RV Life – Year One – Summertime, Part 2

Eye of the Beholder - RV Life - Year One - Summertime
Wyoming County, Pennsylvania. Gorgeous! Photo courtesy of P&G.

It probably comes as no surprise that Pennsylvania and up-state New York are rich with American history.

What might surprise you is how much summertime fun and impressive natural beauty you’ll find throughout the region.

See RV Life – Year One – Summertime, Part 1.

It was near the end of July 2017, about halfway through our first RV Life summer, when my employer assigned me to a customer site visit in rural, northeast Pennsylvania. They wanted me to provide on-site support for a 3-week engagement at the Procter & Gamble manufacturing facility near the tiny township of Mehoopany, about 45 minutes northwest of Scranton along US Highway 6.

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The typical arrangement for an assignment like this is to book a flight, a room, and a rental car for each week of the engagement. But this was an ideal situation that I had considered when deciding to Go RV. Being fully-mobile allows me the amazing flexibility to move my tiny home on wheels to wherever the work is. So, I prepared a cost worksheet and pitched it my employer. If they’d be willing to cover my mileage expenses, campground fees, and my standard per diem, they could save a good chunk of money over air fare, hotel, and a rental car. They agreed!

Eye of the Beholder - RV Life - Year One - Summertime

It’s a short, 20-minute drive to the plant from the neighboring town of Tunkhannock, where Cheri found a pleasant RV park in the woods called Cozy Creek Family Campground.

We booked a reservation and left our homebase in Middle Tennessee on the first Saturday of August.

The journey north was over 800 miles, so we used both weekend days to cover the distance. We chose central Virginia as our halfway point and stayed one night at the Natural Bridge Holiday KOA. We arrived safely at Cozy Creek the next day and set-up camp that Sunday afternoon.

The unexpected call to Pennsylvania required us to re-plan our year. We were pleasantly surprised by the beauty of the state, so we decided to hang around and explore the region even after the work assignment was finished. Some notable places around Pennsylvania that we visited include …

My American Origins

I’ve spent a fair amount of time investigating my family lineage, building a family tree on Ancestry.com, and reading the many stories about my Coryell ancestors. So, I knew I was very close to one of the centers of my American origins. New Hope, Pennsylvania sits on the banks of the Delaware River right across from Lambertville, New Jersey and is less than a 3-hour drive from Tunkhannock, so we planned a day trip there to explore some Coryell history.

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Emanual Coryell owned and operated a ferry crossing that connected Lambertville to New Hope. Called Coryell’s Ferry, this was one of the few safe places to cross the river in those days and it served as a primary route for thousands of travelers from about 1732-1810, until a bridge was built.

Coryell’s Ferry has a storied past involving George Washington and the famous Crossing of the Delaware for the Battle of Trenton. The Coryell family holds some prominence in Revolutionary War history, as outlined in the commemorative plaque on display at the 1st Presbyterian Church in Lambertville.

Eye of the Beholder - RV Life - Year One - Summertime
I come from a long line of American Patriots.

I was especially intrigued by the small note next to the name of Pvt. Cornelius Coryell(Spy).

I’m a huge fan of the TV series called TURN, which features dramatic tales about the colonial spy network. It was an amazing realization to learn that one of my ancestors is a part of that history. More about Coryell Genealogy

By the way, one of the TURN episodes makes a brief reference to Coryell’s Ferry. Check it out sometime. It’s a great show! See related story, Inspire Me – Convention of States.

I explored the entire town, feeling a huge sense of patriotic pride and honor. With an almost, celebrity-like status I felt 10-feet tall knowing that I share the same blood of the very Patriots who established the area and were instrumental in securing our nation. The honor was surprisingly evident to me as we paid for our lunch at Martine’s River House. When the cashier noticed the name on the credit card the reaction was priceless.

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As Labor Day approached, we left Tunkhannock for up-state New York. Wheatfield was our destination, but the target attraction was Niagara Falls. On the north side of Buffalo, Wheatfield is mere minutes from the falls. We parked the rig at the Niagara Falls Campground.

We experienced our second major equipment malfunction at this location. Our first was a failed leveling leg in Warsaw, Missouri. See RV Life – Year One – Spring. This time it was a bad slide-out. Every time we operated the slide it caused a terrible shimmy, and it was getting worse. We scheduled an appointment at the nearby Hamburg Camping World.

