What a great start to a fun filled week. Mount Lebanon held its annual Halloween Parade, which I attended with Adam and V. The dogs were my favorite part...although the dressed up marching Band reminded me of Amy in Somerset, years ago.
On Sunday, we had the family over for a Halloween Meal. The kids helped me fix it all up. From Creepy Spiders, Bug Salad, Halloween Faces, and Monster Eyes with a great desert of Hands....It really did taste good.
Then it was off to the Zoo on Tuesday to celebrate our 42 anniverary. We saw lions, tigers, bears, giraffees, monkeys and elephants. Its was a lovely warm day for our visit to the zoo.
With dinner at Eat and Park...
On Wednesday the temperatures was still warm so we went off for what we thought might be the last bike ride of the season.
Then on Thursday, we had dinner with Adam and his family. I went with him with the girls trick or treating in the rain.
Lew was busy on the model railroad and I'm sewing up a storm....but Halloween takes the cake over it all!
'In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." Ben Franklin
Tomorrow, October 15, 2013 I will go to Kittanning and appeal the taxes on the woods property.
First I will give out the maps I've prepared.
Here is what I will say.
Good morning. My name is Janet Johns and along with my husband we own the property that you see outlined in the black. The numbers in black that you see are the per acre assessment value of each section. This property has been in the family for generations. In 2006 my father deeded our land to us because he could no longer afford the taxes. This spring we had his house, that he built, torn down to save on the taxes.
Much to our uneducated surprise, the taxes did not drop to what we expected. That started me on a project to figure out the taxes in our little part of Armstong county. The research done in the government office lead me to the figures you see on the map. Immediately to the right of our property you can see two sections that are significantly higher. This property belonged to our Uncle. One piece was sold to help pay his taxes and the other piece was sold after his death by his widow. Both of these properties have houses on it. Along the river are "camps" except for a lot that I found which bordered our property. Its assessed land value is 100 dollars for its .97 acres. All the surround land has the per acre assessed value that you see. One lot extends to the river. Several of the lots have road frontage. Two pieces are under Act 139 which I understand changes the assessed value per acre of the section. But still only one side of our property is the "expensive land". Please flip your map to the other side.
Here is the math of what would be a "fair" value. If 1/4 of our nine acres is bound by the expensive values lets do the math to see what a fair value would lead us. You can see that simply use the present land assessment values, I figure a total assessment of 5932.06 vs the present assessment of 11830. That is why I am here to ask you to reconsider the land assessment value of our property.
Thank-you. Do you have any questions?
Its the best I could do. It really bugs me that right of the "expensive land" is 99 dollars an acre. All the "low" prices are owned by the Snyders. Funny about that.
Sure some of it is Act 139, but some is not. The 162.50 assess value land is owned by two separate trusts. Does this surprise me? Not so much.
Oct 15....Not a single change to the assessment. Here's one direct quote and a summary. I can try again next tax year.
aren't here to decide what is fair." If you want the taxes lowered you
must prove by an appraisal that the land isn't worth what Armstrong
County set as a fair market value. It doesn't matter what the
surrounding land is worth for us to decide that you have not proven a
need to change your value. The answer is No change.
Florida Coastal Region September 14--Blue Spring State Park
We decided to visit Blue Spring State Park because the Manatees are not close to the spring at this time of year and thus swimming is permitted. The Campground was nearly full and it downpoured in the afternoon (killing my swimming desire). It was still a good campground to have as our first stop after Disneyworld.
We seem to not have any recent pictures. September 15--Fort Clinch State Park
It was right on the beach after traveling through a forest to get there. It was ever so lovely.
I had no issues with sticking my feet in the water but swimming was not allowed due to the dangerous currents. I did get to chase sea gulls as a form of activity though.
September 16--Colleton State Park
This was a very pleasant place. Not crowded. With a few walks which we took after we set up. The main feature is a blackwater river used heavily by canoeists.
September 17--Wilsons Riverfront RV Park
We looked over campgrounds and found that this one advertised that it was on a bikepath. Not only on the bikepath but through the middle of the campground.
On the other side is more campsites. See Marco?
We could watch the canoeists and the dogs walking all from our site.
But to balence this coolness....we could REALLY hear TWO interstates. We did bike six miles since we knew our next stop included more biking.
September 18-19--Damascus Creeper Trail Campground
We arrived rather early and had lunch at the campground. We debated trying to do the Virginia Creeper Trail but thought that we would wait until tomorrow so instead we went exploring. I've wanted to stay at the Backbone Rock National Recreation Area, but since the campground doesn't have water it would take a bit of planning. So instead we drove out to see what it is like. Wow. When we return to bike the Virginia Creeper Trail AGAIN we will stay there and figure out the water in advance. Big sites right on a nice creek.
Then we walked the backbone. I enjoyed it completely while Lew managed not to yell at me to stop going to the edges. First is a picture of the backbone from the road.
Yes, one can hike to the top of the backbone. Its full of switchbacks and steps!
Then you get to peek around on the top!
Quite a fun little hike.
Virginia Creeper Trail
What we were getting ourselves all geared up to do was biking the 17 mile Virginia Creeper Trail that we did last October. It was really rather cold for that bike ride and we rushed it a bit too much so we were both really looking forward to a wonderful leisurely ride. We packed rain gear because the forecast called for a 15% chance of a few showers and Lew REALLY doesn't like to get wet and chilled (Its his heart thing). We also packed sweaters in case it was cold at the top. We packed a lunch and four water bottles so we could enjoy the entire day on the trail. We got the shuttle at 10AM thinking it would be warmer later. He dropped us off around 10:30 with 17 miles of downhill to travel to civilization.
Well, two miles into our lovely day, it started to rain (and I do mean rain). We stopped and go under the trees. When it let up to a drizzle we decided to go a bit. The downpour started up a bit before we crossed a bridge so we hid under it for at least a half hour. We didn't think it would stop so we determined our best course was to bike it out. Hopefully by the elevation difference would work in our favor.
It didn't. This was a completely miserable ride for 15 of the 17 miles. Downpour for most of it. We arrived hungry and thirsty (didn't even stop for a drink) at 1 PM. We had to hose ourselves and the bikes off before we could even think about showers.
We decided that if rain were even a slight change we wouldn't bike a long distance again.
We were going to visit Monticello (Jefferson's Home) but since I've seen it Lew decided he would rather keep driving. Endless Cavern campground took Passport America and looked really nice and had a laundry and boy after yesterday, we needed the laundry. This place also fit our end of day time allowing us to do the laundry and shower more of the mud from behind our ears. Instead of doing the wash, we decided the cavern looked too neat to pass up and there wasn't anyone taking the 4PM tour. So we were given a private tour for the price of a group tour. The cavern was very neat too and even included a bat!
We did manage to do the wash...it just didn't get done until very late that night.
We arrived here in the later part of the afternoon and just hung in the campground. It wasn't even close to a quarter full. We thought since it was going to rain and then be cold tomorrow that we would do a short bike ride and travel on. Instead, this morning we biked three miles and decided it was warm enough to risk a long ride and got a shuttle bus from Jim Thorpe to Rockport. That's a 15 mile bike trail bringing today's total to 18 miles. While much of it was downhill, it still took pedaling. We also managed to geocache.
We still haven't made it to Vermont...Stay tuned for more travel to Amy's.