The adventures of Pioneer Girl travelling with enthusiastic Camper Barn Owl Guy

Started as a blog about my trip from Pittsburgh to California in a Ford Pickup, hauling a 30' refurbed trailer/camper. Ah, California Dreaming, 'n all that. Found that adventures can be long distance or in your own neighborhood... I look for my own twist on local sites, don't take the known for granted...and always find something new. It's easy, just open your eyes..

Monday, November 22, 2010

Apollo, PA is a Palindrome

November 21, 2010.  Greetings, fellow Pioneers.  Today's GPS coordinates find me in Apollo, PA located in Amstrong County, northeast of Pittsburgh in a former coal mining region  With scout as my guide, I traveled the 35 mile drive, north on Route 65 following the Allegheny River and across the Kittanning Bridge.   Apollo got it's name from the former mill and foundry located in the area named Apollo Iron & Steel.

As a side, the owner of the company, hired a firm to design a town for all of his employees, as a way to keep his non-union steel workers loyal and productive and that model town became known as Vandergrift.  That's a pretty interesting story in itself

But it's true, Apollo, PA is a palindrome....spelled the same frontwards and backwards!  Something new I learned on my little journey.

Nellie Bly
My next Pennsylvania Historical Marker was located on a narrow side street at 500 Terrace Place.  A marker  honoring the birthplace of fellow pioneer, Nellie Bly.  Born as Elizabeth Jane Cochran, she was an extraordinary, obstinate pioneer of investigative journalism.  It's been fascinating learning about her.  Given her first shot as an anonymous writer for the Pittsburgh Dispatch, she moved on to New York became a foremost writer of undercover reports. She took on the name Nellie Bly as her pen name (made famous by another Pittsburgher, Stephen Foster, in his song Nelly Bly.).  She was a pioneer of investigative journaling and also crusaded for social change.

Nellie's journalism focused on women's rights issues, exposed abuses in politics, employment practices, and negligent hospitals and prisons.  She actually went undercover as an insane woman to get  into a lunatic asylum and get the scoop first hand and exposing the terrible conditions.  And she was young at the time..eventually married a man who was 72 when she was 30, and retired for a while until his death.  Then she traveled abroad and became the first woman in WW1 to depict war news on the front.  Amazing...and here we have Diane Sawyer and many other women, and don't really give it another thought.   Nellie Bly, Nellie Bly, you go girl!

      "Nelly Bly, Nelly Bly....bring de broom along...we'll sweep de kitchen clean, 
       my dear, and hab a little song...." 
A pretty amazing woman.... oh, and as an a child, she had quite an unusual nickname in those days because of how her mother dressed her, instead of the drab grays and calico's, her mother dressed her for success in pink starched dresses, ......and she shared the nickname of a current "radical" pop star and fellow Pennsylvanian, Alecia Moore, also known as...


                                                                             but Nellie Bly was the first....
So, therein was my trip to Apollo, PA, the Palindrome of Western PA.

I saw a sign that read "Peace on the open road," so may your travels be peaceful.
......Pioneer Girl...xoxo

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bathtubs and Android

November 16, 2010. Today I decided to try something new and test out the Google Chrome button BLOG THIS! I'm not sure that I will be using it it or what for, but boy technology keeps getting more and more confusing to me. So today's Blog is brought to you by BLOG THIS.

Well, Pioneers, it's not live I've gone anywhere on a journey today, but my journey is learning to use my Android2 that I just got from Verizon. I'm torn, I loved my Blackberry, and had just gotten it down pat, set up exactly the way I wanted it, and could switch between applications with ease. But as my Blackberry was perched upon the side of my bathtub as I was awaiting a call from my landscaper, I accidentally brushed it into the tub. Yes Yes, I immediately retreived it, dried it, took out the battery, dried all posts in front of the heater vent. But that damn red button was a red as red could be.

