Thursday, June 30, 2016

Why oh Why Didn't I Inherit My Grandmothers Genes?

Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
Pocono Vacation Park

Anyone that knows me knows I am not a talented person.  Today was a day when I wish I had inherited my Grandmothers musical talents.  Okay, maybe also her natural curly hair.  She could play a piano without reading music.  

She thought I should learn to play a musical instrument and so I was given accordion lessons.  The house was too small for a piano.  During this time period, I had a school teacher tell me when the rest of the class was singing to just pretend like I was singing but not to sing.  I could never keep time and finally the accordion instructor told my Mom that I was hopeless.  

Knowing this you'll be surprised when I tell you how much I enjoyed our day today.  I checked the website to see the times for the tours and found out the factory shuts down the entire week for the holiday. Not wanting to be on the highways tomorrow, we decided today had to be the day. 

The walkway walking into the building was the head of a guitar and the reception desk was the body of the guitar.  We were asked if we wanted a tour and were given a sticker and told our tour would leave in ten minutes.  

Our tour group of seven people were called right on time.  We were given a set of headsets and told how to adjust the volume.  

Ben told us that the factory is 200,000 square feet and employs 600 people. C F Martin Guitar was started in 1855 in New York but was moved to Nazareth shortly afterwards.

Bill and I have been on many factory tours, but I have to say nothing as clean as this one.  I can't believe all the wood cutting, sanding, and painting and no dust in the air and the floors were all clean.  

This huge guitar was made by the employees that was used as a float in a parade.

Ben showed us the display of all the parts that go into making a guitar.  

As we walked through the factory we saw guitars in different stages.

The machinery that is used is very complex and precise.

There were dust control devices everywhere.  The entire building is climate controlled.

Ben is showing us all the different stages that are used.  He said all of the employees can do different jobs.

Everyone of the employees were greeted by name.  Notice the headphones I'm wearing.  It was so easy to hear Ben speak.

Ben knew all of the processes and answered every question.

It was interesting how they bend these pieces--the modern way and also the traditional way.  

Ben told us that it takes about 8 to 10 weeks to complete a guitar.

You can tell by the serial numbers that each guitar gets, that they make a lot of them.  A serial number reads 2032520.

This employee is gluing the two pieces together.

This girl is buffing the edges.

They are always inspecting the parts.

This lady is fitting the necks to the body but then they go their separate ways until later in the process when the exact body and neck are attached.  

I think they told us that they had 7 coats of lacquer.  

We then learned that a sister factory in Mexico makes a cheaper version.  These sell for around $2,000.  We were told the ones from the Nazareth factory can range from $2,000 to over $100,000 and more than that.

I thought these "cheap" ones were beautiful.

If you ever get to eastern Pennsylvania make sure you take this tour.

If you can imagine it, they can make it.

The tour lasted a little of an hour but we still had the museum and of course the gift shop.  We were handed a souvenir coaster with the C F Martin logo on them.  

The museum was just as great as the tour.  

This is a D-100 limited edition with a serial number 1,000,000 which was dated 2004.  It is the most ornate instrument to date ever produced.  The inlay is beautiful.

Here's the back side of the one millionth made.  It is hard to see from the photo but it is a peacock that has colorful inlay.

Look at the ship design on this one.

I thought this was very interesting.

The photo didn't come out well, but I think you can understand what this did for him.

This is what the early days would have looked like.

There are a lot of famous musicians that own a Martin.

I also failed to mention that the tour of the factory and the museum are free.  If I would have been charged $20 to go through the place, I would have said it was a bargain.  It was an enjoyable day and an experience we'll never forget. 

As we were driving home, Bill and I both made a comment about how many elderly people were employed there.  They must love their work so much, they don't want to retire.

Turtle Safely........

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

That's a First--Condom Store

Stroudsburg, PA
Pocono Vacation Park

We are no different than any other RVers.  It's difficult to find a place over a holiday weekend.  I was lucky to find a vacancy in a park with over 300 sites.  

We didn't leave Shartlesville until close to noon but we only had 70 miles to this park.  I 78 was the worse road we've traveled since we left Arizona in April.  Traffic was bad and once again those disc brakes saved us, when we topped a hill and found all the traffic stopped.  

As we checked in I reminded the women that I wanted a site without trees for our satellite.  Our escort drove a car and we followed him to our site.  He was talking on his walkie talkie and came back to say that our site was change to 4 sites down because that one had trees.  No problem.  We pulled into our site which was long enough but with not much room to spare.  

