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» Saturday, November 14, 2009On the Road, Part the First
Well, hooey—had a rotten night's sleep. First I couldn't fall asleep, then when I did, bad dreams, or repetitive dreams, ones about historical exhibits. Then 90 minutes before I needed to get up, nature called. Blah.
We'd done a good deal of packing last night, so after breakfast we just had to brush our teeth and put the last of the toiletries up and then we were off. (Well, after I had to go back into the hotel; I had left the biscuits and the cheese in the fridge.) We bought gasoline at the Wawa (it's a convenience store) and then set on our way.
Instead of going the way we came, up I-81 to Harrisburg, and partially across the Pennsylvania Turnpike, and then through routes 222 and 422 via Reading, we headed back to I-81 via our route to Lancaster, US-30, otherwise the Lincoln Highway. So we had one more leisurely ride through the countryside (at one point it got really leisurely) and I could drool over the old stone houses one more time. I have simply fallen in love with the beautiful 19th century stone houses here.
This means we also got to pass the three things that have amused us all week: Ursinus College (the "bear school," we called it; it's actually a pre-med), the church whose URL is "moviechurch.org" (maybe they've been in a movie?), and the Valley Forge convention center, which is named "Scanticon." Doesn't that sound like it's a sexy underwear convention?
It was still grey and dreary this morning, but we had a pleasant journey. I tried to get photos of two funny things we had seen, but I missed "Shivery Funeral Home." I did get "Christ's Home Office." (It's a children's home, called "Christ's Home for Disadvantaged Children," but the sign is abbreviated. I didn't realized Jesus had his own home office...) Also managed to get some shots of the farms in the valley and the cows grazing peacefully at the side of a busy two-lane highway.
It turned out the outlet mall we stopped at yesterday was just the beginning of a ginormous outlet mall complex. I didn't think we were so close to the Lancaster outlets, but we were. So we crawled past cars lining up to go into outlet mall parking lots, then were let free to continue on to York (unlike Lancaster's country-ness, York is just a regular city).
It was here finally, when the road got back to a two-lane highway from a four-lane bypass, that we started to see the Lincoln Highway signs. None of the stone ones, sadly, just plain signs as pictured here. These popped up occasionally as we journeyed toward Gettysburg.
Gosh, the downtown is pretty: lots of older building turned to shops or restaurants, everything either decorated in a fall motif of cornstalks, scarecrows, pumpkins and fall flowers, or some starting to change over to Christmas. More of the white candles. (I have found out they are called "Hospitality Candles.") Maybe we should have made a day trip here just to walk around. I've seen the battlefield before, but never the town. There's even a huge "Lincoln Hotel" on the town square.
Actually, we saw a bit of the battlefield anyway, as the Lincoln runs directly through it. We saw two statues, an equestrian, and an officer. So now we can sing, like the gentleman on the Rick Sebak special, that we were on our way on the Lincoln Highway. :-)
We ate lunch at a McDonald's at the intersection of US-30 and I-81, then proceeded south. Our goal was to get past Harrisonburg, and we did (although we bought gasoline there). For amusement, during the earlier portion of the ride we listened to most of Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me on NPR—hilarious show this week!—and then "Cigar Dave." (Sometimes before holidays Dave does food shows, but just more blah-blah about cigars this week.) After that ended, we put on our Gaelic Storm CDs. (Phooey! "Holly" and "Holiday Traditions" don't start until Monday.) The sun dropped lower in the sky and the near bare, but occasionally still rusty ridgeline of trees on our left looked like a dark scarlet blanket tossed over the bumpy spine of the Blue Ridge, falling in folds and curves until it reached the flat land.
Yes, the sun. After crossing all of Pennsylvania in cloud cover, it was as if Virginia ordered the sky swept, so we had a nice sunset against wispy cirrus clouds. Then it was dark, then we arrived in Roanoke and booked a room at the Comfort Inn. Hope the breakfast is good, because the price was $30 more than Staybridge! I guess that's what you get for staying near the airport. The room is large and comfy, and our room key got us a discount at the "Texas Steakhouse" down the road. We also walked around the Barnes & Noble for about fifteen minutes to walk off the yummy supper.
I've already taken my shower and am sitting here ready for bed. It only occurred to me after a week that there's not a dog here; I don't have to wait until bedtime to take a shower! LOL.