Driving in Amish Country

I just posted a quickie over at the Burnside Writers Blog on driving in Amish Country.

I’ll post it here as well, hope you enjoy…

For those who don’t know, I live in Intercourse, PA in the heart of Amish Country. It’s a great place to live and raise kids, except for Saturdays in the summer when the traffic in Intercourse is so bad it makes you want to run yourself over with an Amish lawnmower.

A few days ago I had my wonderful wife Erica take a picture of me in front of the “Welcome to Intercourse” sign at the park near our house. I told her I needed it for the blog. Though it was a bit embarrassing for her, she snapped away anyway while I made goofy faces in front of the sign. Yes, love does conquer all.

The topic for today’s discussion is driving in Amish country. Driving around in Amish country has some challenges that are fairly unique to the region. Amish buggies travel at a very slow pace, as you probably surmised, so a driver has to always be prepared to encounter one around every corner and over the crest of every hill. Passing buggies by crossing over double yellow lines is a necessity, but many tourists and out-of-staters do not know this, and as such will travel 5 MPH behind buggies for long periods of time until cars start passing them and they realize they can pass the buggy too. (Usually while they are passing the buggy the front seat passenger will stick a camera out the window for a picture, which probably makes the Amish angry in an old-school, anti-technology kind of way.)

But driving around here isn’t all bad. You do see some interesting things from time to time. In fact, I’ve had my camera phone ready over the last couple of weeks for any kodak moments that might arise while I was on the road. Here’s a few of the things I caught on film, err, phone.

Most buggies are covered, but as you can see here, some are not. Rumor has it that whenever a guy and a girl who are not married travel together, they are not allowed to ride in a covered buggy. Even the amish understand the power of teenage hormones. Since there are four people riding in this buggy, I’m guessing the reason they went with the convertible was just to enjoy a nice day.

Once in a while you’ll see a buggy hauling something behind it, but I have to tell you, this was the first time I had ever seen a buggy hauling a crate of live chickens. The crate appears to be too big for the wagon, so the thing looks like it could fall off at any second. Thankfully, you don’t take turns very fast when you’ve only got 1 horsepower under the hood. I’m not sure what happened to the chickens, but I’m guessing it didn’t end well for them.

On rare occasions you’ll see someone cutting out the middle man and leaving the buggy at home. This guy was riding a horse on the side of the road. Frankly, I wouldn’t recommend this. It’s just not that safe. Especially when there’s people in cars driving by trying to take pictures of you.

Another popular mode of transportation among the Amish is the scooter. Think of it as a 1-man buggy without the horse. As opposed to the razor scooters that have been huge with kids for the past 10 years, these amish scooters have huge wheels on them. Like, bicycle wheels. Not sure what the advantage is over the razor scooter, but I don’t see the Amish adopting the Razors into their way of life for another 50 years or so. I’m not sure why, but seeing an old Amish dude riding a scooter still makes me laugh. Probably because I’m a jerk.

Of course, you can’t really talk about driving in Amish country without discussing the emissions that their engines give off. Avoiding road apples is a way of life around here, and before long you don’t even notice it … UNLESS, the road apples in question are piled up at pump #3 of the local gas station. I got out to put gas in my car the other day and almost walked right into this heap of equine excrement. Seriously, someone want to explain to me what that pile of horse crap is doing at a gas pump? Feel free to share your thoughts on that, and anything else Amish-related in the comments section.

Well, that’s all for now. Y’all are welcome to come join us in Intercourse any time!