Saturday, October 31, 2020

Last Ride at Western Reserve Bike Trail-Terrible Weather!

It rained four out of the five days we were at Kenisee Lake in Ohio. It was COLD, it was DREARY, and it wasn't very pleasant. BUT--Sparky loves fall, even the miserable, cold, wet and rainy parts of it. She still went bike riding, and Eldo, bless his heart, still ferried her with her bike back and forth to the trailhead, even if it's only 7 minutes away one way from the campground. It doesn't look too bad here, (photo at right) but it was steadily misting rain, and about 47 degrees.

Sparky rode 20-26 miles at least four times this week. She has an ulterior motive for pushing herself to keep riding and exercising. Blood pressure readings are up in a high zone (not high enough to get to a doctor right away, but the trend is not good), so headed to the doctor in a couple of weeks. The rise is despite losing 25 pounds and steadily walking and riding since we hit the road in July.

The fall colors were absolutely stunning, but the peak color is definitely waning, as we head into November.

At Kenisee Lake, there were late seeding wildflowers and interesting seed pods. The deer were starting to show in the woods since most of the campers have gone home for the season. 

The asters are gone now, but some flowers are so hardy! This was a lone daisy bloom, but there were other buds nearby, not ready to give up their turn.

We decided to leave a day early due to the miserable weather and cold AND our awnings are in! Yay! If everything goes well, which is a 50-50 chance when you are dealing with RV dealers and repairs, we are hoping to have new awnings by Wednesday of this coming week.

Off we drove on an uneventful drive to Elkhart, IN, 298 miles on interstate all the way. And here we are, at the Elkhart Campground, which is a terrific campground with updated sites and amenities. It's like home for us, we've stayed here many times when full timing and moving through the midwest. Wonderful owners, great level sites and newly paved roads and newly opened long spacious sites. The weather is marginally better for about two days, then it will be very nice. For bike riding on the Pumpkinvine Trail. (Of course! confirms Eldo.) We will see you later!

Saturday, October 24, 2020

We Moved! To Ohio....

Lake Kenisee, Ohio.         High: 48.    Low: 35    Site: B-3

The drive thru Pennsylvania heading west, was gorgeous. We passed by the Tuscarora Mountains. We went through at least three mountain tunnels. Sparky kept thinking what if there was an earthquake?

We are back to Ohio, for a stay of 8-9 days as we assess our awnings situation. We wanted to be fairly nearby in case the awnings came in and we could get scheduled for installation before really cold weather hits. At last phone call, the manufacturer of the awnings has not notified the RV dealer, where we are going to get repairs. The RV shop is trying to get information on when delivery might be expected. At this point, we got nothin'. So we are going to spend our days planning and planning for our trip south as cold weather approaches soon here in Ohio. We have another free stay here with our Thousand Trails membership, and we love that AND Sparky LOVES the cold weather, Eldo not so much.

Lake Kenisee is a beautiful RV park with lots of open green space, very few trees, and lots of Canada geese. (Between the lines: a lot of goose poop everywhere) We are in a pull through site that is big enough for our 41 foot fifth wheel AND the truck. There are about 12 pull through sites at this park, and the rest are back ins. They are gravel so that helps when there is a lot of rain, which we have had the last two days.

Lots of seasonal Ohio campers here. Wonder what the percentage is, of seasonal campers? It seems like a lot. The lake is a VERY small lake. The nearby towns are very small, showing a bit of an economically struggling area and shopping at fast foods and name brand stores is a bit of a drive, 30 min. or more. But it's peaceful and very pretty countryside. We would say this campground is more for the 55 and over crowd, at least at this time of year. We are not seeing the big Halloween hoopla at this campground, but again, they close on Nov. 1, so they are winding down for the season.

Lake Kenisee has the bike trail, the Western Reserve Rails to Trails, so Sparky is back riding once again. Today, it was 48 degrees for a high, after 78 yesterday, when we came in, but Sparky went riding anyway. Gloves, check! Ear warmers? Check! Tunes? Check! Off for a 26.9 mile ride. It was great! (Eldo thinks Sparky has some Eskimo blood in her, well, definitely Canadian blood for sure!)
The Western Reserve is in much better condition than the Lebanon Valley Rails to Trails back in PA. This trail is paved and level. Sparky really enjoyed it today!

