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Post #101 / August 8 through Labor Day, 2018 - 5 States

We did a lot of sightseeing after we left Maine on August 8th.  We visited New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Central Illinois, Missouri.  A few things were crossed off our bucket lists and we discovered a few unexpected gems.  We were able to use our brand new Senior National Park pass to get camping for 1/2 price at two different COE parks which was awesome!  This post covers August when we did most of our travels.  I'll catch up with September and probably October next post.

New Hampshire, 8/8 and 8/9
Our first stop was White Birches Campground in Shelbourne, NH.  It was right on Highway 2 and very convenient to Mt. Washington.   We only booked two nights here; that was a mistake because it's a beautiful area with lots of things to do and see.

The reason we stayed here was to visit Mt. Washington.  We wanted to experience the crazy weather that's it famous for.  The temperatures at the top are, on average, 20-30 degrees cooler than at the base.  Pretty nice place to visit on a hot summer afternoon.  We took the Cog Railway to the top which is quite an experience, we highly recommend it! 

37% Grade

Here's some information from Wikipedia on the Railway:

The Mount Washington Cog Railway, also known as the Cog, is the world's first mountain-climbing cog railway (rack-and-pinion railway). The railway is still in operation, climbing Mount Washington in New Hampshire, USA. It uses a Marsh rack system and one or two steam locomotives and six biodiesel powered locomotives to carry tourists to the top of the mountain. Its track is built to 4 ft 8 in (1,422 mm) gauge, which is technically a narrow gauge, as it is a ​12-inch (12.7 mm) less than 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge

It is the second steepest rack railway in the world after the Pilatus Railway in Switzerland, with an average grade of over 25% and a maximum grade of 37.41%. The railway is approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) long and ascends Mount Washington's western slope, beginning at an elevation of approximately 2,700 feet (820 m) above sea level and ending just short of the mountain's summit peak of 6,288 feet (1,917 m). The train ascends the mountain at 2.8 miles per hour (4.5 km/h) and descends at 4.6 mph (7.4 km/h). It takes approximately 65 minutes to ascend and 40 minutes to descend, although the diesel engine can go up in as little as 37 minutes.

And some edited information from Wikipedia about Mt. Washington (I'm getting lazy):

Mount Washington, is the highest peak in the Northeastern United States at 6,288.2 ft and the most topographically prominent mountain east of the Mississippi River.

The mountain is notorious for its erratic weather. On the afternoon of April 12, 1934, the Mount Washington Observatory recorded a windspeed of 231 miles per hour at the summit, the world record for most of the 20th century, and still a record for measured wind speeds not involved with a tropical cyclone.[

The mountain is located in the Presidential Range of the White Mountains. While nearly the whole mountain is in the White Mountain National Forest, an area of 60.3 acres surrounding and including the summit is occupied by Mount Washington State Park.

The Mount Washington Cog Railway ascends the western slope of the mountain, and the Mount Washington Auto Road climbs to the summit from the east. The mountain is visited by hikers, and the Appalachian Trail crosses the summit.

Cold, rainy and very windy summit


We left New Hampshire on Friday, August 10th and headed to Stowe, Vermont.  This trip is a little unusual for us because we made reservations up to Labor Day.  Don't really like doing that but it's hard to find campgrounds in the East without them. 

Vermont, 8/10 thru 8/12
We arrived at Goldbrook Campground in Stowe around 2:00 and were in line for the tour at the Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream tour by 3:30! Ben & Jerry's is in Waterbury, VT and was only about a half-hour down the road from our campground - how convenient.  

When we parked our truck and headed towards the factory we noticed a cemetery.  We stopped to take a look and realized it was where flavors go to die. 
Tombstone of discontinued flavor

The tour was interesting and the free sample of cinnamon buns ice cream was pretty tasty but our hearts still belong to Cherry Garcia.

When we left New Hampshire we had a problem with our truck battery.  We had it jumped and went on our way but knew we needed to take care of it.  On Saturday, we spent the morning trying to find a place that could replace it but everybody was busy or closed.  We bought a jump starter battery and that worked until we got to New York where we had a new battery installed.  The jump starter gives us peace of mind for future issues.   

