Wednesday, July 22, 2015

back at the Ranch

Backed into the ol' Martin Manor RV park a little past 1:00 this afternoon.  This was a very nice trip, especially the visit with Phyllis and Tammy.  The quiet time in the Pennsylvania woods was very relaxing and enjoyable.

Now the trailer will be resting until after our trip to Ireland in August.  Our thoughts about a visit to Nebraska in September is in doubt as I'm still on call for Jury duty and just may wait until October to take the trailer out again.  If we have hotel wifi in Ireland I will post a few comments from that trip.  We leave for the Emerald Isles on Aug. 10, 2015.

Thanks for following along and stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

central time zone

After crossing Indiana we are settled down in Casey, IL and as we crossed the line into IL we gained our lost hour back and are now in our comfortable time table.

We fueled up just before we left Ohio as I try not to buy fuel in either IN or IL.  With our 50 gal fuel tank it will not be a problem to make it to the Flying J at Truxton, MO.  I haven't bought fuel in IL for many years because while working at MoDOT I knew that the IL fuel taxes did not go to the transportation department but instead go to the general fund to be controlled by politics.  Just recently I quit buying fuel in IN because all the truck stops advertise their prices on billboards but the price shown is noted as exempt which means that their fuel taxes are not included.  The trucking industry pays their taxes other than at the pump so the truck pumps do not have the tax included.  RVs and autos must buy at the auto pumps where the tax has been added and is many, many cents higher than the advertised price.

Monday, July 20, 2015


Today we are back on the move heading toward the ranch.  Tonight we are in a suburb of Columbus Ohio on the West side of the beltway.

As we drove through the farm lands of western PA and northern OH we passed by several Amish farms.  We saw several fields of harvested wheat that were bundled and shocked which I don't remember seeing for many years.  I'm sure that they were cut with a horse drawn reaper/binder and then put into the shocks waiting for the thrashing.

This reminded me of perhaps 65 years ago and my first paid job.  I don't remember the pay but perhaps 50 cents per day, I don't remember.  A couple of summers I helped a neighbor, Mr. Netzer (not sure of the spelling), once in putting up loose hay after he had cut and cured it in the field and then raked it into piles in the field.  Then I helped him pitch the hay onto the wagon until there was a bunch there and then my job was to climb onto the wagon and tromp it down and compact it so we could load the wagon more fully.  While I was on the wagon I would drive the team to the next pile and when the wagon was full he let me drive them to the barn.  He had a rope and pulley system with a big fork that would pull big bunches of the hay into the hay loft.  He would unhitch the team from the wagon and hitch them to the rope to pull the hay into the loft.  My job at that time was to be in the loft and stomp the hay again to compact it so we could get the whole field into the loft.  Then it was back to the field for another load.

The next year he plowed that field and planted wheat.  When it was ripe he cut it with a reaper/binder and then ask me to assist in building the shocks which I did after he gave me instructions on how to build a proper one.  Then when the thrasher came I helped again tossing the shocks onto the wagon making sure the heads were toward the center of the wagon so if any grain shook loose it was on the wagon and could be scooped up with a shovel.  We had to be alert when picking up the shocks as snakes liked to curl up under them away from the hot sun.  With a wagon full of grain we then hauled it to the thrasher and pitched the bundles onto the loading belt.  This was probably in the early 50s when I was just starting my teen years.

Enough of the past now tomorrow we head west again for a night in Casey, IL.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Slight change of plans

Today is a day of "off and on" showers as the 50% chance would predict.

Thursday as we were returning from Titusville we came to a fork in the road with our route back to the campground being the left fork.  The right fork was to be the original intended route for Monday's departure from this area.  Just before we made our turn I saw a vertical clearance sign that concerned me.  Yesterday back here in camp I checked that route out using Google Earth where I can actually drive the road and see what it looks like.  A few miles from that fork in the road this route crossed the Allegheny River with a truss bridge that was posted as 13'-3" clearance and it was a long multi-span bridge.  Definitely this couldn't be a route that semi-trucks could use as they are normally 13'-6" height.

We have a measured height of 12'-11" which would allow a full big 4" clearance and should not cause us a problem.  Instead I decided not to chance a bounce from a rough road and selected an alternate path for our route toward Ohio in order to save our AV unit for sure.  This new route added about 12 miles to our trip and maybe 20 minutes to the drive so we will just have to leave a little bit earlier than originally planned.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Shopping time

Today was a time for restocking the pantry so the nearest WM supercenter was found 15 miles north of our campsite in Titusville, PA.  Titusville is known as the birthplace of the oil industry in America as the first lamp oil was found in a natural oil spring near here.  Then in 1859 Edwin L Drake successfully drilled the first producing well just south of town.

