Our beach

RV to Rural Pennsylvania: Where There Are No Maps But Plenty of Boats

“I’ll just hang on to the back of the kayak while you paddle around mom.” -E

Whenever we travel by RV, we always take the back roads, which means whenever we have to pee or stop for lunch, we still have beautiful views.

Side of the PA road
The side of the road in the middle of Pennsylvania is lovely.
Wildflower and Bee
These are the most prominent flower in Pennsylvania.

We headed up to a campsite just outside of Penn State’s main campus because I thought the kids would love Penn’s Caves — a series of caverns where the guided tours are given via boat! Although our campsite that evening wasn’t anything special, the caves were perfect especially because we were all still recovering from colds.

Waiting for the tour
Next time I would’ve dropped off one of us at the ticket booth because we ended up with two hours until our tour.

Luckily, there were mazes and giant souvenir shops and lunch to be had before we were directed by a grumpy lady to head to the boat. This was wonderful timing because the families on the boat behind us could not stop complaining about everything. She must’ve realized we were not irritated enough with their format to be with that group and sent us ahead.

E and me
Happy to be on the happy boat
Penn's Cave
Off we go into 52 degree caves (the temperature never changes. I could totally live there.)
Penn's cave 2
I’m sure this was something super cool that I was trying to capture but now it looks a lot like rocks and light to me.
Penn's Cave 3
The tour was a lot like Luray Caverns but on boats so everyone loved it. Well, the baby slept through it, which is a lot like loving it.
Penn's Cave 4
Penn's cave 5
Out the other side and around the bend.

Next time, I would stay in the Southern part of the Allegheny National Forrest then move to the northern part because our campsite the following day at Dewdrop, while not level at all, was beautiful.

RV in the Allegheny Mountains
The RV in its natural setting
I was always good with a camp fire, but I became the fire guru after some tips from our favorite vet in Maryland.
N in nature
The mountains bring out the joy in all of us.
Our beach
The coolest part of our site was a path that lead to our own private beach (a theme in this trip).
Allegheny Reservoir
The beautiful Allegheny Reservoir
Allegheny mountains
Tree climbing is always on the agenda
Allegheny Reservoir
We actually kayaked and swam as well, but I forgot my camera. (So did it even happen?)

The maps and information provided for hiking was terrible. I don’t know if it was because people mostly go to the Allegheny Reservoir for boating, but I was surprised by the barely marked photocopied map we were handed after all the national parks and forrest we stayed in out west. The only reason we found the trail to the water was because another family walked around our site then disappeared. We figured there must be pathway or there were Wendigos nearby (hey yo Supernatural fans) and we should run. Next time, I would write down my Allegheny National Forest research (no Internet service) or stopped at the main visitor center for better maps. This particular day we weren’t up for big hikes anyway so it all worked out just fine.

Next up, Niagara Falls with everyone feeling a-ok!

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

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