Sunday, July 15, 2018

Pennsylvania - Quakertown

Quakertown

We headed to Quakertown, PA on June 14, 2018. Quakerwoods Campground was home for four nights. It is a large campground with over 150 sites, that include tents, cabins and RV sites.
We were in Site 118, which is an end site, it was level with full hook ups. The park has a run down feel to it, a number of permanent and seasonal sites that are not kept up very well. There is a pool and a number of activities for kids. There is a stocked fishing pond at the front of the park. WiFi was spotty and our Verizon signal was okay. We paid $32.00 a night with no discount.

We picked this spot as a stop over to our next destination in New York, and to visit with a friend from Asheville. There really wasn't a whole lot to do in this area so Roadside Oddities were our main focus, and once again they took us to a number of small towns we would never have gone to otherwise.


The Crayola Experience in Easton, PA was tops on Nancy's list of things to do. She has a rather odd obsession with crayons and only Crayola will do! You can take a tour and see how the crayons are made, but when we got there the next few tour slots were full, but Nancy was pretty happy to just wander the gift shop and read all about the process. She even picked up a few little gifts for the other crayon lovers in her family.


The alley way that boarders the building seems like a perfect fit. The one wall is painted to look like old store fronts. There is an art gallery, coffee shop and general store, along with a metal sculpture of the "Hear no Evil, See no Evil, Speak no Evil" Monkeys
Fonthill Castle, in Doylestown, PA was the home of Henry Mercer (1856-1930), he was an Archaeologist, Anthropologist, Ceramist, Scholar and collector of early American artifacts. He built Fonthill from poured concrete, to keep down the risk of fire and because even though he was very wealthy, he was also very cheap. Upon his death he left his concrete "Castle for the New World" in trust as a museum for the decorative tiles and prints. He gave life rights to his housekeeper and her husband, Laura and Frank Swain. She resided in the house and gave tours until her death in 1975. The trust has kept the house open for tours since then.
On the same property is the Moravian Tile Works, it is an active workshop. You can also tour the workshop and there is a gift shop with the handmade items for sale. Many festivals are held on the grounds throughout the year.

Across town is the third poured cement building that Mercer constructed. This one is the Mercer Cement Museum. It is filled with a collection of 40,000 objects documenting the lives of early Americans. There are 55 exhibit rooms and alcoves that display the tools or products of an early American craft, trade or occupation.

In 1984 President Reagan visited the Polish-American Festival held on the grounds of The National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa, just outside of Doylestown. Reagan was quoted as saying "Thank God for Pope John Paul II", before biting into his potato pancake. In 2006, a local building contractor, Joseph Laudanski commissioned an artist in Poland to create the statue based on a photograph taken that day. He feared that the potato pancake in Reagan's fingers might block his face so he ordered it to be left out of the sculpture.  The lady sitting next to Reagan is the festival host, Jennie Gowaty.

Bethlehem, PA is home to the Peeps factory. Just Born is the ninth largest candy company in the country. Not only do they make Peeps, they also produce Mike and Ike and Hot Tamales here.


It is also where you will find the old Bethlehem Steel Works. The doors closed in 1995 after over 100-years of operation. The Sands Casino, operates a slots parlor in a reclaimed portion of the plant. This is the first of many projects planned for the future. The casino has paid to illuminate the intricate pipes and tanks at night with red spotlights, simulating the long extinguished furnaces. There is a stage for concerts in front of the building  and a go-kart track off to the side.

Photo from the internet










You may have heard about Allentown, if you are a fan of Billy Joel. We didn't see him but we did enjoy the Rose Garden while we were there.




The Oldest Drive-In is in Orefield, PA on Shankweiler Rd. It is the oldest still-operating drive-in movie theater in America and the 2nd to be opened. It was opened by Wilson Shankweiler in 1934. The first to open was in Camden, NJ in 1933. The first movie was shown here on April 15, 1934. In researching April 1934 movies only one came up and it was released after the 15th. Only two other movies were released prior to April, both in January. Dinner at Eight with John Barrymore and Jean Harlow and a Shirley Temple movie called Pardon my Pups. Wonder if one of these was shown?

