Saturday, August 31, 2013

Amish country?!

Friday is the day we "crapped out".   We started out well with a good pickleball practice.  After showers we decided to eat some good home cooking in Amish country.  We were ok riding the bike because the day started out overcast but ended up sunny.  We decided to explore Amish country in general and the town of Intercourse in particular.  Yes that really is the name.  It used to be called Cross Keys.  Go figure.  The GPS took us many miles along miles of corn and soybean fields.  The farms here tend to be very large and well maintained.  This area of PA offers some great bike rides along winding, gently rolling hilly roads.

By the time we hit town, I was very hungry.  We saw this place and decided to check it out since it offered the first food we spied.  We parked in the large and very busy lot and found an historic house that housed a nice restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating.  It was also the only restaurant in this complex and "somebody" was very hungry, so we went in.  What a disappointment.  The place was actually a bistro with trendy food.  For instance, the mayo offered was raspberry mayo. Duane got a burger and I got a Reuban with not saurkraut, but "pepper cabbage" which turned out to be sweet.  And so it went.  The Christmas shop featured ornaments made in---you guessed it--China.  There were some handmade Amish things but we had to hunt for them.  We bought some locally made peach jam, but it had corn syrup in addition to the sugar.  We looked for cinnamon rolls and found sticky buns.  We found no other little bakery.  I did find a fabric shop with reasonably priced fabric and bought a panel for a future project.  We passed on the homemade ice cream because we planned on getting some in Mt. Gretna on the recommendation of our new friends Bonnie and Ken.  A bit let down by this place, which was more "English" (non Amish) than Amish, we didn't take any pix and decided to see what the rest of the town had to offer, at least in the main street.  

We found this,

and this


and this.  I tried to get a pic of a really cool close-line system people had adopted in and around this town, but kept glimpsing them between houses.  Heavy traffic and no place to pull off made it impossible to turn around and stop for a pic, so I was doomed to disappointment.  Still in search of little Amish business like the ones in Shipshewana, IN and Millersburg, OH--fruit/vegetable stands, little general stores, bakeries,etc.--we tooled on down the road.  All we saw were large farms.  Hot and tired, we headed for the best hand dipped ice cream ever.

The place was closed until 5pm.  We arrived at 3:30.  Drat!!!  Next door we saw this.
For some reason they were watering their tennis courts!

O well, we did have a nice cool ride through this soothing forest.  Home again we rounded out the day by doing laundry.  The air conditioner was broken.  

Tomorrow has to be better, right?

Louise and Duane

Friday, August 30, 2013

Harley Factory Then on to Gettysburg Civil War Battlefield

We started our Thursday with a nice bike ride along some zig-zaggy country roads to visit the Harley-Davidson York assembly plant.  This plant builds the Softail, Touring, Trike and CVO models.  The plant offers two Legends In The Making tours.  The Steel Toe Tour goes behind-the-scenes through areas previously unseen by the public.  The cost is $30-$32 and reservations are required.  The free tour also takes you through the entire factory except for the extra areas offered in the other tour.  This tour is conducted at regular intervals between 9am and 2pm.  Tickets are distributed on a first come-first served basis.  The tours start and end in the gift shop.  Who'd of thought?
Of course no photos were allowed except in the little assembly display.  This area also featured a few of the new bikes.  Visitors are encouraged to sit on the bikes, have their pix taken, etc.  Good marketing technique!  

Our next stop was lunch, then the Battlefield HD store in Gettysburg. Duane bought one of their Tshirts.  We always try to stop at each HD store we pass.  This is the first one that didn't have the name on the building.

Close by was our last destination.  From this map we learned that the Union army was arrayed in a rough fishhook east of the town of Gettysburg with the shank running north to south on Cemetery Ridge and Culps Hill and the hook part at Round Tops.  The Confederate troops formed another fishhook running south to north on the high ground of Seminary Ridge with the hook park through town and north of Cemetery Ridge and Culps Hill.

This visitors' center is relatively new.  It houses a bookstore, cafe, ranger station to get your National Parks Passport stamps, a museum, theater and a large circular mural.  There is a charge for the last three.  We opted for the free driving tour.  There is also a cd available for your auto tour

This is McPherson barn.  The Battle of Gettysburg began west of here (on this ridge) about  8 am on July 1, 1863.  Union cavalry confronted Confederate infantry advancing east along Chambersburg Pike.  Heavy fighting spread north and south along this ridgeline as more forces from both sides arrived.

