Now, I absolutely love aimlessly strolling around different places, (if I have to walk at home I moan, yet I can stroll for 10 miles round Philadelphia), but, my god, do I ache. I think my body somehow found muscles or something that it’s not used to!
We were headed to Gettysburg next. A short 2 and a bit hour drive from Philadelphia. Whilst we were driving along we enter the town of Hershey, or Hersher as Nathan kept bloody calling it. Then we see a sign for the Hershey Chocolate Factory. I mean we had just trekked for 10 miles in the blazing sun so surely this was a sign for us to go and visit? Even if it wasn’t, we went. A few wrong turns and we eventually got there.
Now, the good thing about here is that the 15 minute tour is free! The reason why I’ll tell you later. So we walk in and it is like a gigantic chocolate shop which also sells clothes and plushes (but no pens!!!) You can create your own chocolate bar too, at a cost of course. We decided to take the 15 minute free tour, which requires you to have 3 photos taken to enter:- 1) smiling 2) excited 3) scared, I totally got into character. Felt like the competitors off of Monsters University 😂. We got taken round this tour in a cart and learnt all about the process of making Hershey’s chocolate.
I genuinely felt like a big kid! Once the tour ended, you exit your cart and go upstairs to where staff have printed your photos and put them in a cute album. So that’s where they get their money from. Charging ridiculous prices for something people may not want. Bonus was though that they gave you a bar of chocolate 🍫.
We stopped at Pizza Hut for lunch (despite neither of us being really hungry so ended up taking half the pizza away with us) and I had to disappear to the ladies. I dread to think what Nathan was thinking as I was gone for quite a while….I got stuck 😂 my body seemed to have some sort of seizure and I couldn’t move! Guess that’s punishment for drinking wine and eating what I want and not going to the gym, then trekking 10 miles round a city. #youonlyliveonce.
The worst part was despite walking 10 miles so far, I sat back down to finish eating and my Fitbit buzzes on my wrist saying “feed me 170 steps.” I mean seriously, WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT FROM ME TODAY!!! 😭😭
Whilst we were there, there were some rather random people who set up a “free trump gifts” stand outside and we’re sticking Trump stickers to the back of people’s cars! All the while we were sitting the news flashed up saying “USA has confirmed North Korea just fired a ballistic.”
Anyway, I did eventually get moving and we continued our journey for an hour to Gettysburg. We missed the visitor centre by half an hour so we did the auto tour of the battlefield and memorials. It was absolutely massive. It was so unbelievably peaceful.
We drove out of Gettysburg towards Chambersburg where our hotel was situated. A few more wrong/missed turns and we arrived. Tired and sunburnt. Well, the check-in clerk, Chuck, was just delightfully cheerful and welcoming. So unbelievably pleasant and nothing was too much trouble. If only. He was clearly a cantankerous old git who felt the world owes him something. I politely told him we had a reservation booked in my name to which he barked “what name?” I told him again and he shoved a bit of paper at me telling me to “initial there so I know you won’t smoke in the room” then a bit more silence and we get our room keys. 0/10 for customer service. I was gagging for a cup of tea so was hoping there’d be some in the room. Alas. Only coffee. Again. I don’t understand why they drink iced tea and not proper tea. 12 miles walked total and nearly 5 hours worth of exercise according to my Fitbit 💪🏼 don’t tell me you need another 170 steps!!
The shower. My arch enemy when sunburnt. This time was no different. The redness got more red. I think my back and shoulders managed to heat up the entire room so the air con was cranked up. Not that it helped as it just meant I woke up feeling like I had slept in an igloo. The check-out clerk was much more friendly, I mean we even got a “hello how are you!” Today’s itinerary includes, finding Nathan some trainers, finding a tent, going to cherry springs state park which has one of the darkest night skies in the USA.
We finally found a Walmart and proceeded to buy a tent and something to sleep on. One thing we needed was a torch. Nathan went up to the guy on the gun desk and asked where they were. He looked so odd before Nathan remembered we’re not in England anymore and we were looking for a flashlight! They were down the only aisle we hadn’t walked. A quick sort out of the car and we were back on the road. Listening to country music on 105.1FM. All we needed were cowboy boots, a Stetson and a piece of straw and we would have blended right in down south!
Trying to fill up with “gas” (getting into the American lingo now) was a right palaver! Both debit cards declined for whatever reason, then when you go to pay by credit card it asks for a zip code. Is that your postcode as we know it or your pin? Either way we gave up and paid by cash. To pay by cash you have to pay first inside. Did that and paid $25 as we were pretty low and last time we paid $20 it wasn’t quite full. $23.12 it cost so Nathan trundled inside to get the $1.88 refunded! Don’t judge…we are on a budget 😂 ish…
I had an idea that we should go fishing after seeing people stood in a river fishing. “I think we should go fishing, I’ve never caught a fish.” “Have you ever been fishing?” “No” “That’s probably why you’ve never caught a fish then.” And that was the end of that…
We eventually arrived at cherry springs state park after continually driving despite the already dark sky and torrential rain, we were holding out hope it might clear as we drove west along the state. Nope. Not a chance. We hadn’t reserved a spot as it said first come first served, which was fine. However the contact centre was closed so there was no one to ask about what we do/where we go! We drove around for a bit then decided to move on because the cloud cover was 100% so the chances of seeing the Milky Way and a beautiful night sky were severely slim. Needless to say I sat in the car sulking for a while. A horrible sulky silence followed for about 15 miles. Then low and behold the bloody sun comes out!! That made me more annoyed because we couldn’t even check to see if the weather was going to clear to warrant turning back. After a quick conversation and a macdonalds we decided to turn back. Driving the same road for the 5th time today we eventually picked up an envelope to put our fee in, tried the phone to see if what we were doing was right, to which no one answered any numbers, so we proceeded to site 18. We were off. Tent was pitched in no time! Downside was we had roll beds and sleeping bag liners to sleep on/in and muggins here chose the rocky patch instead of the grassy patch! Whoops. Think it may be another trip to Walmart before our next camping adventure.
The heavens opened for a short time and whilst I was decorating our tent you could here people playing badminton, general chit chat, birds/bats in the trees, the crackle of fire and the sound of Eastenders coming from the iPad behind me…Nathan’s catch up whilst waiting for the dark sky 🌌😂. It was blissful to be honest. With no signal and just pen and paper all I needed was an endless supply of wine and I would be in heaven.
Or so I thought…..
The temperature plummeted and because we clearly thought we knew better we had just sleeping bag liners and a roll mat to sleep on because the weather had been so humid and hot even when raining. Worst idea ever. I am currently sat with my feet under the heater in the car as I feel like I have frostbite. It was absolutely freezing in the tent. Nathan can sleep anywhere so just wrapped himself up like a cocoon and nodded of. Me..I was getting in all sorts of fights with my “bed” my “duvet” and the 60 layers of clothes I had put on.
Eventually at about 3am after I had been tossing and turning and not sleeping, Nathan woke up saying he was cold so we went to sleep in the car…where he nodded off again straight away. I was left counting sheep. The sky however was stunning. Dazzled with stars it was beautiful. And that brings us to now where we are currently on our way to Washington DC.