After leaving a little behind schedule from Wisconsin, we headed to State College, Pennsylvania, to have our Jeep checked out by a Youtubing automotive diagnostician. We stopped over in the Amish community Shipshewana for the weekend, stocking up on RV parts, and baked goods, and witnessed the six-horse-hitch world championships for 2023. Plus, we celebrated Barb’s birthday with a fun fall leaf-peeping train adventure.
White Pigeon, Michigan
We made it from Northwest Wisconsin to Bontragers Surplus Thursday evening around 8 PM and we used their free parking lot for our first overnight stop. If you have an older rig, this is a great place to find random RV-related parts for it. East of the RV manufacturing mecca of the United States (Elkhart, Indiana) they have ready access to end-of-production run parts, closeouts from suppliers, etc. They have an eBay store, but it is also great to just browse through their aisles of stock. This time we scored a bunch of 12-volt light switches that we can use to replace our yellowed with age switches. We found a few other things in our goodie bag, including some nice light sconces for the living room wall.
Only about 20 minutes south of Bontragers Surplus is the quaint little village of Shipshewana, Indiana, and is just along I-80 and the Michigan / Indiana state line. We have stayed at the Shipshewana RV Park & Service Center twice now. They were very accommodating with our ever-changing schedule and worked with us to move our reservation with no additional costs.
Right across the way from our RV park was the Michiana Event Center (MEC) which is a big arena for the area. There are lots of horses, and tourists, in this Amish town. There were even more the weekend we were there! The World Championship of Six Hitch Teams was being recorded for RFD-TV’s program Gentle Giants while we were there. We enjoyed Saturday afternoon watching the amazing teams of horses, the brilliant sparkling hardware, and their humans competing for the title. The program aired on Thanksgiving day on RFD-TV.
East to Ohio
We left Shipshewana on Sunday morning and headed East, with a stop at a Harvest Host location for the night.
State College, Pennsylvania
We were in the State College area for a specific purpose and on specific dates, so this limited our ability to find a campground that would be in suitable distance to the Jeep diagnostician we were meeting up with there. The Bellefonte / State College KOA was available but it was less than accommodating. We have learned to increase the length of our RV in our reservations so we get a bigger campsite, but even then it failed us here.
Watch for our next post where we will go over the saga of our Jeep repairs!
Our final Pennsylvania location was at the Appalachian Campground, Shartlesville, Pennsylvania, a Thousand Trails Collection park just North of Reading, Pennsylvania. This was our first extremely negative experience with a property. We have had a share of older campgrounds, but this one came with a big attitude from the staff that checked us into the park.
We are a “big rig” by all standards, especially for older parks that were constructed before all of the slides and the increase in height that came with commonplace class-A motorhomes of today. We were forced because of our “status” as “Thousand Trails freeloaders” to use a very tight-fitting, hard to get at without damage, campsite.
When we asked to be moved to the open field, we were told we were not “entitled” to those as “one of them” sort of folk. From what we gathered the Appalachian Campground in Shartlesville was recently overtaken by “RV on the Go” (a/k/a Thousand Trails) and the previous management is not happy with this!
Barb did an excellent job at the wheel maneuvering us through the maze with Jason directing with arm signals from outside. The two of us worked well together to maneuver our way through a non-traditional route and go to our site, even with some applause from the group amassed in the end!
Leaf Peeping on Reading Railroad
You may have grown up playing Monopoly and thinking the “Reading Railroad” is pronounced like “reading a book?” It is pronounced by the locals as “redding,” as in like the color red!
Both of us love train adventures. They take you along routes you cannot otherwise see. Even more awesome is during the fall leaf color time. We celebrated Barb’s birthday with a fall leaf-viewing train excursion on the Reading Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad. It started with some hard rain and turned into a constant drizzle for most of the day. However, we did see a few peaks of sun that popped the colors in Jim Thorpe.