The last two days of the trip sort of melded into one blog entry, then vanished completely. We had a problem with the wifi at a B&B in Harper's Ferry which proved to be problematic. In the future I will post a "travelogue" of Harpers Ferry. It's a fascinating and historic site deserving of a more in-depth review.
So, on we go. Time to recap the first half of the journey as we prepare for the second leg, back to Long Beach.
We're here in Annapolis, Maryland after a madcap dash across the country. 2815 miles. The San Bernardino, Wasatch, Rocky, Blue and Appalachian mountain ranges. Five major American rivers - the Colorado, the Missouri, Mississippi, the Shenandoah and the Potomac. 14 states. Tens of thousands of acres of corn. Six major cities and dozens and dozens of small towns. "Blue" enclaves and full "red" states.
Along the way we encountered stunning scenery in Utah, expensive parking in Vail, a very tall structure in St Louis, a beautiful hotel in Cincinnati an some of the country's most important history in Harpers Ferry.
One of the premiere notes we take away from this adventure was how nice Americans are. All too often we see each other in terms of race, politics and economy. But the truth of the matter is that most people are extremely decent folk when given half a chance. America's strongest asset is its people, and those who would divide us, decrease us.
Highlights of the trip were many. Discovering even more spectacular scenery in Utah was one of the
first major revelations. I was entirely too young to admire the sights when last I transited that route. This time the view was foremost on my mind. It seemed that every turn, every wind in the road revealed something new and even more impressive that what had gone before. Obviously I'm familiar with Utah's unique set of National Parks, but just the scenery along Interstate 70 certainly earns the Westernmost strip of asphalt an award as perhaps the most beautiful scenery along an interstate any where in the country (which is saying a LOT, folks, a LOT!).
We made our way back to the parking structure and discovered, much to our chagrine, that the hourlong stop was a full $20 in parking fees, making our little bagels and coffee the most expensive snack we've ever eaten (we think. Haven't actually done the math).
After wincing at the net cost of our stop, we headed up the mountains towards the longest tunnel on the Interstate Highway system, the Eisenhower/Johnson tunnels which mark also the highest point in the interstates. The twin tunnels are more than a mile and a half in length, crossing under the continental divide at just above 11,000'. High enough my altitude-sensitive wife got a splitting headache - relieved only after we descended down into Denver on the far side of the Rockies.
The next few days were flat. Eastern Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana have hilly areas, but for the most part the terrain was wide open and the visibility went for miles in every direction. Gradually the tan-browns of the plains gave way to a lush greenery as we moved east. This was helped by the large storm system we were fortunate enough to taste but not experience in its full fury. By the time we made our way to Topeka the system had moved out and we were blessed by bright skies and fluffy clouds.
ent we were discussing some serious re-planning of the latter part of the drive as we head into West Texas in a few days time. More about that as we refine the plans.
Continuing the review, we left St Louis and headed for Cincinnati via Louisville, Kentucky. Time-wise it made only a little difference, but enabled us to drive through the Kentucky countryside to look for horses and whiskey. We found a wonderful distillery, the Kentucky Artisan Distillery in Crestwood. Wonderful stop, unfortunately right as they were closing. We had a nice conversation with a woman named Katy who kindly stayed a little longer to allow us to purchase a couple of bottles for friends back home.
Save for witnessing and assisting with an automobile crash in Ohio, the next day was pretty quiet. The path was kind of amusing in that we left our hotel in Kentucky and crossed immediately into Ohio. Then passed from Ohio into a sliver of West Virginia, into Pennsylvania, back into West Virginia, into Maryland, and back into West Virginia for the night. It's a slightly confusing set of state boundaries, dating back to West Virginia's secession from Virginia during the lead up to the Civil War.
Last Friday we made the final couple of hours on the road as we crossed Maryland into the familiar environs of Annapolis, a city I regard as my East Coast home.
But as of today, we're headed away for perhaps the last time. In about an hour we start the second half, heading down across Virginia, tickling Tennessee and stopping for the next few nights in Asheville, North Carolina. Hoping the weather holds.
Follow the Thumbnail Traveler Twitter and Instagram feeds for updates throughout the day, and I'll post a recap tomorrow morning.
On to round two.
We made Harpers Ferry in eight hours and stayed at a pleasant bed and breakfast. As I stated above, I'll cover this stop in more detail in a later column.
|On the Road Again|