US-50 East 2022:
Day 1 - Pennsylvania [Main] [Contact Us] [Events] [Family] [Fun] [Garden] [Misc.] [Photos] [Search] [Site Index] [Travel]

US-50 East 2022: [Day 1 - Pennsylvania] [Day 2 - Home] [Day 3 - Pennsylvania Again] [Day 4 - Delaware] [Day 5 - Virginia] [Day 6 - Ohio] [Day 7 - Heading Home]

Sunday, September 11, 2022: We were taking a short, five day trip as we waited to hear from Debbie's doctor about scheduling a biopsy for the recently discovered lump near her right hip. We expected a call about mid-week, and figured that when they called, the earliest she could get in would be Friday, and we planned to be back on Thursday night. With all that in mind, we set out on a rainy Sunday morning just before 9 AM, headed east toward Pennsylvania.
Ninety minutes later, we were in Richmond, Indiana, on US-40, also known as National Road.
We were making a quick stop at Glen Miller Park, ...
... to see their Madonna of the Trail statue. This was the first of five that we expected to see on this trip, the others being in Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. Last year, we saw six and had just missed seeing the seventh when we drove through Albuquerque.
This statue was originally dedicated on October 28, 1928, and there were signs mounted on a nearby rock commemorating the 70th and 90th anniversary of the dedication. It was amusing to us that even now, the Daughters of the American Revolution insist on identifying women by their husband's names. The information sign and the 90th anniversary plaques were identified as being commissioned by Lois Casey Huntington (Mrs. Roger), and the 70th anniversary plaque was commissioned by Vicky T. Zuverink (Mrs. Robert).
There was another information sign near the statue that explained the National Road was based in part on a 1911 proposal by the Daughters of the American Revolution for a "model highway" from Washington, DC, to Los Angeles, California. The twelve Madonna of the Trail statues mark the proposed route from Bethesda, Maryland, to Upland, California; one for each state that the highway passes through.
We rejoined I-70, headed east, ...
... and stopped at Tim Hortons in Englewood. We had hoped to get the delicious chocolate croissants that we had discovered in Canada, but alas, they hadn't heard of chocolate croissants. We settled for French crullers, apple fritters, and two glazed cake donuts.
In Springfield, Ohio, we saw our second Madonna of the Trail statue on this trip. This one is painted a dull red color like some of the others that we had seen out west. It isn't nearly as pretty as the bright white color that some of them are painted, like the one we saw earlier in Richmond.
All of the statues have the same text on their front, with the name of the statue and words "NSDAR Memorial to the Pioneer Mothers of the Covered Wagon Days", and then two other sides have information specific to this statue's location. One side was dedicated to a battle in 1780 that occurred about three miles from here.
There was an information sign nearby that explained that the statue's design was conceived by Arlene B. Moss, with no reference to her husband, if she had one. Good for you, Ohio. It also explained that this statue was the very first to be dedicated, on July 4, 1928, and in attendance was Harry S. Truman, President of the National Old Trails Association and future President of the United States of America.
This Ohio-specific sign on US-40 designates it as a Historic National Road.
We detoured north when we got to Columbus, OH, ...
... and made our way to Easton Town Center, ...
... and stopped at the LEGO Store.
They had an enormous LEGO giraffe on roller skates out front, ...
... along with a bench surrounded by LEGO Friends figures, also made from LEGO.
We were so excited while we were in the store that we completely forgot to take any pictures. Here's one of Debbie holding her Pick & Build cup on the walk back to the van, ...
... and here's a closer shot of just the cup.
We continued our U-Haul collection with this beauty.
Just after 3 PM we crossed into West Virginia, ...
... over the Ohio River. That's the Wheeling Suspension Bridge just to the south.
Right on the river is a building advertising Marsh Wheeling Stogies. This was a cigar factory that operated until 2001, and is famous for the founder of the company walking up and down the banks of the Ohio River selling his cigars to the captains, crews, and passengers of the Ohio River steamboats.
A few minutes later, we made a quick exit from I-70 and stopped at Wheeling Park to see West Virginia's Madonna of the Trail.
Their statue had a very heartwarming dedication to the pioneer mothers who made the national highway possible.
The National Old Trails Road was the original name for the what eventually became known as National Road.
These statues have such amazing detail, including wild flowers and cactus signifying the changing terrain of the trail.
There are many names for the highway that spanned the country: National Pike, National Road, National Old Trails Road, and Old Cumberland Road.
Each information sign is different. This one describes the original plans to place more than 3,000 mile marker statues along the entire length of US-40. That later changed to the final plan of having a single statue in each state. It also describes the physical dimensions of the statue: 10 feet tall with a six foot base, weighing over 17 tons. This sign also says that the statues were all made from the same material, one of which was a pinkish Missouri granite, which may account for why some of the statues are painted that reddish color. That may be close to the original color.
