Day 12 - An Unexpected Day Off

Trip Start Aug 28, 2011
Trip End Oct 01, 2011

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What I did
Stayed in Hershey

Flag of United States  , Pennsylvania
Thursday, September 8, 2011

We woke up his morning to more rain, and to learn that the Hershey Chocolate Factory – which is open to the public for 364 days per year (Christmas is the only day they aren't), would be CLOSED today. That is how bad the flooding was yesterday and last night – so bad that the factory closed on our one full day in Hershey.  Oooh, that kind of stung.  Worse yet, there is talk of evacuating our hotel due to water pressure problems….we’ll see.

We’re in pretty good shape compared to the locals though – across the street from our hotel, the Pizza Hut building fell apart, a Wendy’s fašade was blown out by water, and a McDonald’s got totally trashed.  It’s like Hershey’s own "death row" down there.  Meanwhile, the capital city of Harrisburg and the Susquehanna River Valley to the west of us, got creamed even worse.  News reports were saying that they got twelve – yeah “12” – inches of water in 24 hours!  I heard from the desk staff that they are looking at evacuating the entire city of Harrisburg (which I’d guess is about the size of Tacoma) today – as the Susquehanna River won’t crest for another two days and the folks there are all pretty much underwater already.  What a mess.

After breakfast, Kae and Lay took a two-hour swim in the hotel pool, and I went for a jog around town to see some of the damage.  We all opted to lay low today, and not try to hustle off to Amish Country or to Gettysburg because it is our understanding that most every community is dealing with floods.  We’ve got our own here, so while travel an hour to see someone else’s?

By mid-afternoon, the day’s drizzle had tapered off and we all piled in the car to drive around and see some of the destruction and mayhem.  Like I said already – it’s a big mess around here.  Though most of the water in Hershey is off the roads now, surface streets are covered in mud and lots of folks are pumping water out of their basements.  Several cars lay around abandoned – obviously washed to a location where their owner’s did not leave them initially.  A ten-foot section of highway got totally ripped up – it sank a couple of feet below the level of the rest of the roadway like a massive sinkhole.  Crazy stuff – and those are just the highlights I can remember offhand.

Downtown Hershey seemed to escape the obvious damage, although almost every business we saw was closed for the day – it sounded like people just couldn’t either get home from work yesterday or make it in to work today.  The Reese’s factory and the Hershey factory both have massive parking lots – and both were essentially empty. 

Low spots – like the golf course and parks were swamped in moving muddy water – reminded me of chocolate syrup.  Mmm, tasty!  It feels like a “snow day” around here – except that there is no snow.

Anyway, the four of us did try to check out the chocolate factory despite the closure – it was deserted, and we won’t be able to find out until tomorrow if it’ll open back up or not.  However, the air downtown definitely smelled liked chocolate – that was pretty awesome.

After grabbing an early dinner at a diner in the next town over, we went grocery shopping and Kae, Lay ad I each got our “official” chocolate for the trip:  if we couldn’t get it at the factory, at least we were able to buy it in town.  I think my Hershey bar was the “freshest” chocolate I have ever tasted!  Kae and Lay said the same thing about theirs.  Must be something to that….

On the way back to the hotel we found our first Pennsylvania geocache (thanks Goodyear).  When we got to the hotel we found the place to be totally dark.   It turns out that the power went out while we were gone.  To boot, all the water now has to be boiled prior to drinking.  So, for now, we’re enjoying what little light we have left and looking forward to furthering our adventure tomorrow.
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smichael on

So sorry your plans are not working out. Hershay is a wonderful town to visit. So sad you are seeing it under water. But travel here to Gettysburg. We are wet but only had a few flooded roads yesterday. Today just rain. Happy and safe travel to you and your family.

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