The Beauty Around Us

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Posts from the ‘Pennsylvania’ category

Maggie Valley NC to Warren PA

We spent the week of May 14th on vacation in Virginia and North Carolina. I have been uploading blog posts about our vacation since May 29th. This blog post is about our eighth, and final, day of vacation.

I wish I had slept better the night before.  Bob’s snoring awakened me, and the room temperature wasn’t good. I was either too warm or cold. Apparently I slept with an ant too. While half asleep, during the night, I changed my sleeping position. I rested the side of my head on another pillow. I heard a buzzing noise…bee? fly? I turned on the light and lifted my pillow….nothing. I lifted the other pillow…nothing. I pulled back the bed sheet and shook the covers…nothing. I eventually went back to sleep. Later on, I placed my hand underneath the pillow and felt movement. I brushed my hand outward. I got up, looked underneath the pillow and saw a black, plump ant moving quickly to the head of the bed. I flattened that ant, without a moment’s thought.

We departed A Holiday Motel on Sunday, May 21, at 5:15 am, in the rain.  We arrived at Cracker Barrel in Asheville, NC at 5:50 am. We had an approximate wait of 10 minutes before the restaurant opened. While we ate, it got lighter outside. The rain, however, continued. We were back on the road around 6:30 am.

Our next stop was 3 hours later at the Rocky Gap Safety Rest Area/Welcome Center, located along Interstate 77 in Virginia. The only thing noteworthy about this rest stop was some old vehicles that we saw in the parking lot.

20170521_133433293_iOSInterstate 77 in Virginia at the
Rocky Gap Safety Rest Area/Welcome Center

The rain turned into drizzle, as we entered West Virginia and soon stopped completely.

We ate lunch at Shoney’s in Summersville, WV. We were back on the road at noon.

The Pennsylvania Welcome Center in Waynesburg is a very nice welcome center. It is full of brochures and maps about places throughout Pennsylvania, as well as coloring and activity books for children.  There is also a coal miners memorial at this welcome center.

20170521_180940895_iOSCoal Miners Memorabilia at
Pennsylvania Welcome Center in Waynesburg, PA

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Monument Dedicated to all Coal Miners at
Pennsylvania Welcome Center in Waynesburg, PA

 

The coal miners memorial was of interest to me, as both Dad and my brother, Jim, were coal miners.

The rain started up again soon after leaving the Pennsylvania Welcome Center, and followed us home.

We got off Interstate 77 at the Slippery Rock exit, several miles sooner than routed by the GPS. We were getting tired of interstate travel.

We returned home at approximately 5:30 pm. We drove in rain at least 75% of our drive home.

This blog post concludes our Virginia and North Carolina vacation.  I hope that you enjoyed, vicariously, coming along with us on our vacation.

Bicycle Ride Around Lake Wilhelm

Bob and I went for a bicycle ride this past Saturday (June 10th).

Bob is carrying our folding bicycles from the house to the car.

We ate breakfast at Richard’s Family Restaurant in Youngsville, PA. Bob ordered an omelet filled with onions, mushroom and cheddar cheese with rye toast and sliced tomatoes on the side. I ordered scrambled eggs, bacon and French Toast. Breakfast was good and quite filling.

Leaving Richard’s, we began our drive to where our bicycle ride would begin.

 

Youngsville, PA to Lake Wilhelm, PA

Lake Wilhelm is the centerpiece of Maurice K. Goddard State Park.  We have visited Lake Wilhelm a few times, circling the lake by car.  This was the first time that we planned a bicycle ride at the lake.

The John C. Oliver Multi-Purpose Loop Trail is 12 miles long. The paved, predominantly off-road trail traces the northern and southern shores of Lake Wilhelm.  The loop trail is a pleasant, largely wooded loop around the lake.  We began our ride at Boat Launch #4, which is located on the lake’s north side.

We arrived at Boat Launch #4 at approximately 9:30 am.

D6101638Lake Wilhelm Boat Launch #4

A flock of geese flew overhead, as we were preparing for our bicycle ride.

_LG21953The geese made quite a noise, as they flew over us at Boat Launch #4!

We didn’t begin our ride until 10:00 am. It took approximately 30 minutes to unfold our bicycles and attach a trunk bag to each rack. The next time we go for a ride less preparation time will be required, as the trunk bags already will be attached. We planned to ride from Boat Launch #4 to the dam and back, which I had read somewhere on the Internet was an approximate 5-mile round trip. I guess I read the information incorrectly, as it was about 5 miles ONE WAY to the dam from Boat Launch #4.

The trail on the north side contains several sharp bends and short, steep runs that I found challenging. The payoff, though, are scenic vistas overlooking the water.

