A lot of driving and the C. F. Martin Factory

After leaving Boston Wednesday morning, Randy drove the RV over 8 straight hours. We didn't want to go through New York on the George Washington bridge again; fortunately our route took us over the Tappan Zee bridge. That would have been fine except that both Mapquest and our GPS directed us to the Saw Mill Parkway. Right after we made that turn we saw signs saying "only cars are allowed". That would have been helpful to know before the exit! Not sure exactly why only cars are allowed, but we passed under a couple of low overpasses without height markings and there were more ahead, so we turned off that road and ended up on downtown Main Street. The GPS just kept telling us to get back on Saw Mill Parkway and I didn't have a map with small roads on it. Eventually I used the GPS's map feature to get us back on the highway. All in all, it was not a fun day. We spent the night in Lenhartsville, PA. In fact, we spent 2 nights - just didn't want to get back on the road the next day. So the next day we just relaxed and visited the C.F. Martin Guitar Factory in nearby Nazareth.

The guide told us they have about $14,000,000 worth of wood in stock, getting a humidity adjustment. Apparently it takes a long time to get wood to just the right level of dryness. Each guitar has 150 parts and assembling it takes 300 steps. What impressed me was the fact that most of those steps are done by people, not machines. After lumber was cut I only saw one robot in the assembly area. It was doing polishing; apparently that job was transferred to a robot because it caused carpel tunnel syndrome.
 The rest of the jobs are performed by craftsmen.
Besides the regular guitars, they are currently making a few D-100 Deluxe Acoustics, created to celebrate Martin's millionth guitar. It sells for $115,000 and the word on the floor is that they are all sold. The woman who is finishing the neck for one gave us a closer look at the details.
Every tiny, shiny piece of the design is cut out and glued on BY HAND. The material is abalone pearl. It comes from abalone shells, which are crushed and formed into a thin sheet to give the craftsmen a flat surface to work with.
The whole factory has the wonderful smell of wood.
They get that iconic guitar shape with a very plebeian tool - clothespins! Several desks are full of  clothespined guitar shapes.
After the tour we went to the museum. They have a lot of older models there, including Mandolins, Archtops and Harp guitars. They also have reproductions of one-of-a-kind items, like leather guitar covers that were made for people like Elvis Presley, Hank Snow and Rick Nelson.
The craftsmen at CF Martin love a chance to show-off. The commemorative 1,000,000th guitar is amazing, front and back.
And they have a unique "DaVinci Unplugged" guitar, decorated with designs from Leonardo's most famous paintings.
We really liked this place - they have a fascinating product and give a good, informative tour. We had skipped lunch so we grabbed a quick hot dog before we headed back to the RV. Along the way we stopped at Dietrich's Meats and Country Store. This store is definitely "Pennsylvania Dutch". They stock lots of canned product (canned in glass jars, not metal), including Pickled Pig Snouts. 
And if you are particularly fond of pig, you can buy a whole Smoked Pig Head...it's right next to the Smoked Pig Toes.
Later that night, after we got back to the RV, we learned that Mom went into the hospital for tests. So today Randy drove another 8 hours. Everyone is tired, and the critters are bored out of their minds.
But we got through Pennsylvania, a little bit of northern West Virginia, and tonight we are camping in Ohio.

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