Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Leveling the Roadtrek

When you stop for the night in your Roadtrek or any RV, for that matter, it is important that the RV is level. The primary reason for this is the absorption type refrigerator that most RVs have. The secondary reason is comfort. Since we have a condenser refrigerator in our Roadtrek we don't have the problem requiring the refrigerator to be level, but the typical Roadtrek will have an absorption refrigerator and this article is going to be very important for you.

For us it is a matter of comfort. I don't like sleeping with my feet higher than my head and I don't want to feel like I am walking up or down hill walking in the Roadtrek. As to leveling side to side, you will either roll across the bed or watch things roll on the counter. As I have written many times, we had our Roadtrek delivered from the factory without a three way absorption fridge and purchased and had our dealer install a condenser fridge which works just like your refrigerator at home. This type of refrigerator does not have to be level to operate without a problem and one of the reasons that we did this is because we knew that there are specific places we would go and park for the day or more that would not be level and we would have to leave the fridge running all of the time.

Let's talk first about the refrigerator. The typical RV fridge is a three way powered absorption refrigerator. This means it can be run on propane OR battery OR 110 volt current. It works with heat exchange and the unlike your home refrigerator there is no condenser to keep the coolant in the pipes of the fridge moving and circulating. The absorption fridge (your RV fridge) relies upon a level position to keep the water or coolant in the pipes moving - simply, gravity does not allow a liquid to flow up hill.  So what happens when the RV and therefore the fridge are not level - water flow in the pipes of the fridge stops, there is no water flow to the boiler section of the fridge, and the water in the boiler pipe dries out. There is, apparently, rust inhibitor in the pipe that dries up and blocks the boiler tube. The result is when running this way for too long is that the boiler pipe will get too hot and the cracks from the gas pressure inside the coils.  If this happens the fridge is damaged to the point that some say it is beyond repair and will require expensive replacement - which, I have read in doing research about the RV fridge - is one of the most common installation jobs that RV shops have. Why? Because too many don't know that the fridge inside the RV has to be kept level.  I have also read that newer RV absorption refrigerators do not have to be as level as older models.  What is level? Level is relative. Some say as long as you are comfortable inside the RV the fridge will be fine, but I may be a lot less comfortable on the same angle that you may be comfortable with. There seems to be a reluctance to put an angle to the tolerance of the fridge but I have found most often stated that the RV needs to be no more than, no I am not going to give any numbers that are uncertain - LOOK IN YOUR MANUAL FOR YOUR SPECIFIC REFRIGERATOR. Since you most likely are checking how level your Roadtrek is with a bubble level, I would say that the bubble should be somewhere inside the lines. And if you park even for sightseeing and you are running your fridge inside while you are away, you are going to also need to be level - for these very same reasons. I don't mean a quick stop but hours and hours away - and this still depends on how off level your parking space is. I have been to attractions where you park in a grass field and are uphill.

Most campgrounds advertise that they have level sites. Well, in our experience so far, few campgrounds have level sites. One problem may be that a gravel or dirt site designed to be level for a large RV is going to have a large area in the middle (between the wheels of that larger RV) that is not quite so level. Paved sites should be level, but few campgrounds offer paved sites. For the most part with the Roadtrek, drive around all parts of the site you have and often you will find one spot that is level enough for comfort and your fridge in your Roadtrek. But sometimes there is no such spot. What you have to do then is level your Roadtrek.

Leveling large RVs - Class As and Class Cs and trailers - can be easy. You push a button and legs drop down and self-adjust until the unit is level. Nice. That is a luxury item even on some of these.  A trailer can be leveled by cranking down the leg in the front that holds the trailer front up when not hitched to a vehicle. This leg can be adjusted in height and you can get to level front and back. And if the leg is not long enough you add wood boards or what I am going to tell you about here in this article. Some Class C's have crank down legs that do the same thing. Roadtreks and other Class B RVs have none of these. There is no room under the chassis to install what is required for self-leveling legs. For the Roadtrek the way to level is with blocks.

