1124 Youghiogheny River Trail, PA

1124 Youghiogheny River Trail, PA

We drive all day from Gettysburg to Rostraver, PA just south of Pittsburgh. This is a wonderful park with free camping down near the river. I find it on the Free Camping website. When we get there we discover that there’s a biking/hiking trail along the river.
The Yough River Trail is a non-motorized multi-use rail trail that stretches 71 miles (114 km) between McKeesport and Confluence, Pennsylvania. It is part of the Great Allegheny Passage that allows cyclists to bike from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C. It is named after and runs along the Youghiogheny River. The trail surface is composed of crushed limestone. It’s part of the Rails to Trails movement.
This is a beautiful and peaceful place. Around dusk a ranger drives up to fill out a form. No charge. Just their ongoing census of how many people use the camping areas. We make dinner on a picnic table under a shelter. Then take an evening walk before sleep at dark.
We slept in the van but ate and hung out under the picnic table shelter.
(more…)

1123 Gettysburg, PA

1123 Gettysburg, PA

Leaving Windsor, NY, I need to know if I am headed to MI for Thanksgiving or to Gettysburg. I hope to MI. I am 2 days from MI. One day from Gettysburg. It is only a couple days before Thanksgiving. But, I assume that I can just show up. Turns out that Thanksgiving dinner is at my nieces. There are 26 people coming and there’s no room at the inn. Nor can Sherman come. She has a dog that is not very other-dog friendly. The only option is to leave Sherman in the van, or at my dads, and drive there for part of the day. That doesn’t sound or feel good to me. So, we’re off to Gettysburg.
I got re-interested in The Civil War being with Bob and Chris in Bristol. Bob is very interested in history. In family genealogy. His History Mugs (www.historymugs.us) also got me intrigued. I watched the movie, Killer Angels, about Gettysburg and read the Civil War trilogy of which Killer Angels is the middle book. Read some about the other participants. On the trail I’d listened to a biography on Robert E. Lee. Fascinating. I had no idea that he was the superintendent of West Point. Nor that after the war he was the President of a college and steered it from small and broke to a thriving school. Or that he innovated many of the structures that are common in universities today. For instance, having independent schools of study under one umbrella educational organization. In Lee’s time, there was one course of study. It included everything that was deemed important to be an educated gentleman. There was very little specialization.
I can’t find a park or free camping near Gettysburg, so we spend the night a few miles out of town in a Walmart SuperStore lot. I’ve discovered that by going behind the stores I find a pretty isolated and darker spot than in the parking lot. Usually has a bigger grassy area to walk Sherman too.
We get up about 7, eat, walk, and head to The Gettysburg National Monument. All my info says they’re open at 9am, but when we arrive at 8:30 it’s winter hours. Open at 10. So I grab a map and we head off toward the northernmost part of the battlefield. The monument related roads are all one-way and meander around and past the various battlefields. There are monuments everywhere along the roads marking the locations that specific divisions fought. The scope of the battlefield is much larger than I imagined, even though I’d read that such and such a place is 5 miles from this place. It’s just words until standing in that spot. The oddest thing was having heard and read about the tactical importance of taking the high ground and then seeing that the high ground was a rise in a field of maybe 10 feet. There are a very few hills in the area — what I think of as high ground.
Sherman and I get out and walk around a couple battlefields. Actually fields. The troops were mostly moving over farm fields. The difference in scale from on to the another was startling.
(more…)

1121 Windsor, NY

1121 Windsor, NY

SNOW!! It’s been 10 years since I’ve been in snow. The last time was when Cynthia and I got snowed in at her Cabin in the Sonora Pass. So, here we are, driving in a blowing snowstorm! Sherman lets me know he needs to pee and a Rest Area sign appears. We pull off and take a walk in the blowing snow. It’s beautiful! And… cold! Here I realize were driving between two towns named Windsor. What are the odds of that?
From the Rest Area parking lot.
Sherman and I leave Windsor, RI in clear, cool weather and drive to Windsor, NY in deepening snow. The roads are plowed, salted and very passible. We arrive at the house before they return from being in Rochester. The snow is about 6 inches deep. Sherman LOVES it. He runs and jumps in circles. I love seeing him so happy. I recently read on a weather site that the largest snowstorm of the year so far was in the Binghamton, NY area. Between 18-24 inches in a weekend. WE WERE THERE!!
(more…)

1118 Windsor, RI

1118 Windsor, RI

The drive from Amherst to Windsor is uneventful. As we get close to Windsor the towns and the roads get smaller. The towns are such classic small town New England towns. There’s a flavor of life in New England. Relaxed. Traditional. Practical. Pragmatic. Simple beauty… It still resonates with me as a feeling of home.
We arrive at Harry and Elizabeth Spring’s home, studio, gallery in the mid-afternoon. These are people that I met in Ojai through a mutual friend. There was an immediate connection, but we didn’t arrange our lives to spend much time together. The magnet was still on, so I drove over to hang out with them for a few days.
(more…)

1114 Last day in Bristol, VT

1114 Last day in Bristol, VT

It’s been three weeks since I posted anything. I wrote a little, but mostly just took a break from schedules and needing to be anywhere. Bob and Chris have been beyond generous. They’ve been saints! Not that we are hard to get along with as long time guests, but having another person and dog in your world does change the rhythm of life.
One of the things I loved about staying with them was being in the presence of their relationship. The freedom of expression and flow of energy was lovely to witness. I grew up in the midst of dysfunctional relationships, and spending time in space of their functional relationship was a blessing and on some level very healing.
Some of the things Sherman and I did during these weeks:
– We sleep late and took a few naps.
– I binge watched the last 3 seasons of The Good Wife
– I spend a good bit of time thinking about and feeling into what’s next?
– I repack the hiking gear into the van.
– I do some remote computer client work.
– I treat my knee very gingerly as the swelling and pain lessen.
– And…

Sherman LOVED their sheep. He’d sit for an hour watching them move about, or laying down chewing. Or as in this video, lovingly butting heads.
(more…)