Friday, August 28, 2009

Best of Friends

Our best friends from home, Bud & Linda, were coming down from NY to visit for a few days. We met them in Titusville so they could see Don & Jessie and visit. We left Bonnie’s and got to Titusville when the phone rang, it was them and I had told them that we would meet them when they arrived. Well Linda told them how to get thru town and we would wait for them at a certain spot to guide them to Don & Jessie’s. We headed back to the meeting point and as we came around the corner, here they came. We pulled out in front of them and off we went to the Big Barn, where we would be staying. We both got set up and unhitched their car then went down to Don & Jessie’s. Surprise! We had told them that Bud & Linda were coming but they had forgotten. My Linda made baked chicken for dinner, we all ate and visited into the evening.

The following day Linda, Bud and us went to Drake Well State Park for a walk. They were quite busy down there as they were celebrating “Oil 150”, 150 years since the discovery of oil. We didn’t visit the park cause they were gettin’ quite crowded. We instead went for a walk down the trail that runs between Drake Well & Oil Creek State Park. We walked on the trail for about 3.5 miles, out and back. Bud walks daily and today’s walk set a new milestone for him at 3.5 miles.

After our walk we rode around showing them some of the sites from Linda’s youth. Then we went to Cranberry to look for shoes for Linda #2, Success she got three pairs and a pair o’ Crocs for her & Bud. After shoppin’ we returned to the campers and then down to Don & Jessie’s for dinner. My Linda made a blueberry pie, with fresh blueberries and Linda#2 made spaghetti & meatballs for dinner. We visited into the evening and then all returned to the campers and turned in. Another fine end to a fine day.

The next morning we said our goodbyes to Don & Jessie and all pulled out for the Clearfield area, headin’ for the Grange picnic.

That’s all for now. Hope to see ya down the road as we’re

Dancin’ on the Wind.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Campin' with the Cousins

This is gonna be a little long winded as I'm squeezin' 3 days in here.

We left Don & Jessie's on Friday morning, headed for Tionesta Recreation Area, at Tionesta Reservoir. We were to meet Diane & Denny there for our weekend camping trip. There are two campgrounds at the recreation area. We had decided to stay in the 'Outflow' camp, at the base of the dam. No hookups but Linda & I were the only'est ones there for most of the day. This camp has a brand new bath house this season. It's great because it is setup with four separate bathrooms, each with commode, sink & shower, so you have your own private bathroom. No worries about someone running off with any of your stuff. We have only encountered this in one or two private RV parks in all our travels.

The other campground is on the other side of Tionesta Creek at the base of the dam. It features all the creature comforts, water, sewer & electric, but the sites are squeezed in 'Awning to Slide'. We walked all the way around and through the other campground but found the bath house on our side much nicer. This Rec. area is operated by the Corps of Engineers and they get $25 for a site with hookups during season. The 'Outflow Camp' charges $10 for a site, no hookups as I said, but we like the feel better and like it uncrowded. After October 11th there is no fee in the Outflow, while the other camp closes until May.

Because it is a Corp park they do honor Golden Age & Access passes which cut the fee in half. Can't wait. The little woman hits the mark before me and we've already decided to be on the National Park Services doorstep on her Birthday.

Diane & Denny came rollin' in around 3 and we got them set up next to us. We chewed the fat some, then started the fire so's to cook dinner on it. Mmmmm, steaks with mushrooms & onions cooked over an open fire. They have a griddle setup Diane's dad made about 40 years ago.



Denny is cookin'  'shrooms on his grill while Bonnie supervises.




Cousin Bonnie came out to dine with us but would not spend the night. We sipped some Sambuca before dinner & had some wine with our meal. Ain't I gittin 'Continental'?  After dinner we chatted and then had Apple Pie, that Linda had made and Strawberry Pretzel Salad Diane made. The calories are rollin' up faster than the numbers on a slot machine. Around 11 we all turned in.




We be Campin !





Saturday I was up at the crack of 8 and the 'eatin' frenzy' commenced again. We had a breakfast of bacon, home fries, toast and eggs cooked on the grill. Someone, not mentionin' names, even had pie with breakfast.

