Friday, August 27, 2010

Pennsylvania Dutch Country

Thursday 8/19

Great truck race last night. Kyle Busch put on quite a show coming from a dead last starting position to win the race. Not one of our favorites, but the kid sure can drive.

Did a little grocery shopping today and generally just relaxed. Went to the Ridgewood for lunch and then stopped and picked up a couple of jars of local honey. A bit overcast today and really humid, unusual for the mountains.

Friday 8/20

Hot and sunny today, humidity is down though. Once again a quiet, relaxing day. Watched qualifying on TV as it was way to hot to trek over to the track. Went over about 7 PM by which time our seats were in the shade and we had plenty of time before the race started, helped by the fact that we snagged a ride in a courtesy golf cart from the campground all the way up to the gate of track!

Once again a really good race and it was a picture perfect evening, mild temps and clear blue sky with a light breeze. One of the best Nationwide races we have seen here. Good hard racing all around the track throughout the race. Kyle Busch won again, wonder if he will three-peat on Saturday? Should make for another exciting race in any case!

Saturday 8/21

Went into downtown Bristol and picked up a dozen doughnuts at the Blackbird Bakery. After lunch Dennis loaded the car onto the Volvo as we will not be going out again today (too much traffic) and we will be headed north to Pennsylvania in the AM. Relaxed the rest of the day as it was raining on and off all day. Fortunately the rain cleared in time for the race Saturday evening and it turned out that we made it through all three races with no rain delays. The Cup race was better than they have been the last couple of years (since the Chase for the Cup made Bristol a race where no one wants to make a mistake!), but still not as good as the races were before the Chase, some blame that on the track rebuild a few years ago, but the truck and Nationwide series’ still seem to have exciting races. Probably the least exciting race of the three this week.

Sunday 8/22

We left the track around 9 AM and headed north on back roads up to Abingdon, VA where we jumped on I-81. Missed the traffic going through Bristol, but it was a narrow, windy road so we may just go through Bristol next time. Most of the campers wait to head home until Sunday after the August race, so the traffic was pretty heavy for the first three or four hours. Lots of motor homes and trailers on the highway.

Made it to Country Acres Campground in Paradise, PA about 7 PM. Weather was good all they way, but the traffic slowed us more than we had planned. After we dropped the trailer we doubled back to a Cracker Barrel a few miles down the road for dinner, rather than spending the time to search out something local.

Campground is very nice with good Wi-Fi and one of the quietest campgrounds we have found, although there is the obligatory train of in the distance once in a while.

Monday 8/23

Housekeeping day. Nancy did laundry while Dennis unloaded the smart, washed road grime from the rear of the trailer, and cleaned inside. Had lunch nearby at Jakey’s Amish Barbeque! Really pretty good barbeque and excellent fresh french fries. Nothing special about the atmosphere and it was cold inside so we ate out on the porch.

When we stopped at the Cracker Barrel the night before we saw that there were a couple of shopping centers right nearby with a a lot of outlet stores so we swung by there. Nancy picked up a few bargains and Dennis found a Black & Decker outlet that was having a one day 25% off sale and picked up a nice battery powered drill to replace the old one that died a year or so ago. Did a little touring around the area and then back home and had a relaxing evening.

Tuesday 8/24

Nice sunny morning, but overcast built up during the day with a bit of rain. We went into Lancaster to check out the Lancaster Central Market. The market was very interesting, and fairly crowded for a weekday. They are in the process of rebuilding the interior, so sections of it are closed off. Looks like it is going to be really nice when the refurbishing is completed.

We bought sandwiches for lunch, but there was no place in or around the market where we could sit and eat, so we walked a few blocks to a park where we found a table to eat at.

After the market we went west to Columbia to see the the National Watch and Clock Museum. This turned out to be a really impressive place! We spent about two and a half hours there and could have easily spent an entire day if our feet had not given out. A very comprehensive clock and watch collection.

On the way home we did some searching for a grocery store. They seem to be few and far between around here for some reason. Back home we went to Isaac’s Deli in Strasburg for diner and relaxed.

Wednesday 8/25

Took a drive through the rolling countryside on back roads. Lots of horses and buggies. At various time we have seen farmers working with horses and family members harvesting corn, tobacco, wheat, and alfalfa. Pretty farms with good looking crops.

Stopped at the Bird-In-Hand market. A guidebook said we would find more local products there than at the Lancaster Market, but we were a bit disappointed. It was fairly small and a lot of the stuff was not really local. Good looking meats and baked goods though.

Drove up to Lititz and visited the oldest pretzel factory in America, Jacob Sturgis. A simple tour of a small 18th century pretzel factory and some really good pretzels. Had lunch at a deli in Litltz and then went to Wilbur Chocolate. Nice displays of the history of chocolate making and a really nice chocolate shop, with some pretty good chocolate.

On the way home we finally found a farm selling goat milk, Nancy had not been able to find any in the stores around here! The stand was well off the road by the barn, no one around except two young boys. Payment on the honor system, with a note to “leave money in top drawer”. When we opened the drawer we found a full stocked cash cash drawer! Not just what people had paid today, but a substantial amount of cash - 5’s, 10’s 20’s! Talk about trusting!

We had a very nice dinner at Revere Tavern, just down the road from our campground.

Thursday 8/26

This morning we drove back around some of the back roads between Paradise and Strasburg, looking for a couple of farm stands Nancy had noticed before. Picked up some eggs and cheese. Then we droce through Lancaster and visited Wheatland, the home of President James Buchanan.

Wheatland was a very interesting home with a delightful tour that gave a real insight into the personality of the 15th president. One particularly interesting tidbit - President Buchanan established a fund in the City of Lancaster to provide firewood to widowed and indigent women in the city of Lancaster. In his will he left an additional $2,000 to the fund. Eventually the fund was dissolved and the remaining monies were distributed to churches in the city of Lancaster. Some of the churches invested that money and even today they continue using the income to assist poor people in paying their winter fuel bills!

After Wheatland we stopped at Cracker Barrel for lunch (yes, we’re boring) and then went by the Bird-In-Hand market to pick up some cold cuts. We also wanted to get some mince meat, but found out it is not made fresh until mid-September.

It was a beautiful, sunny afternoon and we sat outside under the awning and relaxed. Nancy did some laundry and Dennis loaded the car in preparation for leaving Friday AM. We had dinner at a dinner down the raod from our campground.

Friday we will be back on the road and headed west. Plan on stopping in Salem and Paulding Ohio on the way to Elkhart for the Gypsy Gathering.

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