While we are here, we like to visit Mary's Diner in's an old fashioned soda shop diner. Check out the decor! Great breakfast. There's a 57 Chevy (?) cherry red front end at the cash register checkout.

We are going to get some more apples and cider while we are here, and Eldo is going to suffer through the cold temps for a few days. He looks like he's suffering, doesn't he? (He's got his feet propped up and is mighty comfortable watching football!) Time for popcorn?

Sparky will ride a bunch the next few days and keep trying to get her blood pressure and sugar down. It's been creeping up despite all the exercise! Darn it! 

This is the life.....Before the cold temps rolled you later!

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Time Keeps Marching On....We're Still In PA

We extended our stay at Hershey, PA. Why not? It's free, with our Thousand Trails membership. We went for a visit over to the next park on our list, also a Thousand Trails park, (Appalachian RV Park in Shartlesville, PA) which is an hour or less away from the Hershey Park and the atmosphere there was PARTY TIME! Of course, it's Halloween MONTH at RV parks, and it's party time every weekend during October. So the Appalachian RV Park was super crowded, the lanes seemed narrow, with tight turning corners and we honestly felt it would be much more stressful moving again to another park that maybe didn't have as much space to maneuver around with our big rig as the Hershey RV park does. On a less busy weekend, it would not be a problem.

Look at all this green space/tree space at the Hershey RV Park...It's fabulous!

Sparky loves taking walks around the park....the maples are truly least they seem that way after living in Florida and seeing a whole different kind of flora and fauna.

We went through a wonderful Halloween weekend with the other campers. Lots of activities for the kids. Lots of campground decorations and spookiness. We had lots of trick or treaters. We put the wrapped candy spread out on a table and watched the little ones from afar come up and take just one at a time. Such restraint! Not sure about this dude, if he was collecting his own or for his kids, haha.
Sparky decorated her own pumpkin and had a lot of fun with that, using a Pumpkin Masters carving kit. You tape a pattern to your pumpkin, then punch all around the lines with the puncher poker tool, then take the paper off and start carving. Turned out nicely, she thinks!
Another beautiful day for a ride on the Lebanon Valley Rails to Trails bike trail. Sparky has done three rides of about 20 miles each time. The third time she did 25 miles, because she needed to work out a little  attitude adjustment due to many things going on in the world and in her life. (It's a long story, says E.) Riding the trails is truly one of Sparky's favorite ways to decompress....
There are many memorial benches along certain sections of the trail. It is so beautiful what some people do to remember their loved ones, even their furry ones. Rest in peace, Jezebel. 
The weather is perfect for bike riding...In the fifties at first, and now sixties and low seventies...It's a beautiful trail path, not in the best shape by any means with some rough sections, but the donations for trail maintenance are needed, so hope people continue to support this very worthy cause (the Rails-to-Trails organization), to help people stay healthy and keep moving. Motion is lotion, Sparky heard someone say once.
So, here we are...two days left to go to stay at this beautiful Hershey RV park. 
We head next back to Ohio, sort of a last stand chance to hear and be near if and when our awnings come. It's been five weeks since a whopper tree limb took both of them out, and the RV repair place said 4-6 weeks. That probably means 10-12 weeks or more. At this point, we have to continue with travel plans. You can't mess around and be loosey goosey with your planning. Years ago, we often traveled and planned by the moment and on the fly. You can't do that now. People are flocking to the RV parks in droves, and yes, it is VERY difficult to find places to stay. We are doing well with our Thousand Trails membership, because with our particular plan (there are so many of them!) we can book far out ahead. But then when you travel, you have to find other campgrounds that are not closed for the season, and are not full, and are NOT in our membership plan for some areas, and are big enough for us to maneuver around the campground and get situated with our big 5th wheel.

Until next time...which might be Ohio! See you around....

Saturday, October 17, 2020

A Tale of Two Trails....

