righty-tighty, lefty-loosey

Thursday, August 16: On our way home from Fallingwater this afternoon, the boys, who came to visit me in Oman in January, remind me jokingly that here in America, we don’t have attendants to fill up our gas tanks like I do in Oman.  They comment that I’m quite spoiled by this, and I agree, I am!

our Toyota Sienna parked at Deep Creek Lake

When they say this, I remember something that happened when I went to visit my daughter in Richmond.   I tell them this story, laughing at how ridiculous it is.  And at how ridiculous I can be sometimes….

I went to the gas station in my 1997 Toyota Camry, a car I have been driving for well over 10 years, and I got out of the car to fill up the tank.  I started turning the gas cap to the right and it wouldn’t come off!!  It just kept making this clickety-grating sound as I turned it round and round, but it was stuck firmly in place.  I started to panic.  We were practically driving on fumes as it was, and I was afraid it was permanently stuck and we wouldn’t be able to get gas!!

my 1997 Toyota Camry ~ shouldn’t I know by now how to get the gas cap off?

Sarah was sitting in the passenger seat and she yelled out, “What’s going on, Mom?”

I said, “I can’t get the gas cap off!  It’s stuck!  I don’t know what’s wrong!!”

Maybe she heard the panic in my voice.  Maybe she thought I had become somewhat daft in my years living abroad.  Either way, she hopped out of the car and promptly grabbed the gas cap and turned it to the left, the opposite direction from which I was turning it, and it came right off!

Miracle of miracles!  I am so out of practice with filling up my own gas tank, I didn’t even know the right direction to twist off the cap.

I have never had to fill up the gas tank of my GMC Terrain in Oman myself!

I tell my boys & Mike this story as we are driving home this afternoon, and Adam pipes up: “Righty-tighty, lefty-loosey!  Don’t you know that?”

I look like a deer in headlights.  I’m searching the deep (and very dark) recesses of my brain, but honestly, I have never heard this before.  The boys are shocked.  “How could you have never heard this?” they ask.  I ask Mike if he has heard it, thinking maybe this is a generational thing, some secret to the universe to which only the younger generation has access.  Mike says, yes, he’s heard it before, somewhere along the way.

I wonder how on earth I have managed to survive all these years without being armed with this simple bit of folk wisdom!!

jars, cars & other containers: “righty-tighty, lefty-loosey!”

travel theme: signs

Thursday, August 16:  This week’s travel theme from Ailsa of Where’s my backpack? is SIGNS.  Ailsa writes about signs: they come in all shapes and sizes. If you would like to join in, create your own post with the title Travel theme: Signs and put a link to Ailsa’s page in your post so others can find it. And check back in next Friday for a new travel theme.

The USA certainly has its share of strange & interesting signs, as Ailsa’s post demonstrates, so I focus my sign-hunting on western Maryland, where our family is on vacation, and in Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania.  Here are a few from the mountains near Deep Creek Lake.  I found this one at a Baptist Bible Church.

at a Baptist Bible Church in McHenry County

Believe it or not, there is a town called Accident near Deep Creek Lake.

Accident, Maryland

This is a sign I found on the back of a bathroom door near Monroe Run Hiking Trail.  I found it interesting and informative! 🙂

I learned something about composting here!

And here’s a warning to fishermen to please wash their waders so they don’t spread “Rock Snot”!

Help prevent “Rock Snot”!

In Pennsylvania, we eat lunch at a cute little cafe where they write their signs on blackboards.  This reminds me of my childhood, when I used to make all 4 of my little siblings sit in rows and listen to me “teach” them (who knows what!) and write on a blackboard.

artistic signs on blackboards at the Firefly Grill

And at this little cafe in Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania, the only option available to my vegan sons is in the bottom left corner.

sausage, pork, beef and chicken: every meat known to man. luckily there are some fruit smoothie options!

story challenge: letter “f” ~ fallingwater

Thursday, August 16:  Today we venture to Fallingwater, the famous vacation house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1935 for the Edgar J. Kaufmann family.  Edgar J. Kaufmann was a Jewish German-American businessman and philanthropist who owned and managed Kaufmann’s Department Store, the most notable store in Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania in the 20th century.   According to our guide, Kaufmann’s was eventually bought out and today is now known as Macy’s.

