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Day 23 – Monday May 21st: From Summer Santa to the Police Academy

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<– Day 22 – Sun. May 20th: Hittin’ The Road | Day 24 – Tuesday May 22: Rain N’ Fog in Coal Country –>


Ann thought she should sign me up for the Police Academy. She has some strange ideas sometimes, but what the heck. I’ve never done that!

Day 23: We had a short drive on Monday, going from Harrisburg, west to Carlisle, then turning back east for Hershey.


On Monday we drove from Harrisburg, to Carlisle, and then to Hershey.

On Monday morning, we headed for John’s Hideaway Restaurant, a favorite morning destination of Bill, a retired PennDOT employee. Bill’s been going to John’s place since Reagan was in office (if my math is correct). And, I can see why. The family owned restaurant serves a good breakfast at a fair price. The restaurant is situated close to the local college, but apparently the nearby students aren’t searching out the classic diner. Too bad, as they are missing out! I doubt anyone else around town can beat the quality of food at the prices John’s offers.

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In retirement, Bill’s decided to grow his beard out. One of his grandchildren thinks he looks like Santa and frequently tests that hypothesis by tugging at his beard. I can see why he might be mistaken for Santa, as he’s a jolly fellow with a twinkle in his eye. Of course, he’s a bit more svelte than his plumper counterpart; but, perhaps he’s just sporting Santa’s summer body (Kind of like Tim Allen in Santa Clause)?

Bill really enjoyed his time at PennDOT, but now in retirement he says he is too busy for a full time job anymore. Part of the reason is that he’s too busy restoring vehicles. To show us what he’s done, he took us to his mountain retreat, where he has a couple of garages on a nice chunk of property. It’s a place for him to escape and pursue projects that interest him.

The first vehicle he showed us was his recently restored 1947 CJ-2A. It’s a beautiful jeep that Bill enjoys driving through the local mountains. It’s got an MD Juan body that needed quite a bit of reworking to fit correctly. He did a very nice job with it.



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Bill showed us some of the other projects he’s completed and/or finishing. This Dodge Truck is beautiful:
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He has photos of other trucks he’s restored on his walls.2018-05-21-restorations

Bill’s slowly working on this Dodge: 2018-05-21-yellow-dodge-wagon

And, he hasn’t quite gotten to his old Power Wagon yet:


We spent several great hours with Bill, but then had to go (Thanks Bill!). We had an appointment at the Pennsylvania State Police Academy.

After leaving Bill’s place, we wound down a steep hill. Along this hill were strange forest creatures, In a child’s bedroom, the stuffed animals might actually be cute, but positioned all over the yard in toy vehicles, the whole thing was a little odd. I had visions of South Park’s Woodland Critters, deceptively cute and cuddly animals that were actually satanic creatures.

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A more pleasant site awaited us at the bottom of the hill. This old car has been tucked against this barn for more than a few years. The barn was cool looking.

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From the barn, we drove through the quaint small burg of Carlisle, then on to Hershey.

We’d visited Hershey in 2013, so we are somewhat familiar with it. But on this occasion, we planned to meet a retired Pennsylvania Trooper named Don, who was going to take us through the Pennsylvania State Police Academy as his personal guests. Thankfully, the Academy doesn’t follow our travel exploits or they might have never let us in!

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The Academy is housed in a wonderful facility overlooking Hershey. Troopers go through training here before being released into the wilds of Pennsylvania towns and cities. We began the tour in the main part of the Academy:


The classrooms have assigned seating.2018-05-21-police-academy7

There are plenty of workout facilities.

This was interesting. It shows the outfits for State Troopers nation-wide.


Don even took us into the men’s dormitory.2018-05-21-police-academy10

After we completed our tour, Don got us into the Academy store (not usually open to the public) so we could buy a few trooper related shirts. They had some fun stuff.

Next, we visited the equestrian barracks, where the troopers keep horses. These horses are trained to stay calm through fireworks, gun fire, having objects thrown at them, and strange people from the internet (lucky for us). Because they have over a hundred cadets on campus, the Academy can also simulate riot situations for training purposes.


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Some of the horses are donated, others are bought. The Academy prefers Clydesdales, but are open to any horses with the right personality and temperament.

Following the horses, we drove past the shooting range. If the range had been empty, Don said he could have set us up to do some shooting, but someone was busy practicing.


We ended our tour at the Academy’s museum. The Academy opened in 1905, so there were some nods to that era.



The Troopers used to entertain folks in a Keystone Cops type of manner using a trick car and some gags.


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I think it’s safe to say that I don’t look quite right in uniform:


Ann thought I looked better behind bars.


We ended the day by exchanging gifts. He shared with me his last trooper patch, while I gave him a poster for taking us on a very unique tour. Thanks Don!


On Tuesday, we explore the world of Chocolate, then head off to see Jerry’s collection.

<– Day 22 – Sun. May 20th: Hittin’ The Road | Day 24 – Tuesday May 22: Rain N’ Fog in Coal Country –>


3 Comments on “Day 23 – Monday May 21st: From Summer Santa to the Police Academy

  1. Mom

    You know most women love men in uniform. You would need a shave, however or maybe you do need a shave.

  2. Paul Chandler

    Not too shabby in that trooper uniform. You autta put together a ww1 uniform, it might suit yah! And yeah those police academies are a sight for sure

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