Hershey, PA.     High: 76.  Low: 51

Sparky LOVES to ride her bike, especially on rails to trails...they are USUALLY level, have a good surface for riding and have beautiful scenery. She has been very lucky so far, with trails at many of the campgrounds we have stayed at. This week we are in Lebanon,  Pennsylvania at the Hershey Thousand Trails RV park. There are several bike trails in the area. Check out this website to see what they are:

Sparky has ridden the Lebanon Valley Rails to Trails three times now, and here is what she thinks....First, the closest trailhead to the Hershey campground is about ten minutes or less from the campground. It is #4, the Colebrook Trailhead. Sparky got on here, and rode 20 miles total one day, heading north, ten miles each way. The trail was beautiful, plenty of benches along the way, perhaps the most she's ever seen on a trail so far. Surface was crushed gravel and level for the most part. There is a very rough section where the trail is shared with a few residences as part of their access to their homes. That part is rough and narrow. However, most of the section of the trail from the #4 trailhead to Lebanon, about 8th-12th street is level and paved. It's shady most of the way, there are a couple of bridges along the way, and what a wonderful time of year-fall-to ride the trail. The tree colors are fabulous!
The second time she rode the southern portion of the trail. Leaving at the same #4 trailhead, the Lebanon Valley Trail shortly turns into the Conwego Rails to Trails, (at the Lancaster County border line) and then becomes a lot rougher trail. The trail needs to be graded, and where the surface has worn thru to the substrata below, it's big, chunky gravel in spots both on the left and right sides. Sparky likes to ride Eldo's Trek bike, which has a shock absorption suspension fork on it, for these kind of trails. All the same, it was a bone jarring ride for over 50% of this trail. Sparky cut it short after about 18 miles, as the Conwego Trail dead ends at SR240. 
The trail gets good reviews, and nobody is complaining about the surface eroding, but this 70 year old body definitely felt the irregularity of the surface on this particular section of the trail!

We are really enjoying our stay at the Hershey Thousand Trails RV Park. They have a lot of fun activities for the Halloween month of October. There is a pumpkin decorating contest this weekend, a decorate your site contest, (right up Sparky's alley, but she's trying to conserve money at the moment for Christmas ideas and gifts), a costume contest, and a Halloween carnival. Halloween is a really big deal for campgrounds and RVers. The campground is FULL this weekend and all campgrounds in the area are full for the weekends during the month of October. 

Some non-Halloween activities are gentle stretch yoga every morning at 9:00, (Sparky really should go to that one!) pickle ball, nice tennis courts, volleyball, mini golf, and root beer floats. (Eldo should really go to that one! He's the ice cream nut in the family. 

Lebanon is a good sized town, about 20 minutes from the campground,   and has everything you need, Joann's, Hobby Lobby, and Michael's. Haha...That's everything Sparky needs besides the bike trails. It also has a First Watch, one of Sparky's faves for breakfast, and a Friendly's, one of Eldo's favorites for ice cream treats. Hershey is about 20-25 minutes from the campground. 
There is of course the Hershey chocolate factory tour and a museum as well, if you want to get your chocolate fix. We did the "make your own chocolate bar" factory tour years ago, and Covid has lots of restrictions on these kinds of things, so we didn't do that this time.

One thing we ARE enjoying is the beautiful rides around the countryside to get to Lebanon and Hershey. You don't travel through town after town, stoplight after stoplight to get to these places, you are driving beautiful country roads with beautiful Pennsylvania stone and timber barns and countryside farms. It's wonderful.....

That's it for now...see you later!

Thursday, October 15, 2020

A Rainy Two Days in PA

We had two VERY rainy days here this week in Lebanon,  PA. So we decided to visit Bass Pro Shops and pick up a couple of things for Eldy at the outlet mall in Hershey.

The Bass Pro Shop is just like Cabelas. As a matter of fact, Bass Pro Shop bought out Cabelas for 4 BILLION dollars. Holy cow! At any rate, visiting a Bass Pro Shop is an experience. 

They do amazing things with the decor inside....taxidermy animals, nature scenes, and whopper displays of nature...sometimes waterfalls, animals fighting. They are very cool, and a wonderful place to just walk around and spend a rainy day. So that's what we did! It's a captivating place for youngsters as well.
There's a lot of testosterone building going on in this place, Sparky thinks. Although, it was great to see a BIG ladies camo hunting wear department there, too.