Went to Verizon and asked if they could possibly have pity on a poor pioneer girl who dropped her cell phone in the bathtub, and they both shook their heads in unison...looked like a loud NO to me and since I have no insurance, I had to buy a new one. So decided I'd look at the Android. At the end of the half hour, I walked out with this new phone that has me so confused, i'm getting stressed out. Wondering if I should go back and exchange it for a Blackberry.

Will decide soon, .... PG xoxo

Monday, November 15, 2010

Harmony and WWII..and Mom

Greetings Pioneers!....Today, GPS coordinates track me in none-other-than Ambridge, Pennsylvania, which is about 20 miles downstream from the fork where the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers meet  to form the mighty Ohio river.  Traveling west on PA Route 910, of which is part is the Orange Belt, and then the Red Belt at Sewickley Creek Road, I wend my way to work through a rural community passing by a Blue Herron Rookery, which is quite a sight to see in the Spring.  Although, I reside in this town about forty hours a week at my job as a lowly network administrator, sometimes I believe I need to open my yes and marvel at the history that was made right here where I stand.  So with pioneer spirit in mind, I take us to the historically famous Ambridge.

Way back before the town of Ambridge was formed, lots went on here!  A branch of the Iroquois tribe known as the Mingo's lived and thrived here under the  leadership of of  Tanacharison, who appears in history beginning in 1747.  He claimed his father was boiled and eaten by the French, but I think that may be a complicated, and distasteful story.

George Rapp House
And then in 1825, a religious community call the Harmony Society settled here at the site of Old Economy Village where they farmed, and  created quite a successful a village of commercial and industrial activity, and the faithful were given assurances that the Son of God would arrive in 1829 order to prepare them for the kingdom of heaven.  But that didn't happen, the place went into crisis, split up, and eventually the Harmony Society dissolved in 1905.

Long story short, but that is where I am today, at the Old Economy Village, which is under renovation right now.  The Village located at 14th and Church Streets, is being renovated right now, and so I was not able to tour the site, but it does offer an education  glimpse into the daily lives of the Harmonists, including blacksmithing, weaving, and there are about 80 Harmonist houses to view.  The village is listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Pennsylvania. I was able to walk about, peer through fences and windows.... I love this stuff...

LST launching in Ambridge, PA
Closer to home, historically, in 1905 Ambridge was incorporated, and  got it's name from The American Bridge Company, which dominated the area for quite some time.  Thousands of immigrants came to work here. American Bridge was a pioneer in construction of river barges, leader in fabrication of suspension bridges, like the San Francisco-Oakland Bridge, also Empire State Building, Sears tower and 3Rivers Stadium and Civic Arena right here in Pittsburgh.  American Bridge built the LST (Landing Ship, Tanks) during WWII which was sort of like a "mother ship," carrying assault boats to places like Omaha Beach during the Normandy Invasion.   A lot of women came to work as welders and such during that time, when the men were off to war.  And the BEST FEMALE WELDER IN THE US, MY BEAUTIFUL MOTHER, came from Donora, PA to work as a welder at that time.  Coincidentally, right in the exact same location as I current work now.  So my Mom joined a lot of women as pioneers, working outside the home in jobs that were created for men.  Isn't that a coincidence!

Well, that's my pioneer story for today.  Who know where scout and I may end up the next time.  I've taken a liking to the little historical plaques along the side of the roads and highways that no one reads...

Keep the pioneer spirit going....ciao, Pioneer Girl xoxo

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Otis Redding and Day of the Living Dead


Greetings, Pioneers!  Although I am at home in the Burgh, I am trying to keep my Pioneer Spirit alive, and experience new and varied things.  I am going to do this on a weekly basis, and blog to help me to remember and relive my experiences. I'm linking this to FB once more, but I'm not certain that I will continue that. I'll be blogging here if anyone ever wants to check me out.  I love to write, so write I will.

