After our stay at Endless Caverns, it was time to start heading back to RI. We both had appointments with our favorite dental hygienist, Celeste, on the morning of the 15th plus Sparky had an appointment at the beauty parlor on the same day so our plan was to stay at Normandy Farms in Foxboro<MA for two nights 6/14-6/15.
So on the morning of May 12th, we left Endless Caverns headed for Pine Hill RV Park in Kutztown, PA, a drive of 234 miles on I-81 and I-78.
Since we would be driving all interstates we figured it would be a pretty easy and uneventful trip with an early afternoon arrival at Pine Hill RV Park. I had called to make sure they had availability which they did.
Uneventful? Yes it was until we were 1.6 miles from our destination and only about half a mile from the exit to PA-737. We could see smoke off in the distance, but not thinking too much of it. Soon thereafter however we were surrounded by a sea of red brake lights as traffic came to a complete stop. Oh, oh, this didn’t look good. We waited and waited, moving about 20 feet, stopping for about 20 minutes, moving another 30 feet, then stopping again and so it went.
To find out what was happening, I Googled traffic conditions on I-78 and learned that there had been a bad accident on the eastbound side of I-78 just ahead of us and the highway in both directions was closed with no ETA as to when it would be open again. The good news was that we were in our “home” so no matter how long we would be there we would be comfortable. The bad news was that it looked like we were going to be here for a very long while.
I remember saying to Rob, “what rotten luck, just another 2 miles and we would have been there” but later when I learned more about the accident, I changed that to “boy, what good luck” we weren’t involved. A speeding tractor trailer truck had rear ended a car as the truck attempted to pass a slowing box truck in the right lane which triggered a chain reaction. A total of seven vehicles were involved, four of which caught on fire and tragically 3 people were killed. Yes, very good luck, if we had been in that spot 45 minutes earlier we might have been at the scene, either a part of it or seeing it first hand.
I called the campground office again, since the campground was located near I-78, she knew what had happened, telling us that the office would be open until 6 pm. If we came in after that, just pick a site and we could settle up in the morning.
So we sat and sat, creeping a few feet forward every now and then. When we got close enough to our exit, three hours later around 5 p.m. we could see all of the police, medical, and fire equipment off in a distance. Horrific! Vehicles were being turned around (including tractor-trailers and RV’s) and driving the wrong way on I-78 then negotiating the I-78 on ramp to PA-737. We surmised that these vehicles had been close to the accident and past the exit when it happened and this was the only option to get them on their way.
We were glad when we finally got off the exit, but traffic was backed up in every direction on every road. What a mess! Imagine traffic from two directions and 8 lanes of interstate forced down a two lane country road. As we neared the campground entrance, off in the distance we could see what remained of the tractor trailer truck and several of the other vehicles. Very sobering and tough to see. Makes you realize how life can change in just a matter of seconds! I found this article from a local station about the accident.
We did finally arrive at the entrance to Pine Hill RV Park at a little before 6 p.m. – it had taken us over an hour to get from the exit to the entrance, probably a distance of 1/2 mile. Total time to go the 1.6 miles was over 4 hours.
Decent big rig friendly campground with wide, long full hook up pull thru sites, each with a picnic table and fire ring. Other amenities include cable TV, wifi, a large rec hall for up to 275 people, a playground, camp store, gift shop, ice cream parlor, free miniature golf, horseshoe pits and a game room. Several cabins were available for rental. We thought the rate was a little high – $47 per night for a 50 amp site, $45 for 30 amp.
Besides the high daily rate, our only other negative comment would be the traffic noise from I-78. Constant and loud. Too bad because the park is quite nice, very well maintained and in a scenic area. It is a good one night stop off park but not a place we would consider as a destination.
Originally we had only planned on staying here one night but after our rather tedious day, we decided to stay 2 nights just to get some down time before we finished the last leg of our journey home.
The next day we went to the Starlite Diner in Allentown where we had an excellent breakfast. After breakfast we drove around a bit, then searched for a couple of geocaches. That afternoon we prepared for our long drive back to Normandy Farms.