Maggie Mae

Maggie Mae

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

New York to VT

We left Gettysburg yesterday and traveled about 283 miles to Deer Haven Campground in Oneonta NY. It is run by a nice young couple who have twin 4 year olds. It is a great campground, but you almost get a nose bleed going up to the top. It is a very very steep drive up a gravel road. You can't really tell by the picture, but Janice is only about a third of the way down the hill.
I put the RV in first and it still lumbered up the hill. This was the first cool night I have had since last year. We were able to sleep with the windows open.



We left about 9:15 for the shorter ride to VT. It may have been shorter in miles, but with all the construction, not so much. The mountains in VT are beautiful, but we have had a few 9% grades that can scare the daylights out of you. I was coming down one of them and this is what crossed the road in front of me.


We told the KOA worker about the moose. She said she had lived here 4 years and still hadn't seen a moose so I guess we were pretty lucky to see one.

You know me, if there wasn't a problem, it would not be a normal day for me. I told you we had very rough roads, well, I went to put the step out when we stopped and it would not go out all the way. I looked underneath and it looks like the piece of metal that pushes the step out and brings it back is completely sheared off and hanging down. If I ever get these jacks fixed that is another thing I will have to add to the list.

We got settled in and went to Basketville to the store there. They certainly have beautiful home-made baskets. Janice took a picture of these animals made of basket materials. Pretty cool.



Until next time.................

Monday, June 28, 2010

Trip to western PA

Yesterday we took a trip to see my Cousin Jim. He lives close to Ligonier PA. We had a very scenic ride there on route 30, but I am very glad I was not driving the motor home. I drove up and down several mountains with steep grades that rival and even better the Rockies. One grade was 9%. Trucks were only allowed to go 20mph with plenty of S-curves. I would not like to be doing this in the winter for sure. The scenery is beautiful. Jim took Janice and I to lunch at a really nice restaurant in Ligonier.

The waitress was nice enough to take the picture of us.


The road comes into town and goes completely around the square. It reminded me a lot of the town I grew up in, only we called our area "The Green" and we had a gazebo too. Jim said they play music in the gazebo and at Christmas time, they light up the square.
On the way there and back, we took some cool pictures.





On a more somber note, we also spotted a sign for the temporary 9-11 Flight 93 Memorial. It was about 10 miles off route 30. They are going to make a permanent memorial and dedicate it on the 10 year anniversary of 9-11 next year. It will be part of the National Parks System. Those passengers were surely heroes that day when the deliberately sacrificed themselves to prevent yet another catastrophe on that day. I am glad they are going to build a memorial for them.




Tomorrow we head to New York and then on to VT. Until next time...........

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Shady Maple

Today we took a short ride (76 miles one way) to go to the Shady Maple Smorgasbord in East Earl PA. My friend Sharon, from the Women's RV Forum introduced me to this place 2 years ago. Believe me, it is worth the drive. If you are ever in the Lancaster area, it is a must stop!

We got there mid afternoon and decided to shop in the mammoth downstairs gift shop. I bought a new mouse pad with Westies on it, of course! They had a beautiful homemade quilt hanging on one of the walls for $695. I took a picture, but for some reason, it came out all fuzzy. You will just have to take my word for it. The upstairs has a giant dining room as well as separate banquet rooms. The place has chandeliers handing all over the place.

When we were at the NC monument the other day, Janice met a family from High Point NC that were heading for Lancaster. We told them they just had to go to the Shady Maple.

The Smorgasbord boast 200 feet of deliciously authentic Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking and they are so right. They have grilling and carving stations where they make NY strip steaks, salmon, ham, roast beef, veal cutlets, sausages, and chicken to mention just a few. They have loads of vegetables, salad and the best homemade desserts you can find anywhere. I was so stuffed I could hardly move. On top of that, our dinner came with a free full size loaf of apple bread from the Shady Maple Market. Yum.

Guess what?? As we were leaving, who do we see in line but the very family we saw at the monument. I told them I left them a little food.

This area is Amish and Mennonite country. We saw a family picking up bundles of hay by hand and throwing it onto a horse drawn wagon. The wagon was being driven by a little slip of a girl. I did not take their picture as I was not sure if it was disrespectful. They were watching us watch them. I smiled and waved and they waved back. I did take a picture of the hay field and you can see how it is gathered together and bundled. They use long pitchforks to pick up the piles.

I just love that area. It is so beautiful. Hope you all get the chance to go there one day. Until next time........

