Friday, July 27, 2012

Amish Country - 26 July 2012

So far we have camped 4 nights and three of them have been during thunderstorms. Why the drought that has affected this area of the US for weeks decided to finish this week is a mystery.

Nevertheless, there was a break in the rain this morning and the tent was almost dry when we packed it up and set off, rather later than normal.  We headed down I-90 and then decided to deviate from our intended route and add a couple of hours to the day by visiting the largest Amish community in America.

However before we got there we had another four thunderstorms to deal with. The first was the most spectacular; the first lightning appeared to hit a transmission mast just up ahead, but it could have been in line and way behind, we could not tell. The third strike was much more dramatic as it exploded a tree beside the motorway less than 20m from the car at about the 2 o'clock position.

The lightning bolt was multi-coloured with red blobs among the blue flash and the report was tremendously loud. An utterly fantastic sight, close enough to be impressive and far enough to not affect us. The temperature dropped 20 degrees to 71F and later rose to 94F.

After that the heavens opened and the visibility was minimal.  This did not seem to deter the truckers in their 18-wheelers who kept to the 65 mph limit and simply powered past us.   The rain passed and we settled back for the 150 miles to our designated exit.  Cruise control on; satellite radio playing classical with no fading as you get too far from the transmitter; a/c on;, 3.5l V6 burbling along at 38mpg - I love America!

Ultimately we arrived in Kidron for our first Amish stop; there is a famous department store there called Lehman's.  One could happily spend hours there looking at all the goodies you could not possibly hope to buy at Walmart.
All the bits and bobs one needs for home-made anything and everything, including a ancient looking, but with very modern drive belts, mobile ice-cream making machine for only $9750.00.  Unfortunately we had many miles to cover so after buying a few bits and pieces we set of to drive through the back country roads to Berlin.

Naturally there were many Amish horse-drawn buggies to pass or overtake and there were families sitting on there porches but the highlight was the family harvesting a crop (hay?) using horse-drawn and powered implements.
The Amish country provided some of the most attractive rural American scenes to date. Because the work is all manual or horse-powered the holdings have to be small and thus the houses and barns are fairly densely packed  making for very pleasant vistas full of neat and tidy farm homesteads and barns.

Arriving in Berlin we stopped in Main St at x &y or the best value meal in the USA.  Amish women in the kitchen turning out plain and nourishing fare at rock bottom prices and with extremely quick service.  US Fast-food at its very best.  All that was left to do was make a dash north to our campsite on the shores of Lake Erie.

 381 miles today, Total trip 902 States: New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio.
A couple of weeks ago we were living in William Penn's home town and the place where he is buried and today we drove through his State, Pennsylvania. (Just caught some TV news where the weather in the area today has been headlined as "Wicked Weather")

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