Airstream Time

Exploring North America in an Airstream

Posts from the ‘Pennsylvania’ category

Fisherman’s Paradise and Fishing Creek

Monday, June 24, 2019

We had passed an overlook several times, so this time we stopped to get some pictures of this beautiful area

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We knew Fishing Creek was muddy, but that was our best choice, at least of the streams we knew about. We stopped at a convenience store for some coffee. As Kelly was getting in the truck, a fit, middle-aged guy walked in front, and Kelly asked, “Where’s the best place to go fishing around here?” With a quick smile, he asked, “Trout fishing?” “Yeah”, Kelly said. “Fisherman’s Paradise. Two presidents have fished there. You’re just 20 minutes away. Just put it in your phone for directions. It’s a spring creek.” We thanked him and searched Fisherman’s Paradise to quickly find directions. A spring creek wouldn’t be muddy.

As we drove south on I80, we thought, sure, it’s a pay-to-fish place. With the luck we have had, that was fine with us. As we arrived along a large crystal-clear spring creek, a sign greeted us. It is a state-run facility as a model for sustainable trout fishing. There were a few fishermen as we crept up the road admiring the beautiful stream. The road ended in a big parking lot and a large building. Now fishermen steadily walked up and downstream with a purpose. We have never seen so many, totally-geared up trout fishermen. They all looked like guides with the best waders, fishing shirts, vests, rods, nets, hats and sunglasses. I should have gotten some pictures, but my purpose was fishing. I walked around reading signs discussing the history of this place, once a private, pay-to-fish place, lined with fishermen. As the water quality deteriorated, the state bought it and gradually restored it. Using barbless hooks, no fish can be kept. 

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I noticed Kelly had been talking to a man, so I walked over and met George. He was very familiar with this stream, coming every year. He said he tries to come during the sulfur or midge hatch. Unfortunately, it is between hatches now. He had a license tag that read, ANGLER surrounded with a Trout Unlimited frame. He is from Connecticut, and was working on a project for UConn. At first I thought it was Yukon, and I couldn’t figure out what he was doing. Coming in on the middle of the conversation, I didn’t want to make him retrace everything. What I did get was that he didn’t catch anything this morning. He targeted several fish that he saw, but couldn’t move them using a #20 fly. That is tiny! He said the fish didn’t even look up, so I asked why he didn’t try something under water. He just smiled. One, it’s not as much fun, and two, spring creeks have heavy grasses in them. If you go under water, you are going to get caught in them. If George hadn’t caught fish, what chance did we have? Surely there was some answer to attract these rainbows and browns. 

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George said if we liked wading, we should go downstream a mile to a bridge. We thanked him and headed down, passing fishermen along the way using a variety of techniques. None were catching fish, at least that we saw. For several hours we tried our best with no luck. After a hour of trying a few dry flies, I tied a dropper nymph, knowing that would do the trick. That means tying a small underwater fly to a large dry fly. That way you can see a strike and control the depth of the nymph. Nada, nothing, so I moved the nymph deeper. Nada. Wrong nymph? between hatches? Wrong time of day? We didn’t see anyone else having any luck either. By lunchtime, we were hungry, tired and frustrated, but this sure is a beautiful stream, like a large version of Mossy Creek at home. 

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OK, let’s go back to Fishing Creek and try that. We picked up a hamburger at McDonalds in Coburn and drove to Fishing Creek. It was still muddy, but we fished it hard for a couple of hours in a couple of places with no luck…..again. Well, we weren’t skunked. I caught one small, beautiful Brook Trout. 

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The fly shop said Poe Creek had fish in the upper section above the bridge, and Kelly was determined to catch some. I opted to take some pictures as I followed along. It is such a beautiful stream, it was fun to relax and enjoy the views. I’ve never been on an ugly trout stream. They may vary greatly in size, shape and surroundings, but they are always pretty. 

Raccoon, I think

Raccoon, I think

Poe Creek

Poe Creek

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By the time we got back to camp it was 6:30, and we were tired. We built a fire, fixed a drink and discussed the trials and tribulations of another frustrating day. Still, we felt lucky to be able to do this. Thank you Martha and Rhonda!