Friday, June 25, 2010

Trail Ride

It was a beautiful day in PA today. We took a ride out into the country looking for the "big round barn" which is on the historic register. Although we did find it, it was not really what we expected. Fresh produce was really expensive compared to the supermarket.
This evening we finally got to go on our trail ride to the battlefield. There were 16 riders with only one of us that were experienced. I have not been on a horse in at least 35 years. As you can see, we make quite the fashion statement in our riding helmets. Janice is ready to go

They gave us all general instructions before bringing us to our horses. They had a block that we could climb on to get up unto our horses. It is a good thing as I would have never been able to get my foot that high in the stirrup to be able to pull myself up onto her back. They picked out a really nice horse named Misty, for me. I was hoping she was not psychotic like in the movie "Play Misty for Me". She turned out to be a perfect lady.

Janice had a really large horse named Stoney, who had one speed....slow. This was great for her as she had never been on a horse. They had everyone mounted on their horses in the barn area, before putting us in the order they wanted.

They had three "wranglers" take us out. I am glad I did not see one of them thrown from her horse even before I got out of the barn. This is our group. I was last in line and Janice was in front of me. She took this picture.

Our ride took us through the area where some of the heaviest fighting occurred the first few days of July 1863. The forest is still much the same as it was 147 years ago.
One of the wranglers was nice enough to take this picture of the two of us.

At the top right hand side of this picture, you can see the PA Monument.

A cannon ball hit this building. You can still see the hole that it left.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Around Gettysburg

Last evening I picked up my Cousin Janice at Hagerstown MD. She came in, a little green around the gills, after flying a puddle-jumper on the last leg of her journey from Baltimore. It was a 6 seat plane with only 4 passengers. Guess it was pretty turbulent. Needless to say, we did not do any sight-seeing yesterday.

Today we started at Soldiers' National Cemetery. This cemetery is famous throughout the world as the site of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. He made his speech about 4 months after the battle of Gettysburg. The cemetery is the final resting place of some 3,307 post Civil War through Vietnam service men and women, and their family members.

You can see the graves are arranged in a large semi circle around this monument. The larger gray stones are the state section markers and they also indicate the number of dead from that state. The smaller stones usually have a number on it of the unknown soldiers from the different divisions. It was pretty hard to tell where someone belonged as dog tags were not used. They usually had to determine which section they belonged in by friends who identified them or by things found on the body, like letters. Also useful were the buttons on their clothing to determine, at least, their state origin.
The smaller states were closer to the statue and the larger states further out.

From there we went to one of the best museums in Gettysburg. It was the American Civil War Museum. Inside are life size figures whose mission is to provide "an authentic and accurate account of our nation's greatest conflict." There are more than 300 life-size figures showing scenes such as the underground railroad.

You can see a little bit of the basement, where the slaves would hide.

This one is Stonewall Jackson as he lay mortally wounded.

Clara Barton would follow the soldiers giving care to the wounded. Here, she is helping one of the injured on the battlefield. She later went on to found the Red Cross

Of course there were spies. This lady, Rose Greenow, was a spy for the south. While in Washington she would attend parties and social events, picking up and passing on information to the south.

The assassination of Abraham Lincoln. See the pistol in Booth's hand moments before the fatal shot.

We really enjoyed the museum and would recommend it highly. From there we came back to the MH for lunch and to walk Maggie.

This afternoon, I brought Janice to one of her favorite places on earth..........Boyd's Bears. I finished my book, while she shopped. On the way back, we took a brief tour of the battlefield so that Janice could get some pictures of the NC monument. We had a pretty full day. Until next time.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Care of the Wounded

I went back to the Visitor Center today so I could hear the Park Ranger talk about the care of the wounded Civil War Soldier. At one point there were 16,000 wounded in Gettysburg, a town of only 2400 residents. To become a doctor back then, you basically read a book and whalla, you were a doctor. The more experienced doctor would have a couple of less experience doctor students. I guess it did not take long to become experienced as they saw a patient about every 15 minutes. They used either ether or chloroform as anesthetic. In the 1860's they thought germs were airborne, so cleaning instruments or their hands was not a priority. They would even take the dressings from one patient, rinse them out in a bucket and put then on someone else. Did you know the first brain surgery in the US was on a soldier in the Civil War and he lived. The Civil War was the first time doctors documented the patient's care and also after the war, they tried to follow up with them to see how they did. It was also the first time they used bromide to clean wounds. Kind of like Alka Seltzer fizzing up to clean the wound. One of the doctors from the Civil War went on to found John Hopkins. Here are some of the surgeons instruments of the day. The saw looks particularly nasty.

Look what walked by my site

I was outside putting more fluid in my jacks.....again. When I looked up and saw this.

