Where Learning Goes Underground

I was in Maryland when I got lost and drove aimlessly, little did I notice that I was already in Pennsylvania after my GPS from my car announced and welcomed me to the state from Maryland. Then, I saw the signage on the side of the road and it read Laurel Caverns. I was drawn to it and at that time, I have decided to come and see what’s in it for me. It was almost an hour and a half drive from Oakland, Maryland. I arrived at Laurel Caverns at 1430H. Parking is free and I went inside the visitor center and took one of the brochures and I got a little excited since I really didn’t know what to expect. I found out that Laurel Caverns is Pennsylvania’s largest cave. I went to find the staff and asked what they offer and told me about a tour in the cave. I automatically said, ‘sign me in for the tour where learning goes underground.’pa02

Laurel Caverns as I mentioned is Pennsylvania’s largest cave located in route 40 east of Uniontown. For travelers to get to Laurel Caverns, just put this address in GPS: 101 Skyline Drive, Farmington, PA 15437 that will get to the intersection of Skyline Drive and Route 40. It has Norman E. Cale Visitor’s Center which serves as a souvenir shop, tour meeting point, snack area, restrooms and changing rooms for caving gear.pa01

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Laurel Caverns Postcards

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Souvenir Shop

Laurel Caverns offers 4 tours, namely the traditional one hour tour, upper caving tours, lower caving tours and half-day and all-day educational tour. I chose the traditional one hour tour. Admission fee costs USD12 for adult. For more information about the cavern, visit this site at www.laurelcaverns.com.

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Cave Bats Entrance

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Hall of the Mountain King

I took the one hour tour for the reason that I don’t have the whole day to explore the cave and I’m not a certified cave explorer. Anyway, the traditional one hour tour is the most popular since it is suitable for all ages. It has a guide and tour starts every 20 minutes with the last tour of the day enters the cave at 1630H. This tour is not advisable though for schools and large groups wanting a private guide. That’s the reason they have the half-day and all-day educational programs which include rappelling classes, cave study excursions, BSA and GSA speleology, geology and forestry patches, badges and pins. But visitors need to call in ahead because this tour is only available every Saturday and other days by special arrangements.

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Tour with the guide

The traditional tour lasts about 55 minutes seeing Laurel Caverns as a natural cave which follows the natural slope of the mountain. The tour may be strenuous for some. The cave temperature is 52 degrees Fahrenheit year round so, a sweater or jacket should be worn. Non-slippery shoes are also important and never wear high heels to a cave. These are the photos I captured when I was down in the cave, spelunking.pa07pa08pa09pa10pa11pa12pa13pa14pa15pa16pa17pa19pa20The whole cave experience was amazing. I used to visit caves back in the Philippines and the Middle East but Laurel Caverns has been made accessible and more of a touristy vibe with the colorful lights. With the aid of the guide, cave explorers like me were able to navigate the different routes in the cave and were able to get important information and history as we go along with the tour. Indeed, Laurel Caverns is where learning goes underground.

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Back in NYC

Somebody said that you have never been to the United States, if you haven’t gone to New York City. That is the reason my mother asked me to let her see and visit the Big Apple. One of her special requests so, I made sure to put it in our itinerary before she even got her in the Land of the Free. I am also comfortable showing and getting around NYC since I’ve been in this city that doesn’t sleep just last February. But this time, my mum will be with me to explore it. Thus, I re-visited, I re-conquered and I’m back in NYC to check those which I haven’t explored during my first visit. Continue reading

Searching For Miss Valentine

February is considered to be the Heart Month for a lot of reasons. One of those reasons is Valentine’s day that falls on February 14th which was the other day and everyone celebrated it. On that day, people tend to be more romantic and some were looking for partners. Since I’ve been a loner and single for quite some time, February keeps me longing for someone to fill my somehow empty heart and have come up with an idea to just go with it. Thus, I have decided to set on a journey in searching for Miss Valentine.

To look for Miss Valentine, I needed to set a location to hunt for her and what better place to do that than on a city that never sleeps. Three days prior to Valentine’s Day, I have traveled a long way in a grueling ride of 13 hours. I was in a bus in Pittsburgh on my way to Philly and found 3 gorgeous ladies but they were too young for me, so, I just ignored them. I got into Philadelphia but there were no traces of her, too. Few hours later, I sat foot in the busiest city of the United States, New York. I got out of Port Authority Bus Terminal in West 42nd Street and I have been wandering around to find her but unluckily, I didn’t see her. Then, I got into this famous hive within Clinton Hell’s Kitchen area to get some snooze to continue my search to finding Miss Valentine.

In the morning of February 12th, I was re-energised and headed back to the street. It was freezin’ cold at 9 degrees Fahrenheit or -13 Celsius but still it didn’t stop me from finding her. I went all over NYC. First, I had my search in Times Square. They were not too many people around since it was really icy cold. During the morning, Times Square is really pretty. It’s a busy NYC landmark but organised. Tourists are everywhere and police officers are visible, too.

