Saturday, September 23, 2017

Warren Pennsylvania to Fredericksburg Virginia

We were up at 6:00 AM. Rather than stop for breakfast at a restaurant, Linda prepared scrambled eggs and bacon for all of us. She was counting carbs and I was avoiding starchy foods, which basically amounted to the same thing. The cars were loaded and we set out before 8:00 AM in a light fog with the mountains to the south of US 6 screwing up our XM radio for a few miles.

Just a light fog on US 6

As we passed through Sheffield, Pennsylvania, Linda told us (we were using my Cobra GMRS two way radios) that they had an annual Lumberjack and Jill competition here. We couldn't get a picture of the field because the sunrise was right in our eyes.

Interesting house in Sheffield Pennsylvania

When we turned onto Pennsylvania 666, I made a comment to Linda and she called it "The Devil's Highway". We followed the Mark Of The Beast until we reached Bluejay Creek Road and, after following it for a ways, we turned onto Pennsylvania 66. This had nothing to do with the Mother Road but it was still fun.

The fog had cleared by now and we were faced with blue skies and a bright, sunny day. The highways here were anything but straight, again reminding me how dull the roads back home were. We did see three deer crossing ahead of us but they posed no threat.

There was an alert on the radio that Hurricane Maria, forecast yesterday to stay offshore as it roiled north through the Atlantic, was now expected to move more west and brush the Outer Banks. It was also moving more slowly and should be felt a bit later in the week.

Right turn on the "Devil's Highway"

Damp rising

Beautiful day for a Saturday morning ride

I didn't worry too much about ice

We stopped at a Sheetz just after we crossed I-80 for fuel. I got a coffee and then watched Billy Bob have a dispute with a lottery ticket machine. I had never seen a lottery ticket machine before, and looked on as it ate a dollar bill and then, after someone opened the machine and gave it back, refused two more. He decided this was a bad omen and didn't buy a ticket. Meanwhile, I forgot my newly filled travel mug on the counter. Luckily, it was conspicuous by its absence before we pulled out and I retrieved it.

Skirting the town of Punxsutawney, I thought about the movie Groundhog Day (one of my favourites) and the prognosticating rat. Our own white Wiarton Willie (not the original) passed away last week at the age of 13. I hope this doesn't mean that next spring will be screwed up.

Beautiful countryside

After going through the little town of Clymer, Bob's GPS reminded us that navigating by satellite is an art, not a science. We made a turn and followed a narrow road with no center line over a mountain and past some farms. Bob asked if we heard banjos. The detour brought us to where we needed to be but the deer we passed in the ditch must have been surprised, since I don't think it saw much traffic going this way.

In the interests of conveying the whole "On The Road" experience, I wish we could share the overwhelming scent of a dead skunk on a hot day. Instead, let me share a little Loudon Wainwright III.

We ended up on US 219 south, the "Flight 93 Memorial Highway". If we continued, we would pass close to the house my cousin Cathy had lived in near Somerset. Instead, we turned onto US 30 (The Lincoln Highway, Zeke) and followed it to the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville.

On 30, we saw a whole hillside covered with cars. As we got closer, it became apparent that this might be the Mother of All Wrecking Yards. Sandy got a photo of the Stoystown Wrecking Yard but I grabbed an image from Google Satellite View to underscore the scope.

Stoystown Auto Wreckers

Satellite view

United Airlines Flight 93 was hijacked on September 11, 2001. Because of delays, the 40 people on board became aware that the other three aircraft had already impacted the World Trade Center and Pentagon. Realizing that they were probably also part of a suicide mission, they voted and decided to take action. In the course of the struggle to reclaim control, the terrorists dove the inverted plane into an empty field in southern Pennsylvania. Experts believe that the last target with the Capitol Building in Washington DC, where both houses were in session at the time. Through their actions, the brave passengers and crew of Flight 93 prevented what would have been a potentially incapacitating strike on the US legislature.

The Flight 93 National Memorial was constructed to commemorate the actions of the heroes aboard that flight and the spirit of resistance to terrorism that they displayed in their final moments. The Visitor Center was opened in 2015 and features a path that follows the flight path and points to the impact site. An interpreter named Ginny, who was on site in 2001 as part of the Red Cross, told the story of the flight and the people. It was a comprehensive and emotional accounting.

The building contained exhibits about the people, the flight and the day. Then we drove down to the plaza and walked to the wall, which also paralleled the line of flight. A boulder had been placed in the field to indicate the point of impact.

Arriving at the Memorial

It is a pretty spot

Looking down the line of flight to the boulder

Pathway at the Visitor Center

Going in to view the exhibits

Linda photographing the visitor centre from the plaza

The final resting place of the people from Flight 93

Looking through thebgate at the boulder

One panel on the wall for each person on the flight (excluding terrorists)

The narrow road leaving the Memorial

Leaving the National Memorial, we followed Bob east on US 30 (still the Lincoln Highway). As we entered Bedford County, we must have dropped off the edge of a plateau because the highway went down and down. There were two separate sections of downgrade, each with dire warnings for truckers. Harry Chapin came to mind.

Shift to low gear, a $50 fine my friend

Down in the valley....

The 5th wheel was treading carefully

Then it  moved over for us

A relatively level spot

Second downgrade

Roaring uphill

Linda asked if Mickey D's was OK for lunch to save time. That worked for us, but then we went many miles without seeing any Golden Arches. I queried Stubborn Stella, our GPS, and found one next to US 30 in Bedford. I stuck with no starches and had a salad, while Sandy had a hamburger and a smoothie. It was 82F when we came out but felt hotter.

Bob led us onto US 70 which took us south into Maryland. We turned onto US 522 and immediately crossed into West Virginia. In Berkley Springs, we saw a sign for a Zombie Walk. Then we crossed into Virginia and followed 522 to Winchester. There, we continued southeast on US 50 and 17 to Fredericksburg.

Welcome to Maryland

Old buildings were built better

Stay awake!!!

The Super 8 in Winchester where we have stayed a couple of times

Daily driver?

In Fredericksburg, we navigated to the Best Western. I had Sandy photograph the highway sign that showed both Washington DC and Richmond, Virginia. Fredericksburg was about half way between the two opposing capital cities during the US Civil War, just over fifty miles each way. On our way through town, I saw a sign for the Jefferson Davis Highway. How long will it be before that acknowledgement of US history is deemed to be politically unacceptable?

North and South

We like Virginia gas prices

The Best Western was a little long in the tooth but the staff was friendly and competent and the rooms were spacious and clean. Surprisingly, it still had outside doors. We had king rooms close to each other on the second floor. After taking the overnight bags in, Linda suggested we walk to the adjacent Shoney's for supper. I believe I hadn't been in one since Hot Springs, Arkansas in 1985. Sandy and I both had sirloin steaks with steamed vegetables, which included the soup and salad bar. It was a filling meal.

We are hungry

The salad bar was a good start

Steak was good, vegetables were just passed over the steam

A nice hotel - I recommend it

Linda and Bob came over to our room for a bit. Bob had a drink of the Eagle Rare bourbon I was carrying while Linda and I both did preliminary work on our blogs. Sandy didn't stay up long after they left but I completed the post for yesterday. There was a lot of outside noise that sounded like motorcycles doing wheelies and burnouts and cars drag racing. I was able to tune it all out when I went to bed at 11:00.

Today's Route (356 Equinox miles):

1 comment:

Linda G. said...

Good record of our day’s activities.