I had planned on doing a post yesterday morning; however, I was just too sad to do much of anything. I will admit – I cried. I thought about just ending my roadtrip, heading back to NorCal and figuring out a way to move back to Australia for the next four years. But then I decided, f*&k him. I’ve got plans to do a lot over the next couple of weeks, including visiting friends in DC, Philly and NYC… I’m not going to let the results of Tuesday night’s election spoil my plans.
I’ve tried to keep politics out of my blog since this was never meant to be a soapbox. One thing I will say though is that while I am (still) incredibly sad about the election, deep down in my heart, I wasn’t surprised. Over the last four months, I have literally driven the backroads of this country, passing through so many small towns that I’ve lost count. The one thing that stuck out though – besides the ridiculous amount of corn we grow in the US – was the number of Trump signs that I saw. Big signs, little signs, lots of homemade signs… I even saw an enormous digital billboard in PA that simply said “Trump” and was paid for by two ordinary citizens. In fact, the only times I saw Hillary’s name, it almost always had a negative connotation. “Hillary for Prison 2016” and so on. I know this is what the talking heads on all the news channels have talked about and it’s true. I saw it firsthand. Let’s just hope Ginsburg and Breyer stick for another four years… that would make me feel a little better.
Okay, I’m going to keep the rest of this post somewhat brief since I’m still not feeling 100% myself.
I ended up spending three nights in Amish country and seriously could have stayed a week. Partly because there was so much to do and see and partly because it has such a relaxed vibe. Must be all the horse-drawn buggies…
Also in the area is the Warther Museum, which houses the collection of Ernest “Mooney” Warther. Completely self-taught, his collection carved of steam engines is incredible. Once again, the pictures don’t do them justice as you really need to see them up close to appreciate the detail that went into each train. It reminded me a bit of the Bily Clock Museum in Spillville, IA, as they are both incredible artists. The picture in the lower left corner is of Lincoln’s Funeral Train, considered to be his most famous work. There’s also the scene of the golden spike being driven into the Continental Railroad in the lower right.
In addition to trains, Mooney also did a carving of the factory that he worked at for something like 30 years. Yes, all this carving was done at night, after work. He even included figures of all the people he worked with, including his best friend (eating rhubarb pie and holding a piece of swiss cheese)
The other interesting thing at the Warther Museum was Frieda’s button collection (she was Mooney’s wife). Over 73,000 buttons displayed in a separate cottage – she did all the patterns/designs. One thing to mention regarding the Goodyear design… apparently before Goodyear made tires, they made buttons! All the buttons in that pattern are made of rubber!!
I also visited Behalt, which is a enormous circular mural depicting the history of the Anabaptist movement. Pictures of the mural were not allowed but I learned a great deal on my tour with Lester Beachy. I have a greater understanding of the Amish, Mennonites and their history. But what I found most fascinating is that the man who painted the mural wasn’t Amish – he was Roman Catholic! Lester was kind enough to take a picture with me out in front of the Amish & Mennonite Heritage Center. I got a traditional Amish hat (which I love) and a copy of Lester’s book “Our Amish Values” as remembrances of my time there.
I was given a list of different foods that I needed to try while I was in Amish country – Amish noodles, trail bologna, fry pie, and peanut butter spread. I basically spent Monday eating my way across Holmes County. Good news is I managed to get it all. You also have to appreciate people who buy butter in 2lb rolls! The ham loaf was simply amusing.
Time to wrap this post. I’ll end with a few other Amish discoveries – first was the golf cart at the Evergreen RV park where I stayed… they had tricked it out to look like an Amish buggy. Totally brilliant. Real Amish buggy (complete with real horse) also depicted for comparison. And finally a selection of Amish books I saw at a shop. I am kicking myself for not buying one as I am now totally curious as to what they are about, given that the covers have sort of a “Harlequin-y” feel to them.
Will be spending a bit more time in Columbus this morning before heading to Charleston, WV later today. Next post will have deets on my time here. Take good care, everyone. Think positive. And just keep swimming…