D6101641En route Lake Wilhelm Dam

D6101643En route Lake Wilhelm Dam

D6101644The trail crosses over Lake Wilhelm Dam.

Once we reached the dam, we decided to continue rest of the way around Lake Wilhelm, rather than back track, as it would add only a few more miles to our day’s ride.

The trail on Lake Wilhelm’s south side runs from the dam to Lake Wilhelm Road.  The trail shares Creek Road with motor vehicles from the dam to Boat Launch #1 and ends at the marina.

D6101647Amish buggy along Creek Road; no horse in sight

Before reaching Boat Launch #1, one can choose to stay on Creek Road or take the bike trail up over a steep hill.  Bob took the high road; I stayed on Creek Road.

We found lots of horses and more Amish buggies at Boat Launch #1.  I am certain that one of the horses pulled the Amish buggy that we saw earlier.

D6101649Horses and Amish Buggies
Note the picnic areas shown in this photograph.

Picnic areas are abundant and restrooms can be found at each of the four boat launches around the lake.

D6101650There were lots of Amish buggies at Boat Launch #1.
Boat trailers were parked nearby.

IMG_20170610_115128
10-mile marker
Two more miles to go!
(photo by Bob)

Actually we had about 2 1/2 miles to go, as we entered the trail about 1/2 mile from the start.  Oh, and in the photograph displayed above, I was not walking my bicycle at this point.  I got off to take a picture of the 10-mile marker.  I DID walk my bicycle, though, several times during our 12-mile ride!

D6101653We made it to the marina!

The south and north portions of the John C. Oliver Multi-Purpose Loop Trail are connected via Lake Wilhelm Road.  You can see Lake Wilhelm Road (across the lake) in the photograph displayed above.  There is a large berm along the side of Lake Wilhelm Road, so traffic was not a problem.

We began our bicycle ride at 10:00 am and completed the ride at 1:00 pm.  Bob used the MapMyRide app to track our bicycle ride.

 

Screenshot from MapMyRide app

The MapMyRide app records moving time. We made stops (to take pictures and to rest) equaling approximately an hour. The last 1/2-1 mile didn’t go well. I had to make frequent stops because I felt weak and dizzy. Eating a chocolate bar, when we made it back to the car, quickly ended the weak feeling and dizziness. We carried water with us. We need to carry candy too, e.g. hard candy or protein bars that won’t melt.

From Lake Wilhelm we drove to Erie. We ate a late lunch at Texas Roadhouse, using a gift card for a portion of the cost. Lunch was good and filling as well.

We began our drive back home, after lunch. We made one stop along the way. We stopped at Walmart in Corry, where we purchased two bicycle seats.  Our new bicycle seats are wider and more cushy than the seats currently on our folding bicycles.  Our next bicycle ride will be more comfortable on our buttocks!

We both enjoyed the John C. Oliver Multi-Purpose Loop Trail and would like to ride it again, perhaps sometime during the autumn months.

Grandpa Bob and Grandma Linda’s Special Day with Harper

Bob and I spent one-on-one time with our granddaughter Harper this past Saturday.  We like spending time with both of our granddaughters at the same time, but we also treasure the one-on-one times that we have with this as well.  We spent one-on-one time with Harper’s sister, Juniper, in late April.  This past Saturday was special time with Harper.

We picked up Harper at her house around 8:30 am.

We arrived at the Erie Zoo at 10:00 am. The line to get into the zoo was long — longer than I have even seen it.  It was Big Equipment Day at the zoo, but it wasn’t crowded like this last year!  We decided to come back later in the day.

Leaving the zoo, we drove to the Tom Ridge Environmental Center (TREC).  The highlight of our visit to the TREC was being on top of the observation tower.  We rode the elevator to the top of the 75-foot tall tower.

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Harper on top of the observation tower
The bit of blue you see in the background is Lake Erie.

IMG_20170603_104621Harper and I on top of the observation tower
Lake Erie and Waldameer are visible from the top of the tower.
(photo by Bob)

Inside TREC, we quickly walked around the exhibits.  Harper pushed buttons on some of the exhibits and showed some interest in other exhibits.  We probably spent half an hour or less inside the TREC.

From TREC we visited Presque Isle State Park. We made two stops on our drive around Presque Isle: at North Pier Lighthouse and at Waterworks Playground.

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Harper enjoyed walking with us on the pier to the North Pier Lighthouse.

