We enjoyed the ride up to

5 Pensylvania

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and Gettysburg, although I was a tad perplexed as to what this sign was all about.

6 Nada

We had purposely aimed to be in one of the Gettysburg campsites for the weekend, because it looked like there was a whole lot of fun stuff going on.  What we hadn’t taken on board was that the campgrounds in the area stretch the whole Halloween thing out over three weekends.  The campsite on Artillery Ridge was fully booked, so we headed back to Round Top RV park where they managed to squeeze us in (the first spot they suggested was so small/steep that we would have needed pitons and ropes to avoid sliding out of bed). 

The final plot they gave us was just about big enough, but not exactly wonderful as it was an RV site with an above ground sewage storage tank.  After evicting this little chap

1 eviction

we set up the tent

20 Camel in the woods

and luckily the tank seemed empty and it was cold enough that it didn’t honk.  Phew!  The weather was cold, but we bought firewood and hunkered down to enjoy a fine, chilly evening by the fire until the cold drove us inside.  The site itself was not bad at all; it felt as if we were camping right out in the woods.  The Halloween theme was very much felt throughout the campsite, with some people going totally nuts on the whole idea. 

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I enjoyed watching the evening parade of small children (and some adults) in fine fancy dress, including a cute ladybird and a tiny Buzz Lightyear.  I went for a cycle around the place and was highly entertained by how much effort people had put in, but one couple totally blew me away. 

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The photos I took do not do them justice; they had a ‘hut’ with water running down the roof and false smoke coming out of the ‘chimney’  they had a range of animations, including an old man rocking on the porch.  The list just went on and on.  I cycled back to fetch Tim so that he could come and see and he was also mightily impressed; unfortunately he got caught cycling after dark as he headed to the loo afterwards, which we now know is banned on most American campsites.  It seemed a bit harsh to me, if you happen to be in a huge place far away from the loos….

On the Saturday, we headed off to visit the Gettysburg visitors centre, where we watched the film (extremely informative and well done, narrated by Morgan Freeman, (not being God, for a change)(I can listen to him talk any day of the week)), saw the fabulous cyclorama

2 diarama

(360 degrees of original oil painting) and wandered around the museum.  It does a fantastic job of explaining both the causes of the civil war and the way it panned out at Gettysburg, but there is a limit to how much you can do with that.  It was beautifully done, but there was a lot of repetition. 

3 Abe

Abe gets everywhere here!

We then took a drive around the battlefields and it made me feel quite sad, but it meant a lot more to Tim. 

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17 Camel at Gettysburg

16 cannon

15 road

When we could see the terrain, knowing that the trees would not have been there to provide any cover, it made it quite clear that some of the decisions were incredibly wasteful of life;  soldiers were asked to charge up over a huge, open, uphill field into rifle and heavy field artillery fire. 

10 Round tops

Everywhere we went there were monuments commemorating regiments from all over the USA. 

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Some were large, some small, but I particularly like this one, which seemed one of the few that did not glorify fighting.

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We also saw the farm that Eisenhower had bought before he came to power, shows what money can do..

11 Eisenhowers farm

On the Sunday we cycled back into Gettysburg for a light lunch, finding the four miles quite a push and were a little worried about our fitness, until we turned around and realised that the way back was almost totally down hill.  There was a military model shop, with hand painted models that you could pay upwards of $60 for

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We stopped at the local military cemetery, where people who had served, as well as their dependents, were allowed to be buried even if they managed to retire alive

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I watched some young men insert coins into poor old Abe’s ear

20 Abe with pennies

and I couldn’t get my head around why they did it.  Was it a local tradition? Would it bring them good luck?  I had to find out, so I just had to ask them in the end.  Apparently they liked the idea that the coins had Lincoln’s face on them.  Deep? Nah!

Back at the campsite, Tim had made friends with a very nice American couple, Brad and Penny, who had both played rugby at some stage.  They had what we would call a ‘proper caravan’ (trailer) being only about 15ft long.  They said they liked it because they could be set up in the time it took most of the people with giant American rigs just to park.  He had said hi to me one morning as I cycled down to the loos and later told me that he had seen a deer get up from behind our tent, where it had been sleeping, stretch itself and then wander off.  I hadn’t seen a thing, dang!  They very kindly gave us some wood when they left the campsite, which unfortunately was very sparky and ended up melting some huge burn holes in my Rohan socks.

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