Our next destination is the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania.
After bypassing Cleveland on the motorways, we decide to follow the scenic route 6 (or so it looks like on our map.) It is a pretty winding road through lots of forested hills, with plenty of little towns along the way. There are plenty of Amish farms scattered about – all made more obvious by their long rows of washing, their huge vege gardens & occasionally a buggy out front.
At the town of Coudersport there are rows of massive buildings, many old Scottish ones from a Scottish Club. Then at Sweden Valley there are signs up about an Ice Cave. It sounds fascinating – according to our book it freezes in summer with huge icicles & thaws in winter. Quite a contradiction – Google it! Sadly it is closed. On the map there is a ski area coming up – should be a great spot to camp, but it is full of campers in the midst of an archery contest. We carry on & find a rest area with fireplaces. It means a BBQ for dinner tonight.
We are getting closer to the NASCAR racetrack (we plan to arrive today) and so have time to get a grease & oil done. Pass through some more pretty towns, following a lovely river. We stop at the Marie Antoinette Lookout. We find out why it was so named. There was a town here called Asylum many, many years ago. Quite a few French escaped from the French Revolution & settled here. They had hoped that Marie Antoinette would make it too. Obviously not as she met her fate rather unpleasantly. A guy I was chatting to told me that early experiments were done on the very inbred children from this village. Obviously they kept to themselves!
We stop to stock up with food at Scranton before heading to Long Pond in the Pocono Mountains. We have a camping site booked infield from Thursday night. There are already rows of motorhomes, trailers & fifth wheels here. Generators blearing. Fortunately there are 2 empty spaces beside us, so fingers crossed!
Friday the action starts. After rain in the night the dryer trucks are out roaring around the track at 6.30am. Perhaps I should mention that this track is called “The Tricky Triangle” because it has 3 sharp bends. Anyway once the practice starts John gets on top of GR2 to watch. Surprise, surprise I even hoist myself up to watch too! Then we head over to the stands to watch, and then peer at the pits through the fence. Our pass includes the stands on Friday & Sat (but not the big race on Sunday – naturally we will have to buy tickets for that). Much to my disgust our new neighbours arrive that afternoon. They are massive. And on their roof is a huge viewing platform with comfy seats & a bimby. So much for our great view!
In the evening we wander around the infield party, watching all the amusing rides – bucking bronco, remote controlled racing cars, and the funniest of all – huge balls that kids pop inside, and then bash in to each other. This is the ultimate “red neck” paradise. Not to mention all the “boys” here on a drinking weekend. We go to sleep surrounded by humming generators!! Paradise NOT
First thing Saturday morning the dryers are out, noisily drying off the track. Then more qualifying rounds. After lunch we head to the stands to watch the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. Sixty laps in total, with nearly half of them under the yellow flag (go slow because of action on the track). The noise if deafening, but John is a happy boy.
Just as we get back to GR2 the storm clouds drop, and it pours down. Fingers crossed for the fireworks tonight. YAY! Despite the drizzle they go ahead at 9pm. After they are cleared away we can move to Turn 1 to watch the big Pennsylvania 400 race from there. We can’t be bothered moving at midnight, but at 6am head over to join lots of others already there. After so much rain the dryers are out in force. We wait and wait. John chats and I finish my blog. Still more black clouds. Eventually at 3pm the race is delayed until Monday. At least our camp spot here is away from those noisy generators.
Monday dawns very misty. The dryers are out by 6am. We wait. More people arrive, but nothing compared to yesterday. Will it happen!! Finally at midday the gun sounds and they are off. For the first hour we are both on the roof, but it gets too much for me and I head down to make lunch. The weather is getting blacker….will the rain hold off. I decide a deck chair is more to my liking. John stays up top. Then after 3 hours of racing the mist rolls in and the race is stopped. Dryers are out again! Much later the race is officially declared and some back runner, who just happened to be in the lead, as most of the others had pulled into pits, was declared the winner. So all in all it was a bit of an anticlimax.
We join the queues crawling out……..It is still misty, but as we finally get to the motorway and then head down from the mountains, it starts to clear. Finally, tired of the motorway we again head along back roads. We could almost be in the English countryside with gorgeous green hills & quaint homes. By now it is getting late so we pull over in a forestry area set aside for hunters. No deer in sight of course!
Coming soon: Back to pick up the Blue Ridge Parkway at Shenandoah, Washington DC AND New York, New York!