You know what Lego Blocks are. Imagine these much, much larger. Here is a photo of a leveling block -

 The block is about an inch or so high and about 10 inches square. It is large enough to sit below a tire and fully support the bottom of the tire. The blocks we purchased are Lynx Blocks and we choose these because they were the easiest to find (most Walmarts sell these in the RV section). These come ten in a package with a storage bag. Other companies make these blocks also. There are yellow ones made by Camco that look similar but are more solid on top (not sure it makes any difference) that work the same way. Those come eight to a set with a storage bag. Cost is about the same for all, though with Lynx you get more blocks. Lynx also sells caps that fit on the top block to make them more sturdy for the tire to sit on a flat, smooth surface and they sell tire stop blocks that interlock with the Lynx blocks to prevent your tire from rolling to far when getting up on the blocks. (I only have the blocks and not the caps or the stop block.) The full bag fits easily in the outside storage compartment of the Roadtrek (along with all the rest of the things kept in there).  Just like Lego Blocks you ASSEMBLE these the same way to get the tire higher if needed.

They are easy to use - you just have to remember to pick them up and put them away each time you leave.  For most campsites that are just off level, we have found that one block under each of two tires will get you level.

Here is what you do. If you are off level front to back - back higher than front - you put one block under each of the two front tires.  If you are off level  with the front higher than the back, put the blocks under the two rear tires. If you are off level side to side - passenger side higher - put the blocks under the tires on the driver side. If the driver side is higher, put the blocks under the tires on the passenger side.  The big question, I hope you don't ask - what if you are off level both front and back and side to side? My solution would be to get another site. I am sure you could make a combination but you must get blocks under all of the wheels - and my personal opinion, is that I would not want to do this.

If you need to be up higher than one block, put two blocks end to end and a third on top between the two. Higher than this requires more blocks than are in the package of ten. To go up three blocks you put three down on the ground, two on top of that, and one on top of that. This takes six blocks and you have ten - so if you encounter sites this off level you need to carry two sets of blocks.

Here is how you use the blocks -

 Here we need to raise the back up as the front is higher and the Roadtrek is off level front to back. Push one block under the tire as far as it goes and stops. Do this on the other side tire also. Now, start the van and very slowly start to drive a few inches forward. This is done best with two people - one outside to yell STOP! Otherwise you will very easily drive right off the other end of the block. Check your bubble level and look to see if you are level. Hopefully, you are and that is it. Your van tires will sit on the blocks while you are there.(Just to note that there is no reason why you could not put the block in front of the tire and drive forward.)

Here is where one block got us during our last trip to the previously mentioned campground.

There actually is not much more in the front that the bubble could go. One block did nothing for us. So we went to an assembly of three blocks to raise us two block heights. 

Two block heights - 

Rolling on.

And then on - 

This still did not bring the Roadtrek close to level on this site. The bubble barely moved in the level. So we rolled right back off the blocks. actually tried a few more times moving around the space, and then gave up as we did not have enough blocks for three block heights (one dozen blocks required).

I had hoped to show you photos of the Roadtrek up on all of the blocks and finish with a photo of the bubble in the middle just where it should be, but as you know if you have been reading along recently, that just did not happen. We gave up and asked for another site - that is the easiest way to level your RV but that will not always happen as there are times when there are no other sites to offer.

If you are leveling only for the sake of your refrigerator and not your own comfort, some recommend putting the level inside the refrigerator (some say the freezer) and use that as a reference for level. At that location, the fridge will be level even if the rest of the van is not. Others might want to compromise between the two and have a fridge that is level "enough" and a comfortable interior in your Roadtrek.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Return to Yogi Bear Jellystone Campground, Hagerstown, Maryland

We were at Yogi Bear Jellystone Campground, located in Williamsport, Maryland, for our trip to For Frederick in Big Pool, Maryland a year ago. This campground is located in the town of Williamsport but is listed for the area of Hagerstown, Maryland. For our trip to Fort Frederick again this year at the end of April, we returned to this campground. When we travel we travel to relax and enjoy the time we are away. We don't want any unpleasant surprises. This visit with Yogi Bear brought unpleasant surprises. We had a few surprises last year when we stayed here, but this time was the ultimate.