We whiled away the afternoon and walked the 3 mile loop to the other camp and back, then went out for ice cream cones. We took a drive up where the tornado came through the area back in 1985 I think and Denny took us to Nebraska Bridge, that goes completely underwater when the reservoir fills in the winter. The water was right up to the bottom of the bridge today. As we're drivin' back to camp Diane say's "I wonder if Bonnie is comin' back out tonight for dinner"? Then the phone rings, speak of the devil! Bonnie & Scott are at camp waitin' on us. So we head back for some dinner with them. We spent the evening talkin' and foolin' with each other. Nothin' better than good food & good company in a beautiful setting.




The Girls enjoyin' the night.




Almost forgot to tell ya. Early Saturday, around 5:30 Linda wakes to hear this flutterin' out her window. Well she at first thinks it's the tarp we have up for an awning. Nope, no wind blowin'. Then she see's something hangin' on the screen & somethin' else flutterin'. Turns out there's two bats hangin' on the screen and one more tryin' to land there. After wakin' her groggy 'Knight in Shining Armor', I said "Close the window, they might chew through the screen".  I could just see what a mess we'd have with bats inside the truck camper. I can envision John Candy & Dan Aykroyd with wire trash baskets over their heads armed with tennis racquets trying to kill a bat in their cabin in 'The Great Outdoors'. So she takes her forefinger and thumb and 'twangs' both the bats hangin' on the screen, they fall off and she rolls over and goes back to sleep. Now I thought she follered my instructions by closing the window, I'm glad I didn't know cause I'd been havin' nightmares of bats gettin' me. Why do we always have such excitin' times? We were down the road from here right after Ashley left, to visit the emerging bats at the Hall Barn, a USDA site to breed bats. We stood in the flyway with them zoomin' over our heads for 30 minutes, it was cool. Maybe this was some o' them comin' to see our livin' space?

Sunday I was up at 7:30 stokin' the fire to get it ready for breakfast. We were cookin pancakes & sausage this morn. After breakfast Diane got a call from her Dad. He was just around the bend, so we invited him down.




Diane, her Dad Jim & Linda.







Denny, Jim, Diane & Carol, yours truly in the background.




Linda & I had not seen Jim since we had our Winnebago up here many, many years ago. He helped us get the front wheels lined up so they would track right. He made a gauge and he & I adjusted the alignment till we got it right on. Never did have to align it again & every set of tires we ran after that, wore evenly. He is the one that made the grill Denny is using. We visited with him and his wife Carol then made mountain Pizza's for lunch. Diane put mushrooms, pepperoni & cheese, on bread, in a pie iron then cooked them in the fire. They were delicious! Then we made blueberry pies in the pie irons for dessert. What a weekend!




Pizza in the makin'.





We had to break camp sometime as Bonnie had invited us for dinner. Diane said she always hates this part of the trip, THE END. So to not make her feel to bad I tried to break down our camp a little at a time. I told her I could sympathize because I always started gettin' depressed when comin' to the realization that the vacation, no matter how long, was comin' to an end soon and I had to go back to the daily grind of a workin' man.

Don't have that anxiety anymore thanks to retirement.




Breakin' Camp.





Well it was a great weekend with wonderful company and I hope we can do it again soon.

You can view all the pictures of our weekend at Campin' with Diane & Denny.

Until then, we hope to see ya' down the road as we're,

Dancin' on the Wind.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Just Cruisin'

Today started out as a chore day. Linda washed clothes, all the bedding, I hung them out on the line & washed the baked on bugs from the front of the camper. In the afternoon Linda also put on some ribs for dinner.

Then things slowed down for me. I did some web stuff, uploaded a post to the blog, renewed our Good Sam Emergency Road Service & checked emails. Kind of a quiet busy afternoon.

After dinner we went to the Titusville Dairy Queen, owned by Denny & Diane, to a 'Car Cruise' they were sponsoring. This is an annual event that draws around 100 participants. This year they held a poker run in addition to the other prizes awarded. Seems they get a lot of support from the local businesses towards prizes & awards.

Here were some of my favorites;



427 CI squeezed into two seats, that'll make your hair stand on end!







You can just barely make out the underlying purple flame paint.







