September 2002

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Here we go!

It sure was nice to ride in the right lane at about 60mph. With the big motor home coming, a lot of the oncoming traffic (ramps) slowed down instead of arguing with us, this was in MA! Wow!

Went by the campground the first time. Had to try to turn the rig with the tow. It was not easy, backed up just a little. Finally got going in the right direction and got to the campground. Most of the lots were unleveled. We used two sites as a pull through, they didn't have a lot of business, the owner (she) charged me $25.

One of the campers came over to see if we had a multimeter. He was a Baptist deacon from Mississippi. He is driving a new pusher, his Barth had motor problems on the trip and he bought a new unit in Louisville, KY. Nice guy, last name is Blankenship. Noticed next morning he had a DOD sticker on his vehicle.

Old Sturbridge Village.

What can I say except WOW! This was a real lesson in history. An old New England Village as it was in 1830. The people manning the various exhibits (houses, banks, stores, law office, farms, etc) were well versed in 1830 history. (i.e., Van Buren was President and because of the down turn in the economy at the time he was referred to as Van Ruin. Vote Wig, they said! It was great.

Ginger got tired and was not as interested in the exhibits as I was. I spent a LOT of time in the first exhibit so that put her behind (in her mind) and we never made it up. So, we had lunch ($18) and hit the route again. Lot's of walking in the sun and fresh air, it was wonderful.

Spent the evening trying to find a place for tomorrow. Using the Military books we found a campground in West Point, NY. We'll have to call in the morning to get reservations. ($15 daily with E/W) Can't beat that within 50 miles of NYC.

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Round Pond Family Camp

West Point, New York

What a trip! I thought West Virginia had hills. New York has mountains! Some really steep mountains. Lovely campgrounds. 50 amp service and water. Gravel spots. We really put ole R-Way through it though, getting to the campground. The road, although paved, was not great to travel on, it went straight up! All-in-all we had a good time there. We went on base and visited the commissary (it was large!). The whole area was hilly.

We went into Highland Falls and washed clothes. Met another RV couple from Round Pond there. Right next door was the Old Thyme Hot Dog and Things place. We had lunch there. Ginger discovered Vanilla Coke. They had over 200 types of hot dogs. I selected the southern (chili, onion, slaw & mustard) one. Guess they have never been down south, the chili had beans in it.

Back at camp, borrowing tools, we met a nice couple Harold & Lorena Justice. She was from West Virginia and he was from Pikeville, KY. They have been full-timers since 1995. They don't have email but they gave us their cell phone number. He's ex-USMC. We hope to see them again.

Our second day here.

This is the beginning of the new Survivor series and TV reception here is nil. We were not sure we'd stay, but decided we'd catch up on it during reruns.

We've had a nice stay here. We could hear the rifle range in the distance. The West Point cadets are really going at it.  We decided we would head for Pennsylvania tomorrow morning. May as well see Phila while we can.

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Underway for Phila area. 

Nice road heading west from West Point. We're going to I-87 (NY Thruway) then south on 287 and pick up 78 west over to PA100 to the Lazy K campground in Bechtelsville, PA.  It's a SKP park. It's also fairly close to the Phila area.  They also have cable included.  With the SKP 15% discount it was only $17 a day.  Not bad.  We had a pretty good spot.

We had a little trouble getting on to I-87.  I was busy trying to read the signs and drove right past the entry.  We decided to head west and find a gas station.  We found one a couple of miles down the road, filled up and headed back to the New York Thruway.  Found it this time alright!  Boy, was it crowded with big trucks.  We had the CB turned on and just listened to the truckers all day.  The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful.  We used the GPS to make sure we got off on the right roads, couldn't trust me to do it on my own, not after missing the onramp to I-87.

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Today (Saturday, 9/20) we hunt for the cemetery where Aunt Sally and Aunt Bobbie are buried.  We stopped at the Wal-Mart on route 100 to use the phone and see if we could locate the Baptist Church in Lower Providence.  We were thinking that Lower Providence was close to Pottstown.  Wrong!  We had no luck finding a phone number for the church.  We did, however get directions to Lower Providence.  Little did we realize just what an adventure we were starting.

We did have fun searching.  We'd stop people and ask them, follow those directions until we figured we were totally lost, then ask someone else.  We finally asked the right person.  The manager of the flower department for a grocery store was standing outside watering the plants, we asked her and although she didn't know, she knew someone that did.  She directed us to a lady that ran a Catholic gift shop and who was on the town council for Lower Providence.  She was able to direct us to the Church and the cemetery was right beside it.  We took some flowers with us, located the proper grave site and placed the flowers between the markers.

I managed to get a picture of Ginger with the flowers and the sun right in her face.  We had quite a search and really felt good when we had completed our search.  I won't go into trying to follow Ginger's memory of things when she attended her Aunt Bobbies funeral at that church.  We'll just say that we did in fact locate the church and the grave sites.  It was nice to complete that task.

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Sunday morning (9/21) in Pennsylvania.  

