While we were set at the Artillery Ridge Campground in Gettysburg, we took the opportunity to make a repair on our satellite system. We first had the issue about a year and a half ago where we lost our satellite signal. It turned out our Sewell HDMI 1×4 splitter got fried. The tech kids working at Red Bay (Tiffin) swapped out our splitter and put in a small fan in the electronics cabinet to help it stay cool and we were good to go. Well, it be doing it again. So here is another learning opportunity for those of you who can benefit from my misfortune. Since we do not stay put for too long a period at any given time, these 5 days at Gettysburg were perfect to have Tiffin ship us another splitter, which we did. $160 for the part and, BAM, 2 days later we got it. Swapped it out and, BAM, we got satellite reception. So there I was, fat, dumb, and happy. Until Jeanne informed me she found the exact same part on Amazon (not Prime, though) for $55. So, valuable lesson number 9,682, if you can wait the time out, always order any parts you need from Amazon versus Tiffin.
Old Mill Stream Campground at Dutch Wonderland in Lancaster, PA seemed to be a convenient next stop for the continuing sights and sounds of Pennsylvania. Another in a long list of overpriced RV parks ($51 per night, NO DISCOUNTS!), it was central to most of the sights we wanted to see. The sites at this park were gravel, not real level, but had FHU’s. Thick trees forced us to use their cable for TV news. The park is part of the Dutch Wonderland amusement park, situated on a small stream and looks out onto an Amish farm. An Amish “traveling salesman” (actually, the whole family) came through one morning selling baked and canned goods with their horse and cart.
I expected I would find some unique, to say the least, T-shirt designs in the town of Intercourse, PA. But alas, it was really not much to write home about. It was a small tourist town with not much draw except for it’s name. It was so uninspiring that I took two whole pictures. I got a kick out of the Amish version of a car wash, they were washing down the buggies in which they sell rides to us tourists, behind the local version of a strip mall. I think that would be the Amish version of “mass transit” or “bus service”…
It seems Pennsylvania is home to the second largest number of covered bridges in the states. So, “We’re off to see the bridges…” (sung to the tune of “The Wizard of Oz”). We only picked a few to drive to, in the south Amish country and the north Amish country areas. The bridges we saw all seemed to be made of the same design, but one was a double span. All but one were currently operational as well. The driving gave us a good perspective on the countryside landscapes. The state is very hilly and green, the back roads and even some town roads tend to be a little skinny, even in big cities like Philadelphia.
What visit to Pennsylvania would be complete without a trip into Hershey, hometown to the chocolate empire? The Hershey Museum was just OK as far as museums go, a little information on history and production, a lot of personal history of the Hershey family, and a few confusing, interactive, computerized activities that we could not quite figure out. The machines are definitely smarter than we be. But on the way out, a stop at the downstairs restaurant/cafe yielded a chocolate fix called the “Take 5 Brownie” that should be categorized as an overdose!
The weather has been pretty wet and cold since we’ve been in Pennsylvania and continued that way through this stop. Instead of sitting inside and staring at the walls, we loaded Woodrow Wilson (Woody) up and took a road trip into Philadelphia. We parked in a garage next to the Independence Visitor’s Center and ventured out about this area of old town on foot. We covered quite a bit of ground, Woody leading the way (except for the Liberty Bell viewing, no dogs allowed inside). The Liberty Bell was a lot smaller than I had imagined. It is a huge attraction even at this time of year. There were wall-to-wall school groups here at the same time we were, so it made a tour of Independence Hall out of the question for us. We settled for our own foot tour and wandered about some of the historical buildings and areas concentrated near Independence Hall. Washington Square is the final resting place for thousands of unknown soldiers of Washington’s army and there is a very nice memorial to those unknowns with an eternal flame. The Christ Church contains burial sites of various historical figures from the founding of our nation, including THE MAN himself, Benjamin Franklin. I was a bit disappointed with Franklin’s gravesite, it is currently undergoing massive repairs to the marker due to centuries of water damage. It now looks like a typical construction site. Another sterling example of “timing is everything”. Jeanne had heard of an area called Elfreth’s Alley, supposedly a must-see for the area. We hoofed it to Elfreth’s Alley and found a quaint, narrow alley between apartments built between 1720-1830’s. To top off our foot tour, it was time for chow. Geno’s Steaks was our destination for a classic Philly Cheese Steak with Cheese Fries. Even though Pat’s (across the street) is touted as the beginning of the Philly Cheese Steak, we picked his rival Geno’s due to their pro-law enforcement attitude. Jeanne is not much of a carnivore, so she was not impressed with her fare. But I thought it was pretty tasty, could have used some peppers thrown in with the onions though. And the cheese fries were some kind of typical artery-clogging tasty! You know the type – potatoes deep-fried in grease and smothered with molten Cheez Wiz! Mmm, mmm good!
Well, back to the bus to prep for our travel day. Costco run completed, research into our next stop done, I got the bulk of things packed up and ready to pull out tomorrow morning. I think we are headed south, no reservations, I’ll let you know where we land when we know where we will land…