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Times Square during daytime

When the sun is out, everything changes. Times Square becomes alive with bright lights from billboards/ advertisements and people just walk here and there. It looks chaotic but it’s not and you will love it. Times Square has been one of New York City icons aside from Statue of Liberty. It is a major commercial intersection and neighborhood in Midtown Manhattan. It is also sometimes referred to as, ‘The Crossroads of the World’ and ‘The Heart of the World’ since it is one of the world’s most visited tourist attractions and the busiest pedestrian intersection.

 With a massive visitors in Times Square, there is no way I could bump into her. So, I ended up going to another location. I went to a place where most people meet. It is the Grand Central Terminal and still in 42nd Street. The terminal serves commuters traveling within New York state. The building itself is magnificent with its intricate designs both inside and out. Being magnificent, Grand Central Terminal is also one of the most visited tourist attractions in the city.

Even in Grand Central Terminal which is a common rendezvous, I haven’t seen her even a shadow. Then, I made up a decision to try at places like museums. Since museums are also famous here in New York City. I headed to Ripley’s Believe It or  Not which is the largest Ripley’s odditorium in the world, housing over thousand of authentic artifacts and interactive exhibits. And I also went to Madame Tussauds which is a famous wax museum. They have Pope Francis wax in front of the museum along with Lara Croft and the rest of human like figures. To get inside, you need to shell out some few bucks. Untitled-1Untitled-2Both of those two museums were off limits to a thrift traveler and seeker like me who doesn’t want to spend a dime. She might be inside but I would rather search on streets than on establishments with a fee. I continued my journey and visited the Philippine Embassy. I don’t know what I was thinking but I was wondering she maybe also looking for me.

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Consulate General of the Republic of the Philippines in 556 5th Ave, New York, NY 10036

Untitled-13Still she wasn’t there. With my desperation, I was aiming on skyscrapers. Not that I would jump from them but I was thinking of using those coined operated telescopes on top of those really tall buildings to find her. First on my list was the Empire State Building. It is considered an American cultural icon and has been ranked as the number one of America’s favorite architectures. Its name was derived from the nick name of New York, the Empire State. It has 102 stories and when you are on top of it, you can see the whole view of NYC. I really wanted to take pictures of the building but taking shots as tall as Empire State building is hard.20160213_104509Untitled-u1Even in Empire State building, I failed again. The next skyscraper I visited to was the Rockefeller Centre. It is considered a landmark building in New York. It has been declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987. But with so much history, it still didn’t help.20160212_17324720160212_173319

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Rockfeller Centre Ice Rink

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Thus, I just randomly walked where my feet take me and I got some really interesting skyscrapers and street photos.

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Radio City

20160213_10251220160213_10341620160213_103325I got exhausted from searching and I still felt empty. Then I stopped walking and when I looked where I’m at. I was back in Rockefeller Centre and when I stared across the street. I saw some really comforting figure. I went in and was amazed and felt at ease. I was in St. Patrick’s Cathedral.20160213_105735

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The next day, I got so tired from doing that. So, I just called my New York friends to meet up and spend some time to console my longing heart. Then, my friends brought me over to the Queens, New York and I got to eat my fave childhood restaurant, Jollibee. The Queens is on the other side of NY. The easternmost and largest in area of the five boroughs of New York City. Queens is the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world and is accessible thru subway. It was my first time to try their subway station.

My friends and I just talked the whole day, catching up on what has been going on with our lives. That day was a great day. We got the time to reminisce school days when we were still in the Philippines, pursuing our dreams and now, we have come all this way to meet up in a foreign land. We ended the day by celebrating the Holy Mass in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. After the mass, we have decided to dine in one of those Chinese restaurants near Rockfeller Centre to counter the cold weather by sipping some hot and delicious soup noodles.

While savoring those hot noodles, we talked about our personal lives and it appeared that we have grown in terms of being responsible. We can classify ourselves as independent, financially stable adults who can pay their monthly bills but we also have same problems. We still didn’t find love and we are still searching for our partners. Some of my friends are in an open relationship and some are just in a blur. While me on the other hand has nothing at all. The chit-chats just goes on and on. The night was getting deeper and we had to exchange goodbyes. I headed back to my hotel while they went to their apartments. It was fun.

