Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Chapter 2 Old Man Winter Has His Way
Having looked out the window of our room in Binghamton last night, at around 7PM, and seeing our car as the only one in the whole parking lot, felt a little eerie at first! But it was, after all, Valentine's evening and, by 9, there were several more--three of which were from Ontario. By 10, it had snowed and the cars were covered. Refusing to think about it, I retired at 10:30 (Bill, having long since--at 8:30!!! But I did get a lovely card--and I didn't get him one. Sigh) Slept fairly well, woke at 6ish but fell back to sleep until 7:30. Marched with the Sargeant for ten minutes; ate my Grape-Nuts Trail Mix in the room, coffee in the breakfast room and then down the road we went. Storm watch but we had sunshine and little traffic most of the way. Near Frackville, Pa there was about a four mile long ridge to our West and a beautiful wind farm almost along the whole thing---white pinwheels against a beautiful blue sky. Unfortunately, with the trees and our low slung car I was unable to get a really nice shot of them. Soon we came to Scranton and Wilkes -Barre, both of which are so terribly congested and built up. Many of the names brought back memories of the coal/steel industries that were once the backbone of this local economy--Steamtown, steel furnaces ( right after I was born in Washington DC--certainly before I was a year old--my Dad worked in Pittsburg on the electrical controls of the big Bessemer furnaces. He told me all about it but being young I only half listened and would now have to take a tour to hear only part of what he was able to share.) , coal mine tours, Anthracite, Minersville. I LOVE Ravine! A friend once told me that living in Chelsea, Vt led to great depression in its residents because it was in that valley that never got any light. Wonder what the state of mind is of the residents of Ravine, Pa???? I also love the tunnels built to go through the mountains, such as Blue Mountain. Incredibly smart people--no bravado here--why terrify by going up over the heights or along a precipitous ledge--go through them! YES!!! Must have been those miners. Although this was at least my third time taking this route westward, I forgot that one has to leave I81 and travel local rte 11 and through the town of Middlesex to access I 76. So, though I'm a great Navigator--ahem---we had to BACKTRACK--a few miles ! BUT, to my credit, I did recognize the intersection at the off ramp as we flew by~~~ Must have been a St Albans deal. Rumor has it that there was no North exit on I89 because the town poohbahs wanted folks to pass through town so they'd spend money there--probably why two Interstates connect through a small town! Very unusual. So back we went as the sun disappeared and fingers of a frontal cloud edged toward the East. As we snaked along I 76 through the seemingly unending ridges that bound us on either side and on through the Tuscarora Tunnel, the snow began. We stopped at the Sideling Rest Area for gas as the snow quickly thickened. Although we were well short of our stopping point at this exact time last year, it seemed sensible to call for a reservation and make it a day. Travis, in Albequeque, said it was clear and 50 degrees there ( hence there is some hope we'll see warmth sometime ). He made our reservation in Breezewood, Pa --11 miles down the road. So, as visibility diminished and roