2011 Travels travel blog

Carpe at Tom Schaeffer's RV
In Shoemakersville, PA, north of Reading, for service

From Virginia to West Virginia (in this case to the north)

And then Maryland
Our thirty-ninth state in Carpe

And finally... The Keystone State

Spring has sprung in shades of orange

Gettysburg National Park

Bob confers with Abe
Probably discussing the diminished value of the "fiver:
Bob's beard...

Gettysburg National Park
Round Hill monument (with blooming Dogwood in foreground

Gettysburg National Park
Striking battlefield monument

Gettysburg National Park
Battlefield monuments

Gettysburg National Park
Monument to Pennsylvania's volunteers

Longwood Gardens
Tulips were still in profuse bloom

Longwood Gardens
As were the daffodils

Longwood Gardens
The flowers in the Conservatory were spectacular

Longwood Gardens
Birds of Paradise—always a hit

Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens
Water features are an integeral part of the displays

Longwood Gardens
The profusion of spring blooms was jaw dropping

Longwood Gardens
Fountains were DuPont's favorites. This one did a beautiful show

Carpe Diem repaired and ready to roll
Tom Schaeffer's RV did a fine...


A long day, just shy of 350 miles on interstates. We got going a bit late this morning, departing Roanoke Home Depot around 0930. We headed across town, which was uneventful since we outwaited rush hour.

I85 took us along beautiful rolling hills on the western edge of Virginia. We'd never driven this stretch before and thoroughly enjoyed the lovely countryside. We stopped for fuel at Winchester, the last Maryland stop. Our web sources told us that diesel was more than a 25¢ a gallon higher further north, so we topped our tank with probably our last less than $4/gallon fuel for a while. Seems the truckers also had the same intel... The truck stop was jammed.

Within a few miles of our fuel stop we entered West Virginia, where we stopped for lunch at their welcome center. Twenty miles later we entered Maryland, another first Carpe visit state (our thirty-ninth). Twelve miles after that we crossed the line into Pennsylvania.

We elected to continue on to our final destination, Tom Schaeffer's RV in Shoemakersville. Despite enduring Harrisburg's rush hour traffic we made good time and pulled into their service center just before 1800. We got set up in their customer courtesy parking with 30-amp power and treated ourselves to some adult libations and then dinner.

As this is written we are getting the pitter-pat of rain on the roof as the leading edge of a line of thunderstorms that'll be paying us a visit this evening. The rain is forecast to continue all night and into tomorrow morning.

We'll be here for a few days while they schedule us in for service on our "sliding" slide. These folks are not only a Winnebago dealer but also an HWH service center (HWH manufactures the slide actuating hydraulics). If all goes well we may be repaired by Friday and head to visit family in New Jersey, some seventy miles from here as the crow flies...

Thu, 05 May: Happy Cinco de Mayo to all...

Today we got Carpe ready to move should the shop find an open slot for her. That meant we retracted the slides, jacks, and stowed all loose items. We left the keys with them and headed for Gettysburg for a day of sightseeing. The weather was sunny and bright, but quite cool and breezy.

The 100 mile drive took us back through Harrisburg and then south along US 51 to Gettysburg. We arrived around noon and lunched before stopping at the visitor's center to learn what is available. The park offers several tours, including a narrated bus tour of the battlefields for a pricey $28/person. We opted for the "free" (not including almost $4/gallon fuel) self guided auto tour.

We spent the next three hours touring the battlefields and viewing all the monuments to various regiments and battalions that fought on both sides. Sandi visited Gettysburg when she was a kid (sixty years ago?), but Bob had never been there. We were both impressed with the scope of the battlefields as well as the care with which the events have been documented and preserved.

We returned to Shoemakersville via US 30, US 222, to PA 61. We went through Abbotstown (a lovely town with a very quaint and well-maintained town square), York, Lancaster, and Reading. Despite the traffic it was a pleasant drive and we were back home before six. Carpe had not been moved, so guess we'll wait until our scheduled appointment tomorrow (Friday) morning to learn what the problem is and how long it'll take to get it repaired.

Fri, 06 May: Today was a very special day in several ways. One of those beautiful days when things just seem to go right. We were in such a good mood that even the insane Friday traffic didn't faze us.

We arose early (another alarm clock day—a retiree's no-no) and prepared the coach to move into service. Promptly at 0800 Dave arrived and listened as we described the problem with our port side slide. He felt that replacing the hydraulic actuator solenoid valves would solve the problem. We felt good as Dave seemed quite competent and cared about our home. It is always bittersweet to see Carpe being driven away...

But, we had other fish to fry. We hopped in Dinkum and headed for Kennett Square, PA, a small community west of Wilmington and southwest of Philadelphia. It took us about 1¾ hours to drive the sixty some miles from Shoemakersville, and we arrived just about ten. We met up with Ginger and Wes (the same folks we lunched with in Fort Lauderdale this past March). Ginger & Wes are cruising buddies who live outside Wilmington, and they invited us to be their guests at Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens was the home of Pierre DuPont, the famous chemical and auto industrialist. Seems his passion was gardens, so he bought this property and built a world class garden, that is now and endowed foundation open to the public. Anyway, Ginger & Wes are patrons of Longwood Gardens and gave us an in depth tour of the garden's highlights. They even treated us to lunch! Such buddies...

Alas, we had to leave about 1430 in order to bail our coach out of the shop. We'd received a call from Aaron advising us it was ready, so we needed to pay the piper so we'd have a place to sleep tonite. Traffic was the pits but we made it with some thirty minutes to spare. The repairs were covered by our Good Sam Extended Service Contract, so all we had to cough up was our deductible (a relatively small CaChing!)

So, here we are in Tom Schaeffer's parking lot as their guest for one more nite. Tomorrow morning we'll mosey over to New Jersey where we'll plunk down for a week or two visiting Sandi's siblings and their extended families. It'll be hectic, but sometimes family time is what the doctor ordered—especially since Bob's dad's passing is so fresh in our memories.



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