An eclectic collection of camping stories, trailer-towing articles, campground and park reviews as we discover the world of RV camping in our small camping trailer.
If you are expecting sugar-coated, sponsored reviews, or cut-and-paste Chamber of Commerce pamphlets, you are on the wrong page!
We weren't happy campers, in the truest of terms, when we first arrived at Tionesta. But, since that first impression, we have met some really,
really nice people here, especially in the town of Tionesta and our stay here has been enjoyable.
One of them is librarian Dawn, at the Sarah Stewart Bovard Memorial Library in Tionesta, who goes out of her way to help us resolve a problem with our travel trailer. We have
used the WiFi facilities of the Tionesta Library enough to know the
librarians on a first name basis. After helping with the
WiFi and the library facilities, she brings us the name and telephone number of the
Postmaster of the Tionesta Post
Office. We will have a new power converter for the trailer emergency shipped to us and we need a shipping address. We can't use the campground office, so we need an alternative.
After talking with Postmaster Christina, we realize we can't
use the Tionesta Post Office with simple General Delivery as we
will have the power supply expedited by UPS. The Post Office can only accept Postal System shipments.
the Head Librarian at the Sarah Stewart Bovard Memorial Library in
Tionesta, graciously allows us to use their shipping address so we
can be assured of delivery of the new converter because we have
nowhere else to ship it! They are bending over backwards with kindness, and we certainly appreciate it.
We met John and Becky, a couple who live about an hour south of here.
They ride their road bikes past our campsite everyday. We chat with a fellow kayaker who is also camping here and
find out he is from Pittsburgh. Then we meet Mike and Becky from Orchard Park, New
York, who are also here for the first time, and compare notes and
past experiences. These are the people who make camping fun.
drive slowly through the small, and oddly pretty town of Tionesta.
The old homes along the Allegheny river are mostly trim and well
kept, but we notice the river is covered with a yellow-green flotsam
we hadn't noticed the day before. We drive to a local kayak rental
shop and chat with them about tours, kayak rental costs, and the
state of the river. The owner, a brusque, sun-hardened outdoorsy
woman, says she doesn't know what that is on the river. She half-jokingly
tells us, “It could be hickory poop.” Maybe, but maybe not. We'll
pass on kayaking the river this trip.
haven't found a manned visitor center anywhere in the area since
we've been at Tionesta Recreation Campground. Well, just one, the
Tionesta Area Visitors Center in the heart of town, but the elderly
couple manning the counter can only answer but a few questions. They
did their best though, and even turned on the wide screen TV to check
the weather radar. We pick up a handful of brochures from local
venues and again look at a map to figure out where we are.
City comes up as the number one attraction in the area on my GPS, and
when we accidentally stumble across the road signs pointing that
direction while driving to Titusville, I immediately turn and head
down the narrow, paved road to history. After a twisty, five mile ride, and an encounter with a fawn in the middle
of the two-lane road who stares at my wife while she stares back, we stop at
the Historic Pithole City Visitors Center. It is dark and locked.
Not a soul in sight.
and I have the place to ourselves. Songbirds and beautiful sunshine
are our only companions as we take photographs of what had one time
been a booming community. Never mind our GPS has no clue where we
are. We squint and look through the locked doors of the museum, take
photos of the placards, and finally head toward Titusville and the
famous Col. Edwin Drake Oil Well Museum. At least we think we were
headed toward Titusville, our GPS wants us to drive through a corn
we pull into Titusville and its divided highway through town, my wife
says, “I think I like this little town. It's pretty.” Two hours
later she's ready to leave. First impressions can be deceiving. We
drive through town several times looking for different stores, using
different streets, and while many homes are well kept and attractive,
the houses along the main routes are mostly dilapidated and quite rundown. Reconstruction is going on in town, but it will take quite a
while before the once attractive city is restored. They have a
good start, and if it comes out half as well as Wellsboro, they will
have done a good job. The old run-down homes along the highways will
be a real test, though, they are mostly in sad shape.
drive to the Col. Edwin Drake Museum just on the outskirts of
Titusville. There is no sign of life. Again, a completely empty
parking lot. We drive to the museum/gift shop, all the spaces are
empty. Nobody here but us, just like at Pithole. We walk to the
dark, closed gift shop, that has a sign that says, “Open,” and
through the wide-open doors of the grounds of the historic site that
marks the beginning of modern society, and into our own world. Not a
soul here but us. We take our time poking into buildings and looking
around the museum compound. After taking all the photos we can take
of the first oil well, we head back to town. We do some shopping,
check out the local Elk's Club, and finally head back to the
campground at Tionesta.
first, another road sign catches my eye. It says, “Oil Creek and
Titusville Railroad, Caboose Motel.” OK, I'll bite, and we take yet
another side trip to the outer fringes of our solar system and pull
into another empty parking lot and yet another closed museum, the
third closed museum and visitors center we have visited today. Not a
good sign as this is the height of the tourist season.
are twenty-one cabooses from famous railroads of the past, parked
side by side on adjacent railroad sidings. The multicolored old rail
cars conjure up memories of railroad greatness of the past. Cabooses
from Erie, Lackawanna, New York Central, Delaware and Hudson, along
with many others, sit side by side in pairs, with permanently mounted
stair cases and handrails. They have been firmly attached to mother
earth and they aren't going anywhere. The cabooses have been turned
into a motel!
only person we see the entire time we are at the railroad museum and
caboose motel is an elderly maid, slowly carrying a load of clean
sheets and towels in her arms from the office toward one of the
distant, faded, permanently parked railroad cars turned motel room.
We wonder why she doesn't use a cart of some sort to carry
everything. But, who knows.
are no automobiles in the parking lot for the museum or for the
motel. Again, except for the time warped dimension of the maid who I
believe still may be walking across the parking lot, Ilse and I are
as alone as the astronauts who circled the moon. I take several
photos of the row of cabooses, but decide we don't need any photos of
the huge, dilapidated factory that forms one backdrop vista for the
motel customers. We put away our brochures and slowly head for our
campsite at Tionesta.
a short, thirty minute drive, we are sitting in our camper wondering
what we are going to do for the next two weeks. Hopefully,
the converter will arrive within a day or two, or Brenda and Dawn are
going to get very tired of us.
NEXT: Thanks to the good folks at the Tionesta Library, next at: