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Random Stuff

July 4, 2012

At Gifford Pinchot State Park, Pennsylvania

A nice touch here at the park…. A few days ago, we returned from an outing and found these little flags on every campsite marker in the park.

This is a really nice park, well laid out, decent space between sites, a mix of RV and tent camping.  The restrooms/showers are okay, but could use a real updating.  And, as we’re finding in a lot of Pennsylvania state parks, there is no water at the campsites themselves.  Many sites have electric outlets, but no water at any of them.  There are water spigots scattered around the campground.  The water at the dump station is not potable water, but it is at the spigots and at the faucets outside the bath houses.  We filled the fresh water tank upon arrival, and have adjusted our lifestyle accordingly.  It’s not bad, just a pain, because our water pump is especially loud.  We’ve got a couple of one gallon milk jugs that we keep filled with water for flushing the toilet in the middle of the night.

We pass through the town of Dillsburg on the way to just about everywhere.  It’s like small towns all over America: downtown stores with “For Rent” signs in the windows.  It is kind of cool to see the barber pole is still in use in places.

Nell’s stash of books is getting heavy on the “already read” side, so we found this little bookstore in Dillsburg.  Turns out they will swap books on Thursdays, so we’ll bring a couple of bags back and see what she can find to read.  This is one of those great old book shops with narrow aisles and books everywhere.

There’s not a great deal of order or organization, but if you look long enough, you can learn how to twirl a baton or cure malaria…

…or find some classics.  There was a whole section of old books in sleeves, from Billy Budd and John Brown’s Body to The Life of Samuel Johnson.

And from Oliver North and Phillip Margolin…

…to Harlequin romance novels.  The shop was being run by a young woman with a small child, and a baby in her arms.  She wasn’t the owner, but said she believed the present owner has had the shop for about 35 years.

We did some grocery shopping, and spotted these cupcakes with one big frosting flag on top.  No, we didn’t buy them, but somebody’s really going to get their sugar fix on the Fourth of July.

We drove to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s capitol, on Sunday.  This is State Street, with a line of stately churches marching back to the Capitol building.

State Street runs from the capitol building to Riverfront Park, a five mile stretch along the Susquehanna River.  We arrived on the afternoon of the last day of a Jazz and Multicultural Festival.  We joined other people buying from food vendors, sat at a picnic table and watched pontoon boats and jet skis running up and down the river.  Our timing wasn’t very good, apparently, because we never did hear any jazz.

On Monday, I met fellow artist John Wooldridge at the Gettysburg battlefield.  John and I met online and had never met in person.  He’s from Arkansas, and was visiting family about 20 miles south in Maryland.  He suggested we meet and paint, and I’m glad he did.  We spent a few hours painting outdoors while Nell joined his family for some window shopping at a nearby outlet mall.  You can see my results from that painting session on my art blog here.

John and I chose to paint at the Leister House, which served as Union General Meade’s headquarters during the battle of Gettysburg.  Up on the hill behind my right shoulder is the Pennsylvania Monument, and directly behind me is Cemetery Ridge and the High Water Mark, where Union soldiers held off Pickett’s Charge, the last hard battle of three days of fighting here.  It was quite an experience to stand and paint on ground with such historic significance.

Aside from seeing some beautiful countryside, I am constantly aware of how much history was written in this part of the country.  There are silent reminders of days long past around every corner… and sometimes peeking out from behind the trees.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Mary Steagall permalink
    July 4, 2012 11:10 pm

    I enjoy traveling the backroads of the USA with you and Nell through your blog.

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