Unexpected Detour to Pittsburgh
When we decided to head to Charlotte to meet Lora, J. Michael, and their friends for the fall race at Lowe's Motor Speedway, we had no idea we would be heading back to Pittsburgh after the race. While we were heading toward Charlotte, Paul began experiencing a problem with a tooth the dentist had worked on when we were in Pittsburgh back in early May. Since we had time before our scheduled reservations in Myrtle Beach on November 1 and since the price of gasoline was dropping, we decided we would make a quick trip back to Pittsburgh even though it was several hundred miles out of our way. We are both much more comfortable with the doctors and dentist we have gone to for years, so we decided the detour was justified.
Even with having spent a long day at the NASCAR race at Lowe's Motor Speedway on Saturday, we still headed out Sunday morning from Yates Family Camping and traveled north on I-77. While we could have made the drive all in one day, we do like to keep our travel days shorter...because we can. :) Also, because of the long day (and night) at the race, we decided to make the first day's drive relatively short at about 2 1/2 hours. We stopped at Fort Chiswell RV Park, a Good Sam Park, in Max Meadows, VA. It was a good thing we decided to keep our first travel day short because, unfortunately, Margery woke up Sunday with a stomach virus. However, we had made an appointment with the dentist so we needed to soldier on.
Fort Chiswell RV has gravel roads and pads, relatively widely-spaced sites with grass between, full hookups, mostly pull-throughs, cable, and free Wi-Fi. Many sites have small sweet gum trees that provide some shade. Although these trees may eventually grow to over 100' tall, they are not yet big enough to interfere with our satellite dish. The photo below shows our site at Fort Chiswell RV. Margery was happy to see a picture of the campground since she spent the rest of the day in bed and didn't get much of a chance to look around.
Although we could hear the traffic on the interstate in the distance, the campground was relatively quiet. When we arrived around 1:00 PM, there were only a handful of RVs in the campground. By 4:00, the campground was about 75% full.
The next morning, we set out for Pittsburgh to stay with Lora and J. Michael. One of the joys of traveling via motor home is you carry all the conveniences with you. Margery was feeling a little better and was hankering for a cup of hot chicken broth. So Paul started the generator, and Margery was able to heat up the broth in the microwave as we traveled down the road. She used a deep mug to make sure the broth didn't slosh out if we hit a bump. You gotta love it!
The plan was to use the gravel pad that Paul enlarged during our visit with Lora and J. Michael this past spring. We were gratified they were able to make room and time for us on such short notice.
We were hoping we would only be in Pittsburgh a few days and then be on our way back south. It wasn't that we didn't want to spend more time in Pittsburgh, but it is getting cold in the north. Unfortunately, Paul needed two trips to the dentist to resolve the problem with his tooth, so we had to wait around to get a second appointment scheduled. Between dentist appointments, we had time to do some visiting, catch up on laundry, do some car maintenance, get flu shots, do some shopping, and celebrate Lora's birthday which is the 25th. Paul even had had a couple of small projects and got to use his old table saw and belt sander. :)
During our stay, we got a chance to visit Shared Acres with Lora. Shared Acres is a Community Support Agriculture Program located in nearby Clinton, PA, that grows fresh vegetables for its shareholders. Shareholders receive also a portion of the fresh fruit from several fruit trees on the property. Each shareholder is assigned a specific plot, and for their seasonal fee, shareholders receive the harvest from that plot. Lora and J. Michael found out about Shared Acres and signed up as shareholders this past spring.
Shared Acres is operated by Dwayne Bauknight and his wife, Renee. Dwayne uses intensive gardening techniques to get the maximum benefit out of each garden plot.
The photo below shows some of the garden plots at Shared Acres. Although it was near the end of the growing season and there had already been a couple of light frosts, the cold-tolerant crops were still producing.
We tagged along on Lora's pick up day. It was drizzling rain the day we went, but we still got to enjoy the fall color. Even the leaves that had already fallen brightened the landscape.
In the photo below, Dwayne is handing over the weekly harvest to Lora. She got salad greens, some broccoli, a couple of small peppers, and some cherry tomatoes.
Paul made it to his final dental appointment, and we were on our way the next day. We were heading south with a another short detour through Amish country in Holmes County, OH. Since we were fairly close, we decided to take a few days and visit one of our favorite areas and restaurant, even though the weather was turning colder.
As we've said several times before, we love the rural atmosphere and the neat, Amish farms in Holmes County. We always stay at Scenic Hills RV Park in Berlin, OH. The campground is very well kept and is convenient to many of the shops and restaurants in the area. There are three levels to the campground, and on this stay, we stayed on the same site we had this past spring on the lower level.
One of our favorite restaurants anywhere is Der Dutchman Restaurant in Walnut Creek. We went three times in the three days we were in Berlin - on the first day for the salad bar for a late lunch (or lupper as we call it), on the second morning for the breakfast buffet, and on the third day again for lupper.
There are also many other good eats in the Holmes County area. While we were there, we picked up some ham loaf mix at Sugar Valley Meats in Sugar Creek and some smoked beef snack sticks in at Winesburg Meats in Winesburg.
We also stopped at Hillcrest Orchard to pick up some apple cider. There's something about fall that just makes us crave fresh cider.
The employees were busily sorting the different varieties of apples and getting bushel baskets ready for the weekend.
We enjoyed seeing the displays of fall produce, and Margery picked out an acorn squash for a future dinner.
The Amish Flea Market in Walnut Creek is a favorite of ours and we stopped again on this trip. When we were there in the spring, we learned they were converting the flea market to a conference and expo center. They said they planned to relocate the flea market in 2009; but at that time, the exact location had not been announced. This time, there were signs at the various vendors announcing the new location would be several miles west behind Zinck's Fabric Outlet. In fact, once we found out the new location, we realized we're able to see the construction from Scenic Hills. We do enjoy walking around the flea market, and we were happy to see they have found a new location.
As usual, we usually drove the back roads to see the Amish farms. Unfortunately, much of the harvesting was complete so we didn't see many Amish working in the fields. We did see a few buggies like the one below on the roads.
Although there were a few leaves that hadn't even changed yet, the majority of the leaves in the area were all well past their peak. There had been some rain the week before, and there was a lot of wind the day we arrived, so the most colorful leaves had already fallen.
It was also getting even colder. Although it was sunny, daytime temperatures were only in the 50s, and it dropped to 30 at night. It is time to head back south.