This one turned out to be Larry, a guy Linda hung out with in high school.



Larry and his wife Terry, were high school sweethearts and they are still happily married today. Larry is a winemaker and they also builds classic cars in his spare time. We promised to call them and get together before we leave the area.




I really liked this 2010 Camaro.




Well that's all for today. We'll see what lies ahead. Until then we hope to see ya' down the road as we're,

Dancin' on the Wind.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Road Runnin’

I don’t have much to report so this will be a short post. We been runnin’ back and forth up & down the road the last few days. We are still parked at Bonnie & Scott’s house in Seneca. We took the camper off the truck when we returned from NY, so we could run around easier and didn’t know if we would have parking troubles when we took Ashley to the airport.

We attended a birthday for a cousin Friday, she turned four. Lexy is Linda’s cousin Teresa’s youngest and they were visitin’ Don & Jessie, her mom & dad in Titusville, for an extended weekend. There were Burgers & dogs and people brought lots of other goodies. I tried something new called ‘Calico Beans’, wonderful taste. They seemed to be three kinds of beans with ground beef and and and a sweet smoky flavor. I told Linda to get the recipe, but I don’t think she did. Teresa’ sister made the cake after gettin’ off work at 3:30 Friday. She said came home said “Hi” to her Hubby “I got a cake to make before five”, and off she went. The cake turned out beautiful, Dora the Explorer.



Cheryl did a beautiful job decorating







Cheryl and her masterpiece





After the party it was back home for the night. Then Saturday we were back on the road to Franklin, for another birthday party. This time we had loaded the Lance back on the truck, cause we were having an overnight guest. Abby was turning seven and had toured the camper at the first family reunion and wanted to spend the night with us. She had a great birthday and stayed overnight with us. Linda had promised her they would cook breakfast in the morning and after the three of us ate we invited her Mom, Dad and brothers to eat as well. It was gettin’ pretty crowded in that camper with 4 adults, 2 children & a baby, but we managed.

Abby’s parents Ben & Kathy asked about the camper, how we accomplish everyday tasks such as laundry, mail & other things & travel in general. Who knows maybe someday they will have a camper of some type. After breakfast I rolled up our electric cord so we could get back on the road as we were going back to Bonnie’s for the night. Well we just talked and talked, then had lunch. We finally got on the road  to return around 2PM.

On the way to Seneca we were going to stop at cousin Diane’s to return some drill bits I had borrowed from Denny. We got a call from them and they were headed to one of their stores to address a problem. On approaching that store we decided to see if they were still there. As I slowed and swung in I said “Their not here”, not seein’ their car, then there was Denny with their Lance camper parked along the side of the store. Well after chewin’ the fat for a while, they picked up some Pizza’s and we went off to their house. We ate and talked until almost dark, then it was off to Bonnie’s for the night. We’ll see Denny & Diane on Wednesday, as their having a ‘Car Cruise’ at the Dairy Queen in Titusville and we’re all going campin’ next weekend.



The sun is setting as we’re leavin’ Diane  Denny’s




Monday we were on the road again to visit Don & Jessie for the week. We waited till Teresa and her large family were on their way home cause adding us to the mix, there isn’t enough room for everybody.

Well that’s quite a long winded post fer a fella that don’t have much to say. Hope to see ya down the road as we’re,

Dancin’ on the Wind.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The End of the Trail

We were up at 5 AM today, Guess why? Ashley had to leave us and fly home to Florida today. Boy 5 in the morning is much earlier than it used to be when I was workin' & doin' it everyday. We made a quick stop at Micky D's for some go food and were off to Pittsburgh. It seems a little bit much to arrive two hours before flight time and sit around waiting.  Well Ashley didn't seem reluctant to board the plane even though she has never flown before. I think she missed her Mom and was ready to go home. We had a good time with her and I think she had a good time too.

I called her after she arrived home asking how her flight went. She said "Great, especially the takeoff and landing. We were glad she enjoyed it and now has some flying experience under her belt.  Maybe next time she will be flying out to the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone or other points west.