Head west a few miles down the road and you will see a Lighthouse, okay it's actually a silo that looks like one.

A Gnome Tree  lives in Kutztown, PA and the Peg Leg Pirate is in Breinigsville, PA. The amusement park he stands guard of is for sale if you are interested.
This random Metal Giraffe stands in a field in Spinnerstown, PA.






Quakertown had two oddities for us. Nancy tried flexing her muscles at a local gym, but the Giant Bar-Bells were just a tad heavy.









Tobin Studios is in an industrial park north of town.  The entire yard is filled with metal sculptures. We had so much fun wandering around all of them.











There are a few crosses that might make some people a little uneasy, but art has a way of doing that sometimes.


As mentioned we have a friend from Asheville who lives in the area. Kim Fox was one of our favorite bartenders at the Thirsty Monk. Seeing that is where we went every Wednesday for Pint Glass Night, the year our daughter got married we got to know the staff pretty well. Kim moved back home to PA right about the time we started our journey. We have kept up with each other via FaceBook. It was so so great to see her.
The first night we joined her at work at The Pub On Main Macungie. Then on Sunday we met her and her friend Matt for a couple of beers in her hometown of Emmaus. First at Yergey Brewery where we sampled some great beer, then at the Funk Brewery for some more yummy beer and great conversation. Thanks Kim for showing us such a good time.



Up next is Wurtsboro, NY for a visit with Franklin D. Roosevelt and more friends.

Till we meet again....

Happy Trails to You!

Tips and things we have learned along the way. 
~ How can two people have so many shoes?
You would think a whole lot of people lived here based on the pile of shoes at the door. We are forever digging through the pile to find the pair we need.
The solution to this is
3-M Command hooks. We have mentioned our many uses of these before. Now we use them to hang up our shoes. Keeping the shoe mat for just our hiking boots. Nice and neat and easy to get to.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

New Jersey - Monroeville

Monroeville

We headed to Monroeville, NJ on June 7, 2018. It is a good thing we are not superstitious or the mileage on our way here may have freaked us out.
We passed this Cowboy Muffler Man just after we crossed the Delaware River into New Jersey, possibly Pennsville, NJ.






Old Cedar Campground was home for a week. This place is truly in the middle of nowhere, other than the rooster in the morning and the billy goats wrestling it was nice and quiet. The cows greeted us as we set up, the calves were quite interested in what we were doing.
Morning dog walks were down a quiet country road with fields and barns on both sides. Found a few dew covered spider webs one morning.




This was another difficult set up. The first site they put us in was extremely un-level, as the front of the site sloped down. It was impossible to level the RV, even with our tires way off the ground. So we moved across the road and it wasn't great but much better than the first one. We had full hook-ups, no issues and the site was long enough for us.
There is a pool but no chairs or tables, they have a playground, putt-putt golf, volleyball, horseshoes and corn hole. The pond is stocked with fish. WiFi was spotty, Verizon signal was okay. The laundry room is an open room, so lots of dust and dirt. We paid $29.00 a night with no discount.

We picked this spot because it put us between Philadelphia and the coast.

We spent two days in Philly. The first day we drove into the city and found a bunch a Roadside Oddities, including a few on the way there.
The Uni-Royal Girl stands outside of a tire store in Blackwood, NJ. Just down the road at a bakery in Haddon Heights, NJ you will find a whole Menagerie of Fiberglass Animals, and some tasty treats.








In Camden, NJ we found the statue of Mathew Henson (1866-1955). He was an American explorer who accompanied Robert Peary on seven voyages to the Arctic over a period of nearly 23 years. He started out as Peary's personal valet and then became his navigator and craftsman.
During their 1908-09 expedition to Greenland, Henson, one of six men, claimed to have been the first to reach the geographic North Pole. In 1989, researchers claimed that the group fell at least 60 miles short of the pole. Either way it was quite a feat. Henson published a book in 1912 titled A Negro Explorer of the North Pole. In 1927 he was the first African-American to be made a life member of The Explorer Club. He was received at the White House by both Presidents Truman and Eisenhower. 








