Saturday, May 31, 2008

Aaaahhhh, Pennsylvania....

Welcome to Intercourse, PA formerly known as 'Cross Keys.' We decided to show you some of the sights we see here everyday. This area of Pennsylvania has many townships, such as Bird-In-Hand, Intercourse, Blue Ball, Leacock, etc. The townships are similar to villages but have no governing bodies, so they are not the same as towns or cities. Our campground is in the very heart of Lancaster county in Amish country.

Thursday (May 29th) we went to Hershey's Chocolate World in Hershey, PA. It was a good day trip without being too tiring. Visited Chocolate World and the Museum but opted out of the theme park. We became well versed in Milton S. Hershey's legacy to the world and the history of Hershey (the town and the chocolate). If you visit you must buy chocolate - the chocolate smell is wafted everywhere, vending machines are outside, chocolate and everything resembling chocolate is inside... Jerri found a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity when KitKat came around. The photo says it all.

Friday (May 30th) rode out to September Farm, a dairy farm that makes and sells their own artisan cheeses. Definitely need a GPS to find with so many turns. The cheese is very tasty and melts well. The cheese curds make a salty snack with crackers and fruit. We rode to the Green Dragon Market which is like a huge weekly indoor/outdoor flea market where you can find almost anything (except a parking place). We finally found the perfect tag for the 'Whoo Hoo Wonder Bus.' A fitting memorial to the lost but not forgotten 'Beach Bum' flag.

We ate lunch at the Revere Tavern in Paradise, PA which was previously owned by James Buchanan, the 15th President of the US. We found out his sister was married to Stephen Foster (the famous songwriter, i.e. My Old Kentucky Home, Oh Susannah).

Beacon Hill Drive (where the campground is located) is like an Amish freeway. Every day buggies and carriages travel up and down going to town. The people we see are friendly and usually wave back or say 'hello' or 'good morning' if you speak first. They do not make eye contact. Yesterday three Amish children pulling a red wagon came to our campsite selling homemade bread, strawberry and rhubarb jam, fresh asparagus and horseshoes. We bought a jar of jam.

Today (May 31st) we drove a couple of miles up the road to Centreville Bulk Foods. The small store has no electricity and is lit by propane lanterns at the end of each aisle. They accept cash. We rode on up the road to a Giant supermarket which designated a special place for buggies to be harnessed while shopping. All of this has done nothing to dampen our curiosity about the Amish.

We are loving our adventures in discovering America!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

It's All Good...

Finally, a decent WiFi signal...

Let's refresh our memories of the Outer Banks. The Hatteras Lighthouse was great. While Jerri climbed the lighthouse, Kathy sat in on a lecture on the plight of the endangered Piping Plover. There were only 7 nesting pairs last year. Of course, humans are the largest detriment to the little birds. The ferry trip to Ocracoke was nice as was the island. Ocracoke is a good 40 miles from Waves. BTW the Outer Banks is the longest group of barrier islands in the world at 130 miles in length.

This is a photo of sunrise at the Outer Banks. Because we are so far East, the sun rises around 6AM. The light is so bright and intense, there's no sleeping in after that.

As we said in a previous post, we are still mourning the loss of the 'Beach Bum' flag. It blew away one night never to be seen again. Another night we were under a tornado watch and saw rotating clouds right above us. Another camper that had been through a tornado told us that if there was just a little more wind it would form a funnel cloud. Whew...close call....

Waves is centrally located about halfway in the OBX, which makes it convenient for several day trips. One trip was to Kitty Hawk and the Wright Brothers Memorial. Lots of history and information to be found here. The interpretive rangers set the stage for the birth of independent air flight by the Wright Brothers who had a bicycle shop in Ohio. Pretty fascinating, especially if you've ever flown on a modern flight to think of how it all began.

Loved the OBX and will definitely plan to come back again and maybe stay longer next time.


We left the OBX and traveled to Pohick Bay Regional Park in northern Virginia. The park was a nice change from the beach with lots of trees and mountain laurel in bloom - very shady and cool. The roads were paved, which made riding the bicycles nice. The park quickly filled to the max over Memorial Day weekend, and just as quickly emptied on Monday, leaving us and a quiet handful of campers to enjoy the beautiful nature trails.

We took the Metro into Old Town Alexandria one evening, which was a very nice change. The park is just down the road from Mason Neck National Wildlife Preserve and Gunston Hall. We spent a day exploring the immediate area. Pohick Bay Regional Park plus Gunston Hall plus Mason Neck totals 5,500 acres of nature and preserves with lots of hiking and bike trails. Pohick Bay is a small bay off the Potomac River across from Ft. Belvoir, while Mason Neck is located on Belmont Bay across from Maryland.

Gunston Hall was the plantation home of George Mason, author of the Virginia Declaration of Independence which served as the blueprint for the Bill of Rights to the US Constitution. Mason attended the Continental Congress but was one of three who refused to sign the Constitution on the basis that it gave too much power to the government and failed to ensure the rights of the individual [go George Mason!]. The tour of Gunston Hall and the grounds was rich with history and we had a docent all to ourselves for the tour.

Left Virginia this morning, bypassed Washington and Baltimore to a small campground in Intercourse, Pennsylvania. We arrived in the heart of Amish country this afternoon. The campground is just across the road from a working Amish farm. During dinner we watched the farmer harrow part of the field with six mules and a manual draw plow that he stood and rode on. There are lots of Amish and Mennonites in the area and we are curious about their beliefs and differences. Everywhere you look there are horse-drawn carriages riding up and down the roads. We were fascinated by a bicycle-like contraption - it looks like a bicycle but has no pedals or chains. The rider stands on one foot on a platform and pushes with the other foot - more like a scooter than a bicycle. We'll try to get a photo of it so the description will make sense.

