Saturday, July 02, 2011

Alparon Community Park, Saturday

It was a very busy day in the park. The three of us took a walk all around the park this morning. A group of volunteers were scraping the paint from a very old house getting it ready for paint. There was a skeet shoot and picnic going on. Gopher generally doesn't like sharp, loud noises but she did OK. Pepper Auction company was conducting a big estate sale auction. The place was packed. Most of the stuff was flea market quality, but there were some nice hunting rifles and a very impressive assortment of old Lionel trains in their original boxes. There is a small museum on site as well as a few old buildings relocated to the park. The Farmers Market was somewhat disappointing after the one we have at home and others we've seen on our travels.
Once again, we're the only ones in the "overnight" section of the campground. At the other end of the park there are perhaps 20 seasonal sites. Not much really. Just RV's jammed together. Our end is much nicer.
The original travel plan was to leave here on Monday, the 4th. After thinking about it, we decided there would be too much traffic, and too many drunks out on the 4th. We'll continue south on Tuesday.
Plus this really is a nice place. I wonder what will be going on for the 4th? Fireworks maybe?

This is our view towards the fairgrounds.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Alparon Park, Troy, PA

We left Willow Bay this morning. On the way, we stopped by a very pretty city park. There was a walkway around the lake. Someone had erected a small stone memorial to Sargent Maholic. Another plaque said "A son, a husband & a father". Wonder if his parents, wife and children thought the Sargent died for some grand & noble cause? Wonder how they are all doing five years later? Do they still come to visit the memorial? I look at all the guys my age who died in Vietnam. And for what? Is the world a better place for their death? Vietnam is a trading partner of ours. Saigon a major tourist destination.

Our destination was the Alparon Community Park in Troy, PA. What a find this was. It's basically a complex with the fairgrounds, the community pool ($3/day) and a nice campground. We're right on the edge of a small creek. The other side of us isn't nearly as pretty, mostly buildings associated with the fairgrounds use. $20/night for water & electric. There is a dump station on site. Tomorrow there is a auction taking place. That will be fun.

We finally have a good internet connection. I uploaded a bunch of pictures to yesterdays blog post.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Willow Bay Recreation Area, Allegheny National Forest

Monday the 27th:
Todays mission was to check out different Forest Service campgrounds located on the east side of the Allegheny National Forest. I learned that the Allegheny’s are actually a part of the Appalachian mountain range which was formed between 500 million and 430 million years ago. That’s during the Taconic orogeny; whatever that is. We stopped at the Kinzua Beach picnic area located on the Reservoir. Gopher had a good swim. This has been the first alligator free, fresh water since we left home. A chance to wash off some of the dirt.

We drove through Red Bridge, Kiasutha, Dewdrop and Willow Bay campgrounds before deciding on Willow Bay. We have a very nice campsite right on Willow Creek. There are some sites directly on Willow Bay but they are all reserved through the 4th , in fact almost everything is reserved through the 4th.
The sun’s out today; a noteworthy event so far on our tour through PA . Mostly it’s been cloudy or overcast.

There is no cell phone or VZ data service in this area. I was looking at my cell phone and saw a missed call from the head nurse at the place where my Mother lives. Melinda doesn’t call to just chat, so we packed up and headed towards Bradford, the nearest town, expecting some bad news. About 10 miles from here we got cell phone service. My mother has an Alert One system; one of the, “Help ! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” devices. Melinda had called just to tell me the system was giving a low battery alarm. I called Elizabeth, the women we hired to help Mom when we were gone. All’s well. Elizabeth was one of our better ideas in quite some time.

Tuesday the 28th:
The three of us took a nice walk to the picnic area located on the bay. Gopher went swimming again. The water here agrees with her fortunately. Sometimes after drinking from a stream, she gets diarrhea a few hours later then I wind up dealing with that mess for the next day or so. During the walk, Gopher alerted to something. Her ears stood up, she raised her head high and started sniffing the air. In a few seconds, a deer came bounding out of the woods just in front of us. A dogs sense of smell really is amazing and Gophers not even a scent hound. The two weiner dogs we had for years, Balou & Bagera, would have picked that deer up a block away.

