Sunday, 7/31/11 - After leaving Mercer, PA this morning Will has a big driving day ahead of him as it's about 1 1/2 hours to Greg & Andy's in Clarion, PA and boy are we excited to visit with them. They have promised us great housing in their driveway and we can't wait.
We rolled in around lunch time and they had a lawn chair out off the driveway with a sign, Welcome Willie & Carole while Greg was on the front lawn blowing a horn welcoming us to the neighborhood. Will was laughing and saying, "same old Greg." It was great to see them both and after we visited awhile and got the tour of their beautiful home, they said we were all invited to their friends summer home (trust me, it's not a cabin) on the Clarion River for a boat ride and dinner and of course we said, "lets go."
We all piled into Greg's car and headed out, getting the tour of downtown Clarion and Clarion University where Greg works, the thing I loved about the university it's right on Main St. in the middle of downtown Clarion, sitting on a hill. It is an absolutely beautiful area here, many trees, old homes & buildings, lots of rolling hills and the ride out to the river was stunning. We parked (behind the house) on a landing and headed down the stairs to the house/deck and the view of the river and other homes was spectacular. Besides the host, Cass & Greg (Cass, a Pirates fan & Greg a Reds fan) there were neighbors of Greg & Andy and several more friends. It seems that all the men are either professors or retired professors of Clarion University. All wonderful, interesting people. They had lots of food prepared and set out to snack on....my favorite kind of eating. However, shortly after we arrived Will & I headed out in the pontoon boat for a ride on the river. They visited at several boat docks, along the way, with other friends and it was a most enjoyable ride and absolutely NO bugs....amazing!
When we returned they had prepared a wonderful dinner of hot dogs (Wills favorite) ribs, salads, veggies and a wonderful array of desserts.....peanut butter something for ME. After dinner & before sunset we took another beautiful boat ride and still NO bugs. What a wonderful day this was with our good friends Greg & Andy and now a bunch of NEW friends, thank you to Cass & Greg for including us....it was a spectacular day. We returned home, thoroughly exhausted and managed a quick shower then fell into bed but not before being very grateful for our good fortunes of living this life style & having wonderful friends.
Monday, 8/1/11 - It's August....how fast is this trip blowing by? For my walk this morning, while Andy is still sleeping, Greg is accompanying me on my 3 mile walk while he rides his bicycle. It was great having the company and of course he took me on a perfect path, cutting down on the hills and getting to walk through the downtown area, seeing their beautiful courthouse. Gosh, the time flew by with Greg there and I didn't have to look at my watch once, he had the whole trip planned out.
After breakfast we discussed what to do and decided to take a ride out to see the first oil well ever drilled in the USA....that's right, it's in PA not Texas or Oklahoma as you would think, but in Oil City, PA, birthplace of the oil industry and headquarters of John D Rockefeller's Standard Oil. It was latter abandoned for the richer oil fields of Texas. Oil City is rich in historic Victorian homes, art galleries and has several self guided walking tours you can take, unfortunately we didn't have the time. Next we headed to Titusville, PA to have lunch and because Will "was buying" Greg really wanted to find an expensive place to eat....cloth napkins and everything....there will be NO Dairy Queen today. We did manage to find a very cute, busy restaurant that unfortunately wasn't expensive enough but had great home cooked food. After lunch we headed over to Drake Well Museum www.drakewell.org which is a museum dedicated to telling the story of the finding of oil. The sad part was, they are closed on Mondays and it's Monday! Actually, everything historic, in the area, is closed on Mondays, the museum and the old train that you can ride. Fortunately, we were able to wander around the Drake Well Museum grounds and see the old derricks, old equipment but were unable to get into the buildings or buy postcards, my favorite. Still, I took lots of pictures and we had a great time.
Before heading back to Clarion, Greg took us through the town looking at one Victorian house after another and we were driving up and down streets oohing and awing over these houses and all the gingerbread on them. Greg said you could buy one of these big houses for under $100,000 (which seemed like a bargain) but the money you would have to put into it to restore it plus over $700 in the winter to heat it makes it impossible to own......but boy are they beautiful. Actually, we did see one that someone VERY RICH is restoring, right on the main road that was out of this world. Greg stopped while Andy & I leaped out to see it more closely and of course I was taking zillions of pictures. Beautiful stonework and "bells & whistles" like you can't believe, all over this house. They have even purchased the lot next to them puting in a huge side yard PLUS also purchasing several lots behind them on the alley with a huge glass greenhouse, a building with 6 garages an housing or who knows what over them....this is plus 4 garages behind the main house, that had a Hummer in it. I MUST come by this place next year or at least have Greg & Andy give me a progress report.
We returned home exhausted and after everyone took a little nap, Greg and Andy prepared a wonderful dinner.... barbecue shrimp kabobs with veggies, salad and corn on the cob. After the dishes were done.....this is what Willie travelled 2,000 miles for.....Greg singing and playing the guitar around the fire pit in their back yard. When Greg & Andy lived in Shaver Lake they had this amazing setup in their backyard and I couldn't believe they could duplicate it but they did and I think it's even better! Greg knows a million songs, funny and otherwise and Will was in heaven but waiting for his favorite. Shocking as it might seem, he couldn't remember the name or any of the lyrics but Andy saved the day....she was coming up with songs and hit it.....Wild Thing, sung by Greg Goodman. Oh thank you Jesus, now Will is happy.....he loves that song sung by Greg. We had a beautiful fire and evening and finally gave it up around 11 pm.....really, really late for us but what a fabulous day.
Tuesday, 8/2/11 - No Greg this morning for my walk but I was able to duplicate the route and enjoyed seeing the beautiful city of Clarion up close & personal. After I returned and had breakfast, we visited with Greg & Andy for a short while, said our thanks you and good byes, backed off the driveway and hooked the car up and waved goodbye to two very dear friends. What a wonderful visit and thank you for your incredible hospitality and information re: Maine we can't wait to get there and experience it for ourselves. Much love to all our family and friends and a great BIG THANK YOU again to Greg & Andy. We can't wait to go RVing with you in California.