The Beauty Around Us

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Posts tagged ‘Allegheny National Forest’

First Saturday 2019

It was such a pretty day yesterday.  Sunshine has been scarce the past few weeks.  It has been an unusual Winter season thus far.  We have had much more rain than snow.  So little snow, in fact, that Bob has not yet felt the need to use the snow thrower on our driveway.  He has not felt the need to use the snow shovel much either.

Yesterday on Facebook I noticed that a few friends of mine had something to say about our Northwest PA weather as well.

“I have a low grade fever and the type of headache that makes ya want to punch kittens. Yet – this is the first sunny Saturday I can remember in the last 3 months. We ARE going for a walk in the beautiful (retina scorching,head stabbing) outdoors!!” ~Sheila F.

“sure feels good to have the sun on my face after 3 weeks of permacloud in PA!” ~Allison C.

“Finally some sunshine…went for a ride around the Kinzua Dam….” ~Patti B.

Neither Bob nor I were feeling well yesterday morning.  I blame our intestinal distress on the side salads that we ate at Applebee’s the previous evening.  I recovered first and was able to keep a 10:00 am haircut appointment.  It took Bob longer to recover.  He did feel better in the afternoon, so we decided to enjoy the sunshine with a drive around the Allegheny Reservoir. This is the route we traveled.  The starting point is located a little less than 5 miles from our home.

We made only two photo stops, both at the beginning of our drive.  We stopped at Big Bend Recreation Area, located below Kinzua Dam.  I took pictures of the Allegheny River and Kinzua Dam from an observation platform located above the river.

Kinzua Dam at Big Bend Recreation Area

Kinzua Dam at Big Bend Recreation Area

Allegheny River at Big Bend Recreation Area

Look at that blue sky in each of the photographs displayed above.  It had really been a long, long time since we enjoyed a cloudless sky and abundant sunshine.

Our second stop was at Bent Run Falls, where I took a video of the rushing water.


As we departed the eastern fringes of the reservoir, the sun was slipping behind cloud cover.

A Facebook friend also went for a drive around Allegheny Reservoir and experienced blue skies turning into cloudy skies.

“We also went around the dam….I was surprised at the snow up on top of the hill…..and loved the water coming our of the spill way. …  got cloudy on us on the way back on I-86 but still a nice ride.” ~Patti B.

I expressed surprise, too, seeing the snow up on top of the hill.  Bob said we were at a higher elevation and it was shady; therefore, the snow stays on the ground for a longer time.  Patti also mentioned that the water level of the reservoir was so low.  We noticed the same, especially looking down on Sugar Bay (on the east side of the reservoir).  We saw people walking on a patch of land, way out into the reservoir.  We should have stopped at Sugar Bay, but we didn’t.

On the western side of the reservoir we drove to Webb’s Ferry, but we didn’t get out of the car.  By then we had lost the sunshine, and clouds once again covered the sky. 

We made one last stop before returning home.  We stopped at Scandia General Store, where we purchased a 12-inch sub, cheese curds and apple butter.  This was the first time that we have stopped at Scandia General Store.  We will be back! 

We returned home around 4:00 pm, at which time we ate our delicious turkey and ham sub.

We enjoyed the sunshine yesterday, while it lasted.  I wonder how many more days will pass before we see sunshine in abundance.

An All-Day Motorcycle Ride

In the late afternoon on Friday, July 24th, a friend posted a status in the 2 Scoop CycleTherapy Facebook group, asking if anyone wanted to go to Springville, NY to the vintage motorcycle museum at Northeast Vintage Cycle. Bob and I said that we would go. We left home at 8:30 Saturday morning and departed from Herb’s house in Scandia at 9:00 am.

We rode to Springville, making one brief stop (a stretching break) along Route 219 in Ellicottville, NY.


There was a pretty flower bed near where we stopped in Ellicottville.

We located Northeast Vintage Cycle without any difficulty. Unfortunately the store/museum was closed and will be closed for the next two Saturdays, while the owners attend vintage motorcycle shows in the area.

We turned around and rode back to Ellicottville. Prior to reaching Ellicottville, we stopped at Griffis Sculpture Park (Rohr Hill Road Site) in Ashford Hollow.

Griffis Sculpture Park – Rohr Hill Entrance

Griffis Sculpture Park – Rohr Hill Entrance

Griffis Sculpture Park – Rohr Hill Entrance

Griffis Sculpture Park – Rohr Hill Entrance

Griffis Sculpture Park – Rohr Hill Entrance

Griffis Sculpture Park – Rohr Hill Entrance

Griffis Sculpture Park – Rohr Hill Entrance

We walked among the towering sculptures set in fields and woods just off the road.

