77. The Simple Life

Trip Start Apr 19, 2011
Trip End May 25, 2013

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Flag of United States  , Pennsylvania
Saturday, April 20, 2013

Saying goodbye to the family, we signed our life away with Adventures on Wheels and jumped into our camper - Jersey - home for the next five weeks. Being late in the afternoon, we only had enough time to drive to our new favourite store, Walmart, for supplies and then to our campsite in Wharton State Forest. That was probably enough time driving on the right-hand side of the road for day one anyway.

At the campsite there was no one around and we cooked and camped in peace. Jersey has a big, comfy bed and Blair´s already decided she offers all the pros of camping and none of the cons (e.g. packing away a tent each morning). We had breakfast next to a lake as the sun rose and then ... it was my turn to drive.

Driving on the right wasn´t as difficult as I expected. I didn´t need to concentrate too hard on which way to turn, which way to drive around a roundabout, or who to give way to, but I did have major issues staying in the lane. As a driver from a country that drives on the left-hand side, I´m used to sitting to the right of a lane, but now driving on the other side of the road I have to position the car so that I´m sitting to the left of the lane. By the time we got to Philadelphia I was starting to lose it and in a fit of panic drove astride two lanes over the Benjamin Franklin bridge, with people tooting at me all along the way. By then, I´d had enough of driving and Blair kindly offered to take over. Just as well as my palms were too sweaty to grip the steering wheel any longer anyway. With that, we got completely lost in West Philadelphia (cue the Fresh Prince of Bel Air) and had a lovely tour of the hood, with people staring at us all along the way.

An hour or two later, we stumbled across a road out of the maze and pushed on for Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Through Intercourse and Bird-in-Hand, the areas east of Lancaster, we meandered along country lanes, slowing for a number of Amish buggies, watching kids using a rotary lawn mower, and pausing to buy a number of Amish goods - homemade root beer, friendship cinnamon bread, sweet potato butter, and delicious organic vegetables - sweetcorn, beans, and asparagus. Contrary to the backcountry I had imagined, the Amish are threatened by the tourism directed towards them, and rather than living in isolation, they live right alongside (in parallel with) the modern community. They choose to live simply but are well aware of what goes on outside their community, many relying on tourists to supplement their income and navigating their buggies along busy main roads.

Evening near, we stopped at the honesty box in French Creek State Park before parking up for the night. Blair went about doing his manly thing, collecting firewood for our campsite, when a thunderstorm came out of nowhere. With tornado warnings across the region, we huddled up inside Jersey and watched the lightning out the windows before settling down to sleep.

Wildlife sightings: White-tailed deer, black widow spider
Trip Anthem: ´Streets of Philadelphia´ - The Boss!

Rating out of 10: 8
In a word: Ironic
Something interesting: Shoofly pie, a traditional amongst the Pennsylvania Dutch, is so named because the sweet molasses attracts flies that must be ´shooed´ away.
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