Mystic, CT to Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA - Events of Monday, September 23 to Wednesday, October 2, 2013
We calculated the driving time from Mystic to Pittsburgh to be about 10 hours. We considered breaking the travel into three segments, but that would have meant leaving Mystic on Sunday in order to make the first of our doctor appointments.
We don't like to travel on Sunday in the first place, and we especially don't like to leave a campground when we don't have full hookups on a Sunday because of potential backups at the dump station. Therefore, we decided to make the 10-hour drive to Pittsburgh in only two days. We had three potential campgrounds scoped out in two locations. One location was around the half way mark and one was a little farther down the road so it would make a longer travel day the first day and a shorter one the second. We decided to play it by ear and decide where to stop while we were on the road depending on what kind of time we were making and on how we felt.
There was no line at the dump station when we left Mystic on Monday, so we were on the road before 9:00 a.m. Since we got an early start and since we didn't run into any major construction delays, we decided to press on to the more distant stop the first day. We pulled into the KOA in Bellefonte, PA around 3:30. We normally don't stay at KOAs, but the KOA seemed to have a possibility of more sites with better satellite reception than the other campground we had scoped out at the same exit. The other reason we opted for the KOA was several online reviews of the other campground also mentioned many of their sites weren't level. Since it was already a long travel day, we didn't want to spend extra time leveling.
The Bellefonte KOA is conveniently located right off I-80. That also means there is some noise from the interstate day and night, but it wasn't awful. The KOA has about 75 sites, about half of which are pull-throughs. There are a few tent sites with no hookups and a few sites with water and electric only, but most sites have full hookups. About half the sites have 30-amp electric and the rest have 30/50 amps. We didn't need 50 amps since it was cool, especially since 50 amps costs $5 extra, but the 50-amp pull-throughs were more level than those with 30, so we paid the extra $5. One reason we don't normally stay at KOAs is they tend to be high priced. We paid $45 for our site, and that was their lower, off-season rate.
Another reason we don't normally stay at KOAs is their sites tend to be very close together, and that certainly was the case here. On top of that, some of the sites have water hookups only at every other site, so you have to stretch your water hose under your rig to the pedestal next door for water.
The roads and pads at the KOA are gravel. There is some grass between the sites, but there are also a lot of bare spots. The next photo shows our site at the Bellefonte KOA.
We were on the road shortly after 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday. With a longer drive of a little over 6 hours the first day, our travel time including a fuel stop was less than 4 hours the second. We pulled into Lora and J. Michael's driveway and got the motor home set up on the RV pad beside their garage by early afternoon.
Tuesday happened to be Paul's birthday, so that evening, Lora and J. Michael treated us to dinner at Texas Road House to celebrate. We all had the 6-ounce sirloin early bird special. The steaks were delicious as usual.
During the remainder of the week, we both had eye doctor appointments and we both met with former co-workers for lunch. During our time at the motor home, Margery caught up on laundry, and Paul did a few maintenance chores around the RV and around Lora and J. Michael's house.
On Sunday, we met our RV friends, Pat and Mike, at a restaurant called Max & Erma's for lunch. Mike had a stroke last spring while they were in Texas. After spending some time there for Mike's initial recovery, they returned to Pittsburgh, put their rig into storage and rented a small place where they could be more comfortable since they will be there over the winter. Mike is making good progress on his recovery, and both he and Pat are in good spirits. It was good to see both of them again.
On Monday and Tuesday, it was more appointments. On Wednesday, we took Paul's step mom to lunch at Empire Palace Chinese Restaurant. Empire Palace has a number of lunch specials for $6.50 to $10 that include your choice of soup or egg roll and fried or steamed rice in addition to your entree.
Paul's step mom had pork lo mein, and the rest of us had General Tso's chicken. Everything was delish!
We both got good reports from all our doctor and dentist visits in Pittsburgh. After lots of hugs, we pulled out of Lora and J. Michael's driveway on Thursday morning and headed west to our next destination. We'll tell you where that was in our next post.