Pennsylvania with a touch of New York.

Erie was our first stopover for the state of Pennsylvania. Right on the shores of Lake Erie, we found Presque Isle Passage campground just outside of Presque Isle State Park for our short 2-day stay. The town of Erie did not appear real exciting, so we opted for the short stay. The campground was OK, but we were starting to notice a pattern. In this part of the country (northeast), a good many of the RV parks we are finding are lacking pavement and concrete. Lots of muddy, swampy, grassy, sites that aren’t exactly meticulously maintained. And their overall prices are pretty high to boot. Pulling into our site I nearly got the bus stuck in the swampy mud/grass. But hey, I survived. One interesting aspect of this campground was one of the rental “cabins” they offer. It was a trailered house boat. I guess that was for anyone who might be a retired sailor who wants to feel “at home”.

Presque Isle State Park was pretty scenic. Situated right on Lake Erie, there were walk/bike paths, fishing lakes, the Presque Isle Lighthouse, and lots of fishing on the big lake. Woody enjoyed his stroll along the paths. Unfortunately, the weather was not the greatest, interfering with our desire to break out the bikes for a ride around the Isle.

Time to move on, as we attempted to research our next Pennsylvania stop, we again ran into RV parks that were not going to be open for about another week. So we shifted focus and found a 3-day stop at the Top-a-Rise Campground in lovely Falconer, NY. I say that sarcastically because Falconer is kinda a dumpy little town outside of Jamestown, NY. The campground was secluded and quiet, but again not a lot of concrete and asphalt. We also found something we have never encountered before. The RV sites here were W/E only, with a dump station in the middle of the park. But a few sites, including ours, had about a 6” piece of PVC similar to a normal sewer drain for an RV site, sticking out of the ground and designated for gray water only. I later tried it out and dumped my gray into it. Several minutes after I finished, I watched “my” gray water flow across the gravel driveway across from my site. Somehow I was not surprised, and, just a guess mind you, I don’t think this type of setup would pass inspection in many states of the union.

We took a drive south, back into PA to the area of Warren in the hopes of taking the bikes for a spin in the area of Kinzua Dam on the Allegheny River. But the weather gods were still frowning upon us so it ended up a drive to the dam in the rain. Upon our return to the Jamestown area we tracked down the Lakeview Cemetery. Jamestown is home town to Lucille Ball, and she is resting in eternity at the Lakeview Cemetery. Feeling nostalgic and a bit of a yearning for days long gone, we stopped by and paid our respects.

Next day, rain stopped, we decided to do a road trip. We started out driving up to Dunkirk, NY on Lake Erie. We wandered around the small boat harbor and the Dunkirk Lighthouse before heading east toward Buffalo.

I found one disturbing aspect about the great state of NY and their DOT folks. On some of the back roads we covered, we found several bridges that we had to go beneath where there was no vertical clearance posted nor warning signs posted and the clearance appeared to be suspect relative to the size of a motorhome. When we arrived in Buffalo, we found it to be a megalopolis with tons of mega-highways/interchanges converging and intersecting in a massive traffic nightmare. A couple of those intersections where we were driving under the overpasses, the great DOT of the state of NY decided they WOULD label the overpass support with the vertical clearance and one was 11+ feet and another was 12+ feet. No prior warnings, if I were in the MH we would have had issues. Good thing we were in our Jeep…

Since we made it to Buffalo, and survived, we decided to continue on to visit Niagara Falls. We stayed in the USA and let Woody lead us around the trails and vista points. Apparently we came at a good time of year, the crowds were non-existent and no, we did not see anyone proposing or getting married! Even though the Maid of the Mist did not appear to be at full capacity, we chose to forego the boat ride through the falls, at least for now…

Next on our plate was to pick up our mail. Several days prior I had ordered up our current mail to be sent general delivery to Shippenville, PA. So off to Shippenville we were. We stayed overnight at the Rustic Acres Campground, got our mail, then continued south toward Pittsburgh. Unable to locate a home in Pittsburgh (found NO parks in town, all were outskirts and beyond), we settled at the Mountain Top Bluegrass Festival and Campground. This was a half-hour drive outside of Pittsburgh in the town of Tarentum. The campground was pretty bare bones; W/E only at gravel sites with dump station a tricky proposition through the trees, no activities/trails/etc. on site, portable toilets only scattered around the park, and way overpriced at $45 per night. To top that off, they have a very deceptive website that I take issue with. The site shows pictures and describes a very nice club-like gym purportedly recently built on site. There is none. When I checked in with the owner and asked her about it, she said her website had been hacked and the bogus gym info included a link to redirect the users to the hacker(s) so they could steal her customers. She said there was nothing she could do to correct the situation. I did not feel like arguing the point or trying to solve her issue for her, but why she continues to use the website is beyond me. She could discontinue/erase the site and start over with a new one using accurate information. I suspect she is benefitting from the bogus information in that it may draw customers to her RV park and once it is discovered the gym is a figment, there are limited choices for alternative places for RV’s to park. Oh well, just my two cents…

Regardless, we stayed 2 nights so we could venture into and check out Pittsburgh. We loaded up Woody and drove into town. Jeanne had read something about the Duquesne Incline so we headed that way to check it out. It turned out to be a tram ride up the side of the mountain at $5/person round trip. The views may very well have been nice, but being the cheapskate I am I could not see giving them any money for a short ride up and down.

As luck would have it, as we were standing at the base of the incline looking across the river, lo & behold there was Heinz Field and PNC Park, homes to the Steelers and Pirates, respectively. We could also see Point Park with the famous fountain. We spent the better part of the afternoon wandering around in the on-and-off rain, ogling the sights. I was surprised we found parking, since, true to form, we just happened to be here on Fan Appreciation Day for the Steelers and there were Terrible Towel aficionados wall-to-wall. But we did find parking and enjoyed downtown.

On our way home, Jeanne wanted to check out the Allegheny Cemetery which supposedly has some outstanding buildings. Oh boy do they! We went through the Butler St. Gate and the entry buildings looked something out of medieval times. The cemetery is ginormous and there are some impressive tombs. We drove around in the rain, paying our respects to many bygone eras…

Gettysburg, PA was next on our itinerary. We found space at the Artillery Ridge Camping Resort and Gettysburg Horse Park. Driving through the skinny, historical streets to get there was interesting in a 40’ bus dragging a Jeep behind it, but we made it unscathed. And we were smack dab in the middle of all the battlefields, passing troop markers and monuments all the way. By the time we got to the RV park, I was already in awe at the historical significance and magnitude of the area.

We spent 3 days going through the museum, visitor center, battlefields, a local attraction that includes the Gettysburg Diorama and The Spirit of Gettysburg, and the Soldier’s National Cemetery. The diorama is touted as the world’s largest military diorama, depicting the entire 6,000 acre battlefield(s) with over 20,000 hand painted figures. The Soldier’s National Cemetery is where President Lincoln delivered his 2-minute Gettysburg Address. There are more than 3,500 Union soldiers that were killed in the battle of Gettysburg who are buried here. I learned quite a bit of history in just 3 days here; this I would consider a must-see, especially if you get the chance to bring your school-aged children.

Well, this history lesson for me completed, jacks up tomorrow and we’re off to see…

About rvrrat520

Recreational wanderers just livin' the dream while we can still get vertical.
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