Thursday, September 30, 2010

Historic Little Washington

We often meet people on the road who know where Washington is located because it is right at the intersection of I-70 & I-79. Once in a while when we tell people where we are from the say, oh, Little Washington and then we know they are familiar with the area. That "little" is so Washington, PA is not confused with Washington DC. While it may not be as important as "big" Washington, there are many historical things in the area that are worth a visit. The town and county have places of interest that date back thousands of years. When we were here a couple years ago I did a blog entry about the Meadowcroft Rockshelter, the oldest site of human inhabitants in North America. I also did a blog on the nearby Pennsylvania Trolley Museum that has a great collection of old trolley cars. 2010 was the bicentennial for the city and here are a few more places that would be worth a visit if you are passing through the area.
This 1788 house was the home of David Bradford, a leader of the 1794 Whiskey Rebellion. The rebellion was a protest by local farmers against a tax on whiskey that was easier to transport across the Allegheny Mountains to the markets on the East coast than the corn they grew. This was the first test of the power of the new government to collect taxes. The statue by local artist Alan Cottrill depicts the rebels who attacked federal officials in response to the tax. The house and statue are on South Main Street.
Another important building is the 1812 home of Dr. John Lemoyne (right) whose son Francis was a famous abolitionist and the builder of the first crematory in the US (left). Since Washington was very close to Virginia before West Virginia was formed during the Civil War this home was an important stop on the Underground Railroad. The home is on Maiden Street, Route 40, and the crematory is at the top of the hill on South Main Street.
Three miles west of the city is the "S" Bridge that was part of the original National Road, today's Route 40. Also known as the Cumberland Road, it was the first federal highway project. Construction began in 1805 in Cumberland, Maryland and reached Wheeling, Virginia by 1818. The white sign posts with the mileage to local and distant towns are found all along the road. It never did make it to Jefferson City, Missouri as planned because money ran out by the time it reached Vandalia, Illinois. This structure is one of several original stone bridges you will see if you get off the Interstate and travel beautiful and historic Route 40.
This is Old Main, an 1834 building on the campus of Washington and Jefferson College. The school dates back to 1787 and is the oldest college west of the Allegheny Mountains.
This is a statue of Perry Como who was a barber in nearby Canonsburg before he hit the big time. Canonsburg is also the home of Bobby Vinton and the Four Coins.
Another interesting stop is the Breezy Heights Tavern in West Middletown. This restaurant is in a building that is right out of the 1930's Big Bands era. The dining room was the old dance floor and this menagerie of wild animals fills the stage. This is a great little place to eat and enjoy the ballroom that, except for the animals, is still decorated as it was in the 30's.
We had another great lunch with the retirees and helped the September birthday people celebrate. That is one happy crew (Tom, Sandy, John, Lena & Paul) waiting to cut into that cake. This group knows how to enjoy retirement as they get together once a week to share food and fun and never talk about school.
On our last night in WashPA we went to the Back Porch in Speers to celebrate Tom's birthday. This is a great restaurant that is in one of the oldest buildings in Western Pennsylvania. If you go there ask for a table in the Side Door the little bistro in the basement.

We have had a great time catching up with friends and family here, but as October approaches it is time to start heading south to warmer weather. We were planning to depart for Washington, DC this morning, but we decided to wait one more day to miss the heavy rain they are having east of the Allegheny Mountains. After DC we are going to spend a month on the Outer Banks in Avon, NC and then head to Florida for a couple of months.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Along the Road

Here are a couple of things we saw along the road while traveling to and from the Escapade in Goshen. We stopped at Longaberger Baskets near Dresden, Ohio so Nanc could purchase some basket accessories. I call this place "basket hell" because if you want to go to hell in a hand basket you can find that basket right here. We were last here ten years ago and, like many other places around the country, you can tell the poor economy is having a negative effect on business. Even on a Saturday morning there were only about five buses in a parking lot built to hold forty. That was good as it left plenty of room to park the rig.
Even the Longaberger headquarters building in Newark, Ohio is a basket.
Nanc among the fall decor in a basket that is big enough to go to hell in:)
This is a jig that is used to make a basket. They have a program where you can make your own Basket. Nanc did that on our last visit.
A LARGE apple basket at the Longaberger Homestead. The world's largest basket is in downtown Dresden, but I was all shopped out at that point and stayed in the rig while Nanc perused the shops.
This is a 1982 Checker we saw fueling up at the Flying J. 1982 was the last year they were manufactured. The owner told us the company let everyone who owned a Checker know they were going out of business and if they wanted one, it would be their last chance to order a new one. While most Checkers were used as taxis, this one was privately own and was never a cab. I was surprised to hear it ran on propane.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

