Sunday, June 18, 2017



Lebanon Pennsylvania
Hershey Pennsylvania
Greene New York

Stoevers Dam

Campground: Stoevers Dam Park, Lebanon PA: $12 for a 30 amp electric site + $3 per person. Total cost, $15 per night, one of the best prices I've paid this season. No water or sewer. Campground is on a nice lake and park is busy with picnickers on weekends. Really nice walking trail around the lake. Less than 2 miles to the local Walmart.

Campground: Cook County Park, Greene NY. $20 central water and 30 amp. Dump station and showers available. Boat rentals available. Most of the campsites are taken by seasonal campers who pay a flat rate for the whole summer. Setting up their campers, screened in tents and little flower gardens filled with gnomes. The park even has raised vegetable beds for the seasonal campers to plant and harvest their own vegetables.

many seasonal campers at Cook County park
might go overboard on decorating their campsites

Distance traveled: 178 miles

As I left my campsite in Virginia, I would end up driving through the corners of West Virginia, Maryland and into Pennsylvania. Seems like an awful lot of states in one days drive, but they amount to just over 50 miles for each state, so not bad at all.

I once again found the next campground using the app Ultimate Campgrounds which lists only public campgrounds, no commercial campgrounds. What a great app for finding those hidden gems especially city and county campgrounds. Often saving me lots of money as I travel the country.

Hershey Pennsylvania

Hershey Corporate Offices, Hershey Pennsylvania 

I'm only about a 18 mile distance from Hershey Pennsylvania ( The Sweetest Place on Earth) and of course I had to go see the town and museum. The museum covers the Hershey legacy and how Milton Hershey got his start. After many failures, he made his first fortune making caramel candy. Selling that and believing that chocolate would be the next big thing, he experimented with many formulas. Loosing his business a couple of times before finally inventing the right formula for Milk Chocolate. He would build the town of Hershey and eventually build a second town called Hershey in Cuba after purchasing a sugar cane plantation to ensure a steady supply of sugar for his candy bars.

part of Reese's Peanut Butter Cup factories

front office complex of Reese's Peanut Butter Cup factory

One of the flags along main street

The Hershey story/Museum

Now the Hershey factory has closed in town and only the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup factory remains active. Still the corporate offices are here, the museum, a large amusement park, a still vibrant looking town with its quintessential Hershey Kisses lights along the main thoroughfares. The factory would be moved to Mexico and in 2012 the Hershey factory in Pennsylvania was torn down making no mistake it would never reopen in this town again.

Townhouses around Monument Square in Lebanon PA

Here in Lebanon, the town is much more depressed after Alcoa Aluminum and Bethlehem Steel closed their factories in the early 70's. As I drove around town, a compact tight feeling as many townhouses and downtown businesses are so closely packed together. Parking meters still fill the downtown area and as I stopped to check out the Chamber of Commerce, I had to scramble to find a quarter to put in the meter. I rarely have much if any change on me. At least I had 30 minutes on the meter to find out about the area, have a quick cup of coffee in a local shop, one of the few that appeared open for business.

Lebanon Pennsylvania
Downtown Lebanon shops, most are closed

parking meters

It's not a happy looking town, with many buildings being made of a dark brown brick, narrow streets. So many of the townhouses and businesses are run down and shabby looking. A black man sits huddled in a doorstep alcove. I walk past a Comic Book store with posters and fliers covering every inch of window space behind an inner chain link fencing. Few people are walking down the street as I enter the restaurant for coffee. The owner eagerly jumps up, only to walk away when I say all I want in a cup of coffee. A foreign woman serves me coffee at the counter and goes back to her seat at one of the tables and continues to look at her tablet. I am the only one in the shop.

My last day in Lebanon takes me to a local park called The Union Canal Tunnel Park. Canals were begun around the turn of the century before the invention of the steam locomotive. Boats and barges were the best way to get goods from one place to the next. The concept of the Union Canal was first proposed by William Penn in 1690. It was designed to connect the Schuylkill and Susquehanna rivers. The canal wouldn't be completed until 1890, using money collected from a lottery. It would take twenty years to collect enough money from the lottery to build the canal. Millions of dollars from the lottery would go to the lottery players and the canal project would reap only $270,000. If you are fortunate enough to be here on a Sunday, you can board a canal boat and experience a part of the canal by water even going through the tunnel.

Well it's gotten hot and steamy here. The last couple of days have been in the mid 90's with a fair amount of humidity. I do my walks around the lake early in the morning before it heats up too much.


Distance traveled: 183 milesGreene New York

a super large silo and stone building next to it

I didn't have too much choice in heading north into Upstate New York, so I chose I-81, thinking it would probably be a nice change from my county road driving. I'd be able to maintain a speed around 65 mph and get there more quickly. Yikes, was I wrong. This is one interstate that is really in terrible condition. Along with ongoing repairs, the highway alternated between concrete and blacktop pavement. Each seemed in worse condition as I drove over each section The concrete already had stripes of asphalt across the highway most likely where original cut lines in the concrete where formed. Along with uneven laying of the concrete creating a thump thump thump pattern as I drove over it. The asphalt wasn't any better and as a reverse, they oddly were patching sections of the asphalt with concrete. Go figure. Potholes and whole middle sections of asphalt were missing. One wonders how so much asphalt could be lost along the center line of the highway. Oh and that 65 mph speed limit I was expecting along highways originally designated to be 70 mph, were now down to 55 mph along long stretches of the highway. The final insult being that many of the rest stops were closed and the welcome center heading into New York was open only to cars as it was under construction. Bummer, as I was hoping to get some good ideas of places to explore and sight-see once in the state.

I'm just outside of the Binghamton New York area. A number of highways cross through this area and with that numerous concrete walls have been erected to cut noise in adjoining neighborhoods. What's interesting is that the walls are half concrete with the top half composed of glass windows, proving the houses a visual scene through the top half and eliminating what would normally be a solid wall blocking sunlight along with the noise suppression. Looks nice too.

Binghamton Ny was the beginning of
the Link companies flight simulators
I would work for the Navy's Simulation and Training Div.
10,000 simulation trainers would be used in WWII
to train 500,000 pilots

Excellent collection of  primitive masks from around
the world, a private collection

not a large art museum
but I did enjoy a number of their collections

for all my model train enthusiasts
Binghamton NY has an awesome display

miniature train display

one of the best train displays I've ever seen
depicting the town of Binghamton NY

I took a tour of the Roberson Mansion and Science Museum in Binghamton.  The mansion is in it's original condition, but after the owners gave it to the city after passing, the town sold all the the furnishings to help maintain the house.  What a shame.  It is now used for local parties, weddings and other functions

entrance to Mansion and Museum is
out back

mansion and museum, but entrance is out back

third floor ballroom, many of the rooms were locked
so we couldn't see in them

grand staircase was definitely the main feature of the house

In the little town of Greene NY. It has a wide boulevard with parking in the center. I discovered a five and dime discount store that had a few items I would normally purchase at a grocery store. Gevalia Coffee, Breakfast bars (low carb) and even some peanut butter cups (no sugar) all at steep discount prices. What a great find. The rest of the town consists of a number of hometown restaurants, but sadly, none that I've gone to so far are good. No antique shops or stuff like that. At the impressive looking library there is supposedly a museum, but I was told it's only open one day a month.

The library in Greene New York

nice downtown area, but few shops open

restaurants in town were sub-par
more photos:

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