Like usual, the morning began with two little boys awake before everyone else. Of course, it is only about 0630, and it was late when we finally pulled into the WalMart in Staunton, VA. Late, as in around 11:00pm. We pulled them into bed with us and spent some time cuddling with the little ones as they slowly got up.
WalMart camping in VA in July is a little warmer than we prefer. Fortunately, Charlie borrowed a generator from a friend (thank you Dale!), so we were able to use that to cool the camper down. After the camper was cool, we turned it off for the rest of the night. By morning, we were all rather hot and sticky and ready to get out into the fresh air. After a trip into WalMart for some groceries and a quick yogurt breakfast, we finally got on the road. Oops, almost forgot. We also walked to the Dunkin Donuts for some morning refreshments, a little caffeine for Charlie and I (and a few of the older kids) and decaf for the rest. They put so much sugar in those drinks that you can’t even taste the coffee.
Back we went into the car for another full day of driving. Charlie and I talked about the options of places to stop and spend a few hours along the way. We were close to Joel Salatin’s Polyface Farm (a real pioneer in sustainable farming, an author, and a wonderful speaker) and really wanted to go back there, but we decided that it didn’t make sense to start our day with an activity. Luray Caverns was an option, but again it wasn’t very far down the road. We kept driving through West Virginia, Maryland, and into Pennsylvania. Then Charlie had an idea – how about going to visit Hershey, PA? I looked into it and discovered a free tour that wasn’t supposed to take very long. We didn’t tell the kids what we were going to do, but when we drove into Hershey, they began to guess that we were going to do something that involved candy. After some confusion about where to park, we pulled into some outlets that we discovered for a lunch of sandwiches and a bathroom break. I had brought some of our tomatoes from our garden, but I had not really had one of the large tomatoes from our garden yet since they were just coming in when we left. Charlie took some tomato slices, spread a little hummus on them, and wrapped the tomato slices in sliced turkey. Wow was that good. The tomatoes were certainly a wonderful taste of summer.
After finally filling our tummies, we went back to find the parking for Hershey’s Chocolate World. On the way, Alex noticed in the town that the street lights were made in the shape of Hershey’s kisses. When we made it back to Chocolate World, they directed us to literally a front parking space directly in front of the museum. We thought that would be an excellent space in case it started raining. The kids were all so excited. I tried to explain to them that this was just a tour, and that we wouldn’t be spending a lot of money on chocolate as it would be melted before we got to WalMart that evening. The smell of chocolate outside was delicious. Thank goodness we had just eaten! We went inside and got into line for the tour.
Fortunately we couldn’t see how long the line was when we entered, but it moved well. We were able to read all kinds of things about Milton Hershey and the company he built. We were all very impressed to learn that he started a school for orphan boys there in Hershey, PA, and then he left his fortune to the school. We finally made it to the bottom of the line where we were put into little open moving “cars” to ride through the tour.
We found out all about how Hershey chocolate bars are made. It was a really fun tour, and at the end we all received a small Hershey bar. As I haven’t had sugar in a while, I couldn’t believe how sweet it was, but it was a nice treat.
Just as we walked out of the museum, it started to sprinkle. We made it back into the van quickly, but before we were out of the parking lot, it was pouring. What fun we had at Chocolate World!
Back into the van we went and drove off into the countryside of Pennsylvania. On this trip, we decided to bring the kayaks that we gave to Charlie for Father’s Day. They are riding around attached to the top of the van. Unfortunately, the rack they are riding on kept coming loose. We finally had to pull over and do some adjustments to the rack. The older boys all like to have their opportunity to climb on top of the van, so this is a much coveted job. After the adjustments were complete, we were going again and had no more problems with it for the rest of the day.
Scranton, PA was our destination for the day, but we decided to push on and make it a little farther especially since we needed to make it to Mass in the morning. One full day of driving behind us and one more to go before we will be able to spend more of our day enjoying where we are as opposed to driving through it and wishing we could stop to see more things along the way.