Sunday, June 27, 2010

We’re in Lancaster, PA.


Sunday, June 27, 2010                                                                                                        Lorraine’s Report

A Very Happy Birthday Wish to our son, Rick! We both wish you many more years filled with excellent adventures, health, and love. I wish we could be together, I miss you.

A Very Happy Anniversary Wish to our good friends, Richard and Sandy. It was just a year ago we were standing up with you in front of family, friends and God, pledging to support you both through thick and thin. We hope you are both as happy as you were that day when you said those words to each other. You both still have all our love and good wishes.

We are here in Lancaster, PA at an Outdoor World/Thousand Trails RV Park. We got here Thursday afternoon.

Since last Sunday was Father’s Day and we were going to be alone, I asked Chuck to drive us into Atlantic City for the afternoon. We played the slots-no luck, and walked the boardwalk, which was crowded with tourists and families. All in all, it was a very nice day for us.

Monday we stripped the bed, and took all the rugs with all the bedding to Laundromat since we were on 30 amp, and didn’t have enough power to dry everything, without running the generator. The gal at the front office didn’t want us running the generator, for whatever reason.

The next day we decided to head off to Cape May, NJ. Cape May is at the southern end of New Jersey where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean, with a rich history, award-winning beaches, designation as a top birding location, and has many Victorian structures. Cape May is a seaside resort drawing visitors from around the world. Cape May was recognized as one of America's top 10 beaches by the Travel Channel and its beach was ranked fifth in New Jersey in the 2008. It is home to the Cape May lighthouse, beautiful million dollar homes and condos, and many quaint shops.

At the beach, I put my toes into the cold Atlantic Ocean, for the last time for many moons. I truly love the ocean, the sights, the clean air smell, the wind, the birds, and the feel of the water; the whole experience is so cleansing and calming to me.

I have to say the sand on this beach wasn’t nice, in fact it hurt to walk on and was mainly bigger chunks of broken shells/rocks. The beach at Mexico City, FL was very fine white shells; the beach at St. Augustine, FL was also fine white shells. As we went farther north up the eastern coast, the shells/rocks got bigger and harder to walk on. Sunset Beach at Cape May was the hardest. Also, the ocean water got colder as we went north.

After the beach, we found the WW II lookout station, and the Cape May lighthouse.

Then we headed into the center of town towards Washington Street, where the tourist shops are for some looking. WA Street was full of people, all enjoying themselves. We did have a fun time there, even though it was hot and muggy.

The next day we rested in the morning. I had picked up an Avon brochure and ordered my face cream from the local Avon gal. Her husband was bringing my order by that afternoon after he got off work. His name was Tom, and when he came in he wanted to talk about RVing; then he gave us the name of several good places to eat fresh seafood. He was so full of information about the area, we tried one of the seafood restaurants he told us about. He was right, it was good.

The following day we were up and off by 9:30 am. We were heading for Thousand Trails at Hershey, PA. This park is supposed to be one of the nicest in the TT parks.

I have to say the ride through the big city of Philadelphia was scary. There are so many roads, major freeways; add to that traffic and rush hour, and not knowing which GPS to follow was exciting. The toll roads were also expensive $23, $16, and several $9 tolls. And some of the roads were just as bad as regular roads, jarring the coach hard.

About 12:30, Chuck got a call on his cell; it was the TT at Hershey, PA. They were calling to let us know we could not go to Hershey TT. On Tuesday, two days before we were to be there, the Preserve had a Tornado go through the campground. Nobody was leaving that park, and they weren’t letting anyone in, either. The campground had damage, was without power, trees everywhere and who knows what else.

The gal was calling to tell us all of this. She said we had a reservation to go to the second closest RV Park. That park was at Lancaster, PA. We were coming up to the cut off for Lancaster in about five miles. I asked her to make sure we had a place, with 50 amp; we set the GPS and got off the freeway within five minutes.

We were sure lucky we got the call when we did. I was talking with another lady at the front office that same day, and they were almost to Hershey and had to turn around and head back here.

