Project Morning, Relaxing Afternoon, Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire

8/19/14 Tuesday in Lebanon,PA (Hershey-TT)

I cleaned house while John pulled everything out of his largest basement bay. When I finished I joined him in considering what we might throw out or give to a yard sale. It was very little. Since he found lots of moisture in the bay we left everything out for the day, so heat, wind and sunshine could take care of the wet. It looked like we brought the moisture in via wet objects so hopefully that’s the right assumption. We also discussed John’s thought of buying a Class B and using condos for the time we needed a break. In the end we discounted that idea. Our friends Betty/Dale drove up and found a spot nearby. As they got settled we headed inside for our fun lunch of black eyed pea soup (the last) and sandwiches. Then we went outside to lay on our large chairs and wait for Betty/Dale, thus falling into a lovely nap time.

Perfect timing, our friends were settled outside so I joined them. John had some business to attend to then he joined us too. Great afternoon of green, serene surroundings and informative conversation. Cool how much we have in common.

For our evening I got watching the “Breaking Bad” tapes. Unfortunately only one of this batch was good. All those after it were just a still image (sometimes for the whole hour). I’m sure DISH was experiencing some issue. Oh well, there are more important things in life and I had actually seen those episodes before.

In 2009 another great experience we had was at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire so here are images from that time. This year it is being held Aug 2-Oct 26 Saturdays, Sundays and Labor Day Monday. They have a different theme for each weekend. 35 acres filled with costumed characters, Tudor buildings and gardens. Naturally lots of food too. There are coupons to help on the price.

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Lititz, Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery and Wilbur Chocolate Factory

8/18/14 Monday in Lebanon,PA (Hershey-TT)

Late start to the morning. The DVR is back to normal. Not sure all the “Breaking Bad” shows were recorded, but there is more to life. Outside for my walk I got involved saying goodby to Billy/Jim while John got involved with “Love Boat”. So we delayed our plans to visit Lititz until after lunch. I worked on the blog as John watched more old TV shows.

A friend (Lily) had recommended this city. It’s a Moravian story, you could say. This religious group was persecuted in Europe so escaped to the New World. Lititz is the German spelling for Lidice, where European reformers had taken refuge in the 15th century.

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Their schoolhouse became Linden Hall, the oldest continuously operating residence school for girls in the US.

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For 100 years Moravian church members were the only people permitted to live in the town. They did give in and let others come in 1855.

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I think Lititz is most famous for the “Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery”. It’s the first commercial pretzel bakery in the New World, started in 1861. It’s still standing and they make soft pretzels there now. Julius also was the first to invent the hard pretzel – these were considered mistakes among pretzel bakers of the time. He thought it would be a good thing to make them thinner and purposely cook them longer. His boss scoffed at the idea. So Julius started his own Pretzel Bakery, specializing in hard pretzels. Now people of the time weren’t familiar with these but Julius had a great idea. This was also the beginning of the Civil War so he gave his hard pretzels (so much tastier than hard tack) which could last for weeks whereas the soft pretzels weren’t practical in the military realm. They were a huge hit and that’s how they became popular for the general populace – the soldiers spread the news.

We learned all this on our tour (for an amazing $3.50/adult), along with making our own pretzels (we didn’t bake them) and seeing the original ovens Julius and his family used. In fact it’s all still run by family, although most of the pretzels are made in Reading, PA, I think (we forgot the name) by Tom Sturgis. They’re only distributed in the 150 mile radius of that town. Naturally we bought a soft pretzel (never had one before). I’d say it’s tastier than a bagel! We also got free small bags of pretzels and bought another big one to share with our friends.

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My pretzel as they were made in the early days. John’s is the one with the Certificate.

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After twisting the dough, they let it proof (raise), then put them into a caustic solution (now of baking soda and water) that will give the shiny brown outside when baked. They are next placed on the cloth covered box to drain moisture away. Next they put them into the brick oven to bake, using that long narrow board, then pull them out with a short wide paddle. If they were to be hard pretzels they’d put them in that screened box, to be placed in a stack that was lifted to the second floor where they would “cook” more in the heat of that floor. It would take 4 hours to 2 days depending on the moisture in the air.

