Friday, August 5, 2016

Chapter 37 - Gatlinburg to Hiawassee, Georgia

Aug 4th, Day 62: Our drive today may have been the most beautiful drive of our entire trip. The first hour or so we drove through the high mountains of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park where we reached a high elevation of 5,046 feet above sea level at a point known as Newfound Gap. The road from Gatlinburg to Newfound Gap, a total distance of around 15 miles, was all up a steep and winding mountain road. This photograph above was a typical view as we passed through the heavily forested mountains. The photograph below shows that as we neared the highpoint, the tops of the mountains were in the clouds.

Immediately upon exiting the Great Smoky Mountain National Park we found ourselves back at elevation 1,500 in the Village of Cherokee, North Carolina located in the Cherokee Indian Reservation. Like Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, Cherokee caters to tourists with hundreds of Indian arts and craft stores and to their great benefit financially, a huge hotel and casino. We have been through Cherokee a number of times in the past and considering that we were towing a trailer on this visit, we elected not to stop.

The highway as we dropped down the mountain side into Cherokee followed a rapidly flowing creek by the name of the Oconaluftee River. The river obviously famous for trout fishing, was also a beautiful sight and we could not resist stopping and taking this photo.

Soon after leaving the Indian reservation our highway started to rise again in elevation as we soon entered the Nantahala National Forest. Once again the mountains views were spectacular even though they were often shrouded with cloud cover. We found ourselves on several occasions also passing through rain showers as we continued south.

We took this photograph above on a pull-off spot located in North Carolina about twenty-five miles above the North Carolina - Georgia state line. The rains had stopped and the sun was finally shining.

Our destination today is a campground named Bald Mountain Camping Resort located just south of the City of Hiawassee in North Georgia. The campground got it's name from a nearby mountain by the name of Brasstown Bald which happens to be Georgia's tallest mountain rising to 4,783 feet. While we have no plans to drive to the top of Brasstown Bald during our short stay, we have done so in the past several times over the six years we summered here in Georgia's Blue Ridge Mountains. Not surprisingly our camping "Resort" is surrounded by mountains and we are sheltered from the sun under tall maple trees. We arrived at our destination around 11 am after a very wonderful 3-1/2 hour drive.

After getting all set up at our campsite and having lunch, we decided to once again drive up into the mountains. We knew from past experience that the southern end of the Appalachian Trail is located in North Georgia and we thought that it might be fun this afternoon to revisit an old store located right on the Appalachian Trail at a point known as Neel Gap at 3,109 feet above sea level. The old stone building that now serves as a store and information center was built in 1937 by the Civilian Conservation Corps around the same time that the trail was constructed.
The store features supplies of all types for the many hikers that pass through the area as well as a gift store for tourists like ourselves.

While the weather was not particularly inviting when we arrived at the store (also known as the Walasi-Yi Center) as it had just stopped raining, we did take this long range photo looking southeast from the back deck of the store. Kathy and I have hiked a very short distance on the Appalachian Trail a number of years back, and I now wish we were younger and had more time because the spender of these mountains is beyond description and walking the trail has to be the best way to take-in the experience.  We returned to the campsite around 3 o'clock and relaxed for the rest of the day. When one is on the road for over two months, time has to be found to relax.

Aug 5th, Day 63: As I previously mentioned, we used to spend our summers in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Georgia and today our plan is to revisit our old "summer home" located just outside the City of Blue Ridge, Georgia. We were pleasantly surprised as we drove by our old cabin as the many forms of landscaping that we had planted around the cabin were now fully matured and looked wonderful. We kind of miss the old place. From our front porch and our bedroom porch we had long range views of the mountains both in North Carolina as well as in Tennessee.

After visiting our old neighborhood we drove into the City of Blue Ridge to see what if anything has changed over the past two years. Not surprisingly not much had changed although we did notice some new construction on the main street and it was clear despite the early hour (most stores did not open until 11 am) that the Blue Ridge area is still a very popular destination.

At one point we thought that we might have lunch on the outside porch of the restaurant Harvest on Main since we had eaten there many times in the past and we knew that Cabo would not be ostracized. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) it was well before the lunch hour when we drove by this popular Blue Ridge restaurant.

We took many photographs of our old stomping grounds and it would be pointless to include most of them in this chapter. For example a photo of our old library or the community theater where we used to volunteer, would be pretty boring to view. One thing that we did enjoy revisiting however, is the Mercier Gardens where fresh fruits and vegetables and even junk food can be purchased from their huge indoor store. These kinds of places we do miss and cannot really be found in Florida.