Fishing Poe Creek and Penns Creek

Sunday, June 23,2019

We were excited to fish Poe Creek this morning, where David said we could keep 5 fish. Trout for dinner – yum! We figured we would fish half of it in the morning and the other half after lunch. On the lower part of the stream, it turned out to be deeper than it looked from the road, and a little difficult to walk. I walked downstream 300 yards and fished up while Kelly fished up from the truck. One hour later and four fly changes, we had no hits. OK, change the strategy, fish together with one fishing a dry fly and the other wet. No hits #!&*. There were a lot of bugs of all varieties on the stream. Were we fishing the wrong things? 

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A full morning produced nothing. We fished the top section below the dam, but again, nothing. We disagreed about the cause, but my guess is there aren’t many fish left in there. They last stocked in May, and the water isn’t very cold. In Virginia they say all the stocked fish are caught in the first 24 hours. You figure one person can keep 5 fish and say 10 people fish it every day, it won’t take long to fish it out. We did get a few hits from small fish, so some may be reproducing.

OK, let’s run some errands and fish Penns Creek below Coburn. I know it’s the middle of the day, a terrible time to trout fish in the summer, but what else are we going to do. Two spring creeks come into Penns Creek at Coburn, which keeps the water cold, making it fishable all year. We drove along Pine Creek, a beautiful, fairly big spring-fed creek. You can’t fish it as it is all private property. Maybe if you stayed at a lodge, you could fish it. Maybe you could pay a landowner to fish, but we went back to Penns, picked a spot and fished for 2 or 3 hours. A little less muddy than yesterday, we could not really see where we were walking. It’s shallow, so you could easily walk across its 30-yard width, but we had to feel our way around the rocks. Using the flies we bought from Tess, we had no hits. Then we randomly changed flies a number of times. There was a small hatch of small, tan flies, but nothing was hitting the surface. I tried a couple of things that looked similar with no affect. If the water was more clear, we could see how it would be pleasant to wade around on a summer day trying to catch a big trout. Tired and defeated, we felt like the two guys we passed yesterday. 

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This is beautiful Amish country sans tourists. With pristine farms and cute, little towns, it makes pretty driving wherever you go.

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Pretty muddy Penns Creek

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Poe Creek

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Poe Valley State Park with a great beach

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Poe Valley State Park with a beautiful lake fed by Poe Creek.

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Despite our frustrations fishing, it was a good day in beautiful country.

Scouting Penns Creek and Fishing Creek

Saturday, June 22, 2019

As we packed up at Bumblebee RV Park, Andy came by to say hello with his dog, Charlie. We chatted for a while. This is a nice campground with very nice owners. Since Lisa and Andy work remotely, their WIFI system is great. They have owner’s WIFI, camper’s WIFI and full-timer WIFI, so there is plenty of capacity for everyone. With an excellent shower house, good water and electricity, we are going to miss these conveniences. 

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We drove 4 hours northeast, mostly on 220. Again, it was a beautiful, uncrowded highway through the mountains. We didn’t trust our phone GPS as we turned onto a gravel road 11 miles from Poe Paddy State Park, especially when a sign pointed to Poe Valley State Park. Were we going to the wrong place? Creeping along, we finally came to Poe Valley State Park and a paved road. There were lots of houses and cabins and a lake with a big swimming area. It was cool here in the mountains, about 72 degrees, a great escape from the summer city heat. We were sure we were in the wrong place when we saw a sign for Poe Paddy State Park 3.5 miles ahead. 

Then the narrow road turned back to gravel and followed a gorgeous trout stream – Poe Creek. Finally we arrived at Poe Paddy State Park, happy we weren’t in the wrong place. There was no office, so we stopped and found an information board with a map of the park and campground. We had reserved site #146 for four nights, since we had three streams to fish in this area, and the campground is on one of them – Penns Creek. The sites are huge in this nice park but here are no showers, power or water hookups.

After setting up, we drove to the end of a road and walked along an old railroad bed. This was a logging camp years ago, the train being used to haul lumber. Now it is a beautiful bike/hiking trail along Penns Creek. The river was muddy and flowing pretty fast. Seems to be our trademark when fishing – camped right on the river, but too muddy to fish.

