Caledonia SP – Hosack Run

The best view in a campground is when you see another Alto next to you.

We now make three long jumps toward Quebec, but the good news is that we have three night stays in each place. We are tracking northward with the marvelous Jack and Lee, which was part of the deal I used to entice Richard to do another huge x-country trip. They chose the spots, so all I had to do was reserve sites for the same days. It is comforting to know we will never be too far from whiskey for at least the next week. (whiskey or whisky? Discuss)

New Market Museum of the Civil War

We broke up our travel day with a very brief stop at the New Market Museum of the Civil War. This was largely to get a Do’D photo, but also to take a bathroom break and stretch our legs. We did not go inside the museum but we did admire the nice sculpture in front whose message is LOVE. Fun Fact from our friend Karen: From Christiansburg to Harrisonburg there is exactly one McDonalds. We also spied a trailer built to look like a pirate ship as we were driving. Always fun to see interesting custom trailers on the road.

Pursuing our happiness

Our travel day took us through four states! We started in Virginia and passed through a corner of both West Virginia, and Maryland, before finally crossing into Pennsylvania. I stuck to the highways for the long travel day, and overall, they have not been as busy as California highways. We didn’t have too draining a time, and arrived at our site just before our pals. Richard went for a hike to stretch out after a day of sitting, while I typed up the story of our bear encounter. For dinner on travel days, we usually do frozen pan dinners, like Bertoli, or P.F. Changs, if we can find them on the road. It makes things happen fast, with little cleanup.

Hey! Foot traffic only, Dory!

We didn’t have any huge plans for this park, so we did a hike up to the Appalachian Trail with Lee. It was about a four and a half mile loop, and we were only on the AT for maybe half of it, but we can say we walked the trail. We saw several hikers looking pretty serious, with loaded packs and good rain gear. This was not us, and we were content to wander back to the campground and nap in our Nemo chairs, under the shelter of our awning to protect us from rain. We had shopped for a couple of Blue Apron dinners, so I had to make them before the veggies went bad. That worked out well for this stay, and we enjoyed a Vadouvan Chicken with Mango Chutney and Green Beans on one night, and a Seared Steak with Polenta, Green Beans, and Spicy Peach Salsa the next.

Auto Audio Tours are fun!

The second day was July 3rd and we decided to brave it in nearby Gettysburg. We weren’t sure if it was going to be crazy crowded, as this was the 160th anniversary of the big battle. We brought my bike in the car and were able to find parking near the bike trail. We have the NPS app, which included a downloadable audio auto tour of the Gettysburg battlefield. We weren’t in the right location really to start from #1, so we went to the nearest spot: #12. It turns out the audio auto tour is super fun and very informative. We biked to the next couple of spots, in order, and then decided it would be better to start from #1 and go from there. Only trouble is that biking the auto tour is around 24 miles and takes me a looooong time to get from place to place. Still, I was powering through it, and we got all the way from #1 to #3. Those were all the way across town, so you need to be kind of impressed here.

Stop #1: McPherson Ridge

After that, we noticed three things: weather was approaching, it was getting into the afternoon, and we wanted ice cream. We prioritized getting back to the Visitor Center Museum with enough time to check it out before it closed. That was a really great call. To do the movie, cyclorama, and museum is $18 per person, but we feel it was well worth it to do all three. The Civil War Museum in Gettysburg is one of the best designed attractions I have ever seen. First, you get to watch a movie that gives an overview of the significance of the battle. Then, you get to enter a 360º Cyclorama – which means you can view a massive painting depicting the battle, that completely wraps around the inside of a huge room. It creates the illusion that you are there in the central point, looking out at the bloody clash between both armies. They do a short narrated light show, taking you through the series of events, highlighting the areas on the painting that bring the events to life. Just the fact that some guy (Paul Philippoteaux) took the time to paint this whole thing is impressive, as is the enormous effort it took to move and restore it.

Scene from the Cyclorama. They extend the painting with scenery on the floor.

Then finally, we went through the museum. There is a winding series of rooms that lead you chronologically through the events. There are movies, interactive displays, as well as a trove of artifacts. It is extremely well done. It brings the proper gravity and respect to those who lost their lives in this horrible period, so that by the time you arrive in the room commemorating the Gettysburg address, its full meaning and impact are quite palpably felt. It was a very moving experience and I learned a ton in just one day. As a footnote, we later watched a movie that really tells the untold story behind that battle. It made us go, “Ohhhh. Well that explains everything.” If you want to get the full understanding of how the Battle of Gettysburg really went down, you should watch Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter. Good documentary. Shame they didn’t have all the silver weaponry artifacts on display.

This makes sense on a whole other level when you understand the influence of vampires in Lincoln’s life.

At that point, it was definitely time for ice cream. We found a place in town called Mr. G’s, and Richard had Firecracker Cheesecake, which had swirls of blueberry and strawberry syrup. I had my typical mint chip. Both were excellent and we got to enjoy them while watching a huge rainbow appear. *It is days later now and Richard is still thinking about that Firecracker Cheesecake. It was that good. Before leaving town, we did our typical Walmart grocery shopping run. We checked off everything on our list and crammed it all into Dory when we got back. We are well stocked for the next stretch of the trip.

Mr. G’s Ice Cream – Firecracker Cheesecake is superb!

Overall, we enjoyed this park. The sites were a bit close together, with little privacy, and some of them are paved while others are not. It didn’t help that there were some big flag waving families across from us, but I guess that’s to be expected on the weekend of the 4th. But some flags make you go, “Wait….. really?” The park’s proximity to Gettysburg was a bonus for us, and it isn’t too far from town for errands. It’s got some trails and little rivers, where families were splashing around during the heat of the day. Just down the road is Pine Grove Furnace State Park. That one would feel more naturey, and would provide boating and more biking opportunities. We had a lovely time and very much enjoyed accidentally being in Gettysburg for the 160th anniversary.

Total miles from Meadows of Dan: 320.1, 19.6 mpg, 7 hours 25 min. Site 180 electric hookups. No solar. 1 bar of LTE for both. Good dump, but water on other side, so had to come around. 

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