We are supposed to be here until Monday, but the gal at this front office said she heard it would be until Tuesday before we could head into Hershey. Chuck just made reservations for us here over the 4th of July, until the 8th of July, so we have a place to stay over that busy weekend.

Chuck pulled into a site and found the electricity wasn’t good. So we moved into another site. He checked the power, and it was low there also. Chuck then decided to use his auto former, which boosts power to make it level out. It seems to be working.

Shortly after plugging in, a huge thunder/lightening and rain storm blew in. It dumped lots of rain, so much you couldn’t see across the street. Chuck heard sirens from town and wanted to find out what county we were in and where we should go if there was another big tornado, and so he could set the NOAH Radio. So we headed out into that rain. We parked in back of the office and had to run clear to the front to get into the office. We both were soaked. The storm lasted for another fifteen to twenty minutes after that, pouring all the time.

We headed back to the coach and I decided to make homemade chicken noodle soup for dinner. It turned out delicious and was welcomed after getting all wet.

The next morning, I tackled cleaning out my closet in the coach. It was an all morning job, because I asked Chuck to bring up my t-shirts for the 4th of July out from the basement where I have them stored. Even though it’s a lot of work, it sure is nice to get jobs like that done.

I rested a bit then we headed out to drive through Amish Country. Lancaster, PA is the heart of the Amish Country. The Amish are known for simple living, plain dress and reluctance to adopt modern convenience. The Amish are very devout in their faith. They believe in the literal interpretation and application of Scripture as the Word of God. They take seriously the Biblical commands to separate themselves from the things of the world.

Chuck wanted to just drive through the countryside to see all the farms, houses, crops, and the buggies being driven by the Simple People as the Amish are known.

Then we headed off to the Kitchen Kettle Stores, a shopping center that sold mainly Amish stuff. I enjoyed walking through the various stores, Chuck sat outside with the rest of the men waiting for their wives and visited. It was an enjoyable afternoon for both of us.

By then we were hungry, so off we went to find the Shady Maple Buffet, one of our friends we just met told us about this place. What a buffet! The building was huge, there was over 200 yards of food on the buffet table, they had 6 serving stations for hot food, like pork roast, beef roast, ham, salmon, fresh seafood etc. We both ended up eating way too much. And I bet the 300 plus people that were dining with us did the same thing.

Downstairs in this building was over 45,000 square feet of retail shops. They had most collectibles you could want, sports teams stuff; just about anything you didn’t know you needed for sale. I bought something for my sister’s 45th wedding anniversary this summer when we are home. Sure hope she likes it.

Saturday we were off to the Bird in Hand Farmers Market. This was a bunch of different vendors, all selling their wares under one roof, nice since the temperature was 86 by 10:30.

The different vendors had samples of jams, salsa, and other foods available for tasting, hoping you would buy. We ended up buying a Shoo Fly Pie, some sticky buns and a loaf of cranberry/orange bread from a baker there. We ate some Shoo Fly Pie and boy, was it good. That was the first time either of us has had Shoo Fly Pie, so named because when it was cooling on the window sill, you had to shoo the flies away.

We drove through the countryside looking at all the farms, the carriages on the side of the road to my next stop, the outlet mall. I wanted something for my sister’s birthday in August, but they didn’t have it. From there we went to several more Amish shops, looking at quilts, baskets, etc, finally heading home around 5 pm; I was tuckered out.

With that I will stop for now. Until next time………….Lorraine


6/27/10                                                                                                                           Chuck’s Report

Happy Birthday to our son Rich.  He’s back in Alaska now, having spent part of this spring in Florida thawing out after after working on the Ice Roads once again this past winter.  He is thinking about trying a different job and may not be guiding on the Kenai River this summer.  Good luck on that, whichever way it goes for you. 

Last Sunday we decided to give the casinos in Atlantic City another try, same result as the first time, no luck for either of us.  At least The Donald is glad we stopped by I guess.  Once again, we walked the boardwalk for awhile too, that’s nice.

Monday Lorraine decided she wanted to find a laundry place that could handle our rugs and all our bedding.  So we stripped everything, loaded it in the car and took off.  We found a nice place where we got everything in the washing machines and I took off in the car to find a place to change oil.  I checked two places that couldn’t fit me in their schedule and then found a Jiffy Lube.  They didn’t have anyone in the place, got me right in and finished in about 15 minutes. 