We returned back to our temporary home, which incidentally was located about 35 miles east of Blue Ridge, around 1 o'clock.  Tomorrow we are headed south again probably to a campsite somewhere in southern Georgia.  We have now for the most part decided that our trip has culminated by our visit to the Blue Ridge Mountain area of North Georgia and our travel goal now is to get home. We will make only two more stops, each however, for a period of only one day. The scenery such as seen in the photo above, will now be a thing of the past.  Unless of course, we do travel again next summer somewhere else in our great country.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Chapter 36 - Fort Chiswell to Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg, TN

Aug 2nd, Day 60: Today we once again continued driving southwest down Interstate 81 although fortunately it was less crowded than our previous experience on this same interstate only two days earlier. The scenery was beautiful over the entire 4-hour drive at least until we arrived in the highly commercialized area of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. The six lane highway leading into this city has businesses crowded on both sides of the highway hawking tourist junk culminating with the massive and extremely popular Dollywood located less than a mile from the KOA where we are spending the next two nights. Kathy and I visited this area about a decade ago and we did not think much of Pigeon Forge back then and it still holds true. Fortunately the areas surrounding this city including Gatlinburg only a few miles to the south are less commercialized and then of course, just south of Gatlinburg is the magnificently beautiful Great Smoky Mountains National Park which we will cross as we continue to make our way south two days from now. Our campground was not unexpectedly very crowded considering the popularity of Pigeon Forge and Dollywood but we had a nice shaded site with full services including cable TV hookup and a workable WiFi system.

Other than do a little shopping for food supplies we decided to delay our tourist activities until tomorrow morning when hopefully the streets are less crowded. Quite to our surprise however, on our way back from the supermarket, we passed and stopped to visit an old historic water-powered gristmill that began operations back around 1830. The mill originally ground up grains but by the early 1900s it was also the main source of electricity for the small town of Pigeon Forge. Today it is surrounded by all kinds of tourist junk stores and restaurants but it remains a beautiful picture from across the Little Pigeon River.
Quite to my surprise when we arrived back at our campsite a few minutes later, did I realize that we were parked only a couple of hundred feet from the banks of the Little Pigeon River and just upstream from the old mill. For the rest of the day we just relaxed although we did try and walk along the river to see if we could find the old mill although we eventually reached a fence and we had no choice but to turn around.

August 3rd, Day 61: Today we awoke to beautiful weather and knowing that during this time of year Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg are very crowded we decided to set out early. The first stop we planned was to the Visitor's Center at the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and to get there we decided to take a bypass around the main street of Gatlinburg. The one very beautiful thing about Gatlinburg is that the mountains rise above the city on all sides and the city kinds of sits in a deep valley. The bypass took us on a winding mountain road above the city and this photograph taken around 8 am was shot from a pull-off area along the highway. The mountain in the distance is Mount Le Conte which rises to a height of 6,593 feet above sea level and it sits almost a mile higher than the Village of Gatlinburg.

The Visitor's Center offered Kathy an opportunity to purchase a few items and for me to pick up a few maps that might helps us explore the area around Gatlinburg. Since we are planning on crossing the Great Smoky Mountains tomorrow morning, we decided to delay driving any further into the Park. We did decide however, to drive up another highway into the mountains that is named the Cherokee Orchard Trail. This road is noted for its collection of old log cabins including the cabin owned by Noah "Bud" Ogle who managed a farm in this area between 1883 and 1925. The photo was taken of his old farm house. As we drove up the winding mountain road one problem that we encountered as the morning moved along was that the few parking areas where we could pull off were all filled up. In most cases the visitors were hikers who were taking advantage of the many trails covering the side of the mountain. Oh to be young again.

The winding mountain road eventually took us back into Gatlinburg giving us a chance to revisit at least from our car windows, the city where we had spent a week during the month of January about a decade earlier.  Not much has changed here other than the heavy summer traffic. The many shops lining both sides of the streets we had visited during our previous stay, but today they offered us no attraction. Perhaps our having been on the road traveling for over two months has slowed us down a bit.

One of the other areas that we wanted to revisit was Gatlinburg's ski resort which is called Ober Gatlinburg and it sits high on a mountain overlooking the city. There was snow on the slopes during our previous visit but obviously not today. The activities in the area include besides just skiing, an indoor ice skating rink, an aerial tramway,  a scenic chairlift ride and a few other activities all of which clearly informed us that "No Pets Allowed."  Too bad. You cannot get any money from us.
Fortunately the view from Ober Gatlinburg was wonderful although the view from the Aerial Tramway might have been even better. 