Cool!. They have trail rides here onto the battlefields. You can take a 1 or 2 hour ride. They go where cars can't. I have signed my cousin and I up for a one hour ride next Friday. It will be an evening ride from 6 to 7p. Haven't been on a horse in more than 30 years so it should be interesting. Advil is my friend!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Gettysburg Auto Tour

I started today, back at the Visitor Center. I decided to get the audio tour to go along with my map. The cashier recommended one of the three available CD's and I was very pleased with the choice.
I must confess, I am not up on the Civil War. History class was more years ago than I care to remember. The Civil War was primarily and infantryman's war where 91% of all casualties were caused by small arms fire rather than from artillery fire. They used lead bullets that did not have metal jackets. The lead bullets would cause devastating damage to anything they hit because they would flatten out on impact creating a much larger area of damage. One of these bullets could take off a limb and often did. The type of guns used were musket rifles. These guns had groves inside the barrels that would cause the bullet to spin making it much more accurate at hitting its target.

This picture is of the Eternal Light Peace Memorial. It was dedicated in 1938 by FDR as a symbol of the country's unity and peace under one flag. Two hundred thousand people attended the dedication including eighteen hundred Civil War veterans. The average age of the veterans was 95. This dedication would be the last of the Civil War reunions.

There were two types of cannons used in the war: the rifle cannon and the smooth bore cannon. The rifle cannon had a black barrel and the smooth bore had a green barrel. The rifle cannon had a range of 1-2 miles and could fire a variety of shells. For long range, solid shot, shell and K-shot were the munitions of choice. The K-shot and shell were hollow and designed to explode in the air reining shrapnel down on its enemies. It acted like a giant shot gun. Some of the monuments along the route included the state monuments to NC, MS and PA. I also took a picture from the high ground looking out over the battle fields. It is all so peaceful now, but it must have been hell back then. Gettysburg was the most bloody battle of the Civil War with the most loss of life in the shortest period of time, only 3 days.

North Carolina



The PA Memorial is the larges monument in Gettysburg.
Tomorrow, I hope to do my sightseeing downtown.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Gettysburg PA

I started today by cleaning my carpet. Have I mentioned before that I hate the carpet in this rig. It never looks clean no matter how many times I vacuum and shampoo it. Yesterday I purchased one of those new Woolite Rug Sticks. Figured what could I loose. Anyway, I still hate the carpet, but it is cleaner.
After that, I took Maggie to the groomer. I wanted her cut shorter for summer. It is supposed to be 100 this week end. I had two hours to my self, so I stopped at this beautiful old covered bridge.

Sachs Bridge was built in 1852. In July of 1863, part of the Confederate Army of Northern VA used this bridge to retreat. In 1938, the PA Highway Department determined that Sachs Bridge was the most historic covered bridge in the State and it was put on the National Register of Historic places. In 1996 flood waters cause the bridge to be swept off its abutments. The county rehabilitated the bridge by using steel supports and raised it 3 feet. I am glad they did as it is such a pretty bridge with the cross-hatch design. I still had time before I had to pick up Maggie so my next stop was the New Museum and Visitors Center. I wanted to pick up a pamplet for a self guided tour so that I could take Maggie with me. I was also in time to listen to one of the many talented Park Rangers tell about the life of the average Civil War Soldier. She was very interesting. She picked one young man from the group and dressed him in authentic Civil War soldier attire while she explained each piece before he put them on.

She said the average soldier only fought about 2 weeks in an entire year. The rest of the time they were either traveling of camped out. The lived in horrible conditions for months on end where all the refuse, human and animal, were left in the camp. Can you imagine the smell. Just think about your garbage if you don't get it out of the house. No cushy cot for them. They only had what they could carry, like a blanket for sleeping. Forget about a pillow. They ate "hard tack", which is like a cracker the consistency of granite. They would soak it in hot coffee until it softened and all the worms and bugs in it would float to the top of the coffee to be scooped out before eating it. Yuk! They were lucky if they got to bathe every three weeks. They had no knowledge of bacteria, so many died from infection. In actuality, most soldiers did not die from injuries but from disease and malnutrition.
I also stopped at the Virginia Memorial. At the top of the monument, Gen. Lee sits upon his horse. At the base, the sculpter has depicted the kinds of men who made up the army. They are: a professional, a mechanic, an artist, a boy and a businessman.

These men came from all walks of life on both sides.
The loss of life was staggering. Regiments were made up of people from the same town. Often fathers and brothers fought and died side by side and some families were divided and they fought each other. Tomorrow is another day, stay tuned.......

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hydraulic Jacks

Well I started out today at the RV repair shop to find out what was causing my jacks to loose fluid. They diagnosed the problem as bad seals but they did not have the parts needed to fix it. They said it would probably take them a month to get the parts and to fix it. Not good. The tech was really nice. He said I could continue to use the jacks and wouldn't hurt anything. I will just have to add fluid as needed until I can get it fixed. Looks like a trip to the auto supply place to get a case of fluid. He also said that it will cost between $250 and 300 per jack and there are 4 of them. Oh, the joys of owning a motorhome! Still I do not have a mortgage payment, property taxes or house insurance. I decided to press on and drove 313 miles, including my side trip to the service shop. I had a very little bit of rain, but the trip was a good one. I arrived in PA at 5:30 and am all set up, took Maggie for a nice long walk and made supper. I set up my Direct TV with the use of my ViewQu and now I am snug as a bug. I may rain some tonight, but I plan to start exploring tomorrow. Until then.....