You shouldn't get attached to West Virginia if you are travelling on I-70, because its only about fifteen miles wide. In no time at all, you are entering Pennsylvania.
We got off the interstate and off onto US-40, ...
... then headed southeast to Beallsville, PA, ...
... where there was another Madonna of the Trail statue.
This one was dedicated on December 8, 1928, and was restored in 1990.
One side marked that this statue was erected on the hunting grounds of the Nemacolin Indians, ...
... and the other indicated that it sits in Washington County, PA, the oldest county west of the Allegheny Mountains.
We made our way back to the interstate, crossed the Monongahela River and headed further east.
As we continued east on I-76, we saw this billboard for the Flight 93 National Memorial and talked about how we would need to plan a trip to visit it at some point.
This pedestrian bridge is part of the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail, a 70-mile long trail that runs from northeast to southwest in eastern Pennsylvania.
We got off the interstate in Somerset, PA, and headed on US-30 toward Shawnee State Park. We were quite surprised when we saw the National Parks sign marking the entrance to the Flight 93 National Memorial right on our route.
We decided to turn in and go see the site, only then realizing that we were visiting on the 21st anniversary of September 11th.
There was an overlook on the road into the site, and we pulled over to look at the view. There is a sign describing the scene as just after 10 AM, a large aircraft flying very low just clears the mountains ahead, crosses low through the valley with its wings rocking, and disappears over the rise behind you.
We entered the parking area, ...
... and walked toward the visitor center, ...
... through this cool breezeway between the wall and the building, ...
... past the entrance, ...
... and on to the Flight Path Overlook. This long-walled walkway follows the final flight path of United 93 before it crashed.
There is an information sign near the end of the overlook designating points of interest that you can see from the end of the walkway.
We waited while other people paid their respects at the end of the path. The words etched in the glass say "A common field one day. A field of honor forever."
We could see the Memorial Plaza in the distance to the left, as well as the huge sandstone boulder that marks the crash site (just to the right of the white tent at the end of the walkway, near the treeline).
We reflected about where we were on September 11, 2001, and then headed back toward the visitor center.
The signs on the doorway said that the building closed at 5:00 PM, and it was nearing 6 o'clock. We decided to give the door a try, and were surprised when it opened.
They were open late because it was September 11, and people were still coming in to pay their respects. Sorry, no cameras allowed beyond this point.
We spent about twenty minutes looking through the exhibits, and then headed toward the Memorial Plaza. Here's the view of the visitor center and the overlook from the road down to the plaza.
The Memorial Plaza consists of a shelter, the memorial plaza which marks the debris field created by the crash, the boulder marking the final impact site, and a wall of names honoring the passengers and crew of United 93.
As we walked through the visitor shelter, we saw a group of people gathered, ...
... so we entered the area on the north side of the shelter.
The group was gathered around a man wrapping up a speech, with what looked like a local news camera covering the event.
There is an area set aside specifically for wreaths to be laid, ...
... and there were three floral displays marking the anniversary. The one on the left is from the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA honoring their fallen crew members on all four flights. The one in the middle is from the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, honoring the single German citizen who died aboard Flight 93.
There were signboards with information about the attacks on that day, the passengers and crew, and the investigation of the crash site. The flight data recorders from Flight 93 were the only ones recovered from the four hijacked planes and proved instrumental in understanding what had happened that day.
As we drove away from the Memorial Plaza, we saw a deer drinking in a small pond just off the side of the road. It looked at us curiously as we stopped to take this picture.
On the way out of the site, we passed the Tower of Voices, a huge tower containing 40 wind chimes - one for each passenger and crew member who died in the crash of Flight 93.
We drove through the spooky fog in the western slopes of the Allegheny Mountains ...
... through the lush landscape, ...
... to Shawnee State Park, our campground for the night.
By 7:30 PM we had our tent set up, ...
... and inside we had our cooling fans going, with ice cold drinks to celebrate the day.
We had a delicious meal of freeze-dried Italian Style Pepper Steak, ...
... with a dessert of Jammie Dodgers, courtesy of Doug and Susan on our previous trip just two weeks ago.

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