We explored Hershey a bit, too....You CAN smell the chocolate once you get near the Hershey factory. The street lamps have hoods in the shape of Hershey's kisses. We saw the Hershey mobile while we were out and about.
We had a little bit of nostalgia as we visited Friendly's, a chain in this area, that is famous for ice cream treats. We took the grandkids 
there years ago, the first time we were RVing. Wow! What a banana split! (That was Eldy's.) Sparky is a minimalist when it comes to desserts. Like just a scoop of ice cream and a Reese's peanut butter cup for decoration.
A visit to Michael's, Hobby Lobby, and Joann Fabrics to get some crafting supplies, and we were all set. Eldo exclaimed, "We've only been here three days, and we've managed to hit all three craft stores. That's gotta be a record, Sparky!" Yeah, probably so....

When we arrived in Hershey, the literature that was given to us at the park, mentioned an invasive species of bug...the spotted lantern fly. It came over from a shipment of landscaping stone from overseas in 2014. It's one of THE most invasive and destructive insects of this time and a pretty one at that. They hop on the ground, and if they do hop a distance, they open their wings and a beautiful red and black pattern emerges.

They eat certain trees, the tree of heaven is one of their favorites--yes, that really is the name of the tree and they are all over the US. (another invasive tree species) and they love fruit species and like over 70 plant species. They are not picky eaters! Apples, cherries, chestnut, grapes, pears, peaches, maple, pine, plum, poplar, oak, rose and walnut all are food for these little beasties. They are plant hoppers, so they are relatively easy to catch and stomp and destroy. Sparky is on a mission, they are all over the Hershey campground and in the PA area. They have no natural predators, so that's a problem. They are spreading throughout some of the eastern we go, fighting another invasive, devastating species. Sparky saw this tree on her bike ride today, they are using sticky tape to trap the bugs, but there were HUNDREDS more all over the bark and on the ground around this maple tree.

We are fighting the spotted lantern flies on the outside, and finding those darn stink bugs all over the place trying to come inside the rig. We just kill them and not worry about insecticides for right now. We are winning against the stinkbugs, but it appears Pennsylvania is losing ground against the spotted lantern fly.  We hope not!

See you next time on the bike trails!

Sunday, October 11, 2020

A Quick Stay in PA

We spent only two nights at Twin Bridge Campground in Chambersburg, PA because we were on the way to Hershey, PA. If you don't have a weekend reservation at a campground in 1.) the fall, 2.) during October and Halloween mania, (which for RVers is just about a month long celebration), you are up a creek without a paddle. We had a TOUGH time finding a weekend campground because we didn't book out far enough, two weeks isn't enough when you are looking at fall leaf season/October/Halloween in Pennsylvania. But we did find this campground.  It's a good location for exploring nearby town of Gettysburg, about 30 miles. 

It's really nice....and different as far as layouts of sites goes. Most RV campgrounds are laid out with the sites many in a row, fairly close to each other. This campground has singles spread out, or two here, two there, in pairs, and then quite a few of them in rows depending upon which part of the campground you are, in a variety of settings--creek side, field, shade, no shade, surrounded by farmland. We are in the field for two nights with just water and electric and 30 amp for 39.00 a night in October.The backdrop for this lovely setting is the Tuscarora Mountains. It is in Chambersburg, PA, near Gettysburg, Shippensburg, and Hagerstown, MD. AND--a portion of the Appalachian Trail runs through Pine Grove Furnace State Park, which is about an hour from the campground. Oh, boy...Sparky is hoping to get on the trail, but it's Eldo's turn to do something he wants to do, maybe visit Gettysburg or something. So we shall see.....Today we just spent relaxing after a harrowing drive (well, sort of,) from the Uniontown KOA to here...Steep grades for quite a bit, traveling on route 30, 8 and 9% grades. VERY hilly. The truck performed admirably. (That's Chuck, the truck, the Dodge Ram diesel 3500 Laramie Longhorn dually.) Sparky decided to give it that name. Many RVers name their rigs and their trucks/motorhomes. We don't have a name for our Pinnacle yet, as Sparky hasn't decided the gender yet. But the truck is definitely Chuck. (Eldo is just shaking his head....)