Here lies Nicholas Kramer
Today, GPS coordinates tracked me down in Evans City, Pennsylvania.  Scout and I decided to check out the creepy Evans City Cemetery, on location where in 1968 the legendary, The Night of the Living Dead was filmed.  The undead guy.freaked out poor Barbara (above) as the zombies attacked her brother, leaving her in a catatonic state for the rest of the movie.  She clutched the tombstone of poor, real dead Nicholas Kramer. What an interesting place and I could almost see the zombies walking across the graveyard.  Not that it's one of my favorite movies or anything, but hey, it's  local.  Only me there (and Scout). Got my exercise in too, walking the cemetery looking for Nicholas Kramer's gravestone...   and uh huh, I did find it, as you can see.

I was a solitary Pioneer, albiet the siting of a strange guy wearing a yellow tossle cap on horseback.  Seriously, it's true.  He reigned the horse in on the side of the road when we left so I KNOW he was real.  Got a good look at him.  Wish I could have snapped a picture

Otis Redding
I love walking around in cemeteries, looking at names and dates, some so worn and forgotten, some all jazzed up for Halloween.  It was cold and windy, dead leaves floating around, and I kept thinking:   "Poor Otis dead and gone. left me here to sing his song..pretty little girl with the red dress on, poor Otis dead and gone".  Did you know, Jim Morrison's a cappella to that song, Runnin' Blue was added as a tribute for Otis Redding, who was recently (at the time) killed in a car crash?  "Running away, back to LA, got to find the dock of the bay..."  I heard on NPR one day that Jim Morrison loved Otis Redding.   The Soft Parade was my favorite Door's album.

Well, so that was my day today, among other mundane things.  But I'm glad I went, it was campy and fun.  So Pioneer Girl was a zombie girl today. Now I need to lighten up, bout to pour a glass of wine, roast some veggies for dinner, and watch The Girl Who Played with Fire.

Happy adventures..over and out.. PG xoxo

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pioneer Spirit n'at

Good Morning, Pioneer Friends...  GPS coordinates tracks me in Pittsburgh, PA, home from my pioneer adventures for the time being.

The last leg of my journey, was spent in a cramped window seat on Southwest Airlines, with a layover in Las Vegas.  So, including Nevada as an add-on to my trip, this Pioneer Girl, stopped in 14 states in a 10 day period.  I can only say, that I would not have changed one thing about the trip, mis-adventures, troubles, squabbles and all.

One thing that I was loathe to mention  So picture this:  Camo pants, Steeler shirt, Bodie Hat, Crocs.  Now picture a beat-up truck with two Mexican workers coming to a quick stop.   Okay, now picture all of those things and yours truly sprawled out in the middle of a two-lane black top somewhere outside of Bakersfield,  Oh yes, I did.  Scraped elbows and hurt my rib pretty bad. BOCG had stopped and gone into a fruit stand across the street  to ask directions and I decided to get out and buy some fruit.   All is well, rib still hurts when I cough, laugh, or just get up, but with some pain meds from my doctor, I'll be better in no time.

My leaving California, and leaving my love, was very hard for both of us.  I'm still digesting things and sorting things out. Who knows what the future will bring, but we are both spiritual seekers and know that ones purpose in life always wins out when you are open to it and willing to take on its challenges.  Am I?

All in all, and I know I can be corny and dramatic at times, but we really did see America the Beautiful, amber waves of grain, purple mountains magesty and fruited plains (well, dusty and windy plains, but you get the drift.  haha).

Elizabeth Blackwell
Thank you to all my pioneer  friends who traveled with me, hopefully found my blog enjoyable, and kept me company along the way.  And thank you to those of you who conversed with me with encouragement and just plain fun. It was exciting.

And you know there are so many ways, we can all be and have been pioneers in our lives, blazing trails in every aspect of life.  In closing, I quote Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female doctor in the United States:    "It is not easy to be a pioneer - but oh, it is fascinating! I would not trade one moment, even the worst moment, for all the riches in the world."
 Over 'n out for now.. Pioneer Girl  xoxo n'at