The Waterworks Playground is located adjacent to the Rotary Pavilion and across from Beach 7 (Waterworks Beach).  Bob and I have passed by this playground many times.  I always thought it would be a good playground at which to take our granddaughters.  We didn’t take Juniper here during her one-on-one time with us because it was raining.  It is a very nice playground, but the climbing ropes were somewhat scary for Harper.  A bumble bee flying around didn’t help either!

XZ031141
Harper on one of several climbing ropes.

IMG_20170603_121130This is all the further Harper climbed.
She was frozen in place.  I helped her down.

From Presque Isle State Park, we drove to the local McDonald’s Restaurant and ate lunch.  After lunch, we returned to the zoo.

It was 1:30 pm, when we made it back to Erie Zoo. There was still a line at the entry gate, but the line was at least a quarter of what it was at 10:00 am.

We had a good time at the zoo seeing the animals, riding the Wildlife Carousel, and riding the train. I put together a slideshow that highlights our day at the zoo.

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Also a video of the zoo train as it departs, with Harper and me on board.  We are in one of the last cars; you should see Harper waving at Bob, who was recording the video.

Please click here, if you are not able to view the embedded video of the Erie Zoo train.

It was 4:15pm, when we left Erie Zoo. We stopped at Country Fair for cold drinks, before making our trek back home.

We returned Harper home at 5:45 pm. Juniper was excited to show me that she got her fingernails painted. While Bob and I had one-on-one time with Harper, Stacey had the same with Juniper. Stacey said that she and Juniper had a good day, except for the hour she spend arguing with Juniper over why she can’t go to the mall. Harper and I had “a moment” too. She was not going to sit with me in the zoo train; she was going to sit behind Grandpa, not me, on our way home.  Harper was mad at me because Grandma wouldn’t let her sit on top of the bronze statue’s head at the zoo. Through no effort on my part Harper did sit with me on the zoo train, and she sat behind me on the way back home.  Life with 5-year-olds….

It was a long, but fun, day.  I think our next family adventure will include both of our granddaughters.

Memorial Day 2017 Ride

This past Tuesday an announcement about a Memorial Day ride was posted on the 2 Scoop Cycletherapy Facebook group page. The announcement read that we would meet at the Tractor Supply parking lot at about 11:00 am and ride to The Farmers Inn in Sigel for chicken BBQ. Our return route would include an ice cream stop.

As planned, we met at Tractor Supply in North Warren at 11:00 am yesterday morning.

_XZ91099Tractor Supply Parking Lot

We left en route Farmers Inn at 11:30 am. Our riding group was made up of five motorcycles, nine riders and Bob and I riding shotgun in our car.

_XZ91104En Route Farmers Inn

We arrived at The Farmers Inn at 12:30 pm.

_XZ91109Arrival at Farmers Inn

I think everyone, except for Bob and me, ordered BBQ chicken. Bob and I ordered burgers and onion rings. We ate outside the ice cream parlor, the building in which we ordered our lunches.

_XZ91111Eating Lunch at Farmers Inn

We spent about two hours at The Farmers Inn…eating, shopping, chatting and watching the goats.

_XZ91113This is Mark; he planned our Memorial Day ride.
I caught him shopping at the Bulk Foods and Candy Store.

_XZ91114This is Debbie.
It looks like she had a successful shopping experience at the Bulk Foods and Candy Store.

_XZ91116I found Scott checking out the melons at the Bulk Foods and Candy Store.

_XZ91121
The melons were a handful.

There are lots of goats at Farmers Inn, and they were fun to watch.

_XZ91110

_XZ91117

_XZ91125
We left The Farmers Inn around 2:50 pm.

_XZ91131Leaving Farmers Inn

Our next stop, after The Farmers Inn, was at nearby Beartown Rocks. Beartown Rocks is located in Clear Creek State Park.  I think Paul and Debbie and Bob and I were the only ones who had previously visited Beartown Rocks. I should have taken a walking stick with me. I was unsteady making my way on the trail over the rocks. I made it safely to the overlook and back to the car, without incident. I am thankful there were plenty of hands and shoulders available to provide assistance, when needed.

_LG21926Rod and Beverly at Beartown Rocks Overlook

_LG21928
Bob at Beartown Rocks

_LG21930
Scott and Donna at Beartown Rocks

_LG21933All of us at Beartown Rocks

We departed Beartown Rocks around 3:40 pm. Our next stop was in Hallton. I am not certain of our route. I do know that we had the Clarion River alongside us for most of the way.

_LG21935I think where we parked used to be the grounds of the Hallton Sawmill.

_LG21938Kevin’s family hailed from Hallton.  He discussed the history of Hallton with us.

_LG21939Hallton History Sign

Looking away from the signage, there was a picturesque view of the Clarion River.