50th Escapade

We drove to Goshen Indiana for the 50th Escapade, a large RV rally that is geared to fulltimers, and is put on by the Escapees RV Club. This is our third Escapade and they do become more about seeing friends and less about going to seminars, though we did attend a few informative sessions. Of the RVing groups we belong to we have gotten the most service from Escapees, starting with Boot Camp in 2007 our first year on the road. We have also stayed in several of their RV parks in the south and out west.
We parked by our good friends Richard & Valerie Frayer whom we have met up with several times on the road after first meeting them at RV Boot Camp here in Goshen in 2007. A couple of weeks ago we received an email from their daughter Marissa, who lives in Sweden, asking us if we would be part of an international conspiracy to deliver gifts from their three girls for their 40th anniversary. Of course we jumped at the chance to be part of this surprise and had two packages delivered to us at the rally. One gift was a fruit basket and the other was a very heavy bucket of gems that were buried in sand so they had to do a little prospecting to find the rocks. They were like a couple of kids as they searched for the precious gems. We are looking forward to seeing how Val will use them in the beautiful jewelery she makes.
The opening ceremony of the Escapade. Nearly 1600 were in attendance. These events give us a chance to catch up with our RVing friends. We saw Mike & Loretta, Jeff & Pat, Lanny & Lois and others whom we have met along the way. It is a great little community of like minded people who understand the lifestyle and don't think we are crazy for living in a house on wheels.
We had a happy hour potluck with members of the class of 07. Here is Nanc, Richard, Melissa & Larry Beahm, Dave & Kathy (hidden) Bennett, Marty and Valerie. We have met all of these people on the road at other stops. Melissa & Larry are entertainers who travel the country putting on shows at RV rallies and parks as the group One More Time. Sorry I did not get a pic of Bob & Mollie Pinner, 07 mates who will be the coordinators for next year's Escapade in Gillette, Wyoming.
One thing that makes the Escapade work is people volunteering. At the last Escapade we did morning coffee and this year we worked security at the gate making sure only registered participants came into the fairgrounds. Volunteering also lets us meet more people.
Aerial pic of the 800 rigs at the rally. Ours is the one with the white roof. Actually we are the first rig in the second row in the infield of the track. That is me waving.
We did attend a few seminars including a very informative session on purchasing a kayak. Nanc loved the fit of this one. We did sessions on RV renovation, electric systems, digital cameras and traveling to Alaska. We also spent some money on a few things we needed to fix and update. The Escapade is always a great fun time to meet friends and learn more about everything RVing.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Family, Friends, Food and Fun

No, we have not fallen off the edge of the Earth. We have been in WashPA for two weeks and most of the stay has been filled with meeting and eating with friends and family. Most of our doctors' appointments were taken care of in the spring so this visit was all about family, friends, food and fun. We supported many of our favorite local restaurants and generally just relaxed.

Our first night back we had dinner with Rick & Denise and Marlene & John Antonetti. Marlene and John both celebrated birthdays in August and after a great meal we went to Rick's & Denise's for cake and ice cream. John did not want anyone to know it was his &)th birthday but I could not resist.
The Western PA weather was perfect for convertibles and Jack & Marylou took advantage and visited us to show off this great classic Mustang.
We also did a couple of the retired teachers luncheons. This one was extra special as it was our old working colleagues first day back in the classroom.
WOW, another convertible! Diane picked up Nanc for a "girl's" day out cruising around in this beauty.
This is Dave Hammond's Steeler room. The Black & Gold decor is really popular here.
On Labor Day we had a picnic at Tim's & Di's with many friends.
Bottom left; Mike & Judy Campsey, Tom Ridge, and Jim.
Center; Doc
Bottom right; Sherri Sharp and Diane Jones, dressed as twins.
Top left; Tim Jones the grill master.
Top right; Jack Underwood, Georgie Goff-Ridge, Nanc, Gail Ciallelli and Marylou Underwood.
It was a grand time with much food. Some of us enjoyed a dip in their pool. Mike & Judy shared there pictures and stories about their summer trip to Alaska. Seeing and hearing about it really makes it a must do for us.