Then, Valentine’s day came. It was also my schedule to go back home in Ohio. My entire search was a failure but I was still positive that I might meet her on my way back home. The trip started in Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City with frequent stops in Mt. Laurel, NJ, Philadelphia, PA and Harrisburg, PA. When I was in Harrisburg, PA, the other bus heading to Pittsburgh had an emergency and all commuters on that bus need to transfer over our bus to get to Pittsburgh. I was taking a nap and suddenly this girl sat right next to me. She was wearing a black cloak with a back pack and a book on her hand. She was also wearing a white beanie. I didn’t see her face because I got used to not stare at people. But I usually glanced at her and I noticed her really nice nose, her hair and white flawless skin. I really wanted to talk to her but I am not good in starting conversation. When we were in Lemoyne, she fell asleep and almost fell from her seat. I said, are you OK, but unfortunately, she didn’t hear me since she was on her headset listening music from her phone. So, I went back to sleep. Never had I realise that we were in Pittsburgh, PA, she took off the bus while I was sleeping and I didn’t even get the chance to talk to her. When I saw her empty seat, she left her checked in baggage stub with her name on it. I told to myself, does this mean something? Because when the time she sat on that seat, I felt different. So, I tried to reach out. I got her name and searched her on Facebook and I sent a private message to her which turned out that she is already in a relationship with a guy from Abington. She then told me that she accidentally left the stub and just throw it. The conversation was short but the emotions and the imaginations I had were really outrageous and overflowing. It only means that I need to find a partner soon. I got her photo (without her permission) and this will symbolise that in this world, you will find a good heart that will fit the vacant spaces in between your fingers to hold and latch on. A person who will share your lifetime may it be better or worse. The whole journey was a big flop. But I learned that you don’t need to look for your Valentine, they will come in the right time. All you have to do is wait because if you force it, you might end up with the wrong person. As of now, I’m still looking forward to meet her. But my search for Miss Valentine is still going on. So for now, all I can say is hope you had a happy Vday!

Out-of-State Travel

Traveling interstate for me is difficult for many reasons:
1st, I just got into driving recently and I’m not that confident to drive to other state;
2nd, Routes and unfamiliar roads make me more nervous;
and lastly, Different type of drivers gather in one road and I’m one of the reckless category.

So, I ended up getting into a bus for my trip from Cambridge, OH to Washington DC. I’ve searched thru the net on what buses have routes going to the capital of the country. I found the Greyhound Line, Inc and purchased a round trip ticket. The ticket costs about $166 but if I have purchased it more earlier, it would have cost lesser. Check their site, here. Continue reading

On Its 5th This 2015

If you have been following my blog, well, I have started blogging last 2010 in a small district in Tagbilaran City. It commenced on the 17th of October and I never thought that I’ll get this far. It began when I was reading other blogs and I have decided to make my own blogsite. Setting up the objective and purpose of the blog was hard but since my point of interest is into traveling, thus, I have featured my travels here and there. I have titled it, THE LONE TRAVELER. I do travel alone. It’s difficult but it’s fun.

Through this blog, I was able to see other parts of the world. I got to experience other cultures firsthand. I was able to help other people by giving information by the use of this blog. I got also a ticket to be featured in a local show in the Philippines but it didn’t happen anyway since I was abroad exploring.

At the beginning, I only had like a hundred of followers and readers on my first year, then, it went up and received a lot of traffics these past years. I’ve got followers who even inspire me to write more and they’ve been counting and looking for my next post. I am so grateful for everyone who visited my site.

On its 5th anniversary this 2015, I have decided to go the capital of the country where I’m at before winter comes. It would be my first out-of-state travel alone, thus, I’ve been researching on what to do. I’ve been asking also a lot of people and I’ve visited places to get idea for my trip to be a success.  I did spend most of my time planning and so far, the web has been of great help providing me all major key points and even minute details.

I did find out these very helpful information and I am also giving it out for everyone who wants to travel in the United States:

Greyhound Line, Inc – check their site and you will find their location and what states they are providing transportation service.

Greyhound Line, Inc contact details

Greyhound Line, Inc contact details

Barons Bus Lines – is also a bus company but serves most of the cities, towns and counties within the state of Ohio and some neighboring states such as Maryland, West  Virginia and Pennsylvania. They work hand in hand with Greyhound Line, Inc.

Both of these bus line companies you can purchase your ticket online. Once you have your ticket printed, you can head to the bus station stated on their website. Mine is in Cambridge and I got to see this.

Cambridge County Courthouse

Cambridge County Courthouse

Booking.com – I’ve been using this site for quite some time from my trip when I was still in the Middle East to my Southeast Asian tour. It has been very useful for me to find the most affordable hotel to stay.

Maps.ME – is an offline GPS tool which I have installed in my phone way back long time ago. It has been my partner when traveling to unfamiliar locations and with its help, I never had the time to get lost. It is detailed and updates are constantly generated.

With all the help I got from these sites and application, my 5th anniversary trip won’t be so terrifying and my anxiety level will not be that high since I have a clue of what I am doing. So for my fellow travelers, it is best to be always ready and to have a knowledge and idea before embarking on your new journey. I know it is an adventure to get lost and walked on a roadless track but if you have limited time, then, getting lost is not an option. Just be safe always.

P.S. I’ll be posting my journey in a few days time.