While some might argue that little is made in the USA these days, that is certainly not the case in York County, PA. We had a choice of fifteen free factory tours ranging from chocolate to motorcycles to pretzels to robotic dairy farms to woodworking to glass. It was hard to choose. First, we headed to Hanover where some of our favorite snacks, Snyder's pretzels are made. As we waited for the tour to begin, we roamed the aisles of the factory store sampling new stuff and finding the familiar at truly reduced prices. As the photo will illustrate, we don't need to go shopping for snacks any time soon.
The automation in this factory was amazing. Unfortunately photography was not allowed here or any of the factories we visited. For the most part the people who worked there kept an eye on the machines and watched for defective product. At one point a machine went berserk and pretzels poured on the ground. Snyder's delivers product to all fifty states and many foreign countries. As quickly as the 400,00 square foot warehouse was filled with cases, front end loaders were taking it back out again to fill up trucks.
Since Utz potato chips are also made in Hanover, it made sense to stop there, too. This factory started as a family operation - Mrs. Utz made the chips in her kitchen and Mr. Utz traveled door to door selling them. Chip production was also highly mechanized here. It took about twenty minutes for a fresh potato to turn into a chip.
Lastly we visited Harley-Davidson and were lucky to get in. This is a mighty popular place. Closed toe shoes were required for admittance and we donned safety glasses and carried listening devices so we could hear what the guide was saying above the din of the production line. We roamed the huge factory and saw punch presses, gas tanks being painted and all the components being assembled. It tickled me that many of the workers sat on what looked like office chairs and scooted up and down the line as they vehicles moved past them on the line. As you might imagine, many of the folks who worked there were heavily tattooed and had a surplus of facial hair. Each motorcycle is road tested before it is released to the dealers. This took place in little cubicles inside the factory. We watched the speedometers exceed 90mph as the engine roared.
Boston is the next destination and it was a bit far to drive in one day. So we left York mid afternoon and planned to drive for a few hours. There were no campgrounds located near the expressway route so we thought we'd try over nighting in a Walmart parking lot. Walmart's are famous in camping lore for being hospitable to overnighters. But we grew bummed when the first two we tried had their lots posted - No overnighters! Persistence paid off. It was well after dark when we found a welcoming Walmart and we are camping for free after all.