The drive today was also very scenic as this part of PA is mountainous and tree covered.  The roads, not being Interstate that are limited to 5% & 6% grades, have grades of 8% & 9%.  Monday on our drive here with the trailer we encountered those same grades and the downhills were more difficult than the uphill.  Our truck does great on Interstate by automatically downshifting to maintain speed on the 5% & 6% grades without needing to use brakes.  Just before we arrived at our campsite we had a few miles of 9% downhill with the speed posted for trucks at 20 mph.  I was down in 1st gear and still had to hit the brakes occasionally to maintain that speed and keep the RPMs down.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Movie time

We are without network stations but we do have all the Dish Network listing.  This afternoon we have watched a few movies that we were interested in.  First good one was "Gravity" with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney while Sandra was on all the movie George only lasted a little while before drifting off into space, it was an interesting look at fictional outer space.  Then we saw "Twelve years a slave" which was, I believe, a great movie.  I have read the book and the film represented the book very well with only some abbreviation for time of airing.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

quiet day

Today was a day of rest with a brief shower early this morning but just very nice the rest of the day.  Jo whipped up a batch  of soup for lunch and I did a couple of small maintenance items on the trailer.  It seems there is always something which is why I carry a few necessary tools.

Here is a view of our campsite.  behind us a few yards is Tionesta Lake but the growth is so thick there is no way to walk to it.  Behind me as I take this picture and across the highway is the Allegheny River.  The empty campsite in front of us could be empty for most of our stay as the post indicates it is reserved for next Saturday and we will leave on Sunday.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Wonderful weekend with DD

While it was a great time with darling daughter it was good to get back "on the road again."  I had about 6 raindrops hit me as I hooked up to leave this morning and then after we got on the highway we drove through a couple of light showers but then our GWF sent us a rainbow and the rest of the day was great, not too hot and no bad weather.

We are set-up in a COE campground on the western edge of the Allegheny National Forest on the banks of the Tionesta lake.  Our campsite doesn't have any water views but it is in the woods and should be very quiet.  There are no over-the-air television signals here but the telephone signal, both voice and data are good.  I have found an opening through the trees so will be able to set up our satellite dish for some television viewing.

We are here for a week and that will mostly be R&R.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

super visit

This has been a great visit with Phyllis even if our grand-kits weren't loveable.  They kept to their safe areas out of our sight most of the time.  Today was a little bit of help to Phyllis in her rearrangement of some of her house plants but mostly a nice couple of games of cards.  One that was really great in that yours truly was the winner.  Phyllis won the other game as well as yesterday's game so she is feeling good on that score.  We went out for dinner to a very nice restaurant that we have visited while here before called "Bare Bones" and their short ribs are superb.  My half rack came up bare after I was finished.

Tomorrow Jo and I head north toward the Allegheny National Forest in northwestern PA for a week of R&R.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

nice day

We had a very nice day and visit with Phyllis.  Drove in to her house mid morning and then took her to Lowe's for a new dehumidifier.  Her basement is totally below ground with a sump pump to remove any water that may get in.  She keeps a dehumidifier going to keep the humidity from causing mold with the drain hose running directly into her sump.  She then had a set of shelving to be assembled for a corner of her storage area so she and I got that put together.

After an afternoon game of cards we went out to her favorite diner for dinner.  This diner is a fabulous place and only a few blocks from her house.  She doesn't cook at home so this is her normal eating place and always with a go-box for another days meal in the microwave.  She is such a regular customer that as she walked in one of the counter servers had already set up her spot at the counter.  When she ask for a table for three they let her select her server from today's list of those on duty.

Friday, July 10, 2015

longest leg

OK we are now in our campground near Phyllis' house.  This leg of the trip is the longest as it takes us 7 hours of driving time.  Most of our trips we try to keep in the 5 to 6 hour range.  However this is one of the most scenic drives of all our travels.  The drive through the West Virginia and western Maryland mountains is just beautiful.  The steady ups and downs of 5 and 6 percent grades sure is hard on the fuel economy though.  Today's fill up of fuel only calculated to be 9.9 mpg while our overall average is at 11.2 mpg while pulling the trailer.

One of those ups and downs is over Martin Mountain in western Maryland.

Now we are all set up and heading to Phyllis' house for a nice dinner with both her and Tammy.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Day two

Our GWF has been with us all day today.  It was raining when I woke up this morning but she shut off the valve just before it was time to break camp.  There were only a couple of very light showers during the drive and she put some nice high clouds up to cover the sky so there wasn't any sun glare.

She must have felt bad that she let us down yesterday morning so as if to make up for that failure she turned the wind around to give us a nice push all day to help with the fuel economy.  Then she put a deer out grazing in the road ditch to give us a bit of a thrill.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015


Got away again this morning on our way to a visit with Phyllis.  Our GWF was absent this morning as it was raining during all the final loading plus all the drive up to lunch time.  She caught up with us and waved her wand to cause the rain to stop for our lunch and rest break and soon after we were driving on dry pavement.  We'll just have to see if she is alert and with us in the morning.

The first three days of this trip are quite familiar as we have repeated it many times on our way to the Baltimore area.  Same three campgrounds, Lynnville City park, Fox Fire KOA in Milton, WV, and Ramblin' Pines in Woodbine, MD.  Same three fuel stops, Flying J at Truxton, MO exit, Flying J at Waddy, KY exit, and Pilot at Flatwoods, WV.  We also know the rest area locations that have become our usual stops.  The only thing that changes with each trip is the location of the orange barrels.