Wednesday, April 27, 2016

2016 Epic Road Trip - Day 1

May 14, 2016

Ryder and I have begun our '2016 Epic Road Trip' (a/k/a Pawsitively Alaska)! We have loaded up 'Wandalust' (the RV) and we have hit the road. We have allotted 4 months for the trip, but you never know...

Day 1 - Martinsburg, WV to Morgantown, WV - 225 miles

The trip began in Martinsburg, WV and took a lazy, winding path sort of westward and stopped at several interesting places before calling it a day.

Our first stop was supposed to be Megalith Circle in the Woods - Artemas, PA, however the road to the farm was a one lane dirt path which I didn't want to take the RV down. Especially since it was raining. Since 1994 people have met every Labor Day at this remote farm to raise giant stones in what will eventually be a 200-foot-wide circle. It's an Earth Religion thing. Although not built to be a replica of Stonehenge, Four Quarters Interfaith Sanctuary of Earth Religions is building a Stone Circle in the tradition of moving megaliths. Every Labor Day hundreds of people get together to move 5- to 10-ton stones with ropes and rollers. The "Circle," when it is complete, will have a circumference of 200 feet. Right now it wraps more than half-way around.

So it was onto the Roadkill Cafe - Artemas, PA which is a dead highway critter-themed eatery, with road kill souvenirs. Interesting...there was even a flea market going on. Didn't buy anything. The RV is pretty much packed to the gills. I think I have enough to survive the

On the way to the next stop found a mural of Young George Washington - Bedford, PA.

As well as this guy just hanging on the street. It was way too cold and rainy to get out of the RV, so the picture was taken through the window.

After some time wandering around it was off to the Giant Quarter - Everett, PA. It is a Large metal statue of a George Washington head quarter. Part of the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor's Roadside Giants project, designed and constructed by students. Good photo op.

Next on the agenda was the Ice Cream Sundae-Shaped Building - Everett, PA. This was supposed to be a building with a domed roof painted to look like a giant ice cream sundae. With a large cherry on top! Didn't find it. Bummer...

So it was off to the Coffee Pot-Shaped Building - Bedford, PA. It was Built in 1927. It is 18-ft. high. The Coffee Pot was originally a lunch place adjoining a gas station. In 1937 it became a bar, with a hotel built in behind it. Even after the highways bypassed 30, the Coffee Pot catered to locals. But time took its toll, the place changed hands. For a decade or so it was closed and for sale, tattered and drooping next to a drive-thru beer mart. In 1998, the people of Bedford thought that the Big Pot might have one more jolt left in it, and preservationists managed to save the Coffee Pot in 2003. The Bedford County Fair Association paid $1 to purchase it, and the Lincoln Highway Heritage Park Corridor, an attraction preservation group, spent $80k to move the building across the street to the fairgrounds and restore it in 2004.

Now that all of the kitschy stuff for the day was done it was off to the Flight 93 National Memorial - Stoystown, PA. The Flight 93 National Memorial, located at the site of the crash of United Airlines Flight 93, which was hijacked in the 9/11/01 attacks, in Stonycreek Township, Somerset County, Pennsylvania, about 2 miles north of Shanksville. The memorial was made to honor the victims of Flight 93, who stopped the terrorists from reaching their target. A temporary memorial to the 40 victims was established soon after the crash, and the first phase of the permanent memorial was completed, opened, and dedicated on September 10, 2011. I am so glad I got to experience this memorial, especially during National Police Week. It was very moving.


From there it was off to the Flight 93 Seedpod Memorial - Shanksville, PA. This oddity, unveiled only eight months after the crash in front of Shanksville-Stoneycreek School, is a 7 and a half-foot-tall cluster of metal seedpods-on-stalks that have human hands bulging out of them -- a pleasing blend of Alien and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The unnamed memorial was the brainstorm of Cornell Companies Inc., a Texas-based builder and operator of private prisons. The memorial was meant to honor all of the students and adults at Shanksville-Stoneycreek School who pitched in and helped in the aftermath of the crash, which happened just a mile away. "Cornell could not let this display of heroism become a mere footnote to the history of the larger event." The corporation picked Jan Loney, a local metal artist, to build the sculpture. She in turn enlisted students, faculty, and even janitors and lunch ladies from the school to press their hands into modeling clay, then transferred the handprints onto the seedpods. The completed memorial was dedicated with much fanfare on May 17, 2002.

The day ended at the Sand Springs Camping Area - Morgantown, WV, a nice campground up in the mountains of Morgantown. The rain and cold continued through the night. The RV gets very cold when you forget to turn on the furnace! Lesson learned...... Tomorrow a new adventure begins!