We have an insane calling to be where we aren't

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Cycling in the countryside

Cycling in the Countryside

Our previous day of bike riding made us realize we needed expert help to ride these backroads. The map we had showed the busiest routes and the back roads wind so much, we would get confused as to which direction we were going.
We stopped in at Bikeworks Bike Shop which had some very nice ride sheets with good directions and sights to see along the way. I mentioned that I did not want to ride more than 30 miles since  I had no idea how hilly the route would be. He suggested the 28 mile "Camels and Cravings" route which we enjoyed very much.
We decided to do this ride on Sunday. Everything in town would be closed. And there should be much less traffic with the Rhubarb Festival over and most of the people would be in church in the morning.

There were lots of carriages on the roads and many families walking to church.


Shoemaker's Mill built in 1766 which is now a B&B was our first stop.

Belmont Bridge had a candy dispenser with corn in it. For 25 cents, a person could buy treats for the ducks in the creek below the bridge. The bridge was constructed in 1845 at the cost of $933.

The Amish church had buggy parking and a place for the horses. We could hear the echo of the preacher as we rode by.

Miller's organic farm has a camel dairy. They are milked twice a day. If they get a new caretaker, they won't give milk until they build trust. The milk is sold for $10 a pint. Some claim the camel's milk is good for diabetes and autism.

These guys were mean, spitting and biting at each other. I guess that justifies the $10 a pint.
The tour buses were driving the same roads that we were riding.
These hardworking mules seemed happy that it was Sunday

 The cool overcast clouds made the day great for a ride even with the "essence of dairy farm" which was strong at times. We also had to be alert to the horse apples in the road. Slipping in horse poop could be hazardous.
 We hear the Mennonite owned Lapp Dairy has some great Black Walnut ice cream. Too bad it was Sunday.
We stopped by the Ridge Road Amish School where the students speak not only English but PA Dutch.  
 The phone booth where Detective John Book made a phone call in the movie Witness.
On to New York's Adirondacks

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Pennsylvania's Dutch Country


Pennsylvania's Dutch Country

We needed a place to stay on our way to Vermont. Lancaster County's Dutch Country met the approximately 200 miles criteria we prefer to drive. New Holland, PA was experiencing a heatwave as we arrived. But the Amish people were hard at work in the fields bailing hay using Sperry New Holland balers that are horse drawn and clearing their fields as we turned on the air conditioner.
 Not a bad view from our campground.
 New Holland, PA
We woke to a hot air balloon floating over the farms. The people staying at this KOA have been so friendly and stop to visit when they see  where we are from (Colorado) and sitting outside. 

This weekend is the rhubarb festival and most of the campgrounds were totally booked. We found the local KOA with views overlooking the farms had room for us.  Does it seem wrong to sit and watch people working?
 The Amish arrived in Lancaster County in the 1600s and 1700s long before the Revolutionary War. Nearly all of the farms in this part of Pennsylvania are Pennsylvania Dutch. Most came from Switzerland and Germany.
We were glad when the wind was out of the north. any other direction would remind us that this is dairy country.  We got up at 6 am and out the door by 7:30 for a bike ride since it was already 76 degrees and not a cloud in the sky.
This Amish family was putting their hay in the barn after bailing it.
Sitting by our trailer we could hear the sound of the horse's hooves and wheels of the carriage before watching them go by. Driving on the backroads was tight when passing at times.
This is a huge tourist area with most of the focus on food, shopping, covered bridges and watching the Amish. We decided to ride our road bikes on the narrow hilly roads often following a horse drawn carriage. 

Horse parking in front of the hardware store.
 Many of the horse trotting in from of the carriages are retired race horses.
I liked the teeter totters in front of the Amish school.

 We made a stop at the Mennonite/Amish Visitor's Center to learn more about their lifestyle, religion and  immigration. Many of the homes had their laundry out drying on clotheslines with a pulley system.
 Forge Poole Covered bridge

Intercourse, PA

The Rhubarb Festival ran on Friday and Saturday. Everything closes down on Sunday.

These ladies were canning the rhubarb preserves.

 With all of the bakeries and roadside farm stands, we had to make a conscious effort to avoid indulging too much.
By the way, according to Roadside America, Intercourse has the highest number of stolen town signs in the country.

Lititz, PA

The temperatures dropped 34 degrees to 60 with high winds. Rather than bike ride, we drove to the town of Lititz to visit three small museums. 
We toured the Lititz Museum. The historian there shared a good deal about the town and their religion. She is Moravian and was quite knowledgeable and pleasant to visit with.
The little town of Lititz was established in the 1750s. Only Moravians could live in Lititz, and the church owned the property on which a house could be built. Congregation members had to adhere to strict rules of living that were clearly defined by Moravian church leaders. This system lasted for just over one hundred years when the now-bustling town of Lititz was opened to all. Because Lititz was a tight-knit religious community, many early Moravian material goods remained here.
It was a closed community (providing everything they needed themselves) until the Revolutionary War. The Brethren's house was used by order of George Washington to take care of  injured and sick soldiers in 1778 from the local battles. This brought problems to the community. The people had not been exposed to many of the diseases and became sick themselves. The community remained closed until the era of the railroad.

We visited the Wilbur Chocolate Company for samples.
Since it was Saturday, all of the small museums were open and staffed. The railcar museum's docent was quite interesting. He grew up in this town as the trains started running through there. He talked about the effects of WWII on the trains and steel industry. 

A wheelchair from the Revolutionary War time in the Moravian museum.
We also toured the Moravian Church Archive Museum which had some great items and history. Across the street from the Moravian girl's preparatory school was the Sturgis Pretzel Company, the first commercial pretzel company in the US. We skipped the tour and went straight for a pretzel.
Moravian Church Square
There are rolling hills in Dutch County but the Amish just march their bikes up and over them. They are definitely a hard working people.