Rohr Hill Sculpture

Griffis Sculpture Park – Rohr Hill Entrance

It was Herb’s first visit to Griffis Sculpture Park, and he enjoyed the visit. A question that kept coming to mind, while he walked in the park was “why?”.  This Wikipedia article provides the following explanation for “why”.

“The idea for an outdoor sculpture museum came to artist Larry Griffis while he was touring Italy with his family. While watching his children play on the ruins of Emperor Hadrian’s villa, Griffis realized the value of interactive art. As Simon Griffis recalls, his father said, “This is absolutely remarkable. Look at my kids. I’ve taken them to the finest museums and galleries but they’ve come alive in this environment where they can interact and they can smell the flowers and they can touch things.”

Upon returning to the United States, Larry Griffis looked at many possible sites for the park, but had a vision that included site-specific terrain. He required a combination of valleys, woods, lake and open space. Kissing Bridge Ski Resort and Lewiston’s Art Park were possible candidates for the vision, but were passed over by the artist.

In 1966, Griffis purchased 100 acres…of Ashford Hollow in the Southern Tier of Western New York and placed 15 of his own 25 feet…welded steel works on a hillside along a country road. The Ashford Hollow Foundation acquired another 325 acres…and drummed up commissions for additional sculptures.”


We made a fuel stop in Ellicottville, and then continued on Route 219 to Bradford, PA. In Bradford we turned onto Route 346 and headed toward the Allegheny Reservoir.

We stopped briefly at Marilla Reservoir.

Marilla Bridges Trail

It was Herb’s first visit to Marilla Reservoir.


From Marilla Reservoir we stopped for lunch at the Giordano’s Corydon Hotel. We planned to stop at The Willows, but the place was packed FULL of motorcycles and motorcyclists participating in the annual Kids & Cancer Benefit Run. Lunch at the Corydon Hotel was a good choice. Herb and I enjoyed our burgers. Bob enjoyed his Cajun Chicken Salad.

Our last stop before parting ways was at Kinzua Dam.

Kinzua Dam

Herb headed home via Dorcan Road. Bob and I decided to take a ride to the other side of Kinzua Dam.

We got up close and personal to Kinzua Dam, the closest I have ever been!

We returned home at 4:00 pm. We rode 196 miles. It was a beautiful day for a ride. The ride was most enjoyable, even though its original purpose was not realized.

Cabin Fever Relief

We have had a very mild Winter so far.  I can recall only one major snowstorm in early December.  We had no snow for either the Christmas or New Year holiday.  Winter, though, is set to blow in this evening and stay with us for a while.  With temperatures hovering around 50 for most of the daylight hours today, I felt the need to get out of the house.

We left home at 8:30 am. Our first stop was at Sheetz, where we filled the gas tank. There was plenty of gas in the fuel tank, as it took only 6.352 gallons of gas to fill up. Gas was $2.399/gallon, with a $0.10/gallon discount from using the Sheetz card. Bob added air to my tires, while at Sheetz. The tires are losing air. Bob thinks that the valve stem caps are leaking and need to be replaced.

Our second stop was in Busti, NY for breakfast at the Boomerang Cafe in Busti, NY.  We chose to eat breakfast at the Boomerang Cafe, after hearing lots of positive reviews from friends who have eaten there.  Another incentive for choosing the Boomerang Cafe as our breakfast destination is our friend Tina works there. Our arrival time was perfect. Within minutes of sitting down, Tina’s daughter Chiana walks in with her daughter Kelsi.

Chiana and Kelsi

Breakfast was hearty and tasted very good. Bob ordered a meat lovers omelet with hash browns and homemade thick rye toast. I ordered a western omelet with home fries and thick multigrain toast. The jam selections, strawberry and blackberry, were homemade and delicious. I mentioned that breakfast was hearty. I left behind about a quarter of my omelet, as well as most of the home fries.

From the Boomerang Cafe we went to the Seneca Allegany Casino in Salamanca, NY.  We had $20 each to play in the slot machines. I lost my $20. Bob increased his $20 by $27.

From the casino we made our way to Route 59 and the Kinzua Dam. We stopped for an ice cream lunch at Dairy Queen in Bradford, PA. We also made a brief stop at Marilla Reservoir, where I photographed the covered bridge and the spillway.

Marilla Reservoir

We would have taken a walk around the reservoir, if it had not been raining.

This is Route 59 in Warren County, PA.

We made a few stops along Route 59.

We stopped at the Big Bend Visitor Center overlook.
I was so happy to see some blue sky and sunshine!

We stopped at the Bent Run waterfall.
The waterfall was flowing nicely!

Bent Run waterfall

Bent Run waterfall

Self-portrait at Bent Run Falls

Bob and I at Bent Run waterfall

Our last stop was at Kinzua Dam.
This photograph is of the Allegheny Reservoir, which the Kinzua Dam impounds.
Look at that blue sky!
This is the calm before the storm!