When I got back to the laundry mat, Lorraine had moved most of the stuff to the driers, all except the big rug which was too big for any machine they had there.  With the hot temperatures we were experiencing, I figured we could dry the rug at our site before it got dark.  We finished drying everything, loaded up and headed home.  I set the rug up on the picnic table and it dried fine, another successful job done. 

Tuesday we decided to head down to the “Jersey Shore” or the beach as we call it.  We wanted to go to Cape May, a place where lots of the locals from the East Coast go for the summer.  What a nice place, not at all what I expected.  I thought it would be more like Myrtle Beach in Virginia with lots of tourist shops and such.  Although there were some here in Cape May, it was more laid back, a very nice beach even though the water was pretty cold. 

We walked the beach for awhile, knowing this would probably be our last trip to the Atlantic Ocean until our next trip back East.  Of course, Lorraine wanted to get her feet wet in the ocean for the last time too.  We drove the streets and were in awe of some of the “Summer” houses we saw, most were really nice places.   

We were scheduled to leave here on Sunday but I was able to get earlier reservations at the 1000 Trails park in PA we were going to stay at through the 4th starting on Thursday.  So Wednesday we just got things cleaned up a bit and started getting things ready for our travel day. 

Thursday morning we saw on the internet and heard from one of our neighbors there was a suspected tornado that hit the 1000 Trails park at Hersey.  We decided to head on out, see if we could get a spot and get settled in and maybe give them some help if needed cleaning up the mess. 

The drive was pretty uneventful until we got to Philadelphia and its freeways.  Once again we had both of our GPSs programmed and once again, they gave us conflicting directions, sometimes one said turn right and the other would say turn left.  We did have to merge from one freeway to another about four times and of course we needed to be in the proper lane, only missed once but was able to cross over three lanes real quick.  The roads here aren’t in too bad of shape but the bridge transition on/off are sure rough. 

About 1/2 hour before we got to Hersey, we got a call from 1000 Trails saying they had made the decision to evacuate everyone from their park until they got it cleaned up and power/water restored, probably by Monday.  But they were able to get us reservations at a park they manage here in Lancaster at an Outdoor World park, Circle M.  We aren’t members of Outdoor World but because the place we were going was closed, they didn’t charge us for staying here. 

Once we entered the destination into the GPS to this campground, we exited the freeway at the very next exit, good timing on the phone call.  We were then routed through a couple of small roads, nothing too bad though.  But it did routed us through the town of Lancaster, down some very small, narrow streets, some with low overhanging tree branches.  Now that was a trip I wouldn’t want to drive everyday, but we made it ok. 

But with everyone from there moving here plus all the folks who had reservations being sent here too, this place is full.  I was worried about being kicked out for the folks who had reservations here over the 4th so we just changed our reservations from Hersey to here to insure we don’t have to boondock at Wal-Mart during this hot weather spell. 

So once we got checked in and found a spot, I checked the power supply before getting everything set up and with the way our day was going so far, I wasn’t too surprised to find the amperage was uncomfortably low.  So off we took to find another spot.  We moved to our current spot, checked the power and found it was low also but we decided to stay here but use our Autoformer.   This is an electrical device we carry that will increase the volts at the expense of the amps.  As the site has 50 amp service, we should be fine using the Autoformer. 

The temperature was in the high 90s and the sky was getting pretty dark while we were messing around trying to find a good spot.  Just as I got the power hooked up, the heavens opened and the rains came down.  I decided to wait the storm out so we drove the car back to the check-in desk for some information and to find out where the storm shelter was at this park.  We stopped to check it out, just in case, and by the time we returned to our site the rain had slowed down to a heavy drizzle. 

I figured I would finish setting up the inside stuff while waiting for the drizzle to quit.  But when I attempted to turn on the front TV, the one we just bought and installed in April, it wouldn’t turn on.  I guess I shouldn’t have expected anything other that that, the way our day  was going.