What a lovely day to take Ginger back to her old neighborhood.  She lived in Drexel Hills for about 12 years, her kids were born there and she has lots of great memories of the place.  Our quest today is to find the place, get some pictures and visit some long ago neighbors.  After our experiences yesterday looking for Lower Providence, we decided we should let Delorme's Street Atlas be our guide.  It laid out a route for us, we printed it out and low and behold, we arrived at the corner of Cobb and Bond.  Her old house was just down Cobb street.  


Ginger was very excited as we approached the house.  There was a ball game in the school field at the end of the street and parking was limited.  She got out with her trusty camera and started snapping pictures.  She got lots of pictures.  The lady that now lives in the house saw her taking pictures and came out and chatted with her for awhile.  Then she invited her inside to see the place.  Ginger was thrilled.  We went inside and Ginger described how it had changed, bragged on how well the person had decorated and generally bragged on how nice it looked, all the while snapping pictures.  Ginger is sure that Ken and Sue will enjoy the pictures.

After spending a lot of time on Cobb St Ginger wanted to go to the next street over and see her old friend and neighbor, Mary Black.  Ginger knocked on her door and a neighbor told her they had  just left a couple of days ago for a cruise.  Ginger was so disappointed!  We drove around some more and saw the old apartments they first lived in.  Wow! that was one large complex.  We didn't hardly see anyone on the street.  The place had grown up quite a bit since she had left.  The trees had grown so much that it was very dark in, what had been, her front yard.  

We decided to put her film in for quick developing.  They told us it would take about two hours.  A gentleman that was behind me in line told us about an Irish Pub just up the street.  Said it was a good place to eat.  We thought we would try it out.  It was very nice, the TV's were on as the Phila Eagles were playing the Dallas Cowboys.  They (Eagles) stomped the Cowboys 42-3 or something like that.  We are Cowboy fans but couldn't say anything in the Pub.

We had a great meal, bought a ticket for a chance on a trip to Ireland then left to pick up our pictures.  They were ready.  We took our time driving back and missed a turn, we had to drive by the Shopping Plaza at King of Prussia.  It took us awhile but we did finally get back on our correct route and made it back to the campground.  We did stop at the only Pizza Shop in town and get a Pizza to take home.  It was BIG and it was wonderful.

Decided we'd stick around one more day.  Hung around camp most of the day, did take a trip to Wal-Mart and went across the road to McDonalds.  Ginger got stung by a bee as we were getting our lunch.  We went on home, she put some medicine on the sting.  After awhile the swelling went down.  The stinger never did come out.  First time in a long, long, time for a bee sting!  We did some laundry and they had some really nice facilities.  We also located the dump for when we leave tomorrow.  It's way up on a hill, pretty steep hill.  Well, next day we climbed the ole hill, pulling the SAAB, and it worked out okay.  After dumping, I stopped by the shower room and had a nice long shower, climbed into R-Way and away we went, heading south.  

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Sep 24, 2002

Heading south.  The navigator still doesn't trust DeLorme Street Atlas so she's using a traditional Atlas to help us navigate the roads and by-ways of this great country.  I had mapped out a route (using DeLorme) that would take us near Lancaster, Pa.  The navigator tried to follow that route but still relied on the (paper) atlas.  We were held up for awhile by the first accident we'd seen.  It appeared someone heading east bound (we were west bound) stopped and the vehicles behind were too close and couldn't stop in time and the natural thing occurred, an accident.  We were stopped in traffic about 100 yards from the accident.  Rescue (two units) arrived shortly after we stopped.  We were only held up about 10-15 minutes.  After clearing the accident we traveled through some beautiful country side.  The crest of each hill would reveal an even prettier site than the last one.  I think we got so caught up in site seeing that the navigator missed a turn.  Anyway, we ended up in downtown Lancaster at 4:30pm.  Not a nice place to be in a 32' motor home with a toad.  The navigator finally threw up her hands and said, "I give up!"  I found a place that had a number of empty parking spaces and parked R-Way.  We turned on the computer, plugged in the GPS and let DeLorme do all the work.  Bingo, the green dot appeared on the map of Lancaster showing us (within about 3') where we were.  It took just a couple of minutes to figure out how to exit the city, on the route that would take us where we wanted to go.  In about 15 minutes we were headed out of town with the rush hour traffic.

Once we got on I-81 south, it was, once again, easy going.  It was starting to get late in the day (about 7:45pm) when the navigator spotted a Wal-Mart just ahead (she was watching a really beautiful sunset) so we took the next exit.  It was a large shopping center called "the centre".  It was a little noisy being right beside I-81 but we managed to get a good night's rest.  Our plans had been to head down 81 into Virginia but we decided instead, to head directly towards Logan, West Virginia. 

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Sep 25, 2002

After a wonderful breakfast at the International House of Pancakes (IHOP), we headed south looking for I-70 west.  The mountains are starting to get bigger and bigger.  I-70 turns into I-68 west bound and the mountains continue to get bigger.  We really put R-Way through her paces pulling the ole SAAB up those hills.  We see names like Frostburg and Mount Savage, letting us know what the roads must be like in the winter.  Interstate 68 took us down the mountain and directly through Cumberland, Maryland then back up the mountain.  It will eventually take us to I-79 in Morgantown, West Virginia, home of the University of West Virginia.  When we turned south on I-79 I begin to feel "at home" for the first time.

