Friday, August 11, 2017

2017-21 Tioga Pennsylvania and Watkins Glen New York


Hammon Lake,Ives Run Campground

Tioga Pennsylvania (Part 2)
Watkins Glen New York

Campground: Ives Run Recreation area. COE park. (2nd week) (see previous report for more info)

Being only about 15 miles from the New York boarder, I had to drive back into the state to do a bit more touring. First stop was to Corning NY and yes it's where the Corning factory is as well as an awesome glass museum, but I was only in town long enough to have breakfast and pick up a prescription at Walgreen's. And then it was onto Watkins Glen, home of a Nascar racetrack as well as the Watkins Glen State Park where I was about to go on an amazing waterfalls hike through the deep canyon that they call a glen. The town sits at the southern end of Seneca Lake and is one of the finger lakes in New York.

Watkins Glen State Park

Watkins Glen State Park

I paid my $5 entrance fee and entered from the South entrance to the park, though I could have entered right from main street downtown as the glen exits right in town. No I took the more scenic route which I'll tell you right off the bat involved all of the 800+ steps leading down into the gorge and eventually back up along what is called Jacob's ladder, at 180 steps. Along with the mile and a half walk one way, the steps alone gave me my workout for the day. Though I hardly noticed the steps as I encountered one after another of the 19 waterfalls along the gorge trail. Well actually those last 180 steps of Jacob's ladder just about did me in.

The layers of slate rock forms the most distinctive vertical walls creating the canyon effect along the trail that leads one to each of the waterfalls and gentle spillways. I was able to view them from above, below, from behind the waterfalls and even through them. With multiple stairways, tunnels and cavern like walkways opening up to one after another better views than the last one. What a fun and unexpected treat.

I might mention that the day I went was the Monday after the big Nascar races and their was a steady stream of Rv's exiting the area. Just about every other vehicle was a travel trailer, motor home or 5th wheel camper. Policemen directing traffic throughout town and roads exiting the area. They tell me the Rv-ers pay up to $800 for the long weekend to be at the racetrack. Soooo glad I wasn't a part of that group.

19 waterfalls
the beginning of my tour, after descending about 50 steps 

deep gorges to walk through

800+ steps, well worth the effort

each view better than the previous one

tunnels and cave like entrances to explore

a mile and a half of wonderful waterfalls

and great trails through caverns

and those steps leading to more waterfalls and gorge views

one of my favorite spots

the tree shows how high the water often gets in the spring runnoff

walking under one of the falls

dramatic views from below and from across the bridge

a curtain of water 

the gorge was as stunning as the waterfalls in it

what a great way to spend a morning

RV Solar Panel Update. As you know from my previous report, I'm spending two weeks at a COE campground and my campsite has no hookups. With that said, my solar panels are working out perfectly and the weather is awesome being only in the mild 78-80 degree range during the days and cool evenings making for great sleeping weather. The batteries charge up quickly in the morning and I'm able to use everything except the microwave as I don't want to damage it since it uses so much power to operate. Coffee pot, TV, Roku, radio, charging all my electronic devices, lights, furnace to take the chill out of the air in the mornings. And of course it's nice to be able to have all the windows open during the day to catch those refreshing breezes off of the lake. Couldn't be more pleased with their operation. And fortunately I have not been parked next to any of the other campers who are using noisy generators throughout the day. Life is good “off the grid”.

Needless to say I've enjoyed my two week stay here in Tioga Pennsylvania, meeting a few fellow campers. Learning about their future plans for more camping. Doing little projects around the camper to as well as just relaxing, reading a good book and taking that all important afternoon siesta.

I'd like to thank all those who have kept in contact with me this summer. You can't imagine how nice it is to hear from you as I travel around the country. I feel so much closer to you my friends, fellow travelers and of course all important relatives, whenever you have the chance to drop me a line. And I hope you realize that when I'm writing my blog reports, I often think of each and every one of you as I always feel you are a part of my journey.

Have a super great day,,,,, till the next report

More photos:

Saturday, August 5, 2017

2017-20 Cortland New York to Tioga Pennsylvania


Ives Run Recreation campsite, on Hammond Lake
view looking across the lake

Cortland New York
Tioga Pennsylvania

Campground: Cortland Country Music Park and campground. 2 nights @ $28.00 30 amp and water. PPA rate: 2 nights @ $14.00. Usually only one night, I got two nights at the discount rate.

Campground: Ives Run Recreation area. COE park. Most of the electrical sites, paved in park like setting are booked up for weekends, so I wasn't able to get into one for the two weeks here. I have a dry campsite down a one mile gravel road. Nice spot overlooking the lake. Cost: $10 senior rate. No hookups. No tv signal but I do have 4g Verizon signal and clear site for solar panels.

Ives Run Recreation Area, Pine Loop no hookups

I was glad to finally get out of the Adirondack region only because of the overcast skies and cooler weather which wasn't all to my liking. Now that I'm closer to the southern boarder in New York, the sun has been out every day and temps in the low 80 degree range with mild evenings.

Cortland Country Music park
live country bands on weekends, country dancing:  $8.00
pancake breakfast:  $8.00

The Cortland Country Music park is a non-profit park with an official New York Country Music museum, music and dance barn and of course of campground which sits around a pond. The entire park is run by volunteers and all money collected goes to paying the performers and maintaining the facilities.

Cortland Country Music park , seasonal campers
get the choice spots around the pond

Mosquito's. Small innocent looking little things that lightly set on your arm, a leg or neck and zap they've got you. Here at Cortland park, they are out day and night. Using a lot of insect spray just to enjoy a little time outdoors.