We quit carrying boards for leveling when we had the level ups.  This site was uneven side to side and dropped way off on the front.

I pushed the button and the trailer extended all the way on the front and the right side wheels on the trailer were off the ground.  We had those orange square leveling blocks but that still didn't work.  I couldn't tell you how many times we hitched and unhitched.  

Finally I walked back up to the office and said we couldn't get level.  Of course there wasn't much to choose from.  The women worked hard trying to move other people who hadn't arrived yet.  We also wanted a 50 amp site.  Finally she breathed a sigh of relief and told the escort to take us to the other side of the park.  He told us, that many people have trouble leveling on those sites.

Yeah!  No problem leveling up.  Good satellite signal and the best part, it doesn't look like there are as many kids in this area.  

We haven't been in an area where there has been a supermarket or Walmart since we left West Virginia.  We really needed to restock the pantry.  

The town is only three miles away.  Now bear in mind we are traveling in a highly populated area.  We're driving up business route 209.  A typical Main Street in any tourist area. Bill points out this business.  I'm sorry about the reflections and poor quality of the photo.
Now I've heard of a lot of different specialty shops but this is the first condom store I've ever seen.  I grabbed the camera and took a quick photo as the traffic finally started moving.  The photo didn't show the sperms floating around on the bottom of the glass window of the business.  

I know a lot of people take home souvenirs, do you think they have Pocono decorated condoms?  Should I bring any souvenirs back?

We found a Walmart that was packed.  I just picked up a few items off the normal list of bread, milk and eggs.  I will have to go back as we'll need to fill Bill's Pradaxa before we leave here.

We stopped for dinner at the Triple Dinner.  Can you believe the bill was less than $15?  I had broiled flounder stuffed with spinach and cheese, a baked potato, cole slaw, a bowl of chili and a salad bar.  The dinner also included dessert but I was too full to have one.  There was a huge selection and looking at the other people's orders in the restaurant everything looked delicious.  Service was also excellent.  I'd return in a heartbeat.  

Both of us were happy to return to the park and just veg the rest of the evening.  

Turtle Safely........

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Number Two

Shartlesville, Pennsylvania
Mountain Spring Campground Resort

Yesterday I told you about our tour to the oldest brewery in the US--Yuengling Brewery.  Now I mentioned that there were two places on our bucket list that we were checking off.  The second one was Roadside America.  

I'm sure I've passed this at least ten times over the years but never stopped.  I always thought of it as a tourist trap. A fellow wood carver told us that we'd enjoy the place so I added it to the wish list a few years ago.  
It does look like a tourist trap, doesn't it?  You wouldn't believe how large the building appears once inside.

Roadside America is touted as the World's Greatest Indoor Miniature Village.  Just a suggestion, if you plan to visit it  take the time to read the brochure about how this came about and all the history that encompasses the village.

After we paid our senior admission of $7.00 we entered the village.  Our timing was perfect as they were ready to begin the night pageant.  Everyone was directed to the rear of the display where there were bleachers for seating.  

Now here is where Bill and I were upset.  They began the night pageant with a photo of the American flag and the Statue of Liberty.  They started the program with the Star Spangled Banner.  Can you believe that Bill and I were the only ones standing?  Here's families with kids and they are all sitting there talking.  Don't you wonder what those parents are teaching their kids?  What kind of education are our school children getting?  No wonder their is no pride in America.  This was yesterday and I still get riled writing this blog about it.  All right, I'll get off my soapbox.

When Laurence Gieringer was around ten and his brother, Paul, who was two years younger used to play near Mt. Penn they thought it would be fun to make a miniature building the way it looked to them from faraway Reading.   

When they told their parents about carving little houses their parents were so pleased that their dad made them a work bench and gave them some tools.  When it was cold and damp in the cellar, Mom would allow them to use the kitchen table. Of course, they never worked until all their homework was completed. 

The boys did odd jobs to earn money for supplies such as nails, glue, and paint.  This was during the times when incomes were small, and parents rarely had money to survive on, much less give to their kids.  

Sister Mary Concordia who was an artist gave Saturday drawing lessons to the boys for three cents a lesson.  Most kids would have been outside playing on a Saturday.

Seven years later, Paul joined the priesthood but encouraged Larry to continue building his historic village.

Larry married Dora Seisler, the girl next door, and had two children.  The children were responsible for some detailed work and painting.