There are more things to see and do here than one would think. Gettysburg and Hershey's Chocolate World are short day trips away.

Happy Travels, K&J.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

AT&T (AKA Liar, Liar Pants on Fire...)

Long time - no blog....We purchased a Sierra 885 AirCard from AT&T before we began adventuring with the complete assurance of the teenage salesperson that the connection/upload/download would be 'just as good as DSL.' NOT!!

With very weak WiFi in the OBX and non-existent WiFi in Northern Virginia, we've had to rely solely on the AirCard. That's why this message will be very short and contain no pics. It takes a looooonnnngggg time to connect. We are 20 miles outside Washington, DC and can only pick up a 2G network (Not 3G like the teenage salesperson raved on about).

Oh well, we're off to Pennsylvania in the morning and hopefully to WiFi-land. We'll do our best to catch up on everything then.

We are still mourning the 'Beach Bum' flag that blew away during the stay at the Outer Banks. We were told to search up in the trees, but alas no Beach Bum flag...

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Kathy's New Home

Kathy has found her new home. Not for the reasons one might suspect (i.e., the scenic beauty, coastal breezes and laid back atmosphere). Nope, we are talking about the fear of bridges. We had to cross 4 very long, very high ones, with signs that said "Danger: High Crosswinds" to get to her new home at Waves, NC on Hatteras Island. You would think the fact that we were traveling to an ISLAND would have been a clue for her.

With a fear of heights and bridges since childhood, it was an interesting ride to say the least. As she crawled into the floorboard of the motorhome and hailed as she did so, "If you need anything I'll be right here" -(yeh, right!) - we made our way safely across each of the bridges and into the campground. I had hoped "Immersion Therapy" would be the answer in helping her overcome her fears but I was wrong. Have I already lost my touch? Anyway, anyone with Valium should respond quickly. We are in dire need of assistance to cross back over the bridges to make our way on up to VA. Otherwise, Kathy can be reached from here on out at her new address: Oceans Waves Campground, Waves, NC.

Yes - now Kathy speaks-- Portions of the tale were altered to protect the not-so-innocent. The bridge freakouts were very mild and came after a 400 mile drive, portions of which were on 35 mph switchbacks through Pisgah National Forest, with blinking yellow lights attesting "Speed Too Fast for Conditions" (those conditions were miles and miles of 6% downshifts) and ALL 400 miles were in high, gusty winds. Enough said!

Having said all that, the campground is beautiful, with the beach just a short walk over the dunes. We would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to visit this area. Any of you who have been fortunate enough to visit the area know what we are talking aboutn. The weather was absolutely gorgeous today!

We've seen a Bald Eagle since arriving (they are said to nest on the islands). The sun rises much earlier here and you feel the need to get up and get going so you don't waste any part of the day. We rode our bicycles to the seafood market and bought fresh shrimp for dinner tonight and crab cakes for tomorrow evening. Settling in for the evening with boiled shrimp and a bottle of wine for dinner.

ps Thanks to everyone for the positive comments. We are new to blogging, but think we've fixed it so comments can be made on the blog site.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Catching up....

It's been a while since our first/last post, but we've been without Internet service. Rolled into our local campground for two weeks to work out all the bugs and get the WhooHooWonderBus ready to roll. As with most adventures, adjustments had to be made. The first campsite was just too small for WHWB and she had to move.

The welcoming committee showed up at the new site and several times a day every day looking for some kind of hand out [they were ducks - three of them]. Sometimes they brought their buds, two Canada Geese. Just hungry mischief-makers looking to make the dogs bark. Totally fearless, but very consistent.

A day or two into our adventure a fellow camper was whisked away by ambulance and sheriff's deputy. According to his brother-in-law, he suffered medical amnesia and had been missing from St. Louis, MO for five days. Of course he showed up in our campground.

Then there was the terrible weather - thunder, rain, high winds - and a HUGE tree fell two sites over during the night. It blocked the road and scared off two families of campers behind us the next day. With nowhere to run and hide, we stuck it out. Alcohol helps in times like this...

During our stay we invested in a 'poop wagon.' This is a handy little plastic vessel on wheels that you download your crap into and haul away to the dump station. Too much trouble to unhook and can't burn the precious diesel to drive a hundred yards to dump the crapper. Oh the adventures the 'poop wagon' has provided. Did you know that if the connections aren't tight you can take a crap shower whether you want to or not? We have no complaints about the bath house - it was quite pleasurable to wash all that crap off. At least it was our own crap and not someone else's...

One thing about living in a motorhome, you become really frugal with water usage, especially seeing how you are responsible for emptying what you use. Everything has to have its place - even the 'poop wagon.' Crap is a priority. Can't let the tanks get too full - can't overfill the poop wagon - all connections must be tight... Lots of rules to remember. Crap rules!

BTW, we invested in a wireless air card for the laptop so we can have Internet access in most places and keep up with the world.

Today [5/15] we traveled north on our journey and are just outside Statesville, NC in a pleasant campground complete with a pool, playground, and a hearse decorated with flames...

We head out tomorrow for the NC coast and Waves, NC. We will attempt to upload photos of our adventure so far.