We made our reservations over a month in advance. We wanted to be sure to reserve a space in the "premium" area away from the rock and tree hazard campground sites and roads that we experienced last year. A year ago, we had reserved a site in this section of the campground also, but when we arrived we were told that someone was in our space and we would have to be relocated. We were relocated last year to a "standard" site with no difference in rate. As per the website, at this time of the year, the premium sites and standard sites have the same rate. I tell you this now for what is to come in our experience this year. So - our reservation for 2013 was a "premium" site located in an open section of the campground with no trees or rocks in the way. That is what we wanted.

I made sure to arrive at the campground while the office was still open. This was not easy making the seven plus hour trip in one day. We did not stop anywhere along the way other than for lunch. There were several places that we would have liked to stop at but that would have gotten us there after the office closed. We arrived as anticipated and the office was open.  As we entered the campground we immediately noticed that the entrance road had been repaved. Gone were the large pot holes and ruts that were there before. The interior roads were still the same dirt and/or gravel. We went into the office and were told our site number and were told to wait for the "ranger" in his golf cart to accompany us to the site. Let me explain, that all employees here are called "rangers" to be like "Ranger Smith" in the Yogi Bear cartoons. Well, Ranger Smith met us outside and we followed him in the Roadtrek to the site. The site was a large pull through - and that was what we wanted. What we did not expect was that the site went uphill. Ranger Smith showed us the hookups and was off. I got into the Roadtrek and drove around the site looking for a spot that was level or at least close to level. The site was level side to side but with the hookups on the passenger side, we had to face in the direction that we were in to hookup and the site was on a steep incline in that direction. This would mean that when lying down to sleep, your feet would be hirer than your head.  There was no place on the site that was any different. We got out and decided to level the Roadtrek with the leveling blocks that we carry. These are large "Lego" type blocks that fit together in different combinations that you drive up onto and even out your RV with the angle of the ground. We would need blocks under the rear wheels. We tried one block under each rear wheel - and there was no significant change. We tried two blocks under each rear tire which requires a combination of three blocks to achieve. Still there was no significant difference. Three blocks under each of two tires requires an assembly of six blocks for each tire and the set of blocks is a set of ten. I suspect that they don't expect anyone to need to raise their RV that high to get level. The bubble was pushing at the end of the level in my Roadtrek.   At that point I asked Meryl to go to the office - walk to the office - and tell them that we needed another site and I would stay there and continue to find a spot on the site that we might be able to get even close to level. As it turns out there was none. While I was waiting for Meryl or a "Ranger" to return, I looked around. All of the sites along side of us went uphill at the same dramatic angle. I saw the levelers on trailers and RVs (large RVs have mechanical systems to level with) built up with blocks and wooden boards. I saw the same in the sites in front of us and behind us.

"Ranger Smith", the same man who escorted us to the site arrived in his golf cart. As Meryl was on foot and the office was a walk of distance, she had not returned yet. He saw what I was talking about and pointed to a site behind us. This was a back in site which was fine with me if we would be level. That site was not only on an incline but it was also off side to side. He pointed to another site in the row in front of where we started. Again we were on a steep incline. I pointed this out to him - how the front was higher than the road and it all went uphill. I held my composure and remained polite but did say, "The sites are supposed to be level. These are not even close." He did not say anything. By this time Meryl had arrived. We had tried one more and then he pointed to one that actually looked by eye to be level. "Try there," he said. OK. I pulled in and to my surprise it was very close to level. It was good enough and I was relieved. We thanked him - a lot - and before he drove off on his golf cart I asked him if we needed to go back to the office and let them know that we are now here and get a new hang tag with the new site number on it that needs to be hung from the rearview mirror while you are in the campground. He said no - he said that he would go back right then an inform the office of our new site and all we needed to do was change the number on the tag ourselves. Fine.