One of the things that we miss living in Florida are the mountains so it should not come as a surprise to admit that I took more than a dozen photos of various mountain views.

During the morning as we drove up and down the narrow roads surrounding Gatlinburg we ended up at one point by accident in a parking lot of a huge hotel overlooking the city. We decided to walk around the hotel since the views were terrific. It was here that I took the mountain view photo above as well as this photo of Kathy and Cabo and a very sweet young bear that Cabo to a liking too.

We returned to our campsite by early afternoon.  It was another great morning but as always we welcomed the chance to finally just sit around and relax.  I think that this photo to the left tells it all. Tomorrow we will cross the Great Smoky Mountains (if our car can handle pulling the trailer up the steep hills) and head south into another forested and mountainous area in northern Georgia. This visit will be kind of special for us since we spent six summers in this area at a cabin we owned near Blue Ridge, Georgia.  These last few days will also represent for the most part, the end of our travels up and down the east coast of North America. Frankly we are both a bit tired and we look forward to returning home. Tomorrow and the next two days however, will be special. It ain't over yet.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Chapter 35 - Luray to Fort Chiswell, VA

July 31st, Day 58: Today is Sunday. Sundays are normally quiet days. Most people have the day off from work. They stay at home, maybe mow the lawn. Do some chores. Not this Sunday however. Everyone including truckers from all over the country were driving on Interstate 81. Unbelievable that this highway was so crowded. The scenery was beautiful with mountains all around us but it was hard to enjoy the scenery what with having to concentrate on the road. In our four hour drive we stopped at rest areas three times before finally arriving at our campsite at noon. Even the rest areas were mobbed.

We selected a campground near Fort Chiswell in southwestern Virginia simply because we wanted to limit our drive to around four hours. There was nothing special about Fort Chiswell that we were aware of, so our debate as we drove south was whether to spend one or two nights. When we arrived we discovered that when I made the reservation I had requested two nights and they so charged our credit card for two nights. Well, it is a pretty area so I think ( hope) that we will enjoy driving on some of their "back" roads.  We both agreed however, that whatever we do, it will be tomorrow. The late afternoon temperatures were nice so we enjoyed relaxing outdoors under our shade tree. This RV park is really very pleasing and surprisingly we have over 40 cable TV stations and a workable WiFi system. Just like home but we are in Fort Chiswell. Incidentally, we discovered that the remains of Old Fort Chiswell are long gone so we will cross that tourist attraction off our list of things to visit tomorrow.

Aug 1st, Day 59: Last night the temperature was fairly cool and we slept well. During breakfast I checked online the elevation of Fort Chiswell and discovered that we were at 2,200 feet above sea level which might help explain the cooler temperatures. We also woke up to an increasingly dense fog. The photograph to the left was taken by Kathy at almost the same location as the photograph above but at 6 am in the morning. She also took several photos of cows grazing on a nearby hill that we could easily see from our trailer but the dim light made the cows difficult to recognize in the photo. When the skies started to brighten we discovered that the cows had moved.

Today we are going to drive what our Wythe County tourist map refers to as a "Scenic Byway." The skies were almost cloudless when we departed from our campground and within minutes we recognized that the narrow two lane highway was indeed offering us some beautiful scenery. Our first stop was at the Fort Chiswell Mansion built between 1839 and 1840. We knew that the mansion was closed on Mondays but we thought we could at least drive up to the mansion and take a few photos. Unfortunately the road leading up to the mansion was blocked off.  Nevertheless we did take a photo from a distance which included, much to our pleasure, these cows in the foreground. In this part of southwestern Virginia, cows are everywhere.
Our next stop along the Scenic Byway was at the West Wind Farm Vineyard and Winery. As early as it was, we knew that the winery was closed but we thought it might be fun to see what a vineyard in Virginia might look like. Both the vineyard and the winery building were small and nothing special but we did love this old home that was on the site and was mostly in ruins. We wondered why someone had not renovated the home although the cost of the work was obviously a factor in discouraging renovation.

