Thursday, October 30, 2014

South to Betty's

When we left WashPA our first stop was in Cleveland for the Yanni -- Barnhart wedding (last post) followed by an annual service and overall chassis inspection appointment at Spartan in Michigan. The work at Spartan only took one day so we decided to sprint to Betty's RV Park in Louisiana.  This meant we drove 1600 miles of almost all interstate highway, something we have never done in so few days since going on the road.  Below are a few of the "highlights" of driving the super highways.
Welcome to Ohio So Much to Discover.  Nice fall colors.
Welcome to Pure Michigan.  Where a turkey flew across the highway and, fortunately, into the side of Opus rather than Opus hitting it.  No damage.
Indiana, Crossroads of America, Lincoln's Boyhood Home.  Very flat.
Welcome to Illinois, The Land of Lincoln.  Seems to be a fight between Indiana and Illinois over Lincoln.
Approaching a high point of the trip, the first of three crossings over the Mississippi River.
Missouri Welcomes You.  Even if it was for less than 100 miles across the boot heel, we knew we were in the South as we saw cotton, kudzu and a dead armadillo.
You never know what you will see along America's highways.
Welcome to Arkansas, The Natural State, Buckle Up For Safety.  Glad they are concerned about our safety.
We are once again East of the Mississippi.
Tennessee, The Volunteer State Welcomes You.  We felt welcome even though we were only there for 15 minutes.
Welcome to Mississippi, Birthplace of America's Music.  We enjoyed the music on our last visit but this time we were on a mission.
Welcome to Louisiana, Bienvenue en Louisiane, Keep Louisiana Beautiful.  Wow, they manage to put the state name on the sign three times and in two languages.
One last crossing to the West side of the Mississippi River at Baton Rouge.  
What a trip!!  Two nights dry camping in the hotel parking lot in Cleveland, two nights with only power at Spartan, two Wally World stays and one Passport America park later we made it to Betty's.  We were greeted by friends old and new.  We are looking forward to a fun six week stay in the heart of Cajun Country.
We did have one issue coming south.  When I plugged in Opus at Spartan the readout on our Progressive Industries EMS system was just flashing and would not let the power into the rig.  Even though it was after 7PM on the East coast, Donald took my call at home and talked me through what I needed to do to bypass the system.  When we got to Betty's a FREE new board was waiting for me.  With the help of Mike I installed the new board and all is fine.  I have always been happy with how the EMS has performed and I'm now also real happy with their customer service. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Yanni -- Barnhart Wedding

Our first stop after leaving WashPA was in Cleveland for the wedding of our friend John's youngest daughter, Liz.  This is the third Yanni wedding we have attended since going on the road and as always it was a fun, fun time.
The happy bride and her dad.
The three sisters Rachel, Brittany and Amanda were part of the wedding party........
..... along with eight of John's ten grandchildren.  Only the two newest, who were born this year, missed out.
The new Mr. and Mrs. Barnhart.
We had some time between the reception so our WashPA friends came to our house for a snack.
A Pittsburgh tradition is the cookie table at weddings.  Usually everyone in the family would make a few cookies to share the cost.  But John, who loves to cook, baked 175 dozen (that is 2100) for this affair.  There was a big variety and even take home boxes so everyone had plenty to enjoy. 
Joey and Carmeta.  Phil and Linda.
Kim and Bill.  Chris and Lena.
John and Joey, no they are not brothers.
Nanc and I all dressed up, how rare.
John's wife Patrice's family.
Amanda and her in-laws with one of the newest grandchildren.  It is John's tenth, but her proud in-laws first.
John and Patrice.
John and Patrice with their 13 grandchildren,  The oldest from John's side is seven.  Talk about going from zero to ten in a hurry.
Ben and Liz, the happy couple
The bride and her dad.
John with his six kids, Amanda, Jason, Liz, Rachel, John Jr. and Brittany along with granddaughter, Adalia.  Counting new spouses and children the family has grown by sixteen in less than ten years.
A sparkling end to a great day and a sparkling beginning for the newlyweds, 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Bridges of Washington County