The Philly skyline greeted us as we crossed the Walt Whitman Bridge. It was a little hazy that day as rain was in the forecast.
Our first stop was at the Irish Potato Famine Memorial. The sculpture by Glenna Goodacre takes you from the devastation in Ireland to being welcomed into the U.S. We marvel at the courage our ancestors had, coming to an unknown land.
The  Bolt of Lightening is a memorial to Ben Franklin. It was created in 1984 by artist, Isamu Noguchi. Most locals call it the worst piece of art in the city.

A bronze wall called Freedom, by artist Zenos Frudakis shows a person emerging from the wall - there is an empty space where you can stand, but Nancy just jumped out of the car to snap a quick picture so we didn't get one of either of us standing there.

The Grumman Greenhouse, by artist Jordan Griska, is a sculpture that looks like a plane crash, and yes it really is a greenhouse. There are plants inside along the side windows.

The Giant Paintbrush, by artist Claes Oldenburg sits at the opposite end of the alley from the plane and leans out over the sidewalk. It is 51- feet tall and if you notice there is a glob of orange paint on the ground.  The brush tip lights up at night. Between the two sculptures are tables and benches where nearby workers enjoy lunch.

Independence National Historical Park is five city blocks long and in some sections four blocks wide. We visited here the second day, leaving Mielikki at home.

We got our 10,000 steps in that day! So many wonderful old buildings. It truly would be amazing if the walls could talk.

There are many buildings that you can tour, they limit the number of tickets for each tour and they sell out early in the day. The building that houses the Liberty Bell is free. The line to get in was rather long but it moved quickly and you are surround by information boards and pictures to help you pass the time. Once inside the building you walk in and out of little nooks that give the history of the bell.
The famous crack in the Liberty Bell, is actually from the repair job of a much smaller crack in 1846. The repair failed and actually resulted in another fissure and rendered the bell silent. No one living today has heard the bell ring with its clapper. The Liberty Bell link takes you to a page that has a computer rendering of what the bell may have sounded like.

The bell has been used as a symbol of freedom since day one.
In 1920, Suffragists used a replica of the Bell in their campaign for the right to vote. The Abolitionists saw the Bell as a symbol of the struggle to abolish slavery. Not everyone has found hope in it. Forced to choose between segregation and assimilation, that suppressed their cultural practices, Native Americans did not see the hope of fair treatment and equal rights embodied in the Bell.
People from all over the world admire the bell and what it stands for.
Independence Hall 

Independence Hall, which was called the Assembly Room of the Pennsylvania State House, is where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were created and signed.
The top left picture is the home of Betsy Ross, right picture is the Bourse Building. It was a commodities and exchange building in 1891, today it houses restaurants, offices and art studios.
The bottom pictures all most look like the same building, but the one on the left is Congress Hall, where the U.S. Congress met from 1790 to 1800. The right hand picture is of the Old City Hall, which housed the U.S. Supreme Court from 1791 to 1800. These buildings bookend Independence Hall.


The Tomb of the Unknown Solider is in Washington Square. It is a memorial to thousands of unmarked graves within this square. These were unknown soldiers from Washington's army who died of wounds and sickness during the Revolutionary War.


The statue of The Signer commemorates those who signed the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. It stands where the home of artist Gilbert Stuart once stood. He painted portraits of the movers and shakers of the day.







This made us think of our
great-niece Lilly who loves sloths. 

Next door, on the lawn of the American Philosophical Society Museum is the Thomas Jefferson Sloth. This creature was named after Thomas Jefferson because of his groundbreaking work on some of the first Megalonyx fossils discovered in North America. At first he thought the fossils belonged to a large lion, but later realized they were from a giant ground sloth.