During the depression, friends and family were helpful.  One friend sent a three ton truck full of old furniture that did not sell at an auction for model making.

Christmas of 1935 Larry set up part of his miniatures for the local children.  The local Reading newspaper featured the story and the Rainbow Fire Company donated the use of their building with the earnings going to the local charities.  This was the first of the official public exhibit.

In 1938 at Carsonia Park, the exhibit was 1,500 square feet.  In 1941 it was moved to nearby Hamburg, PA where it remained until it was moved to its permanent site in Shartlesville where the remaining family members operate the attraction today.

There is no way you can get the entire village in one photo.

This is right before the Night Pageant begins.  Notice the flag and Statue of Liberty.  The lights change from daylight to night.  You'll see the lights in the homes come on, street lights working and lights on the trains and autos.  

Each one of the 66 different scenes are from a different historical period.  I was trying to remember what the time period was.  I noted that the Old State House building was around 1765.  I also saw a lot of cars that were in the late 50's.  Laurence died in 1963.

All along the exterior of the exhibit were buttons to push which activated the movement, lights, sound and action.

You just can not believe the detail that goes into Laurence's story telling of the time period.

I wish I could have read the brochure better in the dim lights so I didn't miss anything.  

I know this is a poor photo but remember me telling you a few days ago about our tour of the grist mill?  Since a grist mill was America's first industry, naturally, Laurence made a couple of grist mills in his village.  Was I ever surprised when I pushed "the button" and the movement was the noose lifting the 100 pound bags from the wagons.  

It's one of those places that you could return to again and again.

Unfortunately, not all of the photos came out well.  

This was such a pleasant surprise.  I never expected to enjoy the miniature village as much as we did.  Add it to your bucket list, if you haven't seen it.

Turtle Safely........

Monday, June 27, 2016

Cross Off Two More

Shartlesville, Pennsylvania
Mountain Spring Campground Resort

The music played up until about 11 pm last night.  I thought it was coming from the park, but found out it was from the rodeo grounds that are next door.  

We left for Pottsville a little after 9 this morning.  The first tour of the Yuengling Brewery started at 10.  I wanted to allow for plenty of time to find a parking space and get to the gift shop before 10.  It was another beautiful day with temps in the 80's.  

When we arrived in the gift shop we were given orange wrist bands.  Right behind us was a bus load of very senior citizens.  They were having trouble with the four or five steps into the gift shop.  There were signs warning about the rigorous tour.  I can't imagine these people being able to climb all the narrow stairs and uneven surfaces.  I have to say, I was happy when they were given purple wrist bands and told their tour started at 10:30.  

There was a small museum and gift shop to occupy us while we waited for the tour to start.  Bill did the museum, guess where I was?  

Our tour guide called the orange group together to start the tour.  I have no idea how many tour the brewery but this is an example of the group size.  There were 28 people in the 10:30 tour.
Lou, was an excellent tour guide and she spoke loud enough for everyone in the group to hear her.  Yuengling is the oldest brewery in the United States.  It is family owned and operated.  Each successive family member must purchase the brewery because it was thought they would do better if they had to spend their own money. Unfortunately for us, you can't buy Yuengling in Arizona but they are expanding in the future.  

These three oak barrels were original and are all that's left from the original 1829 oak barrels.   

Lou lead us down into the caves under the factory.  These were hand dug by coal miners and were used for refrigeration in the early years.  The temperatures stay between 47 and 52 degrees.  Lou did mention that the drips from the ceiling were not beer, so she didn't advise trying to drink it.  
The spring water originally used would come down the pipe by the ladder, but today they have to use city water that is filtered.

Lou told us that, because of the set up used, two people can make all the beer in the brewery.   

I was surprised that they can only process cans or bottles but not both at the same time.

Bill saw this photo about Beech Bottom, WV and he knows the owners of the Waldorf Distributing company.  Small world, isn't it?

After walking up and down some very narrow steep steps we left the brewery and walked back across the street to the museum/gift shop.

Would you say this was the best part of the free tour?  We were allowed two samples.  

I did spend a little time in the gift shop.  What do you think of my new sweatshirt?
It has an insulated pocket to keep your beer cool and a bottle opener attached.  Almost as nice as that pair of thong sandals with a built in bottle opener that Polly has.

One last photo of the building before we leave.

It's still early so we made a stop in Pat Garrett's Sheepskin Shop.  There were some nice items in the store, but nothing we could use.  

I'll save number two on our bucket list for tomorrow's blog.  

Turtle Safely.......