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In the 1930’s they invented a machine to to the dough twisting, using that until the 1960’s when they found that molds through which they press the dough were even more efficient.

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Our friend also mentioned that the Wilbur Chocolate Factory was in Lititz. I can’t resist chocolate. We heard they give more samples than Hershey. It’s true. They have some jars of “Wilbur Rosebuds” (like kisses) that you can just help yourself to. Thus people like myself manage to eat quite a number of them! Anyway, there were directions to Wilbur Chocolate at the Pretzel place. Just an easy walk down that neat city. We couldn’t resist buying a pound of “Wilbur Rosebuds.”

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Our path to/from Lititz included a path/road through a tall forest. Lovely.


We got home in plenty of time to make supper and John noted he’d had his walk for the day, so we ended our day with TV.

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Hershey’s Chocolate World Attraction

8/17/14 Sunday in Lebanon,PA (Hershey-TT)

Enjoyed our Sunday pancake breakfast before church.

It rained all morning but the sun came out when we left the church. We whipped up our leftover black eyed pea soup and some sandwiches for lunch, followed by a discussion on a possible RV for us. Such a complicated issue.

The soup was so good it put me to sleep, so a nap for me and watching golf for John. I got up with energy to address my emails, then time for supper already: corn on the cob, lots of veggies and Spanish Rice.

When I got the dishes done I noticed the sun was starting to go down so we headed out for a walk.

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We stopped at the Family Center and picked up some brochures. You may be wondering why we haven’t been so hot to explore. It’s partly because campgrounds have great activities on the weekend and busy on the “outside”, but it’s also because we were here, at this campground, September 2009. I’ll be sharing those photos on our quieter days like this one. Here’s where we went to “Hershey’s Chocolate World Attraction.” Cute with a movie, a ride through a pretend factory (a cow takes your picture) and you get a chocolate kiss at the end. Fun for kids of all ages. They also have “Hersheypark” which ia a world-class amusement park. We never went there because that’s not our thing, generally. Hershey Town is lovely with all the street names based on chocolate. They even have Hershey Kisses on the street lamps.  Milton Hershey built it to take care of his workers. That’s actually why he built the amusement park and schools which still take in troubled kids for free.

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At the end of our walk we came upon Billy/Jim and Dottie/Jack and got to talking until the mosquitoes arrived. Then Dottie/Jack took off for home. They are still working.

Back at the rig we settled in to watch some DVR taped shows. After a bit the DVR said there was a signal loss. What? Nothing, absolutely nothing had changed. Since it was late I said let’s just go to bed and let it work itself out. I was not happy that it looked like it may not take the “Breaking Bad Binge” shows I wanted recorded. John checked that our satellite was still pointed as it had been, then returned and turned the TV on. It said “Acquiring Signal”. We figured maybe there was an issue with the DISH satellite.

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A Day For Learning

8/16/14 Saturday in Lebanon,PA (Hershey-TT)

This morning I worked on the blog and pictures while John got a couple projects knocked off: cleaned windshield of bugs and put silicone over hole surrounding antenna of our wireless rear camera. He’s now satisfied that the camera is pointing where he wants it to, so he can seal things up from the rain. Then we went grocery shopping (still fun!) and hurried home to get the groceries away and bolt down some lunch so we could make it to the Customer Appreciation Meeting at the Adult Lodge. We were a bit late but they hadn’t started yet. Plus there were cookies, doughnuts and beverages.

TT Info in this paragraph:

We learned the problems with power stem from the nearby Sawmill. When it starts up early in the morning it steals power from the campground. When it quits in the afternoon, we have 120 volts. The manager has been fighting with the power company for a couple years on this issue and won’t quit until she gets her share of the power all the time. She also said that she is holding the number of annuals down to 50. She said it takes strength to stand up to forces that push her into selling more. She realizes she doesn’t have more land to build more campsites for the travelers, thus her stance. Also they will be getting WiFi through ELS which plans to make it (a new kind) available to all the campgrounds. It will cost, though. Cable TV will also be installed here next year. At the next meeting about ELS and Upgrades we learned that the public used to come to camp for free 2 nights and 3 days, then listen to a sales pitch. Now they come in as retail guests paying $60/night. This way there is income for ELS. Also, Hershey reserved 50 sites for the earlier public, now they reserve 20 sites. They are also invited to join TT. If they buy a Zone Pass they get what they paid to camp applied as credit on their Zone Pass dues.

