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Bellefonte (Beautiful Fountain) Pennsylvania

September 18 -19, 2014   

Our first stop after leaving NJ was at the Gram and Pap's campground in Bellefonte PA just off of route 80.  We liked this campground for a couple of reasons; it is close to 80 and it has a great view of the mountains in central PA.  We also got a nice fairly level pull through site and with discounts (PA and SKP) was only $25 a night for 50A FHU.  We are only here for 2 nights.



Campground Office.  Big on Penn State Football!

Our site.
Fall is beginning here in central PA.

Mountain view from our camp site.

On Thursday the 18th we headed into the town of Bellefonte to take a look around.  I have passed this town on route 80 for over 30 years without ever actually seeing it.  I’m not sure I really needed to see it before but now but we have the time to do so.

Bellefonte is about 5 miles from our campsite on the south side of route 80.  The town is small and seems to be isolated in the mountains that surround it.  Originally there was a water fountain near the mill in town which gave the town its name, Bellefonte or Beautiful Fountain in Spanish.  We have no Idea why Spanish as the original property owners were German.

We were first looking for the American Philatelic (Stamp and postal history and collecting) Center that is located here in Bellefonte.  I didn’t even know there was such a place!  



We have what they call a cover letter from the first Highway Post Office (HPO) Route from Indianapolis IN to Peoria IL.  This HPO lasted something like 20 years.  The HPO was the post office's answer to the diminishing passenger railroad service in the US that they used for mail delivery.  Before automation, the post office sorted mail while it was moving which was originally on the passenger trains that covered most of the US.  So the post office started to sort mail in trucks that were set up to have postal employees sort mail from town to town while the truck was moving.
  
Anyway, we have one of the original cover letters that was sent on the inaugural run from Indianapolis IN to Peoria IL in 1952 and we wanted to see if it was worth anything.  Well, no, it isn’t worth anything really.  The center suggested we donate it to them and they would use it for training maybe. We have decided to keep it and maybe give it to a grandchild.  I got the letter from stuff my grandmother had in her house when she died 20 years ago.  It’s one of those things that we didn’t get rid of when we downsized to FT RV.

After visiting the Philatelic Center, we had lunch in and old mill downtown.  This is where we learned a little history of the town and the mill.  The mill predates the town and the original owners property makes much of the town today.  The mill and the Spring Creek that powered the mill were connected to the canals that led to Philadelphia in the East.  So this mill was the center of the community that grew up around it. 




The mill is also a micro brewery.

After lunch we filled up the fuel tank and headed back to the RV.  We made a nice grilled chicken dinner and relaxed with some wine.  Another great day!

Next morning, the 19th, we set up leave and head to Cleveland Ohio.  We, however, had one of those complacent mornings that we all hate to have.  If this had been something we did while working on the railroad I would have needed to write a new safety rule about it.  We left the landing gear down and headed out for our trip to Cleveland OH.  

Our leaving routine has a division of responsibilities of sorts where I back the truck up and hitch it and I handle the locking of the hitch and safety wire inside the bed of the truck.  Patty handles the leveler and landing gear controls.  The last thing we do is check the hitch and trailer brakes with me in the truck and Patty near the controls at the side of the RV.  After I try to move against the RV brake and the hitch stays together, Patty retracts the landing gear.   The landing gear are about 2-3 inches off the ground at this time so that if the hitch failed the RV would land on these instead of the truck frame.  Well, this time she forgot to retract the landing gear. 

On our way out of our site there is a descending hill with a steep descending crest on a left curve.  I was worried that our landing gear may rub the top of the crest as we left.  I can’t see the landing gear until the truck is on the hill going down. We had come up this hill 2 days ago without any issue so I really didn’t think there would be one now.  As soon as the truck was fully into the decent I heard the landing gear hit the gravel.  I put on the brakes and looked into the mirror and saw that they were still down, shit!  I thought that we must have bent the hydraulic tubes.  I am now blocking the entire road in and out of the campground too!  We tried to retract the gear and couldn’t because the system said that we were at too great of an angle, what!  The only thing to do was to move the truck either backward or forward.  I chose backward the way we came.  It worked, the levelers only slid a little on the way back up the hill.  Once we were more level the system allowed us to fully retract them. Whew!  The whole thing only took about 15 minutes but it was a very long 15 minutes.  

OK, after 2 years of FT RVing we have a new lesson learned. Before I pull away I need to check both the clearance up and down of the RV.

After that, It was a fairly nice 240 mile 4 hour ride over to Cleveland OH.  We decided to stay in the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds for the next 2 nights.  The fairgrounds are only 12 miles from downtown Cleveland and the closest regular campground was about 30 miles outside of the city.  This would be our second time staying in a fairground.  The last time was in Santa Rosa CA almost 2 years ago.

This is a great little secret to know that most fairgrounds have an area for vendor RVs during fairs and events.  When there are no events they usually let you stay for a fair cost.  Here they are charging us $30 a night with 50A FHU.  It is actually high for no amenities but we are close to where we want to be and we have a large site.




Tomorrow we plan to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and see a comedy show in downtown Cleveland.  Then on Sunday the 21st we head to Elkhart IN for RV frame repair starting on the 22nd. 

Stay Tuned!

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