Thursday – September 10, 2009
At last I’m taking a few minutes to journal some of our experiences for the past week. Right now we are at Stonewall Jackson Resort Campground located in Roanoke, West Virginia.
First let me tell you a little about the past week of travels. This trip started last Friday morning when we departed from home heading east to Pine Cove Beach Resort & Campground. The campground is located just off exit 35 of I70 near Charleroi, PA. The campground simply serve as our “base camp” for visiting our mothers just 25 miles away. Pine Cove Beach is a small campground with 30 sites that are level, gravel and about 40 feet of spacing between RV’s. Our site was #11 situated next to a small fishing pond. Since this was the Labor Day weekend the place was completed filled. We spent very little time at the campground since each morning we would head to visit our mothers.
The main purpose for this leg of the trip was to celebrate my mother’s 90th birthday. On Saturday we took both of our mothers for a short drive into downtown Pittsburgh, then up to Mount Washington for a view of the city and finally a drive through Squirrel Hill so my mother could see the beauty shop she owned over 45 years ago.
On Sunday we took my Mom to the Meadows Casino where she tried her luck at the slot machines. After about 2 hours of play she managed to escape after losing $12. The 90th birthday celebration took place on Monday with a small cook out at my sister’s house followed by some yummy birthday cake.
Early Tuesday, September 8th, we departed Pine Cove and head south on I79 for our very first time visit to Stonewall Jackson Resort. The 125 mile drive was extremely pleasant on I79 with light traffic and the roadway was in excellent condition. I did have some concern that the West Virginia hills would be too much of a challenge for the motorhome, but the drive went well. The geography is rolling hills, with most of the climbs being gradual and not too long.
For the past 2 years I have tried to get a reservation at Stonewall Jackson Resort with no success. We were delighted that we could get this 4 day reservation coordinated with our visit to Pittsburgh. This campground is GREAT! Our site, #21, is parallel to the road and overlooks the lake. All sites are level with hard top surface for the RV, a large gravel patios area about 20 feet by 30 feet, picnic table, nice fire ring and full hooks ups. Cable TV is not available nor can digital TV signals be received. Both Sprint and Verizon cell phone service is very strong. All the main roads are macadam and the entire grounds are immaculately maintained and manicured. The bathhouses are spotless. Laundromat facilities are not available nor is a campground store. So be sure to bring sufficient supply of food with you.
For the past two nights we have had a campfire and have not experienced any bothersome bugs or mosquitoes. The campground does not have any planned activities; however, campground patrons can take advantage of all activities & amenities offered at the lodge. For an extra $14 per day the indoor/outdoor pool, paddle boats, bicycles and restaurants are available. Pontoon boats can be rented at the marina and the gorgeous Arnold Palmer signature golf course can be played.
Wild deer roam abundantly throughout the campground and golf course and can be easily spotted from sunrise till sunset. One morning when we woke up a doe and her fawn were right outside our bedroom window. Right before lunch today I was able to hand feed a piece of bread to a doe that was grazing on the other side of the road by our motorhome.
If you are looking for a peaceful, quiet, calm, relaxing, layback camping experience, then this is the place for you. The nearest town, Weston, is about 10 miles down the road on I79 and the place is not very large at all. We are enjoying each day by walking in the morning and each evening after dinner, then followed by a nice campfire. The days are flying by while busy doing nothing. The weather thus far has been just perfect…mostly sunny with occasional clouds, daily temps in the mid 70’s and over night lows in the mid to high 50’s. Every so often a tree can be spotted with leaves beginning to change to Fall colors.
Monday - September 14, 2009
Three days have passed since my last journal entry and much has happened. Some good and some NOT so good. As planned we left Stonewall Jackson Campground on Saturday morning. Our stay at the campground will always be remember for the quiet, peaceful setting and the abundance of deer walking through the campground. In fact, Diana & I both were able to feed the deer bread.
We headed north on I79 and then at Morgantown, WV we took I68 heading east. For seventy miles we followed I68 and confronted numerous uphill and downhill grades of 6% and 7%. The weather was cool and overcast so this contributed to making the climbs rather easy for the motorhome engine.
The NOT so good experience occurred in Cumberland, Maryland when we were involved in a motor vehicle accident. While approaching Exit 43B a car came up in the exit lane to our right and then cut in front of us and when doing so the car struck the right front side of our motorhome. We heard a loud thud and then saw the car cut across in front of us, continue to cut into the far left lane and then finally crashed into the cement barrier that separates the east and west lanes of I68. Another car travelling in the far left lane could not come to a stop and hit into the first car. While all this was unfolding in front of us, I remained in my lane and brought the motorhome to a safe stop. Thankfully no other cars got involved in this accident, especially when you consider it is a heavily travelled interstate highway. The normal speed limit on this highway is 70 MPH, but since this was a by-pass around Cumberland, the speed limit was reduced to 40 MPH which helped prevent this from becoming a fatal accident. Fortunately no one was injured but the two cars I believe will be “totaled”. Our motorhome sustained a series of bad scratches and a 3 inch hole in the fiberglass. Much less damage than I expected.