After a morning of driving to repair shops and finally to Napa Auto Parts Store for the starter we started our tour of Stowe.  Stowe, VT is the home of the Von Trapp Family Lodge and that is the main reason (ok, only reason) we visited Stowe.  Vermont turned out to be one of our favorite states.  Breathtaking views and very friendly people. I understand why the Von Trapp Family ended up here.  We toured the lodge and grounds and had lunch at the Trapp Family Bier Hall.  We drove back to Stowe and checked out some of the shops and bought some cheese and maple syrup.  
Trapp Lodge Gardens

Lunch at the Bier Hall

Trapp Family Lodge

Lunch in Quebec, Canada - trés bien!
Sunday, August 12th (happy birthday Sarah, Zach and Sammie).  We took a drive north on Highway 2 along Lake Champlain and, since we were so close to the border, decided to have lunch in Quebec.  It was a beautiful day, sunny, temperatures in the 70's and the humidity was manageable.   After lunch we headed back to Stowe but decided that we needed to see Chester Arthur's birthplace.  President Arthur was a very interesting president (who knew?) and since we were the only ones at the small, two-room museum we got a private tour and lots of information from the docent who was very happy to have someone to talk to. 

  Chester Arthur was the first president with birther issues.  As a child, his family moved often.  One of his political foes speculated that Arthur had been born in Ireland.  When that rumor failed he then claimed that he was born in Canada.  This claim also failed (because it wasn't true!)  I guess some things never change.  


New York, 8/13 thru 8/16

We had an interesting ride to our campground in Mt. Vision, NY.  We spent most of the drive on the highway but when we reached our exit, it was all county roads, very narrow and windy county roads.  Once we got to the campground we discovered that the very wooded site assigned to us was impossible to get into with our rig so it was back to the office to get a new site.  Luckily our new site was in a nice large open field; we even had one bar on our cell phones.  

We came to this campground because it is only about 1/2 hour drive to Cooperstown (YAY!).  The Baseball Hall of Fame has always been on my bucket list and it was definitely worth the visit.   

There is limited parking in the town of Cooperstown but there are parking lots on the outskirts and they have free trolleys to take you to town.  

Inside the museum we watched a short movie which showed baseball highlights throughout it's history.  Yes, I did get teary eyed when they showed the Cubs winning the World Series.  After the movie we wandered for about three hours looking at all the exhibits. There sure is a lot of Yankee history here.  I guess it's because they've won a few World Series.

Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks
There was so much to see and read although the poor lighting made reading a little difficult. The exhibit about the Women's Baseball League was one of my favorites, probably because "A League of Their Own" is my favorite baseball movie.  Walking thru the Hall where all the Inductee plaques are was pretty amazing, enjoyed finding some of my favorite Cubs.  The Hall of Fame was well worth a stop, there's so much to see, it's laid out very well so that it's not overwhelming.  We were there about three hours and pretty much saw everything.   

Another favorite

Night baseball in Cooperstown



Pennsylvania, 8/16 through 8/20

We left New York and headed to Woodland, PA for three nights.  I thought the campground we were booked at was close to Johnstown, PA.  I was wrong, our reservation was at a campground in Woodland, PA about 2 1/2 hours away.  Oh well, it was a rainy weekend and we ending up staying in the rig most of the time anyway.  We left Woodland on Sunday morning and drove a couple hours to Mirror Lake CG in New Florence, PA.  

Behind Buttermilk Falls
Once we were set up in that very lovely campground (our back window looks out over a creek) we took a drive to Buttermilk Falls.  Between 1931 and 1956 this property was owned by Fred McFeely, grandfather of Fred Rogers of children's television fame. McFeely, a wealthy industrialist from Latrobe, PA, utilized the property as a retreat. His estate featured a cottage, horse stables, a three car garage, outbuildings and a swimming area in the creek above the falls. Mr. Rogers often visited the site as a child. Stone foundations and retaining walls from the estate are visible at the site.

