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Alleghenies & Poconos

by Richie
Alleghenies & Poconos

Lackawanna State Park
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Lackawanna State Park 

We began the day in Southwestern PA and traversed the whole state in a big, long drive. The Alleghenies were mountainous, of course, but thoughtfully the highway engineers blasted several tunnels along the way so you didn’t need to scale ALL the mountains.

In the Poconos, we passed near the town where my folks lived for many years and I spent a few awkward teenage years. Alas, the rain prevented any good look from the highway, and we’d already been on the road too many hours to take a detour down memory lane.

This evening were are encamped in Lackawanna State Park, just north of Scranton. The park is lush and green, fresh from the rain this afternoon, and there’s an enticing lake nearby. The ranger office was empty when we pulled in and we are the only campers in this loop tonight.

Just the way we like it after a long day’s drive!

 

 

 

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Fallingwater

by Richie
Fallingwater

Mill Run, PA
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 Fallingwater 1

We have come to Mill Run to see the famous Frank Lloyd Wright home, Fallingwater, and today’s tour did not disappoint! We left camp early in the morning to catch a 9:00 tour. The rain held off and it was a splendid motorcycle ride through bucolic countryside to the Fallingwater property. Our tour lasted two hours, and then we were feted with a swell lunch on a terrace overlooking the stream.

 FALL 2

Frank Lloyd Wright was commissioned as architect for this home in 1935, near the end of his long career, by the Kaufman family. The Kaufman’s were heirs to a department store empire that eventually became the Macy’s chain. They already owned the property, and regularly escaped Pittsburgh’s notorious industrial pollution to vacation in the country.

Wright’s famed theory of architecture was to build “organically” meaning that the structures were to fit seamlessly into their environment, as if they were a part of nature. Here at Fallingwater, Wright also experimented exuberantly with cantilevers. They are everywhere, leaping over the stream, ledges in all the built-in furniture, even the rock walls have miniature cantilevers. Like many other Wright buildings, he also incorporated Compression and Release design – low ceilings and tight corridors giving way to rising lofts and open expanses. The effect is that you are surprised at every turn, each corner reveals another sublime view of the water falls and surrounding woodlands.

 FALL 3

It was a wonderful day and tonight we are lounging campside, enjoying the kiddie stuff they’ve got set up, and resting for a big day of driving tomorrow.

 farmer tim

 

 

 

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Basket Case

by Richie
Basket Case

Mill Run, PA
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 BASKET 1

A few miles north of Zanesville, Ohio where we camped last night is the charming town of Dresden – The Basket Capital. Here is where Longaberger baskets are made. Famous and pricey, they are handmade maple strip baskets, and celebrated throughout this region and beyond.

 Longaberger baskets

We did a morning tour of Dresden. Bought a pricey basket. And then toured, superficially, the Longaberger Homestead, which is part tourist park, part HQ and basket outlet, and home to their sales reps.

 Longaberger baskets

Back about 60 years ago the founder, Dave Longaberger, was kind of a loser. Took him six years to graduate high school. His father was a weaver, making industrial size baskets for the local pottery factories to haul their tiles. Dave had an idea to sell smaller baskets to consumers. His first attempts failed, and then he hit on the concept of door-to-door sales reps, like Avon and Tupperware and Fuller Brush. That business model is still in place today, and it’s a billion-dollar company.

After having a splendid and relaxed morning looking at baskets and boutiques, we hit the road eastbound.

In Wheeling, WV a tire blew.

Well, not blew, but rather shed all its tread. There was a lot of vibration at the steering wheel, a loud bang, and then I jerked the motorhome to the shoulder. Tim jumped out to inspect the damage – we thought we’d lost the motorcycle off the back! But it was one of the dualie tires in the rear, fairly new with only 8,000 miles on it. Tim braved the swerving traffic and hauled most of our shredded rubber off the interstate.

We limped to the next exit, pulled into a Rite Aid, and were fortunate that we landed in the “good” section of Wheeling. Triple A was there in about 15 minutes, and a tire store with the right size in stock was only three miles away. All in all, it was only a two-hour delay, but we were both pretty shook up.

 TIRE

Late afternoon found us proceeding cautiously toward our destination for the evening. All was going pretty well until we got on the back roads and climbed a 2300 ft. mountain. Crawling through Connellsville, PA, I was worried we’d blow an engine gasket next!

We finally made it to our campground aroud 7:00. It’s another Jellystone RV Park full of kids. And a big storm has arrived for the evening. But I don’t care. Tonight I’m drinking wine and trying not to be a Basket Case!

 

 

 

 

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