At any rate, the next day, we decided to go explore Gettsyburg. Unfortunately, we decided to explore on a Saturday afternoon and not early Saturday morning. The streets all along the battlefields were crawling with cars, and downtown Gettysburg sidewalks were very crowded with tourists as well. We went to the visitor's center and got some information. We thought about doing a double decker bus tour where you could sit out on top and be in the fresh air and be safer than sitting in an enclosed bus for 2-3 hours, but it got to be too late in the afternoon. There was also a car audio tour we could have done, but we like hearing the real rangers or tour guides on a tour. At that point, we decided it was best not to be around such big crowds and we would return another day, another time, and try during the week. We were really surprised at how crowded it was this late in the season! But it's fall, the leaves are incredible, and it's getting closer to Halloween.
Time to leave again...Do we get tired of moving around fairly frequently? No, not yet. We are moving around a little more at the moment because we can't extend our park stays through the weekend so we have to find alternative campgrounds to cover for the weekend until Halloween is over. When we get into December, we will start staying in our membership parks for up to three weeks as a time. FREE....(Thousand Trails membership, Sparky and Eldo really like it.)

We arrived today, Friday, at Thousand Trails Hershey Pennsylvania RV Park. It's just outside of Hershey, the "sweetest town in America". A friend asked Sparky if she could smell the chocolate driving through town. No, darn it! 

It's a beautiful park out in the countryside, actually located in the town of Lebanon,PA. When you arrive at a Thousand Trails park, you don't get a specific assigned site, you have to drive around and find an open one you like, which is a little challenging when you are still hitched up and pulling a 41 foot rig behind you. We found a good pull through site with full hookups. 

Just an FYI...Many Thousand Trails do not have full hookups--(water, sewer and electric). Many Thousand Trails parks do not have very many or NO pull throughs. If you want 50 amp in a newer section of this park, it's 3.00 a day additional charge. It's hilly here, so you have to pick your site carefully or be prepared with stacker blocks (some kind of blocks to put under your jacks so you can get your rig level).

It's a beautiful park, the sites are spacious in some sections, and a little tighter and closer together in other sections. Lots of amenities but restricted during Covid. Newer playground, pool, horseshoes, mini golf, pickle ball, swan paddle boats, laundry, a spa (closed, darn it!) and more.

We will be here five's supposed to rain tomorrow, so it's going to be a Cabelas (THE sporting goods store, an experience in itself), and a Camping World store kind of day. Sparky is researching rails to trails bike trails. They are out there, somewhere, she's sure!

Happy fall, y'all!


Friday, October 9, 2020

Plumbing and Poo Problems with the Pinnacle in Pennsylvania

And now, the post you have all been patiently waiting for, is here...

WARNING: This is all about plumbing problems and accompanying grossities. There are few photos for obvious reasons. (Uh-oh! says Eldo) This is a family friendly site, and Sparky will attempt to keep it clean. And actually, we are really fortunate. We have not had any poo explosions as some RVers have had. Just go on Youtube and check out newbie RVers plumbing problems. OMG, just sayin'.Just in case you'd like to skip this post completely, consider yourself forewarned! We totally understand. You can skip this post and go to the next blog, but it's not up yet. Sparky thinks these posts are helpful to other RVers, especially if they have a similar rig or problem. Eldo would prefer we just skip this part, so he is probably going to skip this post, haha.

We are having plumbing problems in our Pinnacle in Pennsylvania. For the third time.

So here's the problem. We have two toilets, an upstairs "master bath" one, and a downstairs one. The upstairs one is being finicky. It started with a bubbling pop of air for a few days at first when being flushed. Sparky thought nothing of it, until she noticed the tank was starting to fill up quickly. It's a 50 gallon black tank. There is no P trap, the valve just opens with the foot pedal and down it goes, straight into the black abyss below. We had just dumped, and it should be at least a week before the blank tank starts to fill. After a few days of the air bubbles, the tank was filling wa-a-a-y too rapidly. And then.....stuff wouldn't go down. At all. The water level was up to the bowl. We have a clog. 

Well, where do most people go for ideas on how to fix stuff these days? YouTube! So Eldo started researching. Every RVer should have a few basic tools. Here is what we have on hand--beside the usual teflon tape and maybe a pipe wrench or two. The white tube is a sprayer. You stick that into the toilet and hook up your hose to it. (SPARKY--Hook up the hose first, THEN stick it in the toilet!!! reprimands Eldo) Well, yeah, of course. The little metal end is supposed to rotate a spray of water, IF you have enough water pressure. The second tool is a deluxe plunger. It's pretty cool, actually, dual purpose for large drains and small drains. Blue pipe is Pex water plumbing pipe. OK, let's get down to it....(Sparky is on a roll here..go with it, ok?)