Friday, June 11, 2010

A day at Poplar Forest

Today I took a trip to "Poplar Forest" which was Thomas Jefferson's private retreat after retiring from public office. Jefferson still had Monticello, but this smaller residence was his get-a-way, kind of like a summer home. He inherited the 4,819 acre plantation from his father-in-law in 1773. At the time, the plantation did not have a residence on it. In 1806, while President of the US, Jefferson left Washington to go supervise the laying of his octagonal foundation. Can you imagine a president leaving for an extended period of time where it would take days to reach him, just so he could work on his house?
They would not let me take pictures inside the house, but the outside shots are below. Upon entering the house, there is a short hallway that leads to the central dining room. The dining room has a large rectangular sky light over the table. On either side of the hallway are two small rooms. No one is quite sure what these rooms were used for, but they think one of them may have been used by Jefferson's valet.
If you proceed through the dining room to the back of the house, you will enter a rather large parlor with two fireplaces at both ends. The outside wall is constructed of glass windows and doors that lead out to a treacherous back porch. This porch does not have any railing or steps, so you first step off the porch would be a shocker!
On either side of the dining room there are 2 large bedrooms. All the rooms entering into the dining room had glass doors to let in maximum light. That's it for the main floor. The basement had a wine cellar and the kitchen and laundry areas were off to the side of the house.
The kitchen was quite modern for that time. Not only did it have a large fireplace, it also had an oven, a large sunken pot to keep boiling water in, and 3 grill type areas for slower cooking.
Lest we not forget one of the most important rooms in any house, and in this case outside the house, and Jefferson had two. They were called the "necessaries or privies". They were made of brick so it would have been impossible to relocate them every time the hole was full. Instead of moving them they created a hole at the back, where some poor sole had to shovel out the refuse.
All in all it was a great day, except for the swarms of gnats. Until next time.....

Poplar Forest pictures

I am having trouble getting pictures on the way I want them to be, so I am going to put them all on first, then do the text and see if that works better.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Yesterday I woke up and realized that my leveling jacks had lost there holding ability during the night as the rear of the coach was listing to one side. I knew I was loosing a little hydraulic fluid, but I didn't think it was that much. Apparently, it was. Good thing I picked up more fluid. Anyway, this is another thing that must be fixed, so I took myself off (in my car only) to Lynchburg to find a RV/Truck service place. The first place I stopped at would only service Diesel coaches but they did give me a name and directions to the next. The guy was really nice and said it may be as simple as a loose hose or connection. I hope he is right and it won't be an expensive or time consuming job. We set up an appointment. for next Tues. morning. Ahh, the fun of owning a RV! He is located in the heart of all the big box stores, so while I was there I stopped at Walmart (got a funnel with a flexible spout), Barnes and Noble (picked up 2 books) and Petsmart (can't leave Maggie out). It has been cooler here, which is a nice change not to have to fun the air all the time. Nights are in the 60's and days in the 80's. I am surprised the campgrounds are not fuller but maybe all the schools are not out yet.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

SC to VA

Today is a traveling day. Maggie and I got up at 7, had a nice breakfast and a longer dog walk to make up for the travel to come. Weather is beautiful with white puffy clouds. We left SC at 8:45 and topped off the gas tank. A mere $88. Onward! The one thing you notice about NC as soon as you cross over the state line is the blankets of yellow and orange day lilies planted along the highway. Just Beautiful. My Tom Tom does get me in some difficult situations. I was on 501 going through Durham, when what do I see before me, but a 11'4" train bridge to go under. NOT. My rig is 11'8". Lucky for me there was a road to the right just before the bridge. You know, you can not back up when you tow a car. I figured if I could work my way around it, I would eventually wind up back on 501 and wonder of wonders, there it was in front of me. Crisis averted. I love the Thousand Trail Parks but they are always in the back of beyond. Of course, my Tom Tom wanted me to cut across a field telling me I had reached my destination. It was still at least 10 miles down a country road. They have a lovely pool that is beside a lake. It is quite hilly and gravel, but I found a fairly flat spot and am all hooked up. I am having trouble finding a satellite for the direct TV and I may have to call them if I get desperate but I am a reader and since I got my Kindle, I am set. I am reading Killer Cruise, by Laura Levine. She has a humorous way of writing that is a nice change of pace. I will go exploring tomorrow.