Week 7: Cleveland to Cincinnati!
When we made it to the KOA in New Stanton, PA it was raining, so we had to wait try out their HUGE jumping pillow. It's like a cross between a trampoline and a moon bounce, and we all had a blast playing on it once the sun came out.
Nick braved a couple of cold mornings fishing in their lake, but didn't have any luck. And Frankie and Luc spent a lot of time -- and quarters -- in the campground arcade, where they earned enough tickets by buy a mechanical barking dog (just what our life in the RV was missing!)
Friday evening we drove to State College, as the sun was setting behind dense autumn woods. The colors were so vivid, and the hills so beautiful, I couldn't put the camera down the whole way. We arrived at the Alpha Station in the heart of the college district, and parked our RV in the lot behind the firehouse, right alongside our friends from New York. After spending a while catching up and showing off the new rig, we all moved inside the station where they cooked us a delicious spaghetti dinner. Luc thought it was cool when the sirens went off in the middle of the meal, and half the people jumped up and ran off to answer the call. After dinner, Jay and the guys played some poker, while Luc and Frankie settled down to watch a movie and I walked with Nick up to "College Ave" to soak in the bustling pre-game atmosphere -- and grab a machiatto.
Though the game wasn't until 8:30 pm, we got up early the next morning to walk up to Ye Olde College Cafe and buy our supply of Grilled Stickies for the tailgate. By the time we got back to the station, the guys were ready to head up to the stadium. So we all rolled out and claimed our spots in the lot by 8:30 AM! (That makes for a 12 hour tailgate!)
We had an amazing time, and were so impressed by the massive, festive party that grew and grew until it had spread throughout all the hills and valleys surrounding the stadium.
The firefighters spoiled us -- and anyone else who had the good fortune to wander by -- cooking grilled breakfast sandwiches (on the "good bread"), then sausage and peppers for lunch, followed by steak and portabello mushrooms for dinner!
We drove back that night, tired and full, to the campground at New Stanton. We had an early morning ahead, and another tailgate party the next day at Pittsburgh! After two days of straight tailgating, we were ready for a rest, so we spent Monday enjoying the campground (and doing some laundry!)
Tuesday, we were ready to leave for Cleveland, but not before we did a little sightseeing in Pittsburgh. On Sunday, we'd spotted a curiosity across the river from the stadium, and learned it was the Duquesne Incline. Built in 1877, it has been carrying commuters from the neighborhoods on Mt. Washington down to three rivers and city of Pittsburgh.
The view from the cars is incredible, with all of Downtown Pittsburgh, Heinz Field, and the Golden Triangle 400 feet below. They also have a small museum that preserves the history of the incline, as well as an observation deck where you can watch the mechanisms at work.
After "surviving" our ride on the incline (as Luc put it), we headed out to the McKees Rocks negihborhood in search of the much-talked-about Pierogie Lady. About half the people we talked to at the tailgate party on Sunday had told us that we couldn't leave town without paying a visit to her little shop, Pierogies Plus. We ordered a couple dozen each of her potato and sausage pierogies to take with us, plus an order of the sausage ones (all heated up in butter and onions) to eat on the spot. Luc even got to sample a special order Lekvor, filled with sweet prunes.
We all loved Pittsburgh, and were sorry to leave the picturesque hills of Eastern Pennsylvania. But as we headed back into Ohio, on our way up to Cleveland, we found more beautiful places to discover. The quiet, wooded campground at Country Acres in Ravenna, with its five acre fishing lake and hospitable owners made us wish we had a few days -- or weeks -- to stop and enjoy the autumn days with a campfire and a cup of cocoa. We had to settle for a morning walk with a cup of coffee, before heading out again for our next city, next stadium, next party!