Aug. 31: Readington, NJ to New Tripoli, PA
The summer is winding down and it has been a very hot, very dry one for the records. NJ is pretty much in a drought, though a formal drought declaration has not been made. John starts classes on a week, so we decided to get away, not too far, not too close, into Pennsylvania, for a few days. I had a riding lesson on Max with Janice around midday, so I packed the rig as much as possible in the morning, and returned from the lesson to help John pack a bit of food and we were off. It was very hot and muggy as we headed west, with very little chance for rain in the next few days.
We did not intend on going far since it was already 4:00, so we stopped in Phillipsburg for groceries at the Stop & Shop. We crossed into PA and headed towards the Allentown KOA, located on the western side of Allentown in a small town called New Tripoli. It was easy to find and had easy access even for our big rig. As we entered, I noticed the small creek in the valley was extremely low, We had dinner, then retired early for the night as both of us were exhausted.
Sept.1 New Tripoli to Waterville, PA
Rain. For the first time in many, many weeks we awoke to the sound of heavy pattering on our roof. Part of the point of this trip was to access good fly fishing in the Pennsylvania wilds, but upon inquiry of the KOA host, who said he had not seen the creek this low in 15 years, things are not looking that good. We had breakfast and continued on our trek, heading north on some bumpy roads towards Hazelton, the turned west onto I-80. Around Milton, we exited and took small Rt. 44 through Amish farm country and small rural towns. We spotted teams of Percheron draft horses which the Amish were using to cull the edges of corn fields by hand scythe. We spotted several large barns with semi-open slats and these corn stalks hanging vertically. We assumed they were cutting these for drying for the winter.
Near Jersey Shore, we finally entered the mountain region along Pine Creek known as the Pennsylvania wilds. We have visited here before, mainly for the famed limestone fly fishing streams. We were trying to get to Wellsboro, where we had a campsite reserved, but also tried to go through Slate Run where there is a famed Orvis Trading Post and just to see the status of the creek itself. We took a wrong exit and ended up on a very narrow road and stopped at the warning sign for 10 ton bridge. Well, we calculated we were 22 tons, but a couple of locals kindly stopped to ask if we were ok and said it was safe to cross the small gully bridge as many gas trucks from fracking operations do. We did spot these gas fracking stations in the hillsides.
Once on Rt. 44, we headed up Pine Creek and tried to turn off onto Rt. 414 to Slate Run, but again were met with ‘Road Closed’ construction signs and warnings for 7’ width restrictions plus bridge weight restrictions. AGH!! John jumped out and guided me through a very harrowing u-turn in the road intersection, where the rig almost bottomed out on the pavement. Frustrated and tired, we stopped at the general store in Waterville for a coffee and to regroup. We decided that stopping to camp sooner rather than later was the way to go so we went to Little Pine Creek State Park a few miles away and quickly got a site. The campground was pretty much empty. We have stayed here before and know there is no cell signal, and we managed to get a level site allowing pets, plus John managed to get a satellite signal. We walked the pups and went to pay the fee at the entrance booth. Crossing the creek, we saw the water level very low and no fish in the water. Returning to the RV, we had a small bite to eat. As we were camped right by the dam and a deeper part of the creek, I noticed a few fish starting to rise and water rings appearing as dusk settled. I quickly grabbed my small rod and went out for a few casts. It seemed a hatch of tiny tricos was on and the fish were rising to the nymphs. I did not get any hits and the hatch shut off as quickly as it appeared. Most of the light was vanishing and I stopped when I could no longer see my fly. Afterwards, we watched a movie, then read a bit before bed.
Sept. 2 Waterville to Mifflinburg, PA
Friday today…the start of the end-of-summer holiday weekend. We were late getting going and wanted to at least get to a cell signal so we could make some phone calls. After breakfast and trying a few casts on Little Pine Creek (caught 2 small mouth bass on a BWO), we headed west towards Lock Haven, stopping at a small ball field right next to the Susquehanna River for lunch. We decided that going north father into the mountains to a campsite where there was no fishing and no cell signal or WiFi for John to work was a waste of time, so we called many campgrounds closer to New Jersey, only to find all of them booked solid. Our choice was to keep trying or pack it in and head home. Using a new app called RV Parky, I managed to locate a campground not too far away but pretty much out in the middle of Amish farm country that had a site left.
We rejoined I-80 east and exited somewhere near Bellefonte, taking some very rural and scenic roads through rolling hills and farmland. We did not travel far and came to our campground near Mifflinburg. The campground was mostly a long stay ‘resort’ with many long-term units and only a smaller area for travelers (mostly 5th wheelers). There was a general store, some algae-choked fishing ponds, a large barn recreation space, rental cabins and lots of folks roaring about in golf carts. We did get a site for the next 2 nights, so we settled in for a Thai chicken dinner, some needlework and computer work for the evening. A tropical storm is forecast to move up the coast Sunday and stall off New Jersey till Wednesday. They are saying it will be bringing heavy rain and winds to the shore areas.
Sept 3-4: Mifflinburg to New Tripoli, PA
Spent a few days at this peculiar ‘resort’ campground doing needlework, practicing crochet, and John doing his computer programming. We were greeted heartily by a ‘golf cart parade’ in the evening, where the participants decorated their carts with flags, streamers, patio lights and drove through the campground throwing candy to the kids. We were both feeling wiped out at the end of this short trip, mostly because of the poor quality of sleep we were getting on the Sleep Number bed. I could not adjust it at all to any comfortable softness and woke up many times during the night because of my sore shoulder or sore hip. We did decide to stay somewhere one more night, reluctant to pack it in and quit. I called the forst campground we stayed at, the Allentown KOA, and managed to get a site. It was not too far away, but we took our time, stopping at a rest stop on I-80 where I made classic NJ sandwiches: Taylor Pork Roll, scrambled eggs and cheese on a toasted english muffin. Once at the campground, we got our site and I worked on editing the Greyhaven website photos for most of the afternoon.
Sept. 5: New Tripoli, PA to Readington, NJ
Labor day holiday. Heading home today. We are not that far from home, only about an hour or so. Our sights are set on a winter trip south, down to Florida, where we want to put the motorhome for the winter season and then travel down to stay at a few intervals, like spring break, early May. Of course, this plan may change as we are also set on trying to get to Alaska.