This area was the site of fighting around 1 pm the first day.  This battlefield was similar to the one at Vicksburg in that the different sites are marked by monuments dedicated to each regiment in both armies.

I took this pic because it was a pretty site, but found it very interesting to note that we circled closer and closer to it as our tour progressed.  The Union lines were distributed just beyond it.  At the end of the tour we were looking back at where we were at this point!

This large open field is where the last Confederate assault of the battle, known as "Pickett's Charge", took place on July 3.

About 7 pm on July 2 Confederates attacked the right flank of the Union army and occupied the lower slopes of Culps Hill (below).  The next morning the Confederates were driven off after 7 hours of fighting.

This was taken at the foot of Culps Hill (to the right) with Cemetery Hill to the left.  Confederate soldiers also tried to take this hill but were repelled.  By day's end, both hills were still in Union hands.  In the distance in the middle of the pic you can see the eastern edge of Gettysburg.

One of the regimental monuments.

Pennsylvania monument

On July 4 late in the afternoon, some 7000 Union soldiers repulsed the bulk of the 12000 man Picketts Charge against the Federal Center.  This was the climactic moment of the battle.  On July 4, Lee's army began retreating.  Total casualties (killed, wounded, captured, and missing) for the three days of fighting were 23000 for the Union army and as many as 28000 for the Confederate army.

With our minds reeling from all the history we learned on our tour, we headed home through the newer part of Gettysburg.  We decided that it would have been really bad for the residents in and around Gettysburg.  They had to have spent their days hunkered down in their homes as they had no place to go!

Next up we crap out.  Stayed tuned!

Louise and Duane

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Harrisburg, PA

Wednesday was a busy day.  We started the morning with a few friendly pickleball games with new friends (and fellow Escapees) Ken and Bonnie Hosler.  Then we drove to Harrisburg for a visit to the National Civil War Museum.  Unfortunately the lighting and glass within the museum prevented Duane from taking any good pictures.  The displays and information were awesome and very well done.  There were two floors of information depicted by various methods.  One of my favorites were video reenactments of 5 or 6 people.  Three were brothers from Kentucky.  One was a graduate of West Point and an officer in the Union Army.  One opted to join the cavalry of the Confederacy.  One was a conscientious objector and went west to avoid the draft.  There was also a northern farmer, a southern plantation owners wife and a southern belle married to a rich New Yorker.  We are introduced to each of these characters at the beginning of the exhibits and learn their various fates at various stages of the war.  There were also life-sized dioramas--one was a slave auction, one was a field hospital, one was an infantry camp--where recorded conversations revealed the action.  There were large displays of weapons, clothing, and other artifacts.  This is one of the best museums we have visited and we recommend it to everyone.  This is not affiliated with the National Park system so our passes weren't good here.  The senior rate was $9 each.

This sculpture is located in the middle of the circular area in front of the building.  It depicts a Confederate soldier who could no longer resist the (defeated) Union soldiers cries for water.  Soon many other of his fellows followed his example.

Our other tour on Wed. was a freebie.  This is the capital building complex in Harrisburg.  Of the 35 exhibits listed for the entire complex we visited 8.  (The exhibits included things such as certain trees, statues, architectural details, and whole buildings.)  This is the Capital east wing, the building we toured.  On the left is the Senate chambers on the second floor, on the right is the House.  This building is richly ornamented in the classic style and adapted from the architecture of the Italian Renaissance.  The five-story exterior is of Vermont granite and the roof is green-glazed tile.  It measures 520 feet wide and covers 2 acres.  

This 14'6" gilded bronze statue is holding a garlanded mace in her left hand upholding the standard of statehood.  Her right hand is extended in benediction.  The dome itself is inspired by the Cathedral of St. Peter's in Rome.  It is 272' high and weighs 52 million pounds.

On either side of the main entrance (above) are two sculptures.  One is Love and Labor/The Unbroken Law.  This one is The Burden of Life/The Broken Law.  Just inside the center archway (first pic) are two bronze doors.  Each weighs one ton.  Depicted on them are the heads of politicians and contractors responsible for the Capitol's construction.  