Wild flowers are everywhere. The blackberry bushes are loaded but need another week or two. We saw hills covered with mountain laurel as we drove here but couldn’t find a place to pull over for pictures. This is a beautiful time to be in this part of the country. A little sunshine would be a plus, but at least it’s not raining. In the woods, an assortment of mushrooms grow. A friend of ours, Gail, is working on her Naturalist Merit Badge. As part of the requirements, she has to identify and eat wild mushrooms. Here are pictures of two mushrooms I came across. Are they edible? Not by me they’re not.

More & more people are pulling into the campground. Mostly families. Two or three kids and a dog or two, per site, seems to be the norm. We walked up to the check-in booth to see about sites for the weekend. There are five still available. Tomorrow we’ll decide what to do. Stay put, or set out and hope for the best.
I was doing a little cleaning today; mostly dog hair. I’m still coming across red dust from last years trip to the Southwest. We both like that area, but the wind seems to blow constantly and it carries a powder-fine red dust that covers everything. We’re talking about heading to the Southwest again this year right after Christmas. We’ll see. Ginny will be in Florida by then, so it will be her turn to take care of Mom.

Wednesday, the 29th:

Woke up to a chilly, grey, misty rain type of day. We decided to go into Bradford to check phone messages, e-mail, do laundry & stop by WalMart. There is a wonderful bakery in Bradford. John Williams European Pastry Shop. I got a piece of apple strudel for us to share. We're trying to be good these days. Both of us have health goals. One big one is maintaining a healthy weight. We travel with our bath scale from home to keep track of our weight. We're both outside of the acceptable range so it's time to cut back on the calories. Years ago we were both fat people. We will never repeat that mistake.

Thursday, the 30th:
Took our morning walk to the picnic area. Some camping neighbors pulled in. Six RV's from an extended family group. They've been coming here each 4th of July for over 20 years. Real nice people from New York & PA.
If we wanted to stay here for the weekend there was room. As of this afternoon there were two vacant sites but we've been here long enough. We've enjoyed watching the families pull in, the children racing here & there,the barking dogs, on & on. Your typical, family 4th of July weekend. By tomorrow afternoon, this place will be pure bedlam. :-)

The campground.


The creek behind our campsite.

Eat this? Not me.

This one either.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Continuing west

The carnies started arriving last night and early this morning so we had to move on. Todays destination was the COE campground at the East Branch, Clarion River Lake near Wilcox,PA. Next weekend is the 4th of July; probably the busiest camping weekend of the year. We're checking our potential campgrounds that either don't take reservations, like this one, or have a good number of non-reservable sites. If we get a campsite on Thursday, we'll be good for the weekend.
This campground is OK, but nothing special based on our needs. The campsite itself is nice, but there is no special view and it would be difficult for Carol to get near the lake. We'll continue our search tomorrow when we drive through the Allegheny National Forest.
$15 w/o electricity, $20 with. Half price with the Old Age card.

On the way to the campground, there was a sign on I-80 that said this was the highest point on I-80 east of the Mississippi River; 2,230'. The highest point in PA is Mount Davis at 3,213'. Not much as the Western states go, then again, these mountains are very much older than the Rockies. They have had several million more years to erode away. Did you know that 60% of PA is in forest? I didn't. According to an article I just read, by 1900 there was no marketable timber left in PA. Everything you see today is second, third or fourth growth. When the loggers were finished clear cutting an area, they would leave behind the stumps, limbs & assorted trash. These areas frequently caught fire. When they do, they burn with such intensity and duration that the soil is sterilized for decades to come. Nothing but weeds will grow. Today there are laws that prohibit such destructive and short-sighted practices.
A few years ago we were in Minnesota and visited a Forest Service Visitor Center. About 1870, the timber interests in Minnesota were clear cutting mile after mile of forests. There was a drive underway in Congress to set limits on such practices. There was a quotation from the Senator from MN painted on the wall. It said "There is enough timber in Minnesota to last for all future generations". The legislation died. By 1900 all the marketable trees in MN were gone. We hear the same tune being played day after day. No quotas on fishing, global warming is a joke, restrain the EPA because toxic air & water isn't all that bad for you, plus it's very expensive to clean up. I suspect that fifty years from now we'll look back and just shake our collective heads at our short sightedness.