Lancaster County

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42℉ at 5:00

Friday, October 28, 2016

The weather report in Lancaster, PA looks good for the next week, so we packed up and headed south. We booked a campground in Intercourse that only had one spot left, but they have WIFI and a laundry.  It’s only a two-hour drive……..except the main highway, 476, is a toll road only open to EZ Pass, and we didn’t have one. It took us a while to figure out where to go, but the drive turned out to be very pretty until we got in the Allentown area where traffic got crazy. There were a lot of turns on the route, so by the time we found the little campground, we were frazzled. Intercourse is a small town, but very cute. 

Once we got settled, I searched for a Nissan dealer and found one in Lancaster, 20 minutes away, and they have a “Quick Lane” so we could get the oil changed. We took the little roads to see beautiful, very neat farms. Horse-drawn carriages startled me on the roads where the speed limit is 45, and no one was going that slow. It will be fun to bike or drive some of these back roads. 

Fortunately, the Nissan people could take us and change the oil while we waited in their nice reception area for an hour and a half. They found a leak in the transfer case, so we will return Monday to get that fixed. He said the brakes are also getting a bit thin. This truck has driven many mountains on this trip and a previous trip across Canada for four months. I am surprised I have any brakes at all! I downshift a lot going down steep hills, and we have been down a bunch of them. No doubt it is a lot of wear and tear on the transmission

We left at rush hour on a Friday afternoon and the traffic was crazy. One accident tied up traffic for a while. I was surprised by the size and amount of traffic in Lancaster. I remembered it being a lot smaller. Driving through the city, I felt like I was in Baltimore. I later learned the population is 60,000.

The campground girl had recommended an Amish restaurant, so we went there for dinner, imagining great, fresh vegetables and home-style cooking. What we got was fast service and so-so food. The place was packed with a line out the door. The price was good, but I felt like cattle being fed. 

Taking many turns by the GPS that was probably set to avoid main highways, we passed a lot of Amish carriages. It was dark, and it’s hard enough to see on these little roads, but the thought of hitting a carriage was not good. I crept along. Why were there so many out here in the dark? They have lights and blinking caution lights, but still you are not sure what is in front of you. Locals driving here are like anywhere else on Friday night – anxious to get home, some rabid to get somewhere in a hurry, one passing me on a yellow line. They don’t seem to slow down a bit for the carriages. By the time we got back to the campground and driving all afternoon, I was struck by the huge clash between a group of people trying to simplify life and a frantic modern world of growing population, heavy traffic, McDonalds, Walmart  and every other chain store. This is not a pretty clash. I guess we are not helping the situation as there are plenty of tourists here to see beautiful farms. As I got ready to step into the trailer, I heard trotting hooves climbing the steep hill on the road beside us. Waiting to finally see him, it was a very cool sound in the night. Soon, he passed by with a trotter’s pace, lights blinking as he went by. 

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