After giving information to the police we were back on our way to our planned destination of Friendship Village Campground, Bedford, PA. In all our camping journeys, never was I so happy to be able to pull into a campsite and call it a day. While not being injured in the accident we were both shook up emotionally. Once we got setup at our site, I called our insurance company to provide the accident details. Then we took a long walk through the campground to rid ourselves of stress.
OK, now some good news. Friendship Village continues to be a nice campground. We are on site 319 which is a very long pull thru, level with gravel. Spacing between sites is sufficient for a fire ring and picnic table. Cable TV is good with nearly 50 channels.
Today we enjoyed a self guided driving tour of the many old wooden covered bridges in the area. While on this tour we decided to head over to Johnstown which was a 30 mile drive on Rt. 56 west. If we had to do over we would have started our day earlier as we had to rush to tour the Johnstown Flood Museum and Heritage Discovery Center. Both were very interesting and educational. We wish we would have had time to ride the Incline Plane. In fact, the next time we are in the area we want to return to Johnstown to ride the Incline Plane and have lunch at the top.
On our return trip from Johnstown we stopped at the Pleasantville Family Restaurant and enjoyed a very cooked, home cooked dinner. We would recommend this restaurant if you ever get to be in the area.
Tomorrow we head west on the Pennsylvania Turnpike for our next stop….. Country Haven Campground, New Holland, PA.
Wednesday - September 16, 2009
Yesterday we travelled from Friendship Village Campground in Bedford to our current location in New Holland, PA. The drive was an easy 160 miles with most of the time spent on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. We will be staying here at Country Haven Campground until we depart for home on Sunday. Our weather continues to be very nice with only one day of rain since we started this trip back on September 4th. The daytime highs have been in the low to mid 70’s and the night time lows into the 50’s. Perfect weather !
Today we traveled about 13 miles from the campground to the Strasburg Railroad. Our GPS was set for “shortest” so we wondered through all the back roads which afforded the opportunity to view the beautiful picturesque Amish farmlands.
At the railroad we purchased a combo ticket for $22 each and that included a 45 minute ride on an open air railroad car and access to the museum. It was a fun experience to ride the railroad and see all those old locomotives. If you go, allow at least 3 hours to enjoy all that is offered. We highly recommend this attraction.
To satisfy a craving for pizza we travelled to Two Cousins Pizza on Main Street in New Holland. Their pizza is very good and reasonably priced. After dinner we stopped at Yoder’s Country Market which is just down the road from the pizza shop. This was a mistake. ….but a GOOD mistake. The bulk goods aisle in the store is like non other that we have seen. All sorts of baking supplies and an endless choice of candies. It’s well worth the stop just to stroll down this aisle.
Thursday - September 17, 2009
Since Harrisburg is only 40 miles from the campground we decided to travel there today to tour the Capitol Building. Over 30 years ago we toured the building and when we walked into the building today we were truly impressed with the beauty of the design, architecture and décor. During the week free tours are available every half hour and on weekends every hour. The tour includes the opportunity to enter the chambers for the Senate, House of Representative and Supreme Court.
Saturday - September 19, 2009
Yesterday our camping friends from Boston stopped by the campground to visit with us. They are staying in Elizabethtown and plan to attend the Hershey RV show this weekend and then begin their journey south to Florida. We all went to Shady Maple to enjoy lunch together.
This morning started off badly. Somehow I have acquired a PC virus on my laptop. I have not been able to rid the problem. I have tried System Restore and that has not worked, but starting the PC in Safe Mode has at least allowed me to access some of the software programs. Two hours of trial & error finally yielded a solution to fixing the virus. I was able to download Malwarebytes, a free software program, and that fixed the issue.
Following lunch we took a ride on Rt. 30 toward the Outlets but quickly encountered an endless line of cars bumper to bumper. No doubt the beautiful weather brought out all the weekend tourists and traffic was backed up as far as the eye could see. We jumped off Rt.30 onto one of the back roads and took a leisurely ride back to the campground, deciding to stay away from all the hustle bustle.Tomorrow we head home with a short drive of 65 miles. This has been a great trip aside from the accident. We have enjoyed beautiful weather, fantastic countryside and some very nice campgrounds. We look forward to our next trip planned for October.