We settled in. Checked the power box and instead of the glass fuses that the site we had last year had, this box had circuit breakers - which is what we have found in every other campground we have stayed in. (Hooking up with a glass fuse means you are plugging into a live 30 amp or 50 amp outlet. It is best to have the circuit breaker on OFF and then plug in - and then turn the circuit breaker on.) the power was good and there was even a light on top of the power box. We assumed that this would go on in the dark (it didn't) as this is a very dark campground at night. For the first time since we've had it, we put out a little flag stand with a banner on it staked into the grass on our site. This was to do a little personal decoration to the site as we see so many others do (often to excess)  at campgrounds and also to show that the site is occupied when we are not there during the day.

It was early and we decided that before leaving for dinner we would walk around the campground and explore in this area, as last year we had not really looked in this back section. We walked around for an hour and a half. I took some photos which I had intended to share with you all here in this review but under the coming circumstances, there really is no point. While we were walking we passed "Ranger Smith" (the same man who got us the new site)  - twice - who waved and went about his business riding in his golf cart.

Over an hour and a half later from getting settled we left the campground to go to dinner at a restaurant. When we came back we went into our space, hooked up for the night and we were delighted to see the extensive selection of television channels that came in on the campground's cable connection. We settled in for the night happy.

The next morning (Friday) we got a late start getting out to our event at Fort Frederick. It was after 11 am before we pulled out of the site and went on our way. We had a pleasant day and then returned to the campground at 5:30 pm. We drove into the section that our site was in and drove down to it - not seeing any open sites. I thought that we were in the wrong row. I asked Meryl and she looked at me and said. "There is a big trailer in our site." I looked and there it was. Our flag was gone too. I said to Meryl that we would drive to the office and that I was not going to confront these people in our site. If a confrontation was necessary the campground employees should do it. When we walked into the office and I told them what happened, we were sent to a lady at a desk behind a partition. "Oh", she said,"those people had reserved that site." She followed with, "That's OK, I can move you to another site" It was in the standard section. What!?! (Remember what I said happened to us last year - how come, as with what happened to us, they were not sent to another site?)  I asked if "Ranger Smith" had informed them of the new site he changed us to last night. She said he had but they realized that it was reserved. She claimed to have come to find us then. I told her that we were in the campground at that time for more than an hour and a half and no one including "Ranger Smith" who we saw twice during our walk came to find us and he never said a word to us. No note was left on our van while we were walking around the campground.  Basically she did not care and she then told me that she would refund a one day's difference to us from the premium rate to the standard rate for the site she was sending us to. What?!? The sites were supposed to be the same rate. I got no refund last year we were sent to a standard site rather than our reserved premium site. There were no apologies and no concern to make sure that we were "satisfied". When I asked about our flag it was handed to us with the stand from behind the front counter. She did offer us a choice of five sites in the woods with the boulder hazards at the sides of the road - exactly where we did not want to be and the reason why we were sure to make the advanced reservation that we did. She recommended one that was "secluded" and level. It was between two large boulders and we did not even take a chance on trying to squeeze the Roadtrek in to this site that was shaped in a curve.

Of those five sites - and we tried them all except the curved one mentioned - one was almost level. The rest were not even close - front to back or side to side. The one that we settled on had a broken power box  - with glass fuses - that was hanging at an angle on the post that contained the box's power cable. The box moved when it was touched. Plugging into it later that night resulted in it leaning over. (I will share that we tried to contact the campground we were going to the next night in another state to just leave Yogi behind right then and there, but that campground's office was already closed.) We had the hazards again of getting into the dark campground at night and making our way through the large trees, sharp turns, and boulder rocks along  the road in the dark. We were furious and we were stuck for the night.

That night when we hooked up, I thought that the cable connection did not work. We connected the cable and few of the channels that were scanned into the TV on the cable the night before were there and the ones that came in were fuzzy. We reconnected the cable three times. I rescanned the channels and discovered that this area of the campground had different cable channels than the side we were in the night before. The selection here was half what there had been and the choices were basic broadcast channels and a few other channels with fuzzy reception.