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We have a printer in the Airstream that we use to print fishing licenses on the internet, but there was just one problem – no WIFI and no cell service. With our cell booster, we got one bar of service, but it was not enough to get on the internet. As we started to drive out of the parking lot, a warden drove up. I rolled down the window and asked if they sold fishing licenses at the Poe Valley Park office. No, he said as he got out of his brown truck and came up to the window. “You have to go to Milheim hardware store over the mountain”. Of course we know nothing about where we were. He could quickly see we were going to get lost, so he pulled out a map showing us where to go. He also told us they stock “the heck out of Poe Creek”. Then he showed us where Fishing Creek was and where to fish it. Turns out he is a school teacher, teaching physical education and history, and works as a warden part time. He was a fit guy with a big, easy smile. He was wearing a bullet-proof vest and a tool belt with a pistol, flashlight and other gear. I asked if we were in a rough neighborhood, and he just laughed. Why he took so much time with us, I don’t know, but he said, “Look, I’m headed home in that direction. I have to make a quick stop to check people at the boat launch, but you can follow me”. What lucky people we were to find a guy like this! His name is David Martin. Pennsylvania is lucky to have a guy like this.

After a quick stop at the boat launch, David brought us a copy of the rules and regulations with a list of all the trout streams – Geez! Then he takes a right on a gravel road going up the mountain. It’s a narrow road with a fair amount of traffic. You have to hug the edge to pass other cars and trucks. Tom stopped to pick up a big chain someone lost in the middle of the road. As he was picking it up, he looked back and yelled, “SLOWDOWN!” I hadn’t even noticed the car behind me that had obviously skidded to a stop. It was Saturday and everyone was out. At the bottom of the mountain we turned right to follow Penns Creek into Coburn, where he stopped at The Feathered Hook Fly Shop. They didn’t sell licenses, but a nice young man inside brought us two printed maps of the roads, towns and streams on it. Milheim was only 2 miles down the road.

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Seeing we were in good shape now, David said he was going home to take his wife out to dinner. We thanked him profusely and went into the fly shop. This is quite a fly shop with everything in it. The wall is lined with fishing boots in every size! I looked around while Kelly talked to Tess. She said the trout can see better than you think in cloudy water, but the time to fish is late in the evening. Apparently there is a hatch at that time. Memories flashed back to the Columbia River with our guide, Rod, out of Castlegar, BC, when there was a huge mayfly hatch from 6:00 until dark. He had said there was no real sense in going out until then, since the fish waited to gorge on big mayflies. 

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Tess is quite the fisherwoman, having fished her way across the United States recently. We told here we had fished our way across Canada in 2013, so we traded favorite trout streams. Her favorite is Penns Creek. She told us what to use, so we bought $40 worth of flies. With the hundreds of flies we have, why do we never have the right ones? We could tell she knows what she is talking about and later decided to see if she could guide us, but she was booked up. Too bad. It would have been fun and educational to fish with her.

Using the map they had printed for us, we headed over to see what Fishing Creek looked like, and maybe get in a little fishing. The trouble was the map listed route numbers, but the road signs were in street names. We found Fishing Creek in Lamar, but couldn’t find the right way to the area Tom had told us to fish. We stopped to ask a gentleman sitting with his wife in the shade of their garage. He told us which way to go, but we still couldn’t find it. We were embarrassed when we passed by him three more times. I was ready to give it all up, and I was ready for a drink when Kelly talked to a young man at a gas station. With fresh directions, we finally got on the right track. 

As we headed up Fishing Creek, once again it was muddy. We passed two seasoned fishermen walking up the road. They looked tired and grumpy, but I slowed down and asked how they did. One said, “We’d have done better at the water treatment plant. At least we’d have caught something brown!” That’s what I needed, a good laugh. I guess there are brown trout in this stream. 

After cruising the stream a while, we headed back home. It was 6:00 and we were tired, but the decision for tomorrow was easy. Everything was muddy except Poe Creek near our camp, and Tom said it was well-stocked.

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Fishing The Savage River

Friday, June 21, 2019

We know fishing the northeast is technical, meaning you have to match the hatch, and the fly has to be presented without drag. There are lots of hatches, so depending not only on the time of the year, but sometimes even the time of day, the hatch will change. These are things we are not good at, but I recon we are going to have to learn. We brought hundreds of flies, but we never seem to have the right things, and end up buying more.