When we got back to our campsite we settled in to enjoy the gorgeous weather in the shade of our little pine tree, reading. As it got later I suggested we take a short walk and see if we could talk to the people in the Ventana, maybe getting a look. They weren’t outside so that didn’t happen but the Safari Simba owners were outside so we got talking with them. Soon friends of their showed up and we all really got to talking. Hard to tear away for supper.

After supper we confirmed that yes, Winnebago is still making the Journey/Itasca Meridian 34B rigs. We had a hard time finding them while with our new friends. Still few and far between units for sale. By the time I remembered to take some photos of the campground, the sun was setting. Dang!

Here’s my best shot.

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Time for TV.

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Costco For Hearing Aid Help

8/15/14 Friday in Lebanon,PA (Hershey-TT)

Early this morning as I was walking I saw a bunny rabbit (brown), squirrel and a host of Canadian Geese enjoying the grass in our back yard.

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I spent the morning working on the blog then we left for Costco in Harrisburg. I hadn’t realized that’s the capital of Pennsylvania. Sort of like Olympia in Washington State-a small town for its capital. The route we intended to take (Hwy 322W) was crammed with cars going west for as far as the eye could see. Of course, this is the one time we have to make an appointment time. So I got my Waze GPS going and it sent us a different way, via I-81. Thank heavens because we made it in fine time that way. They discovered John’s right hearing aid was dead, gave him a hearing test, then set his new right and old left hearing aids to an appropriate level.

I had fun reading at the book area as I waited for him. They even have set up sofas right there, just for us browsers I suspect. John didn’t find me, but I texted that he should check out the nearby sofas, so then he did. We had a yummy Costco lunch, then shopped. On the way home we stopped at Camping World to see what RVs they had available. Since we had frozen food in the car we didn’t stay for a tour. The salesman did tell us about a good farmer’s market down the road we were taking home, so we stopped there (junction of Hwy 734 and Hwy 22). Nice produce, all inside a building!

Once home I ran into difficulties: not enough room in the freezer. Plus barely enough room in the fridge. John noted that I could fit it all in a residential fridge (as they come in many new RVs).

We celebrated our trip by watching TV shows we’d taped. So wonderful listening to sound at a normal volume. To think John thought they’d turned his hearing aids up too high. The gentleman at Costco told him to give it a couple days. Yay! It was beautiful outside and I found myself saying we should be outside, not watching TV. Night was good for that. It reminded me of when I was young, always inside watching TV, with my mom saying “It’s a beautiful day, you need to go outside.”

After awhile I noticed our neighbor was outside, so I went over to ask him if he was familiar with the area (he was) and what route he’d recommend to go to the Gettysburg Farm campground. John joined us as we put our heads together over my Streets and Trips map and came up with a plan. Then it was supper time and did we celebrate with our new produce: corn on the cob and a salad with tomatoes and mushrooms and cheese. Fish was the entree. Yum again!

After supper we went for our campground walk. This time we came upon the Family Lodge Patio where they were showing “The Croods”, so we stopped to enjoy it. It was almost 9:30pm when it finished so we had an exciting time finding our way home in the dark. Fun day. I didn’t take any campground photos because the sun crept behind clouds and the views weren’t nearly as gorgeous as last night.


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Moving on – to Lebanon,PA

8/14/14 Thursday in Lebanon,PA (Hershey-TT)

Had to be careful getting the slides in but they made it and we were off before 9 am. We prefer the Interstates (I-80W then I-81S). Less intersections and congestion in general in our opinion. They are lovely as well, treelined without commercial advertising much of the time. Normally they have rest areas that are big rig friendly but on this trek we didn’t see any on the map. Really? Three hours of driving with no opportunity to visit the restroom? When John got desperate he pulled onto the shoulder of an exit ramp and stopped for our break. Our water pump didn’t pump so we figured maybe that was because of the angle we were sitting at. At least this way we had a little road to get up to speed for entering the freeway.

We must have been traveling through the Poconos; lots of hills and John bemoaned our gas mileage.