We were very happy to leave there the next morning and thankful that we had not planned to stay at this campground through the weekend as we had considered when planning this trip. Here is the kicker- when we returned home five days later, there was a message on our answering machine - AT HOME - from Yogi,  made on that Friday of the problem at about 1:45 pm telling us that there was a problem at our site and we should come to the office. Well, I guess calling you at your home 400 miles away when you are there with them in Maryland is their idea of contacting you. They never asked for a cell phone number which we would have gladly given them when we arrived. So, here was proof that their attempt at contacting us was not Thursday night but when this trailer arrived that Friday afternoon to check in. That was when they realized there was a problem. So they lied to us when we were there. They lied again when they said they took our flag away that Saturday morning as we actually got to speak with the people in our site and they told us that they had to argue with the Yogi people to take our flag away from the site and that the Yogi people were surprised that it was there. (As if we were never there.)

We will never stay in Yogi Bear Jellystone Campground in Williamsport/Hagerstown, Maryland again. I suggest that you avoid it. The people who work/run this campground have no concern for their guests at all. There is no effort to make sure that a guest feels that things have been made right. Management is as if Yogi himself was running the place. Though, perhaps, Yogi would do it better. They are totally disorganized and seem to function in a whim. Stay away! We will be contacting Yogi corporate with what took place here.

There is one other campground in this area and, if we make the trip to this area again, we will check them out. Stay away from Yogi!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Root's Country Market & Auction, Manheim, Pennsylvania

As part of this last trip we spent Tuesday at Root's Country Market and Auction in the town of Manheim, Pennsylvania. Root's is a farmers and vendors market that spreads over a large piece of land just off Route 72 between East Petersburg and Manheim, PA. I have written about Root's before but I want to give it an article all to itself and include this in places to visit when in Pennsylvania. I have written about another similar market in Pennsylvania called Green Dragon. Roots is smaller but offers a similar experience.

I don't have photographs to show you of Root's. Going around the market taking pictures would make me too much of a tourist there. There is a nice website and there are plenty of photos there.

Root's is only open on Tuesdays. The hours are from 9am to 9 pm in April through October, and from 9 am to 6 pm in November through March. The grounds do host some special events during the year but while these may include craft shows or flea markets, the regular market is not open.

Root's is out of the usual tourist areas of Lancaster and those at Root's tend to be local. Root's has been serving this community for85 years. If you want to interact with the Amish and the Mennonites you will find them as stand holders selling produce and baked goods made in their kitchens and you will find them shopping. In the back of one of the parking lots there are horse stalls to park a buggy and tie up the horse.

The market is made up of a large building with an L extension and a T extension that houses most of the market vendors. There are two other buildings on the property with vendors and one of those has antiques on a second floor (the building in the back that looks like you are walking into a barn). There is also a building with animal stalls that is an animal auction. If you want to buy chickens, ducks, rabbits, or goats (and sometimes larger animals) this is the place to come and bid and take home some livestock - though I would not suggest doing this in your Roadtrek.

Scattered through all of this there are outdoor vendors selling everything from farm fresh produce to cell phone covers. There is a little of everything for sale at Root's including furniture. Around the back there are flea market vendors that come in and set up in an open lot. Across the road from Root's is another related property with two buildings selling antiques and an outdoor flea market area for vendors. The flea market vendors in this area come early and are packing up to leave by 1 pm. By 2 pm they are almost all gone. (I never really understand why but this is how it has always been at this part across from Root's.)

Parking for Root's is in surrounding fields around the market and none are paved. There are some gravel roads but most are dirt and the spaces that you are parking in are grass or dirt. This is - so far - only proven to be a problem for the Roadtrek once when it has rained the day before and I was hesitant about getting the Roadtrek stuck in the mud. On that trip we went across the road to a business parking lot that was closed and parked there. On this trip we parked in a spot in the main parking area that was up against woods and we could pull up enough so that the rear of the Roadtrek was not hanging out into the lane behind. There was another Class B parked in the row behind us and when we returned at the end of the day, there was a Class C parked next to us.  If you come here with a Class A you are going to have to be creative and polite in finding a place to park, but I am sure it can be done.

The auction part of Root's is the animal sales auction as I described and also an auction of household items, new and sold in bulk, at auction. This is in the back of the building with the antiques on the second floor.