On our way down the mountain on a narrow road, we came up on a truck stopped in front of a tree that had fallen across the road. Walking down to the truck, we met Tom, who had a strap tied to the tree. He had chopped the remaining trunk where it had broken with a hatchet. Then he tried to pull the end across the road, but the trunk was now locked behind another old tree stump. After standing, looking at the tree for a while, Kelly suggested getting a bottle jack to lift it over the stump. I never would have come up with that one, but I do have two bottle jacks. We had to lift it, then put RV leveling blocks under it so we could move the jack closer to the stump. Finally we got it above the stump and Tom was able to drag it. Suddenly, as we celebrated our victory, I saw the power line shaking over my truck. The other end of the tree was on the power line, and I envisioned the line dropping onto my truck. While it wasn’t  broken line yet, it might be soon. I jumped into the truck and quickly backed up as Tom slowly dragged the tree. A telephone pole folded my side mirror forward. Luckily, it folds that way and didn’t break. Tom was grateful for the help and gave us some tips on where to fish.

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First we fished the tailwaters below Savage River Reservoir. Kelly fished at the bridge and down, while I fished up toward the dam. We changed flies frequently. It is always more fun to fish dry flies on top of the water, where you can see the fish strike. I had two hits and two misses. The river is moving fast where I fished, so it is hard to maintain a perfect drift, but I had enough to warrant better action. Who knows? Well somebody knows. Is it the wrong fly, the wrong time of day or the wrong presentation. I think the fish are probably there, but they have seen LOTS of fishermen, flies and presentations. I saw one fish come up, inspect my dry fly and then disappear. 

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This part of the river is slippery with big rocks, making it hard for a 72-year old to walk the stream. It was a bad idea to walk and fish at the same time. By 12:30 I was tired, frustrated and hungry, so I climbed the steep bank and walked back to the truck. After a phone call, Kelly came up. He hadn’t had any luck either.

We went down to the Savage River Fly Shop and talked with the very nice owner, Tom, who was free with information on what to do and how to do it. We bought 8 small sulfur flies that he told us to fish without casting. Any drag on the fly would tip off the fish, so he recommended dabbing – holding the rod out over the stream while dangling the fly in the water around and under big boulders. We dropped downstream a ways and tried the suggested technique. Nada, nothing, zilch. Wrong time of day for dabbing? We dropped downstream and tried it again with no luck.

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Then we drove up to a beautiful, little feeder stream, Middle Fork, and Kelly fished. I followed and took pictures. He had several decent rolls at his small Royal Coachman. It’s just the way it works. Then a big one hit. Kelly only felt it for 10 seconds before he got loose. That one would keep him awake that night. He kept seeing the flash of red or orange on his belly. He had one more nice strike before we got to private property and had to quit. 

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Bike Greater Allegheny Passage

Thursday, June 21, 2018

After a night of very heavy rain, we waited until 10:00 to start biking. In the meantime I had to go see the slide, a natural shoot on Meadow Run. It is the most popular place in the park where you can slide down the river on the rocks. You are going to get bumped up on the rocks though, and our river guide recommended wearing a helmet. There is one spot where you could really bang your head, and you’re going pretty fast. I wasn’t brave enough the first day, and I sure wouldn’t do it now.

We then biked the rails-to-trails that runs all the way through the park, following the river. We started at the train station, going east, 10 miles out and 10 back. The “Yough” (Youghiogheny River) was raging. There was so much rain that every 50 yards was a waterfall. With puddles and muddy spots, you were going to get dirty, but once we got over it, we just went on. Not far from Confluence we saw two rafts filled with people hanging onto a tree. I was amazed there were people on the river. A half mile further up, there was a raft stuck in a hydraulic. It looked like it was tied up there, but it was just the churning water holding it in place, bobbing up and down.

When we got to the put-in spot, a raft group was getting instructions for their trip. I went up and reported the hydraulic hole. They said they would check it out and call the raft company. Apparently everyone got dumped out of that raft, or got out when they couldn’t exit the hydraulic. That’s why the two rafts we had seen were overfilled. We headed back down the trail and passed them. As far as I know, no one was hurt. I thought is was pretty crazy to risk being on that river that day, and the middle section is much calmer than the lower with Class II-III rapids normally. 50 miles south is the Upper Youghiogheny with Class V rapids, which is world-class kayaking. 

We had a nice lunch at the Ohiopyle Bakery and Sandwich Shoppe. Their breads are great. Then we biked west for an hour before returning tired. This is one of the best state parks I have ever been in. If you like outdoor adventures, you can’t ask for more. It is beautiful, unspoiled despite many visitors. The campground was nice, with plenty of room. 

