cool. I think the highs are suppose to be in the 40’s. It was beautiful all week; highs in the 70s, no wind. Now we have Hurricane Sandy going to hit the East Coast and we’re suppose to get rain and wind from that. The WV mountains are going to get snow – I’m glad we’re not in there any more. We’d be stuck until it melts. We stayed at Walmart last night, debating which campground to go to for a few days so we can use electricity instead of the generator.

We made it in to West Virginia finally on 10/22.  Pennsylvania is a large state.

We were at Blackwater Falls State Park last week for a couple of days. It took forever to get there. It is twisty/turny, up/down the mountains, narrow roads – even Curt didn’t enjoy that ride. Once we got closer to the campground, the road improved. Thank goodness. I think I’m tired of mountain roads already. The campground itself was nice. There’s two areas – one with electric and one without. We took the electric; it was 30 amp, but that was fine. There’s 6 other campers in the two areas. While Curt did some cleaning on the RV, I used his camera and took pictures, and did some reading. We tethered his phone for the internet, but it was spotty, not consistent at all. We took a walk around the park that night and saw some deer walking through the campground. They weren’t afraid of us at all.

We went to Blackwater Falls gift shop which was near the campground. You can take a walk to the Falls, 214 steps to the bottom of the boardwalk. There’s an earthcache for the falls. After that we went to the lodge area and there’s a small waterfall there, along with a cache we did.

We went to the Canyon Rim Visitor Center and saw the New River Gorge Bridge. In October they have “Bridge Day” where people are allowed to walk on the bridge. There is no traffic allowed. People also can parachute from it. There’s a boardwalk down 200 feet; I didn’t count the steps but I could feel it in my legs by the time I got back up. The bridge is 876 feet high, an arch length of 2700 feet, bridge length of 3030 feet. It is the world’s longest single arch steel span bridge and America’s 2nd highest bridge. There’s a gift shop across the road where I got a smashed penny.

From there we decided to go to Barboursville, a little way past Charleston and near the Kentucky border. On the way we’ll fill fuel at Pilot. We want to see if we can stay in that area for a few days and get our mail sent. We need the insurance papers and vehicle tags for the Jeep.  Back to the twisty/turny roads again.  As we got down to the bottom, we were right beside the New River most of the way. We passed a lot of coal mining areas.  There were a lot of places we wished we could have stopped for pictures, but no areas to stop along the way for us.  We got to Gauley Bridge, which is a town right by the river, that had a scenic view pullover. With the sun shining the way it was, we got some really nice pictures.

Lots of little towns along the water, and very few that had nice looking houses. Most of the back roads of Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia we noted a lot of old buildings. They don’t tear down their old barns/sheds or fix them. Don’t know if it’s  a property tax thing or what. Looks like more of the poorer areas of the states.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

10/19/12: After checking out of the campground we decided to go to Lowe's in Somerset. Curt needed to return some things and we thought we'd catch up on some internet stuff since we didn't have really good reception at the campground. Spent most of the night trying to work out where we are going into West Virginia and Kentucky.

10/18: Went to the Flight 93 National Memorial, which the National Park Service is still in the process of building. Only family is allowed to go to the actual area where the plane went down, the memorial is beside it. From there we went to the Quecreek Miners Memorial. This is on the farm where they were rescued. The people there still farm and milk cattle; but decided to put up a memorial since people had been coming to see the area. They talk to all the people who come, show the movie that Disney made and explain what is true and what wasn't :)  They have a map of the mine there and explained what happened. they have the rescue chamber on site and some other artifacts from then.  Some Amish from Ohio put up their building, they couldn't get local contractors  to work with.  It was really interesting talking with them. I did buy their book when we left. I have read the book that the miners wrote, but this is from another perspective.

10/16: On the way to the Hickory Hollow Campground near Rockwood, PA we went through Punxsatawney. They have fiberglass statues of groundhogs (Punxsatawney Phil) painted throughout town. Again, not a very easy drive through town or parking availability for an RV. Parking meters downtown, but still very narrow streets, so we didn't stop. We saw advertising for Johnstown Flood National Memorial so decided to stop at that. It is a National Park Service site, so it was free with our National Park Pass, not that they checked. Otherwise it would have been $4/person. There was a film that showed what happened and we could see the area affected outside. Lots of people and some towns wiped out when the dam broke. Got to the campground around 4:00, in the bottom tier by ourself - nice. Curt wanted to do some work on the RV again and I wanted to wash clothes, so we decided to stay a couple days. With Passport America we can still through Thursday at only $14.50 a night. There's seasonals in one area, but this must be a relatively newer campground because they all look nice. A few campers on a top section.

Monday, October 15, 2012

10/14/12: Saw the Kinzua Dam and drove around the hills. There is an area called "Jake's Rocks" that we stopped at and took pictures. Went on to Warren, PA Walmart. Windy area here. Did FaceTime with the grandchildren tonight. Thanks girls!

