From Virginia to Pennsylvania – home town America

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North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania – the miles click by.  I could have stopped in each small town and stay awhile but I was on a journey.

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Evergreen trees – AKA Christmas trees – blanket some of the terrain from the northern part of North Carolina and into Virginia.  They’ve likely adorned thousands of homes during our recent holidays.

Sometimes the destination becomes the object of our focus and we pass by areas of interest on the journey.

These photos are glimpses of the “blink of an eye” travel. Sometimes you just have to stopped and pause.  I’m glad the camera helps us freeze, and seize, the moment when we see one.

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Farms along the open countryside in Virginia and Pennsylvania capture your attention as you cruise along.

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While these picturesque sites are great to see, I wonder if the work behind the scene compensates for the beauty and peacfulness of farm life.  How about it farmers?  What do you say?

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I love west Pennsylvania’s farms, rolling hills and the peaceful back roads.  It seems a different life when you compare the western side to the eastern side.   While larger cities like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have so much to offer, it’s hard to beat the easy-going routes between the cities.  Life just slows down.

One of my favorite places to stay, although it’s an international brand, is the Hampton Inn, part of the Hilton Hotel family.  I really enjoy staying at their facilities.  It is a relaxing hotel that gives you that special sense of cleanliness and comfort.  You can tell by the fresh smell.  Oh, did I mention the complimentary full breakfast.   Yep!

We stayed at the Hampton Inn in York, Pennsylvania. I’ve been through York previously but this time I wanted to gather a little more information about the area.

York, Pennsylvania is a city of about 40,000 people. Yorkcountypa.gov mentions that Pennsylvania’s York County was founded in 1749 and has a proud role in the history of the United States.

The formation of the new nation – USA had many challenges toward development.  One was an organized resistance during the American Revolution. The Articles of Confederations, which was the precursor to the U.S. Constitution, was drafted in York.

Yorkpa.org mentioned York, Pennsylvania as the first capital of the United States.

Laid out by the Penn family as the first city west of the Susquehanna River in 1741, less than four decades later York became the seat of power for the U.S. when it hosted a Continental Congress on the run from British troops in 1777.

William Penn, a Quaker who was born in 1644 in London, England, was an English real estate entrepreneur, philosopher and founder of the Province of Pennsylvania, the English North American colony and future Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. (Wikipedia.org).

In 1681 King Charles II handed over a large piece of his American land holdings to William Penn to satisfy a debt the king owed to Penn’s father.

York is also referenced as the “Factory Tour Capital of the World.”  According to Trip Advisor there are thirteen different factories open to the public.   You can learn about potato chips and how they’re made to how Harley-Davidson Motor Company makes their motorcycles.

The York Barbell Factory is also located here.  The USA Weightlifting Hall of Fame is included.

It’s amazing the locations one will encounter when you don’t have a specific travel agenda and take advantage of opportunities.

While traveling northeast from York we crossed the Susquehanna River.  I was intrigued by the railroad bridge that was parallel to our crossing but didn’t notice the very bridge I traveled.  Well, I decided to turn around and take a look.

penn-bridge-near-yorkI was amazed at the architecture of the bridge. Just think, you don’t notice the beauty around you until you pause a little to reflect.

This is the Columbia-Wrightsville Bridge in Columbia.  Construction began in 1929, opened in 1930 and renamed as the Veterans Memorial Bridge in 1980.

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More information about the bridge may be viewed at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbia%E2%80%93Wrightsville_Bridge.

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The area is serene and picturesque. The feeling underneath the bridge is peaceful and you don’t notice the traffic above.

leisure-boat-ride-near-york-bridgeThere is the calm along the river as well and locals enjoy it – whether pleasure boating, kayaking or just fishing.  You can’t go wrong with these options.

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I can see why our ancestors who traveled to the various parts of this new world decided to settle and make a new life for themselves. Wouldn’t you?

Well, I know there are untold treasures around the globe and we write about them every day.  I just wanted to share little about my discoveries along the way.

Switch from traditional farming to solar farming?