We returned home around 2:00 pm. What an enjoyable day!  It sure felt good to be outside, away from the four walls of our house!

Two Stops Along Route 62

We spent the weekend in Hubbard, Ohio.  While in Hubbard, we visited the nearby Mill Creek Park.  I will share photographs from Mill Creek Park in later blog post(s).  This morning we followed U.S. 62 from Hubbard, Ohio to Warren, Pennsylvania.  We made two stops along the way.

Our first stop was in the small Venango County community of Polk.

Polk State Center
The Polk Center has been serving people with intellectual disabilities since 1897.

Our last stop was just outside the borough of Tidioute.

Tidioute Overlook of Allegheny River

Whenever we pass by Tidoute, I like to stop at this overlook.  I never tire of the view!

There were more opportunities for stops along the way; however, I was traveling with a toothache and didn’t feel like making additional stops.    By the way, U.S. Route 62 runs from the US-Mexico border at El Paso, Texas to Niagara Falls, New York, near the United States-Canada border.  It is the only east-west US Route that connects Mexico and Canada.  Wouldn’t it be cool some day to travel all of Route 62?

A Sunday Drive

We went for another day trip on Sunday, our fourth trip in as many days. We planned to go to Beartown Rocks in Clear Creek State Park. We never made it there.

As we were passing through Marienville on our way to Clear Creek State Park, we saw a sign for Loleta Recreation Area located 6 miles away. We decided to see what was located at Loleta Recreation Area.  Upon reaching Loleta, we saw a rutted, dirt road. Bob wondered where that road went.

We drove 10 miles or more on Forestry Road, which runs alongside the East Branch Millstone Creek. The road is an old rail road grade used for logging years ago.


Forestry Road

After 10 miles or so on Forestry Road, we reached a paved road that went back into the heart of Marienville. We came into Marienville one road over from the road that we took to Loleta.

We did go back to Loleta Recreation Area. The quick peek I had of the area, before we departed for parts unknown, showed a creek in the center of a park-like setting, with water flowing over a dam.

Loleta Recreation Area

From Loleta Recreation Area we drove to Clear Creek State Park.  Upon reaching Clear Creek State Park, we drove first to the swimming beach.

A bridge crosses the dam at the swimming beach.

Swimming beach

We stopped at the swimming beach because we knew that there was a restroom in this area. Unfortunately, the restroom was closed.   There weren’t any restroom facilities at Beartown Rocks, so we decided not to go there this trip.  We opted to go to Iron Mountain Grille, located a few miles away in Clarington, to make use of its restroom and have a late lunch.

Iron Mountain Grille

We learned about this restaurant from one of my high school classmates (Thank you, Rick!), who lives in the area and had recently eaten there.  We ordered chicken salads.  Bob ordered a buffalo chicken salad. I ordered a grilled chicken salad. The salads came with French fries and a bread stick.  The salads were fresh and of a size suitable for a meal. The fries were crispy and hot.  The bread sticks were served fresh out of the oven.   Our meals tasted delicious and were reasonably priced.  Service was good too.  If the opportunity presents itself, we would eat there again.

After lunch we continued along Route 36 to Cooksburg, where we turned right onto River Road.  We drove along the Clarion River to Route 899, onto which we turned left, and made our way back into Marienville.  From Marienville, we continued on our way back home to Warren.


A Drive Along the Longhouse National Scenic Byway

Bob and I went for a drive on Saturday afternoon. It was warm enough to ride the motorcycle that day; however, we opted to travel by car. We don’t want anything to happen to the Nomad prior to April 25, when we plan to trade it in for the new motorcycle. We wouldn’t want our new motorcycle to be ridden after putting down a deposit on it, and I would think the dealership would rather we did not ride the Nomad needlessly.

Saturday’s travel destination was Forest Service Road (FSR) 262, which is part of the Longhouse National Scenic Byway.   Before reaching FSR 262, we stopped at Big Bend Recreation Area.

Saturday was the first day of trout fishing.  This man was fishing in the Allegheny River.  The release of Allegheny Reservoir water by the opening of Kinzua Dam gates the past week raised the level of the river significantly.


Our next stop was at Jakes Rocks.  The access road for Jakes Rocks is about a mile up FSR 262.  After parking at Jakes Rocks, we walked a paved pathway to an overlook of the Allegheny Reservoir.

Jakes Rocks Overlook of Allegheny Reservoir

Jakes Rocks Overlook of Allegheny Reservoir

Bob and I at Jakes Rocks Overlook of Allegheny Reservoir

Returning to FSR 262 we made one more stop before leaving the Jakes Rocks area.

We stopped at an overlook of the Casey Bridge (Rt. 59) and the Allegheny Reservoir.

The next major stop along FSR 262 was at the Elijah Run Boat Launch.