Hike Kentuck Trail/Visit Kentuck Knob

We hiked Kentuck Trail in Ohiopyle State Park – about 4.5 miles after the rains stopped. It was cool, but very humid, and we were the first ones on the trail, so we got all the spider webs. The river is the main attraction of the park, but there are 20,500 acres of beautiful forest and small streams. Behind Kentuck Knob Picnic Area is a beautiful overlook of the little town, the river and surrounding mountains. Hiking in the woods requires a reward for me to enjoy it. It could be along a trout stream, beautiful overlooks, exceptional trees (like the Redwoods), wildlife sightings or a variety of flowers and mushrooms. Our reward today was good exercise and a beautiful vista. 

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Just a mile from the campground is Kentuck Knob, a home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for the Hagen family. A smaller home than Falling Waters, it sits on a high hill overlooking Ohiopyle and the Youghiogheny Valley. It is built into the hill in hexagonal and triangular forms using native sandstone with a copper roof. It is a very cool house in a beautiful setting, and it has held up well over the years. The Hagen family made their money making Hagen ice cream, which is sold in the visitor’s center.

We just made it back before the rains came again, and it rained hard all night. I was going to float the middle Youghiogheny Friday, but might be a bit too much now. 

Fallingwater – Frank Lloyd Wright

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

We went to visit Falling Waters, a summer house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for the Kaufmann family, owners of Kaufmann’s Department Store in Pittsburgh. The property on Bear Run was once a country club. Then Kaufmann bought it for his employees to use in the summer, who paid $1/night to stay. There were cabins and activities of hiking, swimming, volleyball and fishing. Later Kaufmann asked Wright to design a house across from waterfalls on Bear Run. Wright pushes to build it over the waterfall. It is a very cool house with cantilevered balconies and patios, and steps from the living room down to the river. A small swimming pool was built as part of the house filled by the stream. I loved the huge fireplace with a steel grate and a giant kettle that swings into the fire to make warm beverages. It would be great fun to walk the beautiful grounds, but the rains came and we retreated.

After lunch, when the storm passed, we hiked the Fernwood Trail through the Peninsula. This was once built up with a hotel, boardwalks and other businesses, but once cars became prevalent, train travel to Ohiopyle dropped off and the hotel closed. Later all the buildings were removed and trees replanted. It is now a forest with only trails crossing it. For all the visitors who come here, they have preserved the wilderness feel. When you are on the river, you don’t see any signs of civilization. Ohiopyle is a cute, little town with outfitters for rafting, biking, climbing and fishing. The park is 20,500 acres of forest, streams, the Youghiogheny River, The Greater Allegheny Passage Bike Trail, Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail (70 mi) and lots of other trails. This is surely one of the best state parks I have visited. 

Ohiopyle State Park

Monday, June 18, 2018

Getting an early start, we hiked the Ferncliff Trail around Ferncliff Peninsula. This follows a big loop in the river going through a gorge. There were a few side trails down to the river. On one, we were lucky to be there when a group of rafters came through. This is a big, powerful river with some big rapids. Although this group had guides in kayaks showing them the way through the rapid, there were no guides in the rafts. There were about 10 rafts, and they all got stuck in the middle of the rapid, some crashing into the ones already stuck. Amazingly, no one fell out. We were happy to have a guide in the boat for our trip this afternoon. 

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I was soaking wet from hiking in the hot and very humid forest, so we went back for a shower, lunch and a little rest. Then we went to Laurel Highlands Raft Company for a 3½ hour raft trip down the lower Youghiogheny River. Our team leader, Michelle, gave us instructions as we put on our life jackets and helmets. Then we piled into a van and drove 20 minutes to the put-in. As she drove, Michelle talked about all the adventurous things you can do in the park – biking, mountain biking, rock-climbing and a popular natural water slide. “We have many ways to get you injured” she said. At the landing, she positioned us in three rafts, each with a guide, ours being Toby. “Most drownings are from getting a foot wedged. There are many rocks, tires and redneck refrigerators on the bottom. Do not put your foot on the bottom. If you fall out of the boar, do not try to stand up. Lie on your back with your feet up to push off rocks”. the other biggest injury is getting hit by a paddle handle, so she cautioned to always keep you hand on the handle.  

Off we went, but the guides explained their instructions – all forward, all back, right side forward, all stop. We had a pretty good crew with two teen-age girls, a teen-age boy, Martha and three men, all nice. Toby told us the names of all the rapids, along with rock names, like ‘The Decapitator’. Then in the first rapid he went down side-ways so we would all get wet. The girls screamed. It was hard to tell when Toby was messing with us and when he just hit rocks. We were stronger on the left side of the boat, which made it a bit of a problem. 