This is the inner dome above the main lobby.  All of the gold throughout this building is 23 carat gold leaf.

Supreme court room.  This is located at the back of the building third floor between the Senate and House ells.  The dome below is above this room.  Yes, the four light posts are gold leaf.

Senate chambers seen from third floor gallery.  All of the murals are hand painted.  You can just see the circular stained glass windows just below the ceiling.  They are visible in the first pic also.

Gold leaf on the House ceiling.

After our very informative and interesting hour tour, we exited the way we came in.  This is the view from the door.  Our next destination is the building just beyond the spire on the right.

St. Patrick's Cathedral is also built in the Italian Renaissance style with the classical dome.  This dome is situated above the nave.

Interior of the nave

These hand forged door handles are on the Methodist church (owner of the spire)  Duane is always on the lookout for hand forged artwork.

More touring next time.

Louise and Duane

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

On to Hershey, PA

Yesterday we left Jefferson, Ohio for our next stop near Hershey, PA. The drive of 325 miles is longer than we normally like to do but once in while is ok. The drive took us up and down some pretty big hills. There were some with 20 mile per hour speed limits on the downhill slopes. The truck handle the hills great. 

Not sure if the black is coal or something else, but it looked cool.

We followed this river for miles

We arrived at the Thousand Trails Hershey Preserve about 3:30 in the afternoon. We were lucky that someone had left early and we were able to get a 50 amp pull through. This park is very large with lots of sites. It is very well kept and has about anything you want.

Our site is really long and pretty roomy.

Louise thought this sign was fuuny. Check out the N in no

This is the largest pool we have ever seen in a rv park.

They have 2 nice pickle ball courts.

We headed to the courts this morning and there were 2 other couples showed up to play. We had a great time playing and we are meeting one of the couples, Ken and Bonnie for more pickle ball tomorrow morning. After the game, if the weather is nice we will head to York, Pa. to tour the Harley factory.
Till next time
Duane and Louise

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Covered bridges, train ride and wineries

Jefferson is in Ashtabula County, the covered bridge capital of Ohio. Who knew? When we checked into the campground, they gave us a map of the county that had all the covered bridges and wineries mapped out. We spent one day traveling around all the wineries and some of the bridges.We got to 9 of the 18 bridges. We stopped at 3 wineries and drove past another 6. Louise did all the tasting. I was driving the bike and didn't think it would be smart to partake.

We past miles of grapes. On the map we had there were 16 wineries listed. A person could get really messed up if they stopped at all of them. 

We thought the story behind this winery was worth the picture. We bought a bottle of wine at this one.

And this one.

We have no idea who lives here, but they have a lot to Must be an old hippy. There were signs on all sides of the house. I bet they were real popular with the neighbors. 

 This is listed as the shortest covered bridge in America. It looked like a new bridge to us. I think they put this one up just so they could say they had the shortest one. The bad thing was that the map was wrong on how to get to it. After driving around for 20 minutes looking for it, we stopped to ask where it was. It was on a different road then the map had it. After finding it I was a little disappointed that it was new. It is only 18 feet long.

After all that wine and bridge looking, we decided it was time to grab a bite to eat. We headed for Geneva on the Lake. This is a strip of restaurants and shops about 5 miles long along of shores of Lake Erie. They have a lot of different events here. There is a bike rally called Thunder on the Strip coming up next week. I should have done better research and planned to be here then.

Lake Erie

Our two purchases of the day

On Saturday, we decided to take a train ride. Louise loves to ride trains. This ride takes off from the depot in Jefferson, travels about one hour out of town, then reverses and heads back. 

They have different themes to the ride. This one was a train robbery. See the robbers heading our way?

OH NO!! They have boarded the train.

Here comes the Marshal and his posse.

The good guys won again

After the train ride we toured the historic depot area. They have done a great job restoring all the buildings there. The depot is the only building that was original to the site. They have 15 buildings that have been restore or are in the process of being restored.  

 This is our guide for the tour. She was really informative telling us all about all the buildings and where had come from.

Today, it was back on the bike to find more bridges and to do a little geocaching. We found 3 geocaches today. We found 6 bridges today. 

I can not imagine the work it took to construct this style of bridge. Notice the arches on both sides?  They are made up stacked planks. 

Tomorrow, it's off to Hershey, Pa.
Till Next time
Duane and Louise