The Christ Church Burial Grounds are the final resting place for Benjamin Franklin and five signers of the Declaration of Independence. Many of the headstones are so worn that they are now unreadable.
It costs $3.00 to enter the burial grounds, but you can see Ben Franklin's grave through the fence without having to enter. The writing on the marble slab is difficult to read and the sun and shadows made it hard to get a good picture.















There were a few interesting head stones and graves. There is what some call the "walk of fame". The sidewalk from one of the gates is lined with crypts. A few have gardens planted inside the raised edging.
We found some interesting crosses and a pillar that has the shape of a party hat.
The top right pictures shows how worn many
of the headstones are



Cape May, NJ was about an hour away. Our first stop was at the Cape May Point State Park, which is where you can tour the Lighthouse. This 157-foot tower, was built in 1859 and was automated in 1946. It is the third lighthouse in this location, the first was built in 1823 and the second one in 1847. Both locations are now under water due to erosion. There is a total of 217 steps, from the ground to the top, with 199 of them on the spiral staircase. The lighthouse has two separate walls, the outside wall is cone-shaped, and is 3 feet 10 inches thick at the bottom and 1 foot 6 inches at the top. The inner wall is a cylinder with 8.5 inch thick walls which support the staircase. These walls were designed to withstand winds several times above hurricane force. The old Oil House is now a gift shop. It was built in 1893 to house the kerosene used to power the light.

There is access to the beach and a boardwalk that overlooks the marshes. This place is used for birding and tracking hawks. There is a large board with the number of hawks that have migrated here. Very active birdhouses dot the landscape.





From the lighthouse we drove into town, this is the first "tourist" beach town that we have actually liked. It is a quaint little town without all the crazy touristy stuff. There was an art show on the promenade the day we were there. The Inn at Cape May looks like it would be a wonderful place to stay. The Buoy is a  memorial to Captain Cornelius Jacobsen who founded Cape May in 1621.
We found a few Roadside Oddities to and from Cape May.
The Carousel is a sign for a horse ranch in Millville. The motel sign is one of the Doo Whop features in Wildwood. Which is also where we found the Sea Captain standing guard out side a restaurant. You pass under the Giant Martini Glass as you enter a liquor store in Vineland. These warning signs are all over southern New Jersey - "Speeders will not be tolerated". 
Our favorite Roadside find, maybe of all time, is on the campus of Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ.
The Knowledge is Power is a sculpture by Zenos Frudakis. The two figures at either end are Dr. Francesca Shaughnessy and her brother Sebastian Cottone, who commissioned the piece. They were raised in South Philly and devoted their lives to the pursuit of knowledge.

It is a giant open book with portraits and quotes from 31 intellectual and inspirational icons.




One side has a large Charles Darwin and his quote. The bottom of his coat has turtles, birds, lizards and a skull on it.



The other side has a full size Elbert Einstein stepping off the pages. Nancy got to shake his hand.
Both women and men of history are included. With quotes from Abe Lincoln, Henry David Thoreau, Shakespeare and Harriet Tubman

Anne Frank, dancer Isadora Dunean and FDR.


 Margaret Sanger and Susan B. Anthony and Martin Luther King JR.















Quakertown, PA is the next stop.

Till we meet again...

Happy Trails to You!

Tips and things we have learned along the way. 
~ Water in the fridge and we don't mean bottled water.
We have been fighting a water problem in our fridge for what seems like forever. There are three bins in the fridge to hold items and we kept getting water in them. Sometimes and inch or more, plus a nice puddle underneath two of them on the bottom shelf. Very frustrating as you can imagine.
There is a tray on the top shelf with a tube in it that connects to the back wall, (small hole is tube opening) supposedly to drain any water. Which obviously wasn't working.
On the outside of the RV is the cover to the area where the motor and wiring is.
Les removed this and discovered that the tube that runs to the drain bin had a crimp in the end of it, stopping water from flowing through.
After un-crimping it we no longer have swimming pools and puddles in the fridge. Yeah us!