A 9-day road trip in the Advanced-RV Giddy Up takes Andrew and Katharine from Advanced-RV headquarters near Cleveland, OH, along the shore of Lake Erie, and into Canada. See how the adventure begins in Part 1 of our 7-part series, as the couple heads from Ohio through Pennsylvania.
We met up with Viki and Giddy Up at Advanced-RV a little after 1:00 p.m. We jumped into our tour, lessons, and training test drive, and then we were on our way. Meandering up the Lake Erie seashore, we arrived at Bucci Vineyard around 6:00 p.m.– Fred and another couple were already into a wine tasting, which we joined. Linda brought out food to share. Fred (70) and Linda (69.9) want to sell the Vineyard and B&B soon. We sat under an impressive wisteria canopy, not yet blooming. Finally, around 8:00 p.m., we unpacked our things in Giddy Up, got our stuff organized inside, and went to sleep!
In the morning, we headed up the seashore route to Erie, PA. Eventually, we find our way out of Erie and onto PA-6 through Youngsville, PA, until Warren, PA. We added 9 gallons of diesel in Warren and then took Kinzua Road deeper into Allegheny National Forest. At Kinzua Dam on the Allegheny Reservoir, we saw enormous carp. A fellow sightseer, a local, said they’d pulled some out longer than a yard. We also stopped at the Timberdoodle Flats Interpretive Trail and took a short walk around looking for a timberdoodle, a type of bird, apparently. We saw none.
From there, we drove on to Smethport, PA for a driving tour of Victorian homes, small mansions of the past. Cool little town, absolute stone piles—some of those mansions, home of the magnetic Wooly Willy! I had one as a kid.
In the afternoon, we meandered south to Kinzua Bridge State Park. We stopped to see the remains of the enormous railroad bridge that towered higher than the Statue of Liberty above the valley floor. It was in operation until 2002 and wiped out by an F1 Tornado in 2003. It has been rebuilt as Sky Bridge. The wind was blowing really hard, and it made a weird howling whistle up through the railroad ties, and it was HIGH. Did I mention it was high? ‘Cause I thought we were going to get blown off…
We took a large loop/detour south towards Elk County, joining PA-555. The rain got heavier as we drove east, and we did not bother to attempt elk viewing areas. Suddenly, three elk obliged us by feeding near the river as we drove past. Seeing the elk were the reward for the southerly detour. (And for the rain, during which time I was grateful Andrew was driving. Though this vehicle is a dream to drive…)
PA-555 gives way to PA-120 in Sinnamahoning in Bucktail State Park. The rain continued to get torrential until the Kettle Creek area, where we turned north on PA-144. That started taking us up in elevation and eventually out of the rain as we entered Potter’s County. We were eager to find Cherry Springs State Park and our reserved camping site under a grove of trees. Although the ground was damp, the skies were just partly cloudy. We reconnoitered about the campsite (no one else was at the park), walking up to the public sky viewing area and also checking out the “pro-side” of the park across the street for more “seasoned” astronomers.
I am completely impressed with PA state parks and this one, in particular. It didn’t hurt that we were the only ones there. But given that the area had been completely denuded by lumber companies, they’re the gold standard in conservation as far as I’m concerned.
We had dinner in Giddy Up and enjoyed a bottle of wine from Bucci Vineyards while we waited for the sky to get dark. We tromped back up to the sky viewing area, surprised to find that the seat rows had luminescent markers we had not seen in daylight. The clouds came and went, providing glimpses of the sky. Ursa Major, Ursa Minor with Polaris, Cassiopeia, Orion, Virgo, Sirius, and Jupiter were among those we sighted with the Skyview App. The clouds coming and going were like curtains opening and closing in different parts of the sky, revealing the stars behind them. I would love to come on a clearer night.
Back in Giddy Up, Andrew christened the shower (at least christened for this trip) and we slept in the tree grove under the dark skies.
You could rent Giddy Up for our next adventure! Click the link to reserve Giddy Up for yourself. http://advanced-rv.rentals/