Our next stop was probably one of the prettier places that we visited this morning, the New River Trail State Park. When we told the woman at the gate that all we were going to do was drive around the park and take a few photos she declined to collect a fee from us which we thought was really nice and quite unusual. Admittedly we did feel a little guilty when we left, as our drive through the park with photo stops took us more than 1/2 hour and the fee had we paid it, was only $4.00.

The major attraction of the park are the trails along the New River which run a distance of 57-miles in total. Obviously we did not drive on the trails. The park does include a primitive camping site (no trailers), access to the river for boating (mostly kayaks and canoes as there are some rapids), and fishing, and lots of picnic tables. The scenery was beautiful which we hope shows in this photograph of the New River.

Also in this same park which we were told in part many years ago used to be a village, was the remains of an old iron furnace built in 1881 which is now called the Foster Falls Furnace. The furnace apparently was run by water power from the nearby New River. It remained in operation until 1916 when a flood destroyed the railroad bridge used by trains to bring the raw iron ore to the furnace. The old village that surrounded and manned the furnace was wiped out when the furnace was closed.

Not far from the state park was another state park known as the Shot Tower Historic State Park. The construction of this tower was completed in 1807 and it was used to melt iron to make shot of all sizes (bullets to cannon balls).  Standing in the foreground in the photo of Shot Tower is the original operator of the tower, Col. Charles Baker (1710-1766) who quite to our surprise welcomed us to his place of business.

A little further down our scenic bypass we found the Raven Cliff Campground and Picnic area which sits alongside the Cripple Creek. For those of you old enough to remember the bluegrass musical group, the Foggy Mountain Boys founded by Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, and popular in the 1960s, it is said that one of their popular  recordings, "Cripple Creek", was written about this creek. Anyway, the creek was rapidly flowing and crystal clear and said to be full of trout, but their little picnic area shown in this photograph was completely empty. I hummed the song "Cripple Creek" as I walked around.  Good memories of when I used to play the guitar with a group of old friends.

There were many, many wonderful views along this scenic byway but honestly one of our major problems is that the old highway was also loaded with newer and sometimes very ugly houses and even mobile homes that completely ruined the scenic views. It is foolish to have expected that the area remain void of houses but I guess as roaming tourists we had our hopes. Nevertheless, that said, we had a wonderful drive this morning and we are delighted that we chose to stop for two days at Fort Chiswell.

We spent the remainder of the afternoon and evening as always relaxing and enjoying the scenery in our campground. Tomorrow we are again headed southwest, this time to a campground located between the cities of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg in the great state of Tennessee.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Chapter 34 - Harrisburg to Luray, VA

July 29th, Day 56: This morning we headed out around 7:45 am. The drive south down to Luray, Virginia was almost entirely on Interstate highways and that was good except that it seemed like every 18-wheeler in the country was today on Interstate 81 in front of us, along side us, and behind us, and all were traveling 10 mph faster than we were. The scenery was great, especially as we got closer  to the Appalachian Mountains of Western Virginia and our next planned stop. Our campsite was located just north of Luray and about ten miles west of one of the entrances into the Shenandoah National Park and the Skyline Drive. This campground was definitely one of the prettiest that we have ever stayed and were it not for the lack of TV coverage and a very weak WiFi system, it would definitely rank in the top 5%. Kathy and I over the years have stayed in at least 200 different campgrounds so let us just say we are experts.

It was our plan over the next several days to spend time up on the Skyline Drive which runs in total a distance of around 100 miles along the top of the mountains in the Blue Ridge Mountain Range of Virginia. The winding mountain road was originally constructed during the Great Depression and the work which was largely handled by the Civilian Conservation Corps began in 1931. It is impossible to imagine that such a construction feat, the cost of which was paid for by the Federal Government, could be accomplished today.

Frankly, I had forgotten that to drive on the Skyline Drive was not free. When we approached the entrance to the park and saw that we had to pay $20 just to enter, we turned around and said to each other that we would spend only one day driving through the Park so that the most we would have to pay would be the single day fee. But after we turned around Kathy said to me: "Don't we have a Senior Pass that let's us enter all Federal Parks at no cost?"  She was right; we had purchased the pass last year at the Grand Teton National Park, so we turned around and entered the Park at no cost and for the next 2-1/2 hours we drove north up the Skyline Drive.

The views from the Skyline Drive are magnificent.  Without comment I will include several photos during our drive on the first day of our visit.

