One of the hardest things to do in an RV is to actually be a tourist and do tourist things. Since we were driving through central PA on our way to Michigan we decided to make a couple of “POI” (that’s Point of Interest) stops along the way. Friend Janet had recommended that we stop at the Yuengling Brewery in Pottsville, PA. It’s the oldest brewery in America, so it sounded like a fun stop. Now Pottsville is a medium size town in the heart of coal mining country that is built (you guessed it) into the side of a mountain. The town if full of small one-way streets that have about a 10-12% grade (like the roof of our old house!). The brewery is right in the middle of town. Did that deter us? Noooooo…..in Gary’s thinking if those big trucks could get in to get the beer out, there certainly had to be ample parking for RV’s. Wrong. We drove past the brewery – the only parking was on the street. Not even a small parking lot. OK, so we’ll go up the hill and come down behind the brewery. Surely there would be parking there. Wrong. We started down the street behind the brewery which began as a nice wide residential street. Things were looking pretty good until we rounded a corner and saw our nice wide street turn into a single lane one way street. We couldn’t make any of the turns (onto alley-size) one way streets, so we had no choice but to continue on. Now remember, we are 39 feet long, towing a pick-up truck making our total length about 60 feet and we’re 100” wide (plus mirrors). We’re also pretty tall – low branches and wires are always a consideration. Oh, and did I mention that while towing the truck we can’t back up? So, at this point, folks are jumping off porches to guide us through the tight spots as we slowly lumber down this itsy-bitsy street. Every time we came to a car parked on the side we literally had to jump the curb to drive partly on the sidewalk to avoid hitting anything. To Gary this was still a challenge – to me….well, it’s not exactly even close to any “comfort zone” I have ever been in! We finally came to a wider spot and parked (and some of us started breathing again). Unfortunately that was the spot that the Yuengling trucks use to turn around, so we had to move – and contine down the hill to the main drag. We finally got back to the main street and started back up the hill past the brewery. This time we snagged four open parking spots just past the brewery, filled those meters with quarters, and enjoyed the tour! It was pretty interesting – and free! We skipped the tasting part, ‘cause after all we had to figure out how to get OUT of Pottsville without going down that other evil street. Gary (King Driver that he is) managed just fine and we were soon on our way. To ANOTHER small mining town with alleys they call streets to visit the Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine. Finding this spot wasn’t quite as traumatic – it only took one slow loop around one block for us to find the little one-way steep street that led to the mine. I know school busses must do this one, but I bet the drivers draw straws to see who gets that run! At the mine we actually road a mine car (adaptation) into a mine shaft and saw how the actual process worked. It made me very happy not to have been a coal miner!
That was Monday. Today was a little more mundane. We almost stopped at Edison’s birthplace in Milan, Ohio, but when we checked and found out that there was no parking….well, that was a no-brainer!!! =)
Boring Route 80 all the way. Just us and the trucks that are moving America!