We stopped for dinner at Our Sons Family Restaurant in Johnstown, diner dining at its best!  Driving through Johnstown reminded me so much of the movie, "The Deer Hunter".  It's an older town with old buildings and beautiful older churches.  

We finally made it to the Johnstown Museum on Monday but, being Monday, the museum was closed.  We decided to walk over to the Johnstown Inclined Plane which is the steepest Vehicular Incline in the World. "The Inclined Plane opened on June 1, 1891and on it's first day of service it made a trip every five minutes transporting 600 passengers and 30 horse-drawn wagons".  It was built after the 1889 Johnstown Flood which killed more than 2000 people.  In 1936 there was another flood in Johnstown and the Inclined Plane carried nearly 4000 people to safety.  

We took a ride to the top, walked around a bit, visited the gift shop and headed back down.  

Vehicular Funicular - say that 3 times fast!

For 127 years, Johnstown's— the steepest vehicular inclined plane in the WORLD — had been operated by men. But early in June of 2018 one Johnstown resident, Heather Felice, made history as its first woman operator.  It was nice talking to her, she's very proud (as she should be) that she's the first. 
Heather Felice, 1st woman operator
Yikes - I'm dizzy just looking at this picture
Since the museum was closed we decided to take a drive over to the National Park Service Johnstown Flood Memorial which overlooks the site where the dam was. We watched a movie about the tragedy and then looked out over the site where the lake was before the dam broke.  If you want to learn about the flood, here's a link:

Since we were already depressed we continued our day by visiting the Flight 93 Memorial in Somerset County.  From the parking lot to get to the Visitor's Center you walk the path that the flight took.  Once in the Visitor's Center there are exhibits about all the events of 9/11.  It's very powerful, some of it was still too much for me to watch.  There are phones on the wall that you can pick up and listen to the messages that some of the passengers left for their loved ones.  Outside there is a wall with the 40 names and some biographical material.  It's amazing to think how brave these people were and how many lives they saved by their actions. 

Flight 93 Pathway


Ohio, 8/21 thru 8/25

We left Pennsylvania around 9:30 on Tuesday, 8/21 and arrived at Berlin Lake COE Campground around 1:00.  This is our first COE park since Marty got his Senior Lifetime Pass and we camped here for five nights for only $60.00 total.  Love that pass!  

All COE parks are on water and our back window looked over the lake.  We had our own trail down to the beach, pretty great spot.  

We've been kinda lazy lately (plus it's been rainy and really humid) so we decided to walk around the park.  It was about 7000 steps (approximately 3 miles) so we decided to reward ourselves by heading to the nearby Hollywood Casino.  We've discovered that we are pretty lucky in casinos in states that begin with "O".  We came home happy and can't wait till we are heading to Arizona and can stop in Oklahoma.  

On Thursday, 8/24, we drove an hour over to Cuyahoga National Park.  We did a little bit of hiking and saw two waterfalls.  When we stopped at the Visitor's Center we found out that there is a bike trail along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath through the park.  We also found out that you can drive to different points along the trail and catch a train with your bike and ride back for only $5.00.  We decided to do that on Friday.


On Saturday I convinced Marty that we should take a one hour drive over to Newell, West Virginia to visit the Homer McLaughlin - FiestaWare Factory.  You can never have too much fiestaware!

New coffee mug

Love all the colors


From Ohio we drove to Lake Shelbyville to spend Labor Day Weekend.  Lithia Springs Campground has some walk-up campsites so we figured if we got there on Monday, we'd be all set for Labor Day Weekend.  It worked!  We got the last spot on the lake and spent the week relaxing with a little hiking and biking thrown in.  

I'm having computer issues downloading photos so that's it for this post.  It was a long one anyway.   


Wow - We've hit post 100!  Here are some of our favorite moments and photos from the past 5 years. 