We returned to our campsite around 3:30 after a long day of driving: our 4-hour drive down to Luray plus the time that we spent on the Skyline Drive.  Later that evening after a few cold drinks and a nice meal I found myself asleep before eight o'clock.  Kathy on the other hand, stayed up a little later (perhaps not having the "cold drinks" helped) and she walked around our campsite and took a few photographs of the sunset in this incredible beautiful setting.  Tomorrow we are expecting rain so perhaps she was just trying to record the last time we will see the sun for a few days. Let us hope that that is not the case.

July 30th, Day 57: Surprise, we actually woke up to a rising sun although there were dark clouds off to the east so we were not sure what to expect weather wise.  One thing for sure, we both agreed that we should get on the road fairly early so we left for the mountains around 8:00 am. Our campsite is out in the country so it was not surprising that we found cows nearby. But we have to tell you that finding the cows standing in the muddy water jammed up against a fence right alongside the road leading out of our campground, was an astonishing sight.  We stopped and tried to tell them to spread-out, but to no avail.

Fortunately the rain held off for our entire morning drive along the Skyline Drive although when we returned heading north back towards our campsite, the clouds were getting heavy and the beautiful views that we had experienced only a few hours earlier were gone.

We ended our drive today with a short trip into the Town of Luray both to see what the town looked like but also to pickup a few of those always needed supplies. Unlike many travelers we do not stop for any meals at restaurants. This is mostly due to our traveling with Cabo but we also prefer to eat at "home".

Luray was a nice old town with many old buildings and like some other places that we have visited they love to paint murals on the walls of their buildings. This photo shows one of the better murals but there were at least a dozen that we drove by, some of them better than others. Frankly, Kathy if she had the time and patience could paint better murals than any we saw in Luray. As some of you know, Kathy has painted a number of murals as backdrops in theaters both in Naples as well as in Blue Ridge, and all of them in my opinion were better than all of the murals that we passed in Luray.  Oh well.

We returned back to our campsite by 1:00 pm very pleased that we had missed the rain. It was in the high 80s when we finally arrived back at our camper.  When we decided to come down from the top of the mountains, it was around 70 degrees.  We immediately turned on our air conditioner.  It was obviously hard to immediately adjust to such a rapid change in the outside temperatures and it definitely reminded us that we are finally headed south.  Tomorrow we are headed south once again this time to a small city in Southern Virginia by the name of Fort Chiswell.  Hopefully another wonderful place to visit.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Chapter 33- Watkins Glen to Harrisburg, PA

July 27th, Day 54: We have made the drive from Watkins Glen down to Harrisburg at least five times in the past and each time the drive is enjoyable because the scenery is so beautiful. Much of the drive is through the Allegheny Mountain range in Northern Pennsylvania. Then about 90 miles north of our destination we connected with the famous Susquehanna River which we loosely followed from the city of Williamsport all the way down to Harrisburg.
The Susquehanna River connects at it's southern end with the Chesapeake Bay and in the early years of our country, traveling up this river was a major means of transportation for the early settlers including some of my own ancestors. Other than a few steep and rather long hills we had to ascend, most of the drive today was easy as the traffic was fairly light and for the most part we traveled on 4-lane highways.

Surprisingly the campground that we selected was only around 30% occupied despite the fact that all of the spaces were full service, pull through sites, and most of them were covered by large shade trees. I suppose that Harrisburg, the Capital of the State of Pennsylvania, is not a location that is the focus of many RVers, plus of course, it is the middle of the week.

Our decision to stop near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania was not because we wanted to visit the city. The decision was based on the fact that it was around a four hour drive from Watkins Glen plus it was on our ultimate path to drive near the Blue Ridge Mountain Range on our way back to Florida. Nevertheless, we decided once we were all set up at our campsite, to drive into the Harrisburg area to see what they have to offer us curious tourists. Our first stop was at a park known as the Fort Hunter Mansion and Park located on the Susquehanna River just north of Harrisburg. It was a pleasant surprise particularly the old mansion that was first built by an early settler back in 1786 although it was later modified 1814. While during the French and Indian War between 1754 and 1763 a fort occupied part of the park area, as far as we could determined nothing remains from this earlier period.
After leaving the park we drove into the City of Harrisburg. Our first stop was at an island out in the Susquehanna River known as the City Island. It was here that we hoped to have some really nice views of the city that we might photograph although once we parked we noted that the views were a bit disappointing.  We did however, take this nice photo of a tourist ferry known as the Pride of the Susquehanna.