10/13: Yup, got cold last night, 27 degrees. Glad we had our 2 little heaters able to be plugged in. Got a later start due to the cold, didn’t really want to go sight-seeing/hiking until it warmed up a little bit. Went to Kinzua Bridge State Park to see the Kinzua Bridge Skywalk. The Kinzua Viaduct was built in 1882, the highest railroad bridge in the world. It was 301 feet high, 2053 feet long and weighed 3,105,000 pounds and built of iron. In 1900 they had to rebuild it with steel to accommodate heavier trains, and then weighed 6,706,000 pounds. Freight traffic discontinued in 1959.  In 1963 the area became a state park. In 2002 it was discontinued to all traffic, including pedestrians, by engineers doing inspections. In February 2003 they started restoring the Kinzua Viaduct. On July 21, 2003, a tornado struck and 11 of the towers were knocked down. They’ve restored 6 of the original towers and added an observation deck with a partial glass floor. This was opened in September 2011 for visitors. It is truly a sight to see. The towers and trees are supposedly still laying like they were after the tornado. We also did 4 regular caches and an earthcache.

10/12: Left Mansfield and took Rt 6 and then 59 to go to Warren, PA Walmart. We figured we could park there (I called last night) and go with the Jeep in the Allegheny National Forest. The campgrounds in this area are really expensive, some are already closed. Most of the trees are way past peak now, lots without leaves at all.  We stopped at a ranger station/info center. We found out about a campground 8 miles from there with electricity, Red Bridge Campground, $23 for electricity, $18 basic. We decided to do electricity since it’s supposed to get cold tonight.

10/11: We went to the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania. It has a small visitor center and gift shop there. It’s free, basically scenic overlook areas into the canyon and some hiking trails. One of the trails was supposed to be rated as more difficult, so I chickened out; a mile-and-a-half down to the bottom of the canyon and then back up. There was a shorter one, not quite a mile, which took us to another scenic lookout which was really pretty. That went down and up just a little bit, but enough that I was glad that I had my hiking shoes on and my pole with. The canyon would have been prettier with the trees still having leaves on, but we’re too late for most of them.  Curt still got some pretty pictures though. When we got back to the Jeep, the battery was dead again. Terrific. We waited for a little while until a guy was coming back to his vehicle in the parking lot and Curt asked him if he could jump it. We had battery cables with.  Got it going.

10/09/: Endless Mountain Campground, Laceyville. We should have known something was wrong when neither the GPS nor Google maps couldn’t find it. It’s a Passport America campground. I called and asked them if they had room; he said yes, we “should” fit, and kind of gave directions. (I shouldn’t taken the hint from the “should fit” part.) Well, we couldn’t find it. Trying to drive around in a tiny mountain  town with narrow streets with a motorhome pulling a Jeep isn’t really fun. We stopped and called them. They said they would come and get us. By that time Curt was ready to say forget it and just go back to a gas station lot we past along the way. But, since they said they were coming, we waited. When they got to us, in about 5 minutes, we were facing the wrong direction on the highway and had to go about a half-mile to turn around and come back. We followed them through town and about a half mile out of town to a narrow dirt road turn-off with trees on both sides with low branches. Ok, next hint not to go. Curt went out and talked to the owner; he told him where the campground was from there and then they left ahead of us. We had to unhook the Jeep to be able to take the corner. Dead battery…what next?!  Jumpstarted the Jeep and I followed the motorhome down the narrow road, over a narrow railroad crossing and a sharp corner after that down a “path” beside the railroad and then into the campground. Very small, basically a half acre in their front yard, grass. A couple of campers there (no motorhomes), but they do have hookups. Ok, we don’t need water or sewer, but we can use the 30 amp electricity for heat. Curt went to plug in and their 30-amp hookup isn’t the regular 30-amp RV hookup.  It looked like the regular house plug-ins, and we didn’t have an adaptor to connect to this kind; so, no electricity either. Yup, $25 to spend the night on roads we shouldn’t have taken and no electricity.  

10/05/12: Friday: Drove through the White Mountain Forest. We were going to go to Castle in the Clouds, but they charge for the drive up there, and then again to see the castle. Nope. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wednesday, October 3, 2012:  We just checked into Beaver Hollow Campground at Ossipee, NH, another Passport America campground. Yup, we're back in New Hampshire already. As we've been searching campgrounds,  we're finding that a lot of them in the northern/eastern part of the country close October 15th. So, instead of going all the way up and back from Acadia National Park, which would be another 400 miles or so, we just decided to start heading back. The trees are really pretty; some red, yellow and still greens. Interesting some trees already dropping their leaves. Near Beaver Hollow is the White Mountain National Forest and Castle in the Clouds which we plan on going to; hopefully not raining.

Monday we went south of Wells, along the coastline, and found a beach area to walk on. There were some kids running in the water (don't know why they weren't in school), but the water was too cold for me to walk in in my opinion. We saw Nubble Lighthouse. It was free, but we couldn't go on the island itself where the lighthouse is. Got lots of pictures. It's a really pretty area. The huge rocks are amazing around here. Tour buses all over. Fort McClary, an old fort, was open, and it was free also. Kind of nice not being around tourist season for some things. We went to Kittery Trading Post, which is much like Cabela's but I think it is more into guns and hiking. Even though there is a lot of everything. It's two levels also like Cabela's, but doesn't have near as many animals.

Tuesday we went north up to South Portland and then back along the coastline. We saw Portland Head Light lighthouse at Fort Williams Park at Cape Elizabeth. Again, huge rocks. It was a fort, so there's still some blocks leftover from buildings. Everything was free again (nice!) Lots of tour buses again. We stopped at Scarborough at Len Libby Chocolatier. They have a life-sized moose made of chocolate.  That's probably the only moose we'll see! We stopped at Kennebunkport and walked around. We had been there back in 2007 with Dean and Valerie, and  remembered a lot of the area, and found the ship, Eleanor, that they had a ride in. Lots of road construction.