MANY videos later, here's what we tried:

1. First, we emptied the black tanks. When we did that, there was good flow coming out to the dump reservoir at our site. We knew that the clog was not near the bottom, or nothing would come out the hose. It must be at the top.

2. We then flushed the black tank (a cleaning method) by running water through a special hose especially designed for backflushing. You fill the black tank for about 5-7 minutes from the outside, then open the black tank valve and the fresh water rushes out and is supposed to clean the inside of the tank and out the hose. This, along with the special deluxe plunger, are you ready for this? It's called the POWER PLUNGE-IT.  To use in the Pinnacle, for the poo problem in Pennsylvania. HAHAHAHAHAHA...It helped clear the clog the first time. At this point, you are supposed to treat the black tank with special chemicals, (2-4 ounces of a special liquid for RV's), then you add couple of gallons of fresh water. That lays at the bottom the tank, and then starts to do its disintegrating magic on the TP and other stuff as you use the bathrooms again. Sparky forgot to do this right away, and then a day or so later, did the treatment. She accidentally poured a little too much down the tank, like about 4-6 ounces and didn't do quite the several gallons of water you are supposed to add to the concentrate. (WHA-A-A-T???? You didn't tell me that, complains Eldo.) A few days later, the bubbles started happening again. A big air bubble when you press the foot pedal. Only this time, they were humongous SOAPY bubbles, like the toilet was possessed by something foaming at the mouth. It was a little like a contained volano. Oh, dear!

3. Sparky got out her special plunger again. Remember, it's the POWER-PLUNGE-IT. It's very POWERFUL. (Sparky is laughing so much having fun with this post, she almost peed her pants.) She plunged and plunged and plunged. The soap bubbles exponentially grew and grew. Time to try the hot water method. You pour buckets or pails or saucepans of very hot water down the toilet. We had little bitty pails and one little bitty collapsible bucket. Sigh...And then, you wait. We waited till the soap bubbles went down. Couple of hours...Then we plunged and plunged. WHOOSH! That worked for a few days....

4. Then the bubbles started again. This time we could see vestiges of ghostly toilet paper clinging to the sides of the bowl, so we figured there was more down there, wrapped around something or trapping something else. We'll leave that to your imagination. (EWWWWWW, says E.) We tried plunging. Nope. We tried hot water. We hooked the shower head up to the water hose, then sprayed very hot water into the toilet. That didn't work very well, so then we tried the third tool, a sprayer that you stick down into the toilet. It has a rotating head so it will wash the sides of the upper tank. But the water pressure is so low, it was not enough to dislodge the clog, so....Nope. Time to bring out the heavy duty stuff and try the next method--plunging with a Pex piece of plumbing pipe, in the Pinnacle, in Pennsylvania. You retired teachers and alliteration fans, how is Sparky doing? We took a 6 foot Pex piece of pipe and used it like a plunger. We could definitely feel the blockage, it seemed as hard as a rock. You basically use it just like a plunger, pushing it around and around and up and down. (sounds like a dance, doesn't it?) It was hard work, but all of a sudden, it sort of "popped" and WHOOSH!  The clog went down....On YouTube, some people say it takes more than an hour to work it free. It didn't take that long.

Wish we could say that the problem is fixed....BUT....after about three days, the air bubbles have started again. We tried calling a mobile RV tech at our last campground, but they were solidly booked for several days, and couldn't help us out. we go again. We have the tools to try and fix the next clog, and next time we won't wait to see the water at the top of the bowl before tackling the clog....And we will keep trying to see if someone can figure out how to get us clog free for good. The takeaway to this, is to use LOTS OF WATER WHEN YOU FLUSH. Sparky was always conservative before now, thinking that the black tank will fill up too fast before we could dump (not all campgrounds have full hookups with septic as part of the full hookup) so now she is using TONS OF WATER and ALWAYS septic safe TP. 

To be continued....(Oh, god, I hope not! retorts Eldo)......