We had decided to spend the night in Clarksburg, West Virginia at the Wal-Mart.  The DeLorme mapping program showed the Wal-Mart to be just off I-79 and route U.S. 50.  Here is where we first started noticing some errors in DeLorme Street Atlas USA 2003.  Perhaps it is the large amount of development taking place around Clarksburg or perhaps it is just inattention on DeLorme's part, but the Wal-Mart was not located where they said it was.  It was almost a mile further around the mountain.  Anyway, we finally found it and settled in for a relaxing evening.

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Sep 26, 2002

Slept well being back in West Virginia.  We had breakfast and started down the mountain on I-79 headed for Charleston.  It was a lovely ride, the ground fog rising from the hollows looked great.  Ginger loved the ride, the countryside and the views of the mountains.  We expect rain from the hurricane that came ashore a couple of days ago.  We are a little out of touch, don't watch much TV and the only radio we seem to have on is the CB. 

Before we stopped for lunch on US 119 in Charleston it started raining.  Speaking of US 119 in Charleston, that area has really grown.  One side of the road (actually on top of the mountain) had been leveled off and a large shopping center with lots of eating places had been built.  We hadn't been through the area for several years and were quite surprised to see that the other side of the road had been developed as well.  Maybe I should say, 'well developed'.  We almost felt lost.  We stopped and had lunch and the rain started.  

The drive to Logan was a nice easy drive until we got to Stollings.  The road we were on went under a railroad trestle that was less than 10 feet tall so we had to take the truck by-pass.  It's a good thing I'm from Logan and knew that was there, it sure would have been a BIG surprise to someone in a motor home that wasn't paying attention to the road.  Anyway, arrived at my Uncle's place while it was pouring, dropped the car and tow dolly, got the RV turned around and backed into his driveway.  Hooked up to his electric, put the awning out and settled in.

What a wonderful time we had in Logan with all the family around.  We had planned to leave the next day but were having so much fun and enjoying ourselves so much we decided to stay until Sunday.  There was a civil war reenactment at Chief Logan Park in Henlawson.  President Lincoln was in attendance and Ginger watched as he signed the proclamation making West Virginia a State.



He gave her the signed proclamation.  As luck would have it, the President was actually in the county that had formed the Logan Wildcats to join the rest of the able bodied men from Virginia to fight the Yankees.  My Great-grandfather was part of the Logan Wildcats and managed to survive the war with only a wound in the leg.  The South was well represented during the reenactment.

They even had cannons

The Southern forces won this particular reenactment.  

While in the Henlawson area, my Uncle (Paul Small) drove us around to locate an old cemetery where my Great-grandfather was buried.  It was finally located 'up the second hollow' and the road up to it was very narrow.  We didn't find a headstone with his name on it but there were several headstones with the name Ellis on them.

That night a lot of the family got together and went out to eat at the new conference center out on the 'four lane'.  We all had a wonderful time.  It's always fun to have family around.

Even if they have funny things through their tongue.

The next day we had dinner together in Slabtown and afterwards we got underway with R-Way heading north to visit my brothers in Ravenswood.

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Sep 29, 2002

Ravenswood.  We used to live here.  Back in 1985 we moved to Yarmouth, Maine.  The little town hadn't changed that much but it is starting to grow lately.  Another new bank, even building a new Subway Sandwich Shop.  My brother (Max) was awaiting our arrival.  We parked and set up R-Way and began to have a wonderful week. 

Not only do I have two brothers in Ravenswood but I also have a couple of granddaughters and two Great-grandsons.  It's always a pleasure to see them.

My brother Max has a boat and he took us out on the Ohio river at sunset.  There is a bend in the river and the sun sets around the bend and down a long straight stretch of river.  It is beautiful.  We lived in Ravenswood for almost 4 years and never did realize it had such a pretty sunset.  It's always fun to spend time on the river with Max.  My other brother, Charlie, has purchased the top of a mountain and is in the process of building a log home on the land.  It is beautiful 'on the mountain' especially at sunrise and sunset.  We had a chance to sit in the swings on the outside patio and watched the sunset one evening.

We always make it a point to get together for nachos when we're together.  This time was no different.  We spent a great evening together at Max's eating nachos (and drinking cerveza). 

On Sunday Ginger and I, my two brothers and sister-in-laws went to Parkersburg to have dinner and we took R-Way up.  This gave me a chance to make sure Max and Charlie saw the unpleasant part of living in a motor home.  All the rest areas in West Virginia, at least those on Interstate highways, have dump stations.  After a week in Ravenswood, we really did need to dump.  They were not impressed.  Anyway, we had empty tanks again and they had the opportunity for a ride in R-Way.  They seemed to enjoy the trip up and back.  I'm sure either of them would have taken off with us without too much of an argument.

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