View from Elijah Run Boat Launch

On our way back to the car from the boat launch we noticed a trail across the parking lot.

This trail led to a fishing pier that I had seen from the boat launch, off to the left.

a fishing pier
Bob, making his way down to the shoreline

On the fishing pier,
looking back toward the boat launch area


From Elijah Run Boat Launch, we continued our drive along FSR 262.  At the end of that road, we turned right onto Route 321 and stopped at Bob’s Trading Post.

I took this photograph of Bob’s Trading Post in April 2011. 

When we find ourselves at Bob’s Trading Post we usually stop in for some ice cream.  Both Bob and I watch our carbohydrate intake and were happy to find the availability of no sugar added butter pecan ice cream, which we asked for in a bowl.

After eating our ice cream, we went home by way of Gibbs Hill, Sheffield, and Clarendon.  All in all, it was a very nice Spring day for a drive!

Happy Birthday to Me

Yesterday was my birthday, and I spent the day with my best friend — my husband, Bob.

We awakened early and watched a couple episodes of “House of Cards” before 9:00 am. “House of Cards” is an American political drama television series.  The entire first season, 13 episodes, premiered on February 1, 2013, on Netflix.  A second season of 13 episodes premiered on February 14, 2014.   Netflix announced on February 4, 2014 that the show had been renewed for a third season.  Both Bob and I enjoyed watching “House of Cards”.  We watched the last episode of Season 2 last night, after returning home from my birthday drive.  We look forward to Season 3.  It will be a long wait.

After watching a couple episodes of “House of Cards” yesterday morning, we went for a drive.  Our final destination was the Seneca Allegany Casino in Salamanca, NY; however, we made a few stops along the way.

Our first stop was at Kinzua Dam.

While at Kinzua Dam, we spotted a couple eagles standing way out on the ice.  I barely had time to get my camera from the back seat and exchange a 12-50mm lens for a 75-300mm lens, before the eagles flew off.  I need to learn how to capture good pictures of birds in flight. My pictures are grainy and blurry. Part of the problem is that I don’t have enough reach with my camera lens, even though my 75-300mm lens provides an equivalent focal length of 600mm. The other problem I have is focusing on a moving object, especially when I have only one opportunity to lock in that focus.

This is the best picture of an eagle in flight that I captured yesterday.

From Kinzua Dam we continued on Route 59 to McKean County, where we turned left onto Route 321.  This route was most picturesque, with the trees frosted with snow and the overcast sky giving way to blue skies.

Frosty Trees Along Route 321 in McKean County, PA

Frosty Trees Along Route 321 in McKean County, PA

Frosty Trees Along Route 321 in McKean County, PA

Frosty Trees Along Route 321 in McKean County, PA

Upon reaching the intersection of Routes 321 and 346, we turned right onto Route 346 (towards Bradford, PA).

Marilla Reservoir

After a quick photo stop at Marilla Reservoir, we continued on Route 346 to Bradford.  We turned left onto Route 4009, which we followed to Allegany State Park.

Our first stop was at Science Lake.

Quaker Lake

Bob, with Red House Administration Building in background

Bob took this photograph of me, with Red House Administration Building in background

Red House Administration Building

We started our drive outside the park from the Red House area.  We drove along ASP Route 1 to the park’s Salamanca, NY entrance.

We saw young deer grazing alongside ASP Route 1.

There is a scenic overlook just past the Salamanca entrance to Allegany State Park.  The overlook provides a spectacular view over the valley and to the hills in the distance.

The road seen in this photograph is Interstate 86.
In the distance there is a farm.
If you see yellow farm buildings, you have located the farm.

I have always wanted to photograph this farm. I admire it each time we pass it Interstate 86.  I never stopped to take a picture because of the fast-moving traffic. When I recognized the farm from the scenic overlook, I was so happy that I had my long lens with me.

Valent Dairy Farm, as seen from ASP 1 overlook

From the scenic overlook, it was only a few minutes’ drive to the Seneca Allegany Casino.  We arrived at the casino in the early afternoon. We ate lunch at Thunder Mountain Buffet.  The casino has a special promotion on every Sunday through Thursday through February 27–buy a buffet and get $15 free slot play.  Bob and I received $15 each. I received an extra $5 credit because it was my birthday (another promotion). Bob received an extra $10 credit on his card. We don’t know why, although I think it was because he had enough points on his card to qualify for $10 free slot play. According to the “Free Slot Day Every Day You Play” promotion, Bob should have received an email informing him of the $10 free slot play.  As far as I know, he didn’t receive that email (or he overlooked it).  We had a good luck at the casino!  I left the casino with $46 and change; Bob left with $19 and change. I didn’t spend a penny of my money. Bob did spend $33 for our lunches, which was my birthday present.   It was nice that he got back $19 of that expenditure.

It was a great day overall, one of my favorite birthday celebrations.

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