Knowing that Harrisburg is the Capital of Pennsylvania we thought that it would be fun to have a look at their capital building. Typically these older buildings are often huge and unattractive architecturally, but in the case of Pennsylvania's capital, the building was very attractive. We took a number of photos from different angles but we liked this long range view the best.

Not unexpectedly, older towns like Harrisburg which was originally settled back in 1785 have a lot of beautiful old churches. Harrisburg was no exception. We drove by and photographed a number of these old churches in the downtown area but not unexpectedly the only one that we found open was a Catholic Church. Why only the Catholic churches are open to the public whereas churches of other faiths are usually locked, is unclear to us, but it is always great to be able to enter any church and photograph what is usually a beautiful sight. The interior of the Cathedral Parish of St. Patrick was no exception in this regard. What we found really interesting in this case is that we found no one in the church nor was there a donation box anywhere that we could find. Very unusual in the year 2016.

It was around 3:30 pm when we arrived back at our campsite. Tomorrow we plan to drive down to the Lancaster, Pennsylvania area. We realize that we visited this general area earlier in our trip, but the area is beautiful plus Lancaster was the home of my maternal grandmother's ancestors  for many generations which makes it of special interest to this amateur genealogist.

July 28th, Day 55: My 8th great-grandmother, Marie Warenbuer Ferree, was born in France in 1653. She was a member of a French  Huguenot family or she and her family were French Protestants in a country controlled predominately by Catholics. When persecution of the Huguenots became so bad she left France with her husband and children and eventually following her husband's death, she ended up emigrating to America in 1708. By 1712 the family settled in the Pequea Valley in what is now Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. My great grandmother died in 1716 but her family, or at least my Ferree ancestors, continued to live in this general area for the next seven generations right up to my great grandfather, Eugene H. Ferree (1866-1952) who left the area and moved with his mother after his father's death to the Village of Cayuga on Cayuga Lake, and then eventually to Lockport, New York. In the photograph above, I am standing over a Memorial to my 8th great grandmother, Marie Warenbuer Ferree, located in a graveyard in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. This cemetery is said to be the oldest in Lancaster County. Her original grave marker is right behind the memorial honoring her death.
The graveyard is remarkable in the sense that it is just sitting out in the middle of beautiful farmlands surrounded by an old stone wall and many trees.  Unless one is looking for the cemetery it can easily be passed by unnoticed. My great grandmother was the first person to be buried in this cemetery and it is reported that the cemetery originally sat on land owned by her oldest son and my 7th great-grandfather, Daniel Ferree (1677-1762). Today of course, almost all of the farms surrounding this area are now owned and operated by Amish farmers and almost all of these huge farms are wonders to behold.

This farm in the photograph above was located across the street from the cemetery and once you get off the main roads that run through Lancaster County, this view is pretty typical - large farm houses and barns and silos and hundreds of acres of crops although predominately corn.

One thing that both Kathy and I loved was watching the horse and carriages (buggies) riding on almost all of the roads throughout this area of Pennsylvania.  It did not seem to matter whether it was a back road or the rather crowded main highways, they were everywhere. This is just one photograph of the many that we took as we meandered back and forth through the county.

There were also a sizable number of Amish individuals riding bikes along the highway. In this particular photo it is clear that the woman on the bike had recently been shopping and she was on her way home. Since the use of automobiles is not the standard practice by the Amish, riding a bike is often the best alternative option.

One sight that we also enjoyed was the large number of shops along the major highways. The shop in this photo which incidentally was run by a Amish family, specialized in selling flowers. Many of the other shops however specialized in all kinds of handmade goods from furniture to various arts and crafts.

One of our final stops before returning to our campsite which was around a 45-minute drive away, was to the Bird in Hand Farmers Market which was obviously located in the Village of Bird in Hand which incidentally, is only a few miles west of the Village of Intercourse. I sure hope that my ancestors had nothing to do with naming these local towns. Anyway, this photo of Kathy and Cabo was taken by an old Covered Wagon on display at the farmers market.

Naturally Kathy spent time inside the market while Cabo and I sat outside enjoying the passer-byers and walking around looking at some of the crafts on display at a store next to the Market. Frankly, I was quite surprised at the very reasonable prices that were being asked for some of these hand made crafts although I am not sure that I would pay any price for a wood birdhouse or a handmade wooden eagle.

We returned once again to our aluminum home by early afternoon content to just relax for the rest of the day. Tomorrow morning we are heading south to a very highly rated campground located not far from the entrance to the Skyline Drive. Once again we are expecting some terrific scenery.