Besides trips to New Jersey to visit Chrissy's family, we have never taken a vacation with the kids. In fact, it's been over 10 years since Chrissy and I got away for a weeks vacation together. Last Autumn, Chrissy's sister and her family went to Lancaster County, PA and had a marvelous time. When they got home, Chrissy and her sis immediately started planning for next Autumn...we locked it in...The Leo's were fixing up their camper and heading to Lancaster, PA in October 2011.
Cut to Friday, Sept. 30.
Weather Forecast: 80% chance of heavy rain in Ronks, PA (our Campground location) starting at noon (our scheduled arrival time). I called the campsite and asked if I could check in early. They told me that I could start setting up at daybreak on Saturday, as there was no one in our site the night before. I called the audible and we left MA at 9:30pm and drove straight through the night, arriving at our campsite at 4:45am Saturday. We crashed in the car until daybreak and I started setting up. My goal was to be set up way before the rain hit. Well, the rain never came (until much later), but we were gifted with just about the best site at the campground:
Our site was about 12ft wider than every other creek-side campsite at the campground. We were nestled between 2 HUGE willow trees. If you look in the third picture of Gavin in the chair around the fire ring, you'll see a road in the background. Up the street was several Amish farms and homes, so everyday, we'd see Amish kids on their scooters heading to school. Additionally, several times a day, sometimes a dozen times, we'd see and hear Horse and Buggies or horse-drawn farm equipment riding down the road. It was very cool to be this close to everyday Amish life. Lancaster County, PA boasts the largest Amish community in North America. Nearly 50,000 Amish make their living farming and crafting in this area. This shot was a VERY common sight in the area where we were staying:
Everywhere you turned, the Amish were out and about, living amongst the rat race, slowly and quietly doing their thing. BTW, the "man" driving this wagon was no more than 14 years old. The Amish breed them young, strong, and skilled.
The Southern side of our campground bordered a working Amish farm:
We were good and settled before Chrissy's sister Susan, husband Dave, and their two boys rolled in at around 2pm. They all stayed in a "Camping Cabin" right across the road from our site, no more than 50 ft. away. It was a fantastic setup. They had a great paved driveway for the kids to ride their bikes in, we had a stellar waterfront fire pit for late night hangs....it was just about the perfect setup.
Well...the rain finally came, around 7 pm Saturday night. It rained BUCKETS. We found out later that what we went through that night was nothing compared to what they had experienced down there three weeks earlier which literally had our campsite under 3 ft. of water.
It wasn't nearly that bad for us but, our camper did leak a little in the corners of the bed canvas. We sopped up most of it with towels, but occasionally rolled into a damp corner as we slept. Anyway....as the rain fell into the evening, we decided..."What better to do on a rainy camping night than to":
Get on our rain gear and play and then:
Bake cookies in our camper's tiny oven!!!
It was the first night that we ever spent in our camper.
We were 357 miles from home.
It was pouring rain.
We ate fresh baked cookies and fell asleep dreaming of the next day's activity:
Stay tuned for part 2.....