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I-81S where we traveled had its share of construction areas and more than its share of rough roads. At one place I-80N was having a very long construction wait. Maybe in a few years it will be better.

Other than the water pump our trip went just fine. We arrived at noon so John was starving and we had lunch before we put our slides out and jacks down. Once we did all that (had to keep the kitchen side slide in-too tight) we tried the water pump. Still not really giving much water even though we were level. BUT we only had a little water in there so I suggested we fill it to 30% or so and try again. That was the answer!!! So glad we figured that out.

I’m all for that. I treated myself to a nap as John watched golf and other shows. Then we was hungry again so he made popcorn to accompany our black eyed pea soup.

After another struggle with DISH we got our locals changed. I think they’re all inexperienced. Or else they are focused on solving some technical problem. She suggested we just change our address online. With that in place we took a walk around this lovely park. It seems more like a park than a campground. Lakes with Canadian Geese. I should have brought my camera on the walk. Spacious sites, water (great pressure!), power, sewer and depending on placement, satellite. We have all 4. They are “upgrading” the power so many of the pedestals have 20,30 and 50 amp BUT the 50 amp outlet has a cover plate over it and is locked. Thus if you want/need 50 amp power when you sign the paper showing the site you’ve chosen you can check “unlock 50 amp power”. I think you will get charged $3/day. We chose to stick with the 30 amps. It does seem to be weak: 1 high amp item takes the voltage down to 114. Lots of signs for 5 mph speed limit along with enforcement: first time you’re caught a warning, the 2nd time you are not allowed to drive in the campground. “We have a lot of children running about this park. None can be spared!!” There seems to be lots of pride in the place. We’ve seen no trashy sites yet. In fact it’s hard to tell the annual sites, other than the cabins. A really peaceful, beautiful place. Plus we’re in Amish country and of course Hershey is nearby!

On our walk we stopped to talk with a couple who have an older (2000) Safari Sahara. It’s in beautiful condition. He hasn’t had near the issues we’ve had. In the 4 years he’s had it he’s only spent $200 in repairs. Luck of the draw I guess.

Back at home we watched last weeks “NY Med”, our new favorite show. The last show was tonight though.

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New Friends

8/13/14 Wednesday in East Stroudsburg,PA (Timothy Lake South-TT/OW)

More rain last night but still just light rain showers through the day. We even had a good bit of sunshine through the afternoon. I feel for those getting deluged in New York up through Maine.

I worked some on the Internet and started our new recipe for black eyed peas. Our crock pot (the original plan) was too small but luckily our stock pot (8 quarts) fit on the induction plate. Best of all we can set our time as well as the temperature. So essentially it worked like a crock pot-cooking at simmer all day.

John discovered that 1 channel on the guide had the movie “Ghost” but in reality they’d changed it to “Good Morning Vietnam” in honor of Robin Williams. We couldn’t resist and watched that for much of the afternoon. Out of curiosity and for a break we drove up to Timothy Lake North (we’re staying in Timothy Lake South which is big rig friendly). They do have a nice water park, pool and playground for the kids. We were thinking of taking our grandchildren here someday. There didn’t seem to be many long level sites though, so we figured if we came we’d still park the rig in the South campground.

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When we got back I started watching Dr. Oz and falling asleep. John went outside. When he didn’t return for some time I looked out. He was talking with neighbors across the street. They have a Winnebago Vectra. I’d been mentioned for much of our time here that I’d sure like to ask them about their rig. Apparently John did just that. Naturally I didn’t want to miss out on anything. So we got into a great conversation with Bob/Cheryl.

We took a break for supper Our Black eyed pea soup wasn’t nearly as delicious as the one Gail made when we were all in Orlando. Must call her and ask her secrets. This is when we discovered that ham hocks are mostly fat wrapped around bone. I thought there’d be some ham in there… Not a lot of flavor beyond the fat and onions. We’ll give it another try if I learn some things from Gail.

Since we’d sat around all day we took a walk. John spotted a deer at one point. We stood still for some time. She stood still as well, watching us. Then she moved forward a little, munching, then getting onto the road we were on. At that point she just ambled back to where we first saw her and then farther away. That was sweet. Toward the end of our walk we ran into Cheryl/Bob. They invited us to a campfire at their site. What a great evening, sharing around the fire. Way better than TV.


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