After her flight left we headed back up the road. Linda wanted to stop along the way at another spot on the 'Triple D Tour'. Kelly O's was featured on Diners, Drive Ins & Dives on the Food Network. We wanted to sample Haluski, Polenta and Turkey Pot Pie soup. Linda ordered the Haluski and soup, while I ordered a Hot Italian Sausage Sub as the Polenta didn't seem exciting after all. Well out of all the stops Guy has provided on his show, this is only the second time we have been disappointed. The soup was a joke, frozen veggies, a few bits of turkey with some pieces of pie crust on top. The Haluski was OK, but was mostly noodles with a smattering of cabbage and bacon. Definitely not worth the $7.99 price. My sub was served on a hot dog bun and fell apart shortly after pickin' it up. It came with fries but again not worth the $7.99 price. In all lunch cost us $26 and I would have been better off grabbin' a burger from a fast food joint and throwin' the rest of my money in the Allegheny river.




If you ever by this way and see this sign, drive by, FAST.




Well we'll see what tomorrow brings. Until then we hope to see ya' down the road as we're,

Dancin' on the Wind.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Reunions & Weddings

Well we're back at Bonnie & Scott's house near Oil City, PA. Yesterday we went to the annual Bell Family Reunion on Linda's grandmother's side of the family. It was held at a local park as it was last year. I got to meet lots of the family for the first time and Linda got to rekindle old acquaintances with people she hasn't seen in 40 years. Everyone brought a dish, it was a great turnout, even if the rain tried to dampen the occasion. 



The immediate Bell Family, left to right- Charlie, Bill, Butch, Bob, Gert, Tom & George



After the reunion we drove to Oil City as one of Linda's cousins was getting married. We missed the ceremony, cause we had committed to the reunion before we left home, but we did make the reception before the Bride & Groom got there. They had a wonderful dinner, that I was to full to try. After everyone ate we slowly motivated to the dance floor, where we spent the majority of the evening. I think I lost 3 pounds out there, which I can definitely use.

Sunday, Linda, Ashley, Bonnie, Scott & myself, went to dinner at Diane & Denny's, another cousin. They served the meal Italian style, and we ate for a good two hours, till we were all as stuffed as ticks. The meal was delicious but there was way to much, they just said "Mangia, Mangia". We did have a great time visiting with Diane & Denny at their home, but we always enjoy their company. I don't think Ashley has ever experienced a meal like we had that night.




Yours truly, Bonnie, Scott, Linda, Denny & Diane




Monday thru Thursday Bonnie went camping with a friend and we was 'House Settin'. Tuesday we went out for Wings , with Diane & Denny, to a local place we've been before. Good meal, good company, great evening.

Well that's all the news from this end, exciting or not. Till the next time when we hope to see ya down the road as we're,

Dancin' on the Wind.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Erie Canal & More Visitin'

We left our little camp and headed south to the town of Lockport, NY. Lockport is famous for the series of locks located in the city, on the Erie Canal. The 'Flight of Five', as the locks were known, have been replaced through improvements on the canal over the years. The two locks, today, raise or lower boats 25 feet each, in about 20 minutes.



Lock 35





We also toured the Lockport Cave & Underground Boat Ride. A tunnel constructed to route water from the canal to run a water wheel that in turn turned belts to run manufacturing machinery. The creator of the Hydro Power was Birdsill Holly. He held many patents but the Holly Manufacturing Company's claim to fame was the fire hydrant. Holly sold hydrants to over two thousand cities and his factories covered 3 city blocks. Ironically his entire factory burned to the ground, because he had not installed fire hydrants on or near the grounds. To make matters the fire is reputed to have started in the area of the plant that made the hydrants. The city of Chicago turned down a bid to purchase Holly's hydrants shortly before the great Chicago fire, they order the system shortly after.

Holly was also the inventor of pumps to create pressurized water still in use today. Another creation was steam heat which could travel over great distances throughout a city to heat all the buildings connected to the system.

After Lockport we headed south to our nieces, Gloria in Holland. We burned some burgers on the grill and talked into the night with her & her husband Fred. The next day we went to the farm, their older son Josh is workin' on, to see what is talk of 'Choppin' Hay was. This is a little video I shot of Josh at work.

Tomorrow it's back to cousin Bonnie's for another family reunion and a wedding.