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Hours later after completing the repairs, we pulled the trailer back to our spot in Wheatfield. Cheri extended the slides and an incredibly loud POP! rang out, stopping the slides it their tracks. An angry Cheri flew out of the trailer, fussing and fuming. I went inside to check it out and saw that the cable and pulley system had snapped the primary cable. The slides were completely inoperable, hanging halfway out. We weren’t going anywhere at that point so we called the Hamburg Camping World and they sent out a mobile repair technician who fixed the problem.

It had been less than 6 months since buying this brand-new trailer and we had already encountered two major breakdowns. There was also a long list of nuisance issues throughout the unit that I’d been repairing myself. Our confidence in the safety and reliability of this Keystone product was in serious question.

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Eye of the Beholder - RV Life - Year One - Summertime
Niagara Falls with the American side to the left.

With the repair drama behind us we booked a Niagara Falls trip with Bedore Tours and enjoyed a two-day excursion to both sides of the falls.

Day One was the American side and Day Two was over to Canada.

The Canadian side is often referred to as Horseshoe Falls due to its distinctive shape.

If you’ve heard rumors that the views are better in Canada, I think I can say that the rumors are true. My favorite parts of the 2-day tour were …

  • Hurricane Deck (Cave of the Winds) – On the American side is a stairway leading down to the base of the falls. A large deck surface allows tourists to stand at the edge of the rushing water. This experience explains the name of the place clearly. The roar is deafening, and you feel the blast of power as air and mist rush over you. The ground rumbles beneath your feet creating an unforgettable moment.
  • Maid of the Mist – From the American side a large double-decker boat carries tourists out into the midst of the Niagara River for an close-up experience with the falls. The mist drenches everything in its path as 600,000 gallons of water crashes down around you every second.
  • Journey Behind the Falls – From the Canadian side you can experience a unique view of the Falls from below and behind. Descend 125 ft. by elevator to a short tunnel that leads to two outdoor observation decks and two portals located directly behind the falls.
  • Skylon Tower – On the Canadian side is a beautifully architected observation tower providing a bird’s eye view of the entire Niagara Falls area from 775 feet above. This is an amazing place to be when the sun sets and colorful lights illuminate the falls.
  • Eye of the Beholder - RV Life - Year One - Summertime
  • Eye of the Beholder - RV Life - Year One - Summertime
  • Eye of the Beholder - RV Life - Year One - Summertime
  • Eye of the Beholder - RV Life - Year One - Summertime
  • Eye of the Beholder - RV Life - Year One - Summertime
  • Eye of the Beholder - RV Life - Year One - Summertime
  • Eye of the Beholder - RV Life - Year One - Summertime
  • Eye of the Beholder - RV Life - Year One - Summertime
  • Eye of the Beholder - RV Life - Year One - Summertime

We explored several other attractions around the area, including …

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Proctor & Gamble asked me to return to Mehoopany for a couple more weeks, so we traveled back to Tunkhannock and the Cozy Creek Campground. The timing was perfect, because we had been on a waiting list for several weeks for a White House tour in Washington, D.C., just 5 hours away.

Eye of the Beholder - RV Life - Year One - Summertime
A revered place, the East Wing Entrance Hall.

The approval finally came in so we made arrangements for a 3-day weekend in Our Nation’s Capitol.

After a thorough security check, we enjoyed a 2-hour stroll through the East Wing viewing the amazing architecture, artwork, and exhibits.

There’s so much to see and do in D.C. that one weekend is barely enough to even scratch the surface. So, we decided to use a hop-on-hop-off bus tour in an effort to maximize our viewing opportunities. Everything was fantastic, but there were several standouts for us …

October had arrived and the Pennsylvania countryside was showing a slight hint of fall color. Cool air was moving in, signaling the coming change of season. As we prepared for the journey back to Middle Tennessee, life threw us a curveball. Cheri had to make an urgent flight to Kansas City for a family emergency. I drove the rig back to Tennessee by myself.

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Cheri flew back to Nashville in time for her birthday, which was celebrated in the heart of the Great Smokey Mountains!

Psalms 104:19

See RV Life – Year One – Summertime, Part 1.

See the next article, RV Live – Year One – Autumn.

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Steve Coryell