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Gettysburg to West Point

So, what would be the perfect day for a kid? I think I came close today.

I left Gettysburg at 0800 under very cloudy skies that threatened rain...which would have made for a long, cold, wet ride...because I had about seven hours saddle time ahead of me between Gettysburg and West Point.

Today's ride was planned to be done in segments with breaks in between and the first stop was Hershey, Pennsylvania "The Sweetest Place on Earth" as they call it.

Milton Hershey bought the property upon which his empire sits back in the way 1900's. The old factory is still here, as well as an amusement park, and all manner of other things Hershey.

Hersey is not really a town of it's own, but rather a sort of mill village built around the central factory, but Hershey, who was a 4th grade dropout and self-made man wanted his workers to be cared for, so he made sure that a church and school were built nearby so his workers could worship and educate their kids. The rest of the village grew from that. He founded a school for orphans here too. He and his wife had no children of their own so he was very generous with his wealth. He had a close call once while traveling home from Europe. He and his wife were scheduled to come home on a certain date on a certain ship but were delayed due to business matters and they therefore had to cancel their reservation and reschedule their return voyage. The ship on which they were originally scheduled to sail was the Ill-fated Titanic.

Chocolate Avenue is the main drag in Hershey.

The streetlights are shaped like Hershey's kisses.

A sweet ride. Get it?

Hershey lived to a ripe old age of 88 and is buried near his factory in the Hershey Cemetery, which he built.

His factory makes 250 million Hershey candy bars a year and 70 million kisses a DAY! The Reece's Peanut Butter Cup (acquired in the 1960's) is however the most popular of all the Hershey products.

Every year, Reese's makes enough Peanut Butter Cups to feed one cup to everybody in the U.S., Africa, Europe, Japan, Australia, India and Chin a.

From Hershey I travelled northeast until I arrived at my next stop, Allentown, where I read somewhere that Yocco's Hot Dog King was not to be missed. Now, I've spent half a century in search of the world's best hot dog...and all I can say is that Atlanta's Varsity Drive In, the Cordele Pool Room, Macon's Nu Way, Albany's Jimmy's, nor the Dinglewood pharmacy in Columbus have anything to fear from up this way.

My next stop was Easton, home of the Crayola crayon factory. There's a neat place downtown that is called the Crayola Experience and they tell you everything you'd ever wondered about the world's most popular crayon, including how they are made...and how many are made... enough every year that of they were laid end to end, they'd circle the world almost FIVE times.

The Crayola Experience in Easton, PA.

The world's largest crayon...Big Blue.

A Crayola ad from 1934 featuring Spanky MacFarland from The Little Rascals.

A box of Crayolas from 1925.

A wall full of crayons. Fill your tin!

By around mid afternoon it was time for some real chow and I found it at a neat little Irish pub in the pretty village of Stroudsburg.

The building used to be a bank and one can sit at a table in the vault. Look at the door!

The all-day Irish breakfast is always a good choice.

My server was Stephanie and we discovered that we were both in the Third Infantry Division at Fort Stewart in 2006. Small world. We had a nice conversation and as I was leaving she said "Please be careful" which I thought was very sweet.

Then it was across the Delaware River into New Jersey and then up into New York State to West Point on the banks of the mighty Hudson River. So I collected two more dog bones today. So, that's something!

It will rain all day tomorrow and all night, so I am probably stuck here for a day. I'll keep you posted.

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