Easier to park than an RV?
Favorite Thing to Drive
Lombard Steam Log Hauler
Bradley, ME  June 2018


Just gimme a pass.
Favorite Senior Moment
Lifetime senior national park pass 
Acadia National Park, ME   Aug 2018  


They say we’re young and we don’t know…
Best Duet
Karaoke with Mary and Judy
Clermont, FL  March 2018


Does this helmet make my head look fat?
Favorite Fashion Accessory
Hardhat helmet from a sponge diver in
Tarpon Springs, FL  March 2018


Cannolli, Buonissimo!
Best Serving of Food
Serving at the Good Life Park
Mesa, AZ   February 2017 


Come on Maddie, keep up.
Best Jog On The Beach
Cape Disappointment, WA. April 2017


You’re sure this won’t leave a mark?       
Best Eclipse Moment
Eclipse at Forks Timber Museum
Forks, WA.  August 2017


Wait a minute, I think I lost my shoe. 
Favorite Snow Moment
Mount Shasta, CA. April 2017


Pennywise will show you to your room now.
Best Place not to Spend the Night. 
Tonopah, NV. April 2017

Tasty waves dude.
Least Disappointing Waves
Cape Disappointment, WA April 2017


Just don’t look down.
Skinniest Bridge
Elk Creek Trail, Forks, WA  May 2017 

At least it’s not a litter box.
Best Sandy Spot That’s Not a Beach
White Sands, NM   Nov. 2016

Cubs Win, this could lead to something big (and it did!).
Biggest Flag
Opening day at Angels vs Cubs
Anaheim, CA   April 4, 2016


“We do not take a trip, a trip takes us.” J.S.
Favorite RV, Other Than Ours
John Steinbeck’s trailer from his "Travels with Charley" in
Salinas, CA  April  2016

Phone Home
Best Long Distance Reception
Very Large Array, Socorro, NM  Feb. 2016


Make America Grate Again.
Best Ice Cream & Cheese Tour
Tillamook Creamery, OR   April 2016


Grazing in the grass on the tarmac.
Best Spot for Elk Watching
Airport in Forks, WA  Sept 2016


No collusion! No collusion!
Worst Room Service
Olympic Correctional Center Tour
Forks, WA   Aug 2016


See, Libra's are well-balanced
Balanced Rock at
Lees Ferry,  AZ    April 2015

It’s good to be buoyant.
Best Diving with the Manatee's
Crystal River, Florida  Dec. 2015


And you don’t have to get up early
Best Sunsets
Any coast of the Pacific Ocean  April 2015


Brightest and lightest.
Most Brilliant Sunlight
Bonneville Salt Flats, UT  April 2015 


The hills are alive…
Most Twirlable Mountaintop
Hurricane Ridge, WA  June 2015


From A to Zoned-out
Most Robotic Chapter
Amazon Fulfillment Center
Campbellsville, KY   Nov.  2014

This is too much like work
Favorite Mine
Copper Queen Mine
Bisbee, AZ  Feb. 2014


I have to give this place a plug.
Best Hole In The Ground
Grand Canyon, AZ  March 2014

Make sure that bag is sealed.
Best Buoyant Buddy
Flat Stanley  
Mesa, AZ  March 2014


A little closer to the fire pit would have been nice.
Nearest Miss
Tree falls during storm, just missing our rig.
Blanding’s Landing, IL  June 2014

Hey who’s gonna push?
Best Playground
Marion, Indiana   July 2014


Yes, Virginia.
Best Hot Dog
Coney Island, Jackson, MI  Oct 2014


If you throw in the floor mats we’ll take it
Best Photo Location For A Truck Sales Ad
Galveston Beach, TX   Jan. 2014


New Career Path
Favorite Space History Spot
Flight Directors chair at mission control
Houston, TX   Jan 2014


I’m tagging Cadillacs on Christmas Eve!
Most Blatant Act of Vandalism
Cadillac Ranch,  Amarillo, TX Dec 24, 2014


Have you seen my mother?
Best Surprise
Evergreen Plantation
Edgard, LA    Dec 2013


Would you trust her with power tools?
The Kindest Cut
Habitat for Humanity Build
Mandeville, Louisiana  Dec. 2013


False start, delay of game
The beginning of our journey,
we drive away but our trailer didn’t - oops!
Elgin, IL  Oct. 19, 2013

That's It - as you can tell we've had lots of fun these past five years.  Here's hoping for at least five more.