Not only are there fun thing to look at and buy at Root's but there are a lot of tempting food stands. We tend to eat at Raub's Subs which sells hoagies, subs, grinders, hero sandwiches or whatever big sandwiches on a long roll are called in your part of the country. There are tables out behind the main building to eat at. There is a stand selling fried seafood sandwiches that always has a crowd. The biggest crowd this day that we were there was the Pit Beef stand which had a line that people said was an hour long. The sandwiches looked good and the people working the stand continually coming around the back to the smoker to get more meat and also refill it for cooking. This stand also sold smoked pork, as does another stand nearby (without the same long line - so this place must be real good!) If the weather is not great, take your lunch back to the Roadtrek. When I went to get our sandwiches, Meryl went to the Roadtrek to get cold cans of soda from our fridge.

If you care for dessert or a snack there are several bakeries selling freshly made backed goods, some Amish ladies selling home baked goods outside, and a stand outside selling nice large soft pretzels. All of this is to take with you or eat right there on the spot if you cannot resist and can't wait to have a taste.

There are also stands inside with refrigerator cases selling meats and cold cuts to take home. The meats here (and in Green Dragon) always look so much better than the meat in the supermarkets. Produce stands are selling fresh vegetables and fruits. There are even stands selling plants to bring home to your garden.

This type of market may be common in some parts of the country but there is nothing like it where I live in New York so it is a novelty for us to go to these markets. You may be saying, "Oh that is just like the XY Market around here - what is the big deal?" For some of us, this is unique.

To get to Root's take Route 72. If you are coming from Lancaster it will seem like you are driving a long time but you are really not. You will drive through towns and fields. There is a golf course next to Root's and Root's Nursery which is not the same place (though likely related). For your GPS the address is 705 Graystone Road, Manheim, PA 17545 and you can call them at Phone: (717) 898-7811.There should be no concern for height clearances coming from the south on 72. I do not recall any from the north but I cannot confirm that.

While writing this article I discovered that Root's has a Facebook page so "LIKE" Root's on Facebook.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Sundays in Lancaster, PA

After our jaunt into the past - with all of its surprises - we headed back to the present with a few days in Lancaster, PA. As planning for this trip turned out, we arrived in Lancaster on a Saturday night and our first day there would be a Sunday. We have been avoiding being in Lancaster on Sundays. Most of the local attractions here and the local Pennsylvania Dutch restaurants are closed on Sundays. This is an area where the main attraction is the large Amish and Mennonite farm population. These are very religious people. There entire lives are lived around their religion and their beliefs and business on Sundays does not take place.

What is left to do in this area is everything that is non-Pennsylvania Dutch related. There are large outlet centers here. This was one of the first areas in the country with outlet stores and I am talking back to the 1960s. In addition there is the Strasburg Railroad, a steam locomotive railroad attraction that will take you on a ride on an old steam engine pulled train through the farmlands of Paradise, Pennsylvania. Across from the Strasburg Railroad is the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum with an extensive collection of engines and rolling stock. The museum will appeal to the "rail fans". The Strasburg will appeal to everyone and it also has small train rides for the kids. Right next to the Old Mill Stream Campground is Dutch Wonderland, an amusement park for younger children. This is a perfect way to spend a Sunday with young kids. If you are up to driving a slight distance, Lancaster is about an hour or so to Gettysburg and in another direction to Hershey. You can visit the Civil War battlefield in Gettysburg (this year is the 150th Anniversary of the three day battle which took place from July 1 through July3). In Hershey there is a large amusement theme park, an attraction about making Hershey's chocolate, and a zoo.

One of the best things to do on a Sunday in Lancaster is take off in your Roadtrek (or car) and head onto the roads that run among the Amish farms and enjoy the rolling fields and hills which depending on the season are either being planted, harvested, or sitting waiting for the warm weather to return. You will pass fields of cows and horses. You will see Amish and Mennonite homes that have no electricity and plumbing that is supplied by a windmill pumping water to the house from a well. In a way we were still time traveling - but this time we were looking in on people living in a way that many today have forgotten how to do, but that these people do every day of their lives. Amish transportation is a horse and buggy and you will see them on every road including some very busy roads along side car and truck traffic.

