Sunday, August 20, 2017

Road Trip to Hanover PA…

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Our last day in Gettysburg we decided to do something different. We were planning to drive over to Codorus State Park for a nice hike. One thing we love about Pennsylvania is that the state parks have no entrance fees so visitors can check any of them out at no cost.

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As we started looking for hikes we discovered that Codorus State Park also has the most challenging disc golf course in the state. Even more surprising is there are 54 holes of disk golf spread over three courses. We couldn't resist the challenge so instead of hiking we decided to spend the day playing as much disc golf as we could. We played two of the courses and there were some very challenging shots as well as some extremely long holes.

We only played 9 holes on one course and then drove over to a high point to have the lunch we brought with us. Boy what a beautiful panorama we had of the lake below from our lunch spot. Afterward we finished up the other 9 holes of the first course and then played a second 18 holes on another course.

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After disc golf we planned a meet up with RV friends Dan and Merlene (whom we met several times all over the USA by now). However, we still had about an hour before we were suppose to meet them so we googled what to do in Hanover and found out that they were the snack capitol of the USA. So we decided to do the self guided tour of the Utz factory that makes some tasty potato chips and other snacks.

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After the tour we headed over to the planned meet up spot with Merlene and Dan to a brewery in Hanover PA midway between where we were both camped. We picked Aldus Brewery since it was the highest rated brewery in Hanover. The beer was pretty good along with the complimentary pretzel sticks but the highlight was reconnecting with Dan and Merlene and sharing all that we each did since our last encounter.

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Back at the camp in Gettysburg it was time to pack up to head out the next morning. When morning came there was rain in the forecast so I studied the radar and picked a time to leave hoping to miss most of the rain predicted for the day. We made the 118 mile drive to a campground just south of State College Pennsylvania. We plan to visit Penn State while here…

NOTE: We leave State College PA today and head north to Ives Run COE park near Tioga PA for three nights. Then we move into New York for stop sin Brewerton, Ogdensburg and East Chazy.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Fighting for a Cause Close to their Hearts… Gettysburg PA

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We finally did leave the Shenandoah Valley. After a short 108 mile drive north we were all set up in the Artillery Campground in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The coolest thing about the drive was the fact that in only 108 miles we had driven in the RV on roads in four states. Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

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Our first full day we made a plan to do a self guided walking tour of the old town of Gettysburg. We had done the Gettysburg National Military Park the last time we were here so we thought we would add something different this trip. Afterwards we would revisit the Military Park and drive the auto tour loop of the battlefield later in the afternoon.

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Right after lunch we stopped at the Visitor’s and Convention Bureau to pick up the free guide for the walking tour of historic downtown Gettysburg. Once we had the map in hand we found the old Gettysburg Train Station to begin our walk.There were lots of Civil War era buildings along this route that were steeped in history. Some buildings still had bullet holes and artillery projectiles embedded in them. One highlight was seeing the oldest building remaining in Gettysburg which was built in 1790 and I think it looks a hell of a lot better than most homes built in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

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As much as we enjoyed the walk in the downtown historic district I was looking forward to seeing the Gettysburg battlefield again. Our first trip we could literally feel the ghosts of war all around us. It was impossible not to empathize with the thousands of mothers and fathers who suffered the loss of their sons.

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This time we had a much different experience not because we felt any different but given the current affairs in our country. It was eerie to be walking the fields where many young American men, both confederate and union, had fallen. Each young man was fighting for a cause he so wholeheartedly believed in. Somehow in history the civil war has been defined as simply a war over slavery but to the young men on both sides it must have been much more than that in that they laid their lives on the line.They were each fighting for a cause close to their hearts.

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Walking among the Union memorials and statues felt no different to me than walking among the confederate memorials and statues. I am confused how we in America can condemn anyone for fighting for what they believe in even if we don’t agree with them and their views. Why is it that we simply can’t agree to disagree in our country anymore! Haven't we learned from the past?

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I am not one to pen a political blog but I will admit to being an Independent in our political system as I see good and bad in both sides about what is just and right for our country. Today we all value our right of free speech yet it seems many of us only want it when and if the views expressed agree with our own views. Walking among the many who died fighting with other Americans makes me wonder in our current state of polarization if we aren't heading back in that historic direction.

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Sorry to go off on a rant but I sure hope we think twice about taking down any of the Civil War monuments in this beautiful and serene historic park. It would be a sad day when parents can’t bring their children to see the statues and explain what they thought was right and wrong about the Civil War. Above all the statues should remind us of what can happen if we do not make an effort to discuss our differences to find a middle ground rather than demonizing, hating and killing one another.

NOTE: We will be in Gettysburg for another day then move on to Springs Mills, PA for a couple of days before going to Tioga, PA where we will be for the partial eclipse.