Thursday, October 8, 2020

In Pennsylania, Biking and Hiking and a Plumbing Problem

We traveled to southwestern PA this week to meet up with our wonderful old neighbors from Bradenton, Dick and Shirley Krieger. They showed us a little of the area, their lovely home, and treated us to a wonderful steak dinner. It was so great to see them!

We are staying just a couple of days at the Uniontown KOA campground which is actually in Connellsville, PA. There are some amazing state parks in the area, (Ohiopyle is one), AND a rails to trails bike trail runs RIGHT THRU THE KOA CAMPGROUND. Sparky has died and gone to heaven. 

Eldo is still waiting for some kind of campground with golf amenities, lol.  In this area, within very reasonable one to two hour drives is the Frank Lloyd Wright Houses called Falling Water, (tours ARE available, but we aren't doing that this particular time), and Kentuck Knob, the 911 Pennsylvania memorial crash site (we DO hope to work our way to that site), many more hiking trails, wineries, kayaking and river rafting opportunities, the Laurel Highlands, etc. So many hiking and biking trails, so little time!

A little about the KOA is big rig friendly, but the drive into the campground is on a winding and very steep road. The campground sits right next to the Youghigheny River. Sparky has no idea how to say that. (The locals pronounce it very differently). There is an often used train track just on the other side of the river. Trains pass through regularly, so be prepared with some white noise if things like that bother you. We run a fan every night, and Sparky uses ear plugs for snore prone Eldy, so she doesn't hear them at night. (sorry, E.!) The trains are NOT using their horns, so that is good! The KOA has a nice camp store, ice cream treats, Hunt's pizza and other delicious goodies that can be delivered to your campsite. Good AT&T reception, hot spots on our phones work great! KOA has a variety of campsites, and ours happened to come with a concrete patio, which is really nice. Their last day of the season is October 18th.

Connellsville is a small town, and the roads are narrow, plus there is construction going on on the main roads thru town, so you gotta have patience if you are driving your big rig around and thru town. (Are you listening, Eldo?) It doesn't hurt to drive just the truck around and make a plan for exiting when you are ready to leave, which is what we did.

The bike trail is called the Great Allegheny Passage. The bike trail is 150 miles, a path between Cumberland, MD and Pittsburgh, PA. It's called "The GAP" for short. Sixteen bridges, four tunnels and lots of beautiful scenery as always. It has an average grade of less than 1% and is packed crushed limestone.You know it's cool, if it earned an entry into the National Rails to Trails Conservancy Hall of Fame. Sparky rode it three times while she was here. The first time she rode 20 miles total out and back going north, ten miles each way. It's mainly woods and the river as you traverse the trail. It felt very isolating as few were on it during the week. Because there are "mountains" or steep hills on one side of you, it was also quite dark and chilly. Sparky doesn't mind chilly, but it felt a little bit creepy at times. Cell service is non-existent after about 5 miles out of the campground. Sparky recommends biking with a buddy.

The second bike ride was 20 miles total going south out of the campground. This part of the trail was not so shady, and seemed to have more of a connecting vibe to the outside world. Again, cell service was very spotty, but better than the northern route. However, the trail was rutted, and needed grading in many spots. The leaves made it difficult to see the trail most of the time so the ruts and rough spots were a surprise when they occurred. BUT--Sparky enjoyed this directional route so much, she went back out on it for a third time before leaving for our next destination, Chambersberg, PA, a two night stop designed get us through another solidly booked fall weekend.

After getting in two rides, Sparky was so happy when Eldo suggested checking out Ohiopyle State Park, about 40 min. from the campground. It just so happens that there is a scenic view there called Baughman Overlook. (Sparky's childhood name is the same--same spelling!) You know she had to go see that! So we did!

And then of course, we had to see the waterfalls at Ohiopyle, too--Sparky LOVES waterfalls. This one is called Cucumber Falls. It's not too spectacular now, but it was still very pretty. It would be awesome in the spring, we are sure.

Pennsylvania is having the most wonderful fall color show right now. No wonder all the campgrounds are booked solid thru the weekends in October! This is the view of the property near Kentuck Knob, one of Frank Lloyd Wright's houses. 

We wish we had had the time to tour both Kentuck Knob and Falling Water, we understand they are quite amazing. 

And Sparky, what about the plumbing problem? Well, that's going to be a separate post. Optional for viewing, but helpful information for RVers. It will be on the blog soon....