Bear Run is the source of the waterfall under the house

Fallingwater is a house dedicated to outdoor living – an escape from the stressful lifestyle that the Kaufmanns lived in Pittsburgh. The house is perched over the Bear Run waterfalls in the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania.  It seems to grow organically right out of the boulders and mountainside and hangs confidently over the creek.  Steps lead directly from the amazing open great room down to the creek, where the Kaufmanns could walk down and dangle their feet into the cool rushing water in the summer months.

the stairway to Bear Run from the great room

Local laborers built the main and guest houses between 1936-39, under the direction of a self-taught builder and three of Wright’s apprentices.  Known as a modern masterpiece, its reinforced concrete cantilevers extending out from a masonry core expressed a new freedom in architecture.  The family used Fallingwater until 1963, when Edgar Kaufmann, Jr., put it in the hands of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.

the view from below of Fallingwater and Bear Run waterfalls
the view from above the house

We take a tour of the house, but once inside, we are not allowed to take pictures.  The boys love the bedrooms, the open terraces, and the great room with the giant iron pot over the fireplace where the Kaufmanns could brew and serve apple cider all day.  I love the Kaufmann’s favorite autumn colors of orange, red, and gold, Mrs. Kaufmann’s Tiffany collection and the Japanese block prints collected by Mr. Kaufmann.  We all love the wide expanses of glass walls, where a person can feel one with nature. We love the cantilevered design of the bookshelves, the seamless design of the glass walls into the rock walls, the avoidance of corners.  We love the sounds of the water, the cool breeze coming through the windows, the simple design of the furnishings.  We are admonished not to touch anything or to sit down on any of the furniture, but it is hard to remember not to do this as the design is so inviting!

Mike, top, and Alex and Adam on the bench
Me with Fallingwater behind me
a butterfly on the grounds of Fallingwater

This post is in response to FrizzText’s Story Challenge: Letter F.  He writes: Do you have a story or a short reflection tagged with the letter “F” to share? For example I’ve written about FEAR and FIRE, FISHES and FUNERALS, FRIEND or FOE, FORTRESS or FRAGILE, FLAT IRONS or FRANCE, F-86 Air Force FIGHTER or FIAT 500, FACE or FEET, FUN or FOOTBALL, FASHION or FARMING, FOAM or FLAMENCO, FATHER or FROG, FREE-BIRD or FRUSTRATION, FLAG or FIELD etc. – I’m sure you’ll find an own story or a short reflection tagged with “F”! Feel free to add in the comments the link to your personal interpretation of the letter “F”!!!

ohiopyle, pennsylvania ~ a slice of americana

Thursday, August 16:  On our way to Fallingwater, we stop for lunch at the little town of Ohiopyle in Pennsylvania.

we see these flowers all over Pennsylvania and western Maryland: the Black-eyed Susan, also known as Brown-eyed Susan, Brown Betty, Brown Daisy, Gloriosa Daisy, Yellow Daisy…. the list goes on.

Ohiopyle is a small borough in the Laurel Highland mountains of Fayette County, Pennsylvania.  The community is a place for outdoor lovers.  Ohiopyle State Park offers hiking and biking along the 135 mile Great Allegheny Passage.  The Youghiogheny River, which runs through the town, has frothy rapids for whitewater canoeing or rafting.

the Youghiogheny River going through Ohiopyle

The first known group of people to inhabit the Ohiopyle area were the Monongahela, a clan of the Mound Builders. These Native Americans disappeared from the scene just as European colonists were beginning to arrive in North America.  One of the few remnants of American Indian culture that can be found in the area is in the name. “Ohiopyle” is derived from the Lenape phrase ahi opihəle which means ‘it turns very white’, referring to the frothy waterfalls. (Wikipedia: Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania)

anything you want to explore the great outdoors in Ohiopyle

As of the 2000 census, there were only 77 people living in the borough.  Despite the tiny year-round population, the area is often brimming with tourists who come to experience the great outdoors.

We eat lunch at a cute little cafe called The Firefly Grill.

Firefly Grill
ordering lunch at the Firefly Grill

The boys have Thai Tofu wraps: Fried tofu, salad mix, cucumber, tomato, onion and a spicy Thai peanut sauce.

Thai Tofu wrap

I have what seems like a HUGE Southwestern wrap: Black beans, salad mix, rice, salsa, sour cream, Cheddar cheese, onion & guacamole.  I only eat half and give the rest to Mike.

the Southwestern wrap

Mike has a vegetarian ciabatta with grilled veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower, salad mix, feta cheese and peppers.

the grilled veggie pita sandwich with fresh-cut french fries
the Methodist Church next door

After lunch we take a stroll through the little (0.5 square mile) town.  We see a Methodist church, a bike shop, an ice cream shop, an old train station/visitor center, and a bridge over the river.

Bike Rentals, Ice Cream, Rafting Trips ~ all under one roof!
Bike shop
bikes near the Visitor Center
Methodist Church welcomes you!

We then stroll down along the banks of the Youghiogheny River, where we see kayakers, sunbathers on rocks and frothy rapids.

the bridge across the river
looking downriver from the bridge
beautiful day!
kayakers below the bridge
white water rapids
beautiful flowering bushes along the riverside
I love these bushes!
beautiful flowers!! 🙂
Adam balances on the fence for the length
the falls
the waterfalls, again
and once more…

I love the feel of this little town, with its few inhabitants and its outdoor-loving passers-through.  I’d love to come back again, when I return to America, to do some white-water rafting.  No time for it today, but it is fun dropping in.

goodbye, Ohiopyle, PA!