We came to Dimple Rock in the middle of the afternoon. There was a large group of rafts getting instruction before going through. They had no guides in their boats, but several in kayaks. A huge sign warned of the dangers of Dimple rock, and there was a portage sign on the right side of the river. Geez! The leader of the large group let our three guided boats go through before them. We headed right at huge Dimple Rock, then Toby turned 40 degrees and yelled “All forward hard”. We did, but we still bumped the end of the rock, which turned us around, but we had passed the danger. I later read about this rapid. Dimple Rock is a V-shaped rock pointing downstream. The entire force of the river plunges into the open part of the V. Of the millions of people who have floated the river in the last 30 years 18 boaters have died. Nine of those were at Dimple Rock. 

There was another big rock where the river makes a hard right, a good place to get swept into the rock that is undercut, but we managed that one without incident. It was a seemingly less difficult rapid with heavy waves that we ran into a big rock on the left as we swept by. We had hit plenty of rocks, but we were going to hit this one pretty hard. Like a bouncing ball, the raft compressed when it hit, then released and threw three of us into the river. Feet up, on my back, I watched for big rocks. They got the other two quickly in the boat, but I was behind it. All I was thinking was not being able to see what was coming, the raft blocking my view. As we got to the bottom of the waves, Toby waved me to come on, so I turned over and swam to the boat where he quickly dragged me in. One of the girls dinged her knee pretty good, but seemed to be OK. Toby then moved people around to make the right side paddlers stronger. That sobered people up a bit, and we were a little more serious about paddling. We still managed to hit more rocks, getting stuck on a few. 

Having turned over plenty of times in canoes on much less powerful rivers, I have tremendous respect for the power of water. What you worry about is getting into a boat with people who don’t know. They think they are in Disneyland, laughing, talking, paddling lackadaisically. They think the guide can control everything. It’s really those hard turns where everyone needs to be a their best. Our crew really did pretty well. Laurel Highlands does a great job, and Michelle is a real pro. This river is absolutely gorgeous. You don’t see anything but trees and river. It’s as pretty a river as I have ever been on. The trout population is quite good here, but I have no idea how you would fish this section. It is way too deep and forceful to walk in. I didn’t see any driftboats, and this would be a challenge for them. 

Lancaster County Bike Ride

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41℉ at 5:00, high of 64℉

Monday, October 31, 2016

I went to Nissan in Lancaster to have a pinion seal replaced. Suddenly I was just like everyone else, rushing to get somewhere. At 6:15 in the morning, there was a lot of traffic. I wasn’t expecting that at that time of day. I wouldn’t have made it without the GPS telling me where to go.  It was nice to catch up on posting with their great WIFI. As I drove back I saw Martha walking home from shopping. She had seen some good things, so we went back. I needed a snack, so we went to the pretzel shop on Main Street. A young Amish girl greeted us, and we asked for two whole wheat pretzels. She suggested we sit outside while she made them, and she would bring them out. I got a freshly squeezed lemonade and we sat outside. Fifteen little chickadees knew the routine. Sitting on the railing, in a bush and on the deck, they watched our every move. Once the pretzels came, they really got excited. The pretzel was so good, hot, soft, but I should have requested massive amounts of salt. Otherwise, it was a perfect pretzel.  I saved a few crumbs for the birds. 

There is a great jam and jelly store, where they make everything right there. I watched them for a while cooking and stirring, and loading jars. There were several cool things about this store. One, you could watch them making it, so you know that part is authentic. Two, you can taste everything with sampling jars and chips or crackers all around. Three, there are some concoctions I have never heard of. I wanted to try them all! 

On the way back, we passed a beautiful Vis-a-Vis carriage. Two young ladies were removing the gear from two beautiful Percherons. They had come to take a disabled girl for a carriage ride. I wish I had seen all of this in action, but we had a nice chat as I imagined driving this beautiful rig.