Sundays for the Amish are either Church Sundays or Visiting Sundays - these alternate week to week. Either way you will see Amish buggies on the side roads either on their way or coming home from their services or from visiting friends on their farm. You may see Amish children and teens playing ball. You may see large gatherings of people outside a house on a farm. This is how the Amish spend their Sundays and as a visitor if you keep your distance, don't stop, but drive by you can witness this part of their lives.

I have said this in almost every article I have written about visiting Lancaster. Be very careful of the buggies on the Road when passing them. You will inevitably encounter a horse and buggy on a hill on a one lane in each direction farm road - which most of them are - and these roads turn and climb in such a way that you are blind to any traffic coming down in the single opposite direction. It is best to wait until you have reached the top of the hill and can see clearly what is coming toward you in the opposite lane before you attempt to pass the buggy. Yes, this sometimes means driving at 5 mph with a line of cars behind you but it is better to wait than to risk your lives and the lives of the people in the buggy. It is not uncommon to see the results of those who did not follow this simple advice.

Another thing to be aware of in this area. It is against the Amish religious beliefs to have photos taken of them - in particular their faces. Do not take pictures of them. At a distance you may photograph the back of a buggy as it goes past and you can photograph the beautiful fields and farms, but not the people. Following this is a sign of respect.  The Amish are not unapproachable and if you would like to talk to an Amish person you will encounter them (on any day but Sunday) at a variety of businesses that they work at or at a farm stand on the road at the edge of a farm where many Amish sell produce to those driving by. But you will not see any that are open on a Sunday.

We left the campground that Sunday morning after arranging with the very nice people who are in the office at Old Mill Stream Campground to move to one of our regular sites which would be available that afternoon. We made a stop for lunch - nothing exciting is open in the way of lunch restaurants on a Sunday so it was lunch at McDonalds and then headed out for a drive through the farm fields. And just as I indicated above we encountered more than one buggy climbing a hill.

We also headed over to the Strasburg Railroad, but not to ride the train but to see the trains. There is  construction going on now at Strasburg and there have been some changes made to the children's attractions there. The small steam train ride has been moved and now spreads the length of the property making the ride - for kids and adults - longer. At one end of the line there is a small turntable to turn the engine in the opposite direction and this is something most have never seen in operation. This small it is easy to see how it works and is a must to show kids whose heads now think in terms of computers and electronics instead of mechanics.

While most think of these steam trains as coming from the 19th Century, many that you see in operation in museums like the Strasburg Railroad actually were in use in the United States until the 1950s. Today you will only see them in places like this.

We left the Strasburg Railroad to do some mundane things like shopping and of all places that we could go to any day at home we went to Home Depot for a few things that we would need at home when we got back. After that we had dinner, our usual trip at night when traveling to Walmart (it is more for a place do some walking for exercise than for shopping though we get some shopping in too), and then headed back to the campground. As promised by the hosts, the site we wanted was empty and we pulled into our usual - and level - site.

Sunday night TV is not particularly exciting, especially late night TV. The campground has cable but on this particular Sunday night there was nothing of interest on. There would be on the digital over the air signals through the antenna and I put the antenna up and switched the TV and the A/B switch over to Antenna and started the TV scanning for channels. I had the antenna pointed toward the city of Lancaster where most of the broadcast signals come from. We have had good reception here - in this site - in the past. That night - nothing. I spent almost an hour turning the antenna and scanning without results. I just gave up and switched back to what little there was on the cable.  I mention this only because that night I decided to get a Digital Signal Finder that connects to the antenna and takes away all of the guess work about pointing the antenna. I had seen one in the shop at our Roadtrek dealer. Every time we are there I look at it and don't spend the $40 to buy it. I decided that now I was definitely buying this. (A future article will tell you where to easily get it and how it was to install - and how it works.)

Perhaps you can see now why we avoid Sundays in Lancaster. I am not saying that you should too but after visiting this area for more than 50 years I have found the same about Sundays. Now we plan our trips to spend the week while all things are open and leave late Saturday night for home.

My tales of this trip will continue as we have three more days before we head home.