Hope to see ya down the road as we're,

Dancin' on the Wind

Thursday, August 6, 2009

They're wantin' me to take a ride in a Barrel

We left Bonnie's for northern ventures. We're takin' Ashley to Niagara Falls. We are going to visit the falls on the American side, which I have never done before, we always have viewed them from the Canadian side.

We had planned to stay at a PA park on Grand Isle, but since the weather was sooo_ cool, we decided to dry camp at the Seneca Niagara Casino. While there we decided to look at the Buffet. BAD mistake, I should have saved the money as we ate and it was HORRIBLE!! Nothing that any of us ate was hot, Linda got sick from MSG, even after asking the restaurant manager about MSG. After Linda recovered we went for a walk to the Falls. Another first, We have never seen the falls at night, Beautiful!




Seneca Niagara Casino




Seeing the falls from our side was invigorating. To experience their power at arm's length, their beauty up close and personal was awe inspiring. The other guys may have a better view, but if you've never experienced the falls on the American side I recommend you visit when in the area, you won't be disappointed.




The 'Falls' at night




The next morning after a hearty breakfast of cereal, we headed back down to the Falls. We visited Horseshoe Falls then went for a ride on the Maid of the Mist. Like ridin' the 'Perfect Storm'. Them Chinese ponchos they give ya' don't keep all the water out. It was still a great experience. When you return on the boat, you can walk up a wooden boardwalk/stairs about 1/2 way up the height of the falls. The water pourin' down is so fierce that you have a hard time tryin' to see what your lookin' at. Didn't bring the camera on the boat ride, for fear of gettin' it wet, so no pics.




It's a beautiful morning






The power of Nature







Linda & Ashley







Took this from Three Sisters Islands in the Niagara River above the Falls



After changing clothes we headed north up the road along the Niagara river towards Lake Ontario. We checked out a State Park, Four Mile Creek, on the edge of the lake, but decided to go further along the lake. We finally settled on a PA park in Wrights Corners for the night. The park was OK, but the facilities were a bit rustic again. We seem to be running into this trend a lot on this trip, I guess we're just choosing the wrong parks.



Ashley caught Grandma & Grandpa snoozin'





Well that's all for this entry. We'll see what the next adventure brings. Until then hope to see ya down the road as we're,

Dancin' on the Wind.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Visitin' Kinfolk & Such

Well we visited with Uncle Don and Jesse foe about six days. Didn't do anything too notable, just a lot o' visitin', eatin' & palaverin'. We did go to an auction one day, but we didn't have any desire or room for the tools & implements they were sellin'.

We did take Ashley to Drake Well Park, the site of the first oil well, but she wasn't interested in going to the museum. We also took a ride to Oil City to see the McClintock, the oldest still producing oil well in the world.




The McClintock Well





We then rode around while Linda showed Ashley the town as she remembered it as a girl. At a stop in front of Linda's Grandmothers house someone said we had a wire hanging down. Well I had been draggin' the harness for the truck camper for who knows how long around Oil City. I wound up havin' to splice two wires that I dragged right off, wrappin' another wire then rewrappin' the whole harness.I had started to drop the camper when we were in Titusville, then changed my mind and re-attached everything but the wire harness to the camper. All is back to normal again.

We had to leave Titusville for Seneca for Cousin Bonnie's to help prepare for the upcoming reunion.

We visited with Bonnie for a few days and then her husband Scott got home early one night. Scott is an over the road driver and has been working almost everyday for the last month, we were surprised to see him home a day or two early. Preparations for the party went well and we were ready for the guests before the scheduled hour.





Is it Saturday already?





Well people started to arrive and kept coming & coming. There was oodles of food, salads & desserts and I must say I wasn't the only one that sampled a little to much. So much that I was only able to try four different desserts. Now when it comes to desserts I could skip everything else and feed my sweet tooth. We had a better turnout than last year, Final head count, 76 family members. We also asked for donations for the next reunion and our request was received very well.




The crowd's gettin' thicker




I'll post a few pictures here and I'll put all the pictures on an online album for all to view at;

Until the next time. Hope to see ya down the road as we're

Dancin' on the Wind.