Switch from traditional farming to solar farming?

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We have traveled along the highways and observed the natural beauty of farmlands – seeds or immature plants installed into fertile soil to bring about the satisfaction to the palate and nutrition to the whole being.

What a delight to see these crops mature and experience the waves of grain or corn or – you name it.

solar-panels-with-pine-tree-farmHave you traveled along the roadway enjoying plush, green countryside and then practically out of nowhere you see a new type of farming?

Let’s consider solar or wind power for instance.  I never considered solar or wind turbine farms before but I believe it is beginning to take hold.

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While traveling torward Roxboro, North Carolina on U.S. Highway 501 – there it was!  A solar farm right beside the highway.  I’m not sure if the term is truly a solar farm but that’s how I would classify it.  What would you call it?

north-carolina-solar-park-and-grazersI turned the car around and had to take a closer look.  I then noticed a smart concept.  There were animals around the solar panels with sheep and cattle keeping the grass manageable, and a donkey.  I’m not sure how the donkey is used though.

north-carolina-solar-park-signPerson County, North Carolina has a solar park. They seem to be popping up throughout the rural areas.  It makes sense though so the individual communities could have alternatives for their power needs – and going green at that.

I had to investigate further and checked out Person County’s website about the solar park at http://www.researchtriangle.org/news-and-events/person-county-solar-park-expansion-nears-completion.

According to the website a new solar installation covering seven acres in the Person County Business and Industrial Center features row upon row of ground-mounted solar panels – 5,376 in all – angled toward the sun and visible from U.S. Highway 501.

The website identifies Carolina Solar Energy LLC in collaboration with Strata Solar LLC as designer, builder and operator of the 1.25 megawatt DC solar electric generator located in Person County for project owner Gehrlicher Solar USA.

With the new installation it appears the total annual estimated energy production will exceed 2.5 million kilowatt hours, enough to power 210 average North Carolina homes annually.

How would this compare to how many people could benefit from the crops harvested on this same land?

I like what Barbara Currier, director of the Person County Economic Development Commission, said about the use of the land for solar energy.  “This project represents all that is environmentally sound for our community, including the sheep that graze along side the solar panels keeping the grass trim without fossil fuels, an increasingly recognized ‘best practice’ in landscaping circles.”

wind-turbines-in-vermontWhile reaching one of our destinations in Vermont, I noticed the wind turbines.  They are not hard to see unless obscured by the mountains.wind-turbines-in-vermont-2

Do you think these wind turbines provide more power than the solar panels? Well, they certainly benefit those who live in the mountainous regions.

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But, there are wind turbine fields in the coastal part of wind-turbines-near-elizabeth-nc-4North Carolina mixed with solar panels and agricultural farms as well. We discovered this while traveling U.S. Highway 17 Bypass near Elizabeth City, North Carolina.  I think this is an excellent mix of technologies combined with ancient techniques of producing food for our tables.

I’m not accustomed to seeing these large wind turbines, and I don’t notice them in urban the terrain. However, they appear more prevalent in rural areas. I guess they aren’t windmills any longer.

wind-turbine-in-germanyWhile traveling in Germany I also noticed the large wind turbines stretched across the vast land and they looked HUGE.  I really enjoyed watching them turn although I had to keep my focus while driving on the Autobahn.

According to AENews, future of wind power is bright and shining as detailed studies by American Wind Energy Association (EWEA) have already shown that power generation from wind energy is most economical.  “The consumers are reaping good benefits financially from wind power.”  The article further mentions that wind is already directly curbing European electricity prices.  http://www.alternative-energy-news.info/wind-energy-instruments-bigger-better/

AENews states “renewable energy production and demand growth is gaining momentum in many ways across the world. There is a booming demand of wind power today and all wind energy equipment manufacturers are gearing up to meet the demand and take advantage of it.”  Based on their estimate Asia should now be leading the world with installed wind capacity.

So … where are we today?  I surmise we can create our own electrical power, at least in rural areas, while creating fuel for the natural body through the continued creative use of our traditional farmlands?  I think there is a way to combine it all.