Appalachian Trail
The Appalachian Mts. and Gettysburg
In the holiday season of Thanksgiving in 2008, we planned to stay at a cabin in Northern Georgia, located close to Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  In this plan, the family living in Florida and we in New York would gather there, eight people and four dogs.

Kumiko and I decided to go there by driving from NY. This driving course is along the Appalachian Mts. that lies on the East of North America from Maine to Alabama.  There is a famous, long hiking course called Appalachian Trail.  This time we like to enjoy the trail by driving instead of hiking.  Our driving course includes eleven States and Washington D.C.  We would stay two nights on each the way to and from  and four night at the cabin. 

Along this course there are historical places related to The Civil War, Gettysburg in particular.  We would go there to learn how the fierce battle was and to think about the war.
“Ashokan Farewell” from “The Civil War” (Soundtrack)    Click   ▶ to listen to the music. 

The 1st Day (November 24, 2008 Monday - New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia)
To Pennsylvania
  Departed home, in Westchester, New York, at 7:15.  The weather was fine enough.  Drove through Tappan Zee Bridge to the west bank of the Hudson River (Picture).  Soon entered in New Jersey, the second State in this trip.  Along the highway continued a monotonous scene of hills covered with bushes.  

  Got over the Delaware River on Rt 78 at 9:00 to enter in  Pennsylvania, the third State in this trip.  A fine view of the countryside was expanding.  Saw the sign of Bethlehem.  It is an old town originally found by Moravian religious people according to the guidebook. 

Had a brunch at a restaurant, IHOP.  The  waitresses looked more warmly, enjoying conversations with customers, here than in NY.

Historical Cloister
Stopped by at a town of Ephrata to visit a historical place of an old cloister for a community of protestants (Picture).  At the welcome center made of lumber, a chatty woman asked us to see a movie.  It started from a story in the 18th century.  A German, Conrad Beissel, suffering from an upheaval and religious persecution in Europe, decided to leave there to the New World together with his protestant circles when he was 24 years old.  He built a village here for their community where 80 people lived at the peak.  The religious life was so strict as to live always together with the God and get up in the midnight to pray.  They also did a business of printing here.  The last person was passed away in 1813 and then the community perished.

The visit to Ephrata reminded me the religious climate of America, unexpectedly more religious and faithful than it looked outside it.  There are not few fundamentalists who accept all the phrases in the Bible as the God’s words and deny the theory of evolution.  Even the President, Ronald Reagan, stated that there are an evidence for the creation of the world about 3,000 B.C.  Such climate must have been grown originally based on the history of the religious persecution and the harsh lives in the New World.  I have met several business friends who were so strongly faithful that they said they could not understand why Japanese was able to live without the God.  I explained that most Japanese were spiritual enough mainly based on Buddhism although they do not necessarily realize that they are religious themselves. 

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