After lunch Martha took me for the bike ride she had done yesterday, along the Scenic Road, along Ridge Road and to the ice cream store on one of the farms. This was a good ride through beautiful country. Little children were happily walking home with their bright yellow alert vests on. We turned into Lapp Valley Farm, up the drive and past the house. Across from the barn where someone was feeding the milk cows was an ice cream store. A porch surrounded it with tables and chairs arranged around it. I pretty kitty cat greeted us from the railing. Three young Amish girls greeted us. As she scooped our chocolate and raspberry ice cream, I looked around the store. There was a window behind the counter, and realized people were driving around back to order from their cars. There was a pretty steady line. A gentleman walked out with a bag of pints of ice cream. They don’t take credit cards, so there was a handy ATM machine to the side. Two tall rotating racks were filled with Amish books. I thought several would be interesting reading. We headed out tot he porch in the sun and sat down. The kitty followed and soon was crawling down Martha’s arm to get a taste of our ice cream. Her twin followed. I politely put them on the ground several times. Surely the girls would be watching, and they were very cute cats. We had turned out backs to the table, trying to protect our prize. When we finished I held the cup shoulder level. Both kitties put their feet on my shoulder and put their heads into the cup, quickly cleaning it. 

Riding back over the hill and turning along a ridge, a buggy turned out behind us. I could hear the lovely clip clop trot behind me. On level ground he was catching me. I love that sound! I looked at my bike speedometer that registered 11mph. That’s a fast trot! When I was eventing horses, I used to say a horse walk was 4 mph, trot 8mph and canter 12mph. Of course a racehorse can run 40mph. This trotter behind me had to be doing 12mph, which is a fast trot. We came to a down hill stretch where I coasted at 15mph, putting some unwanted distance between us. I will miss seeing the horses on the roads, in the barns and working the fields. 

We went back to Kauffman’s for some sausage to go with the sauerkraut. Then I went to a couple of antique stores looking for campfire tools, but couldn’t find any. I have been so amazed by the tracks and  grooves the buggies leave, I took some pictures. On one, you can see the wheel tracks that are rimmed with steel, but the other amazing thing is the deep groove the horses make in the paved road.

Wear of the road outside Intercourse where the horses trot along

Biking Lititz in Lancaster County

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59℉ at 6:00 am with high of 82

Sunday, October 30, 2016

We have enjoyed our neighbors so much. A young couple from Alabama, Page and Jeremy. They were packing up to leave, so we visited some more and said our goodbyes. Then we loaded Martha’s bike to go for a bike ride in Lititz. While waiting for Martha to get ready, I talked with gentleman hooking up a Nissan Titan to his giant trailer. He was in the horse business and used to haul horses all over, driving diesel dually trucks. I said I was worried about my transmission since I downshift so much on big hills, but he said it is a lot harder on the truck if you don’t downshift. Like me, he was worried about it being enough truck to pull the trailer that weighs 7,600 pounds, but he said it does great. He hardly knows the trailer is there, and he loves the engine. He said he measured his gas mileage at 19.5! I don’t measure mine very often, but it’s more like 15. 

We drove through the cute little town of Lititz, where a lot of shops were open on Sunday, and it was pretty busy when we drove in. I thought we were biking in a park, but Martha handed me a piece of paper with 28 turns on it and the mileage between turns – Sheez! We rode right up main street with cars parked on both sides and traffic coming through. A few turns later the route carried us along a pretty stream and past beautiful farms and some very expensive houses. Then it came out on a busy highway with a narrow bike lane. I wasn’t happy. Then through neighborhoods and back down main street. I felt like the Amish driving their buggies – fortunate to have survived. 

Then we drove across the county to the Toy Train Museum, which is very cool. It is built and maintained by toy train enthusiasts. Built like a train station, it seems to be in the middle of farm country. We chatted with the nice lady behind the desk before paying the senior rate with a AAA discount, of $5 each. There were maybe 21 different exhibits or setups, some with small trains and some with large. Pushing buttons, you could activate a train or equipment. A little boy was telling his mom all the details of what was going on in an exhibit. He was so excited. A bent old gentleman was doing the same with his patient wife. The lady at the front said once a year there is a toy train convention. People come from all over the world, bringing the same enthusiasm, trading and buying cars and accessories. 

Next to the museum is a caboose hotel where you can stay in one of a whole bunch of cabooses. What a cool idea. As we drove through to the far end, we heard a train whistle. There is a little train station there, but this train didn’t stop today. It was a sightseeing train with many cars and a lot of people touring Amish country. This would be a great way to see it. 

It was supposed to rain today, but it hadn’t come when we got back. I wanted to go out to the ridge road at sunset and take some pictures, but by the time we showered, the rains came in hard with a lot of wind. We settled in with a glass of wine and listened to one of the Neil Young CD’s I bought from Ken.