Several years ago we were in Madison County Iowa and toured their famous covered bridges.  I was a bit disappointed as almost all those bridges were closed to traffic.  Since then I have been planning to do a blog about the two dozen covered bridges around WashPA, most of which are still open for travel.  Here are seven of the 24 that I visited recently.  Some have been rebuilt to keep them up to the weight of modern traffic and have had new roofs installed to protect the structures, but they are for the most part in very good shape.  Here is a link with the location of all the bridges.
The Hughes Bridge that was built in 1889 is not open to traffic.  It is over 55 feet long and as you can see does bow a bit.  It is neat looking at the old names people have carved on the bridges over the years.  It always makes we wonder when our modern day graffiti will become historically significant.
Originally built in 1889 the 66 foot Bailey Bridge had to be totally rebuilt in the mid 1990's after vandals parked a truck on the bridge and burned it.  The original wood arches and cross members were salvaged and used in the reconstruction.
The 15 ton weight limit on the Day Bridge tells you that the superstructure has been rebuilt.  Steel beams were placed under it after the old wood gave out.  They have done a great job of maintaining the historical integrity as the new beams are not visible. 
The 26 foot Wright bridge was built sometime between 1875 and 1899.  The bridge, which can easily be seen from I-70, is open to traffic but on a road that is now a dead end after a high load wiped out the bridge that carried the road over the interstate.
Just a bit of the beautiful WashPA fall colors.
I could not find the name of this bridge that has been moved into a field.  Hopefully it will be saved from farther deterioration.
The 36 foot long Henry bridge was built in 1841.  Its support beams have also been replaced with steel.  This bridge over Mingo Creek is located in Mingo Park so it is one of the most heavily traveled.
The 32 foot  Ebezener Bridge was moved to its current location on Mingo Creek in 1977.  It is unknown when it was originally built.

These are just a small sample of Washington County's 24 covered bridges.  If you are passing through WashPA stop and check them out.  But not in a big rig, as they are all narrow and do not have a very high vertical clearance.  If you are in the area on the third weekend in September, the annual Covered Bridge Festival offers crafts, food and entertainment at ten bridges.  It is a great way to learn a bit of WashPA history. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Final Week in WashPA

I recently read an article in an RV magazine by a fulltimer who commented that they had grown away for their old friends in their home town when they went on the road.  That sure is not true of us and that is why we like to stay here for two months so we have a chance to get together with so many people.  Now that all our projects are done we are spending all our time with friends and family.  There were several people we had not had a chance to see and others we wanted to see one last time before heading out. Of course that usually means going to our favorite area restaurants.
Here are Tim, Di, Jim, Nanc, Judy and Mike at Speers Grill.  We had a great meal and had a chance to get caught up with stories about the trips they had taken out West.  We love see people and hearing about their trips and always get ideas for future trips.
Always on the must see list is our neighbor of 30 years, Dorothy.  She has moved into an apartment but is still as sharp as a tack and going strong at 91.  When we lived in a stix and brix she was our second mom and did her best to keep us in line.  Not an easy job. 
Another day another get together with the old euchre club for dinner and an evening of laughs and swapping lies.  Here are Georgie, Tom, Nanc, Jim, Mary Lou, Mike, Sherri, Di and Tim. 
We always see Nanc's sister Judy in Florida when we winter there, but had not gotten together with them here on this visit.  Since she and her husband Bill are leaving for Florida this week we decided to meet in Ohio for a late lunch to get caught up with what they have been doing this summer.  Our nephew Scott and his girl friend Doris joined us for a nice three hour lunch. 
One last meal at the Union Grill with Tom and Georgie and our favorite bartender, Jimmy.  The Grill advertises that it is "Where Friends Meet" and that sure is true.  It is a local institution where we always see many people we know.
I did make the leap this week and took advantage of the Verizon trade-in program and got a free iPhone 6.  I'm usually at least one or two models behind with the latest technology, but since several of my apps were no longer working on the old phone I made the move. I'm sure they do that on purpose to force you to make the move. 
Another day, another friend.  On Sunday we had Gail over for dinner.  She is a great friend who we knew even before we moved to WashPA so we go way back.
Nanc cooked up some of our halibut for a great meal at the best place in town to eat.
No doubt the greatest thing about our traveling lifestyle is not only the chance see old friends but make new ones.  On Monday morning we got a message from Bill and Gisela that they were traveling through WashPA on their way from Indiana to Virginia.  We met them at Betty's several years ago and have crossed paths a couple of times since.  We had dinner at the Union Grill and then came back to our place to share travel stories.  They have been to Alaska and went to Newfoundland this summer so we had fun talking about places we had both visited.
One last night at Al'an Rubens with Darlene.  It was great spending the evening with her and hearing a bit of jazz here for another year.  We also had dinner with my brother Rick and his wife Denise.  And of course the Wednesday retired teachers Out to Lunch Bunch but I failed to get pictures.  It has been a great visit back to our old stomping grounds around WashPA and getting caught up with friends and family but we are looking forward to new travel adventures.

When we lived here we went out to dinner almost every night so we have several local restaurants that are our favorites.  One thing they all have in common is that they are locally owned and you will usually find the owner in the building.  The Union Grill, Al'an Rubens, Burgh's Pizza and Wings, Speers Grill and the Back Porch are some that we frequented back then and always return to.  Since going on the road friends have found a couple of others the we can now recommend, the Kopper Kettle near Washington and Someone Else's in nearby Castle Shannon.    If you are in the WashPA area and looking for a great meal be sure to check out these great establishments.  At most of these places if you say Jim and Nanc recommended them it will not get you thrown out:)