My next door neighbors live in New Jersey and drive up here almost every weekend. It takes them 5 hours or longer to get here with traffic. Having purchased a used 5th wheel camper in the park, which they leave hear year round. The husband and wife are on their second marriages and starting a second family after raising a couple kids to adulthood already. A one year old and another on the way. The husband, with quite the beer gut for such a young looking guy has been remodeling the camper installing all new paneled walls, flooring etc. Getting away from the congested city life every weekend.

The next town over is Homer NY and the beginning of hwy 90, where on Saturday I was able to enjoy a small part of the 50 mile long yard sale. I was able to purchase just a couple small items, after all I do live in my Rv fulltime and space is always an issue. Still it was fun to walk along the route and see what goodies were for sale.

Highway 90, 50 miles of yard sales

the yard sales start in the charming little
town of Homer NY

a bargain for everyone

Amish live in the area

name your price if you don't like theirs

In Cortland I went to the 1890 House Museum. A 15,000 square feet over four main floors. Built for the Wickwire family. Chester Wickwire made his money after someone owed him money and instead gave him a loom. Out of that acquisition, he and his brother were able to convert it into making metal screens for house windows. The business boomed and after building a larger factory Chester was able to have this fine limestone Chateauesque mansion built. It's a self guided tour which I enjoyed, being able to go at my own pace and take as many pictures and browse at will.

the 1890 House

fireplace feature under the grand staircase, entry hall 
almost every town has a large mansion
once owned by the local merchant

the sun room

wonderful roof lines and slate towers

Being close to the finger lakes, I took a day to drive over to one of the waterfalls and then drove along two of the finger lakes. Owaskco Lake and Skaneateles Lake. High rounded hillsides boarder the lakes, at times giving the viewer some excellent views of the lakes below. Near the northern end of each lake were a couple of towns and well maintained homes along the lakes. Auburn looked like a very thriving town and Skaneateles, had a nice town boarding the lake along with a nice park overlooking the lake with a tour boat parked close to the downtown area. Making for a nice walking area through town and along the lakefront.

The finger lakes were created along river streams over 2 million years by glacial action as the ice gradually receded 10,000 years ago. One of the lakes is 435 feet deep and at it's lowest point is 53 feet below sea level.

Waterfalls are numerous on the southern
end of the finger lakes

natural flow hampered by a dam in disrepair


RV issues. I was having trouble with my water source, getting only a trickle of water coming through the lines. After checking things out, I removed my hose connection at both ends and discovered the screen filter leading into the camper was all clogged with yucky stuff. Too disgusting to describe any further. After cleaning it all up and spraying the heck out of the area with a chlorine mixture, I now have a great flowing water source once again. Though I don't plan on using any of the water for drinking or cooking purposes anytime soon. I really need to go back to using an inline filter attached to the hose.

Distance traveled: 98 miles
New York into Pennsylvania

Lots of back roads along hwy 13 before hitting interstate 99. Before crossing over into Pennsylvania, I was able to make an appointment with Stateline Rv to have my over the air TV antenna fixed/replaced before heading to my campsite at Tioga PA. I did my best to see if the attendant could book me into a site(s) with electric, but she kept saying the longest she could get me in for was 3 days and that wouldn't do. IE she didn't want to go through the effort.

I do have a nice dry camp site (that means it has no hookups) which is fine, especially since it is fairly open with good solar panel charging capabilities. Sitting on a hill overlooking the lake and fellow campers below my site closer to the water. Temps are in the low 80's and mid to low 60's at night. Comfortable especially in the shade during the afternoons.

wild flowers on the side of the road
leading to my campsite....

views across the way from my campsite

more wild flowers

gone to seed, is fall around the corner?

the mile long gravel road from the upscale campsites
over to the primitive campsites where I'm staying

ROKU Express

More RV issues: Having lost/damaged my Tv antenna, I was able to stop at StateLine Camper store and get a new one attached. Arriving at Ives Run Recreation, I discovered I had no Tv signals. More than likely being surrounded by mountain ranges has something to do with it all. Since I'll be here for a full two weeks, I decided to try another route for watching tv and movies. I purchased the Roku Express at Walmarts for only $29. Since I have at least 3 bars on my 4G Verizon phone and having the unlimited internet plan I thought it might be a good solution.

I had previously used Googles “Chrome” device, but haven't been satisfied with the setup. The new Roku Express was really easy to set up and with the Verizon WiFi signal established, it makes for a really nice setup. Comes with it's own remote control which is very easy to use. I'm testing out all of the free programming first before leaping into any payed subscriptions such as Netflix, Hulu or Sling.

I'm very satisfied with the reception and there appears to be no “buffering” required except for the initial set up for each channel initialization. One of the free movie channels had too many commercials thrown in, so I stopped watching the movie. Others appear to be free without commercials and there are the usual NBC/CBS/ABC news broadcasts as well.

one of the menu shots from my new Roku device

Overall, so far anyway, Roku appears to be a very easy to use, moving around the menu is simple and straightforward. Connecting each time only requires that I have my WiFi connection on the phone turned on, then turning on the TV and I'm good to go.

As one Rv-er commented recently, I can live without not having one of the three (Tv, Internet or Cell Phone) and that is so true. We have all come to rely on those communication channels and as long as we have at least one or two of them we're usually ok.

As you may have guessed, this week is not a busy one for touring and exploring. Taking time just to enjoy the surrounding tree covered mountains, small towns and a pretty cool campsite overlooking the lake.