So I got out the tool box and pulled the TV out of its mounting with Lorraine’s help.  Once we got it out where we could see, it was apparent the power cord had become disconnected on the TV side.  We plugged it in and the TV came on with no problems. 

So this time our string of bad luck that comes in three was pretty minor.  Our original destination park was evacuated but we were able to get a spot here instead.  Our site had low voltage but our Autoformer fixed that.  And the problem with the TV was nothing more than the power cord was disconnected.  Glad to get those three out of our system and hopefully get back to good things, ha. 

We are in the area of the Amish people and the Pennsylvania Dutch folks.  We were going to drive over and explore this area when we got settled in Hersey so it worked out good for us to be here.  This is our first time to be around the Amish people, see their horse drawn buggies and their clothing.  Their farms are really nice, very well taken care of and clean.  They don’t use electricity in their homes, don’t drive automobiles or use lots of other modern “conveniences” that we take for granted. 

There are also shops that sell the Amish made good all around the area too.  Lorraine had a few Amish items she wanted to purchase, it just took us two days of shopping to get what she wanted.  But we did enjoyed just driving the area and we went to a very good buffet, Shady Maple, too. 

As I said earlier, there are lots of Amish and Pennsylvania Dutch here with all their churches and such.  But the names of the towns would lead us to believe we were in a different part of the country.  Three of the nearby towns have names that would be more suited out West than here, at least in my opinion.  Those three towns are named Intercourse, Blue Ball and Virginville.  Some of the Tee-shirts have some funny sayings on them, i.e., “I enjoyed Intercourse as much as I thought I would”, “ I heart Intercourse” and such. 

So far, we’ve enjoyed our stay here, this is a very nice park in spite of the low power voltage and the crowds.  We’ve had fun exploring and learning about the area and the folks here.  I really like the country flavor in the area and the evenings are warm enough to sit outside and watch the lightening bugs. 

Its still getting into the high 90s everyday, by the way, they say they are having a heat wave when they have 4 or more days in a row that get above 90F.  The temperature drops down to the high 60s at night and so far we’ve only had the one storm.  I expect we will get more afternoon storms before this heat wave breaks and the temperatures drop back to the more normal high 80s. 

Our plans are to move over to Lebanon, Pa. where the Hersey 1000 Trails park is located, when/if it opens, hopefully on Monday.  We will stay there (or here) until after the 4th.  Our next set appointment is for some work to be done to the coach at Moscow, Iowa on 13th, should only take part of one day.  We then will head up to St. Paul, Minnesota to visit with some good friends of ours.  We first met Dave/Sandy in Red Bay at the factory in the spring of ‘08 and have met up with them a few times since.  We are looking forward to spending a couple of days with them before we continue our travels West, back to Washington State. 

So with that review of our past week and a short look ahead to our next, I’ll close and add some pictures. 

Atlantic City

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A stage show we saw in a casino.

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Cape May.  This is the West side of the peninsula.

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S.S. Atlantus, one of eight cement ships built for the merchant marines during WWll.  They didn’t work out so well and this one sunk about 150 yards off the beach here back in the late 40s.

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Lighthouse at Cape May.


Lorraine checking out the Atlantic for the last time for while. 

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Now on the East side of the Peninsula, notice this is sandy where the other beach was all rock. 


The “Jersey Shore”.

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Some of the summer homes on the “Jersey Shore”.

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Crossing one more toll bridge, this one is right before Philly. 

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That’s Philly.

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Here we were driving through the town of Lancaster.  Lots of row house around here. 

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Three different ground hogs here at the park.  There are lots of them around but they don’t stay out once they spot someone and it’s hard to get a good picture of them. 

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Some of the farms and houses in the area. 

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Some of the products produced by the Amish folks.  Very good workmanship on all. 

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Here are some pictures of the Amish with their horse drawn buggies.  The one on the right is a scooter type bike that they ride standing up, both young and old drive/ride these.

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Notice on the right, they have turn signals and stop lights as well as the hazard, slow moving vehicle triangle.  

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Not good pictures but this is a sample of the covered parking area for the horses while they are shopping/eating.

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And that’s that. 

Thanks   Chuck