_LG21941
Clarion River

_LG21942

Too bad I didn’t have the long lens on my camera.  I might have captured a photograph of an eagle, as it flew along the river!

We departed Hallton at 4:22 pm. We passed through Lolita and turned left onto Route 66 in Mariensville. In Leeper we turned right on Route 36 and followed it to Tionesta, where we hopped on to Route 62. We followed Route 62 to Tidioute, where we stopped for ice cream.

_XZ91132Tidioute, PA
Ice Cream Stop

Everyone wondered why Mark hadn’t made an ice cream stop sooner. We passed by a couple ice cream stands before arriving in Tidioute. We jokingly said that Mark’s backside must be made of iron.

_XZ91133Standing in line at the ice cream stand

Leaving the ice cream stand, we took Route 337 home.

_XZ91136Leaving Tidioute

It started to rain on our way home, but not hard and not for very long. We arrived home around 7:10 pm. Faye posted on Facebook that we rode 170 miles.

~~~~~~~~~~

Shortly before 7:00 this morning I saw a post shared on a friend’s Facebook page “Friend just texted me about a fire at FI. What is going on and how bad. She didn’t know which building.” A quick search uncovered the fact that there had been a fire at The Farmers Inn early this morning. The restaurant and gift shop, as well as the ice cream shop, are gone. Thankfully, no animals or people were harmed. This loss saddens me greatly.  Bob and I go to The Farmers Inn at least once a year, most years more than once.  We took our granddaughters there last year and planned to take them again this year.  I hope that the owners are able to rebuild.

Returning Home from a Pocono Mountains Weekend Part 3

Leaving Knapp’s Covered Bridge, we continued driving west on U.S. Route 6.  Our last sightseeing stop before returning home from our Pocono Mountains weekend getaway was in Wellsboro, where we stopped briefly in the town center before visiting Leonard Harrison State Park and Colton Point State Park.

_LG21252
Mary Wells Morris statue

The Mary Wells Morris statue sits near the Tioga County Courthouse, located across the street from The Green.  Wellsboro was settled by Benjamin Morris and his wife, Mary.  According to this article, the statue has stood next to the historical society on Main Street since 2009.  We have visited Wellsboro frequently over the years, as it is within a 2-hour drive of our home.  This was the first time that we saw this statue.

_LG21258
Tioga County Courthouse

Across the street from the courthouse is The Green.

_LG21277The Green’s centerpiece is the Wynken, Blyken and Nod statue and fountain.

_LG21253During our visit, the fountain had not yet been turned on.

One of the features of this quaint town that I adore are the gas lit streets.

_LG21276
Wellsboro’s gas lit Main Street

Wellsboro is the gateway to the spectacular Pine Creek Gorge, the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, which stretches 50 miles and reaches depths of 1,000 feet. Leonard Harrison State Park and Colton Point State Park perch on opposite sides of the canyon.

Leonard Harrison State Park, the east rim of the canyon, may be reached by following Route 660 West of Wellsboro for approximately 12 miles.

_LG21260Route 660 ends at the entrance to Leonard Harrison State Park.

_LG21262Walk through this entrance and feast your eyes on the spectacular views of Pine Creek Gorge!

_LG21265

IMG_20170508_112555
Pine Creek Gorge
(photo by Bob)

_LG21270Pine Creek Gorge is magnificent!

_LG21271

To view the canyon from Colton Point State Park, the west rim of the canyon, follow Route 6 West of Wellsboro. The entrance to the park is along Route 6 in Ansonia approximately 12 miles from the town of Wellsboro.

_LG21279
Pine Creek Gorge from one of Colton Point State Park’s overlooks

There is a circular one-way road that passes by several picnic pavilions.  We usually drive on this road and head back down the mountain.  On this visit we decided to check out the trail that lies beyond the wood fence.

_LG21295Beyond the wood fence is a trail.

I believe this is part of the Rim Trail.  I am not certain, though, as Rim Trail follows the perimeter of the ‘point’ and links all of the overlook view areas together into a wonderful and mostly flat hike.  As you will see in a video later in this blog post, this particular trail was not flat!

_LG21282
Pine Creek Gorge,
as seen from the trail beyond the wood fence

The highlight of our visit to Colton Point State Park was discovering this view of Turkey Path Falls, which is visible on the trail beyond the wood fence.

_LG21288
Turkey Path Falls

This was the first time I had seen the falls.  Bob saw this waterfall on an earlier trip to Wellsboro.  He hiked the Turkey Path Trail, which is accessible from Leonard Harrison State Park.  The trail is 2 miles round trip and is described as a “most difficult trail”.  I opted not to hike that trail!  Turkey Path Trail trail descends one mile to the bottom of Pine Creek Gorge.  It is a down and back trail.  The top half of the trail descends through a series of switchbacks to a view of Little Four-Mile Run at 0.5 miles, then on a short distance to the first waterfall. The trail continues downward along narrow switchbacks and wooden decking, bridges, and steps. The lowest parts of the trail are along a series of waterfalls. The trail ends at the Pine Creek Trail.  The photograph displayed above is where Turkey Path Trail ends.  When Bob hiked the Turkey Path Trail in July 2016, there was only a trickle of water coming down the hill.  Turkey Path Falls was gushing during our most recent visit!

A little further along on the trail we were able to see the viewing area at Leonard Harrison State Park.

_LG21291
Leonard Harrison State Park,
as seen from Colton Point State Park

_LG21292

Bob hiked down the trail quite a bit farther than I did.

Here is a direct link, in the event you are not able to view the embedded video.

I’m happy that I stopped hiking the trail where I did!

 

We ate a picnic lunch, when we returned from our hike.

_LG21297One of the picnic pavilions located on the circular loop.

After our picnic we left Colton Point State Park and continued our drive west on U.S. Route 6 to our home in Warren, PA.  We returned home around 5:00 pm.

 

Returning Home from a Pocono Mountains Weekend Part 2

Leaving the Marie Antoinette Lookout, we continued driving west on U.S. Route 6.  Located about 15 minutes northwest of Towanda PA is Bradford County’s only surviving covered bridge.  I first learned of the Knapp’s Covered Bridge via an UncoveringPA.com article.  I made a point to visit this bridge, when I realized that we would be within a few miles of it, on our way back home from our Pocono Mountains Weekend Getaway,  Upon arriving in Towanda PA, I entered Knapp’s Covered Bridge into the GPS.  The GPS had us turn off U.S. Route 6 onto Township Route 547 (Buttermilk Falls Road), which we followed to Covered Bridge Road.  We turned left onto Covered Bridge Road, crossed over Knapp’s Covered Bridge, and parked on the right just beyond the bridge.

_LG21250Knapp’s Covered Bridge is located in a beautiful mountain setting.

_LG21232Knapp’s covered bridge was originally constructed in 1853.

_LG21235Knapp’s Covered Bridge crosses over Brown’s Creek.
There is a 30 foot drop from the bridge to the creek bed, making this the highest bridge in Pennsylvania.

_LG21238-HDRKnapp’s Covered Bridge is a Burr Arch truss bridge.

Knapp’s Covered Bridge has also been known as the Luther Mills Bridge or the Browns Creek Covered Bridge.

 

Our next stop on our drive back home was in Wellsboro, PA — the subject of my next blog post.

 

 

 

Returning Home from a Pocono Mountains Weekend Part 1

We stopped at two overlooks, located between Scranton PA and Towanda PA along U.S. Route 6, on our way home on Monday, May 8, from our Pocono Mountains Weekend Getaway.  Our first stop was at the Wyalusing Rocks Scenic Overlook.

Wyalusing Rocks Scenic Overlook
I used Microsoft’s Snipping Tool to clip this street view from Google maps.

According to an Internet site, Wyalusing Rocks Scenic Overlook is located 500 ft. above the Susquehanna River.  This location was used by the Iroquois Indians as a signaling point.

_LG21220Wyalusing Rocks Scenic Overlook
Susquehanna River

The river was swollen and muddy from abundant rainfall.  I’m sure this scene looks very different, when the river clears and the sky is blue.

Our second stop was at the Marie Antoinette Lookout.

Marie Antoinette Lookout
I used Microsoft’s Snipping Tool to clip this street view from Google maps.

The Marie Antoinette Lookout offers a panoramic view of the mountains, the Susquehanna River the French Azilum, and a French refugee settlement that was built sometime in the late 1700s or early 1800s.

PANO_20170508_081646-EditPanoramic view from Marie Antoinette Lookout
(photo by Bob)

There is a historical marker at the lookout that details the story of the French settlement. The marker reads as follows: A settlement of French royalists, who fled the French Revolution in 1793, was established in the valley directly opposite this marker. It was laid out and settled under the direction of Viscount de Noailles and Marquis Antoine Omer Talon. It was hoped that Queen Marie Antoinette might here find safety.

_LG21222
Asylum Marker

_LG21223Marie Antoinette Lookout

IMG_20170508_082045
The stonework on the walls and towers were impressive.
(photo by Bob)

_LG21226Marie Antoinette Lookout

Our next stop on our drive back home was at a covered bridge near Towanda, PA — the subject of my next blog post.

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