On the road

... from Melrose to Montana and back

by Shirley Rabb

For those of you that do not know, I have just returned from a trip across country. During our travels I e-mailed friends and family with little bits of data regarding our location and activities. I would like all of you to make this journey with my friends Donna and Louise, our dog, Casa, and me. This will be a continuing set of articles because of the vastness of our country and the wonderful things we saw and did. I hope that you will not be bored, but that you will come along with us from Melrose to Montana and back.

Dear friends and family,

Our first stop was in Milford, Pa. where we went to a huge yard sale. We bought nothing but did get a great steamed hot dog on a bun. We checked in to our motel and then drove to the ďUpper MillĒ on Sawkill Creek. This is a restored gristmill built in the early 1800s. A three-story waterwheel powers the mill and it was an interesting first tourist stop for us.

After a good night's rest we started out to see Grey Towers. This is the ancestral home of Gifford Pinchot, first chief of the USDA forest service and twice governor of Pennsylvania. The towers had not opened yet but the gardens and old buildings kept us taking pictures for about an hour.  

Further down the road we went to see Shohola waterfalls which were lovely, loud and impressive. We then drove through Shikellamy State Park and got some grand views from the high overlooks.

We indulged ourselves and spent $75.00 for dinner, but what the heck - this will not happen very often. Most of our meals have been from our cooler where we have cheese, crackers, sardines, fruit and stuff.

Monday we went to Pennís Caves, Americaís only all-water cavern and wildlife park. The caverns were formed from the bed of a shallow sea that existed millions of years ago. The Seneca Indians discovered the caves centuries ago.  As the legend goes, the Indian maiden Nitanee and her French lover, Malachi Boyer ran away because by Indian custom they were unable to marry. They were captured and Malachi was thrown into Pennís Cave to die. The cavern has been open to the public since 1885 where the ghost of Malachi still resides. We were able to take Casa on the underground boat ride with us, as we were given details about the stalactites and stalagmites from a very knowledgeable guide. We did not drive through the Wildlife Park for we were looking forward, in days to come, to the wildlife out west.

Next day was to see Punxsutawney Philís hometown. Punxsutawney has been the place to be on February 2nd. The German immigrants who settled here brought the legend that the groundhog, seeing his shadow, predicts six more weeks of winter. Every February 2nd, believers trek down to Gobblerís Knob and rout the rodent from his den to determine whether there will be an early spring. Phil is honored year-round by many life-size statues that are displayed in the area.

Our next state was Ohio where we stopped in Youngstown to enjoy some time in Mill Creek Metro Parks. The park encompasses 2600 acres but we went to see Lantermanís Falls and the Mill Creek Gorge. Our second falls of the trip and again breathtaking views of the cascading waters. The park is lush with evergreen trees and grass-covered meadows. A pretty ride around the area assured us we were really on a vacation that would take us away from home for six weeks.

We drove on to Akron and visited the Goodyear Rubber Museum. The security was tight and we could not take any pictures but it was a good stop. A film about the construction of the blimp was very informative. They also have on display the many sizes of tires which they make. It was amazing to see my Jeep tire beside a tire that was about 12 feet tall. I must tell you that Casa was in the car, windows open and under a shade tree. She was happy to see us return because she knows itís time for her to get out for a short walk, have a drink of water and a snack.

Our next stop was to see Paradise Spring Historical Park and Riverwalk in Wabash, Indiana. The park features cabins built to represent a 19th-century military post. A beautiful area where we did indeed do the river walk and had lunch at one of the many picnic tables available. The Delphi Interpretive Center at the Wabash and Erie Canal Park was to be our next destination. Unfortunately, we arrived a half-hour after closing, but it was still only 4:30 so we decided to walk along this part of the Wabash River. The shaded pathway gave us time to silently enjoy the flow of the river, the birds and the flying insects.

This ends our first e-mail to all of you. Do stay along for the ride there is much more to come.

We hope you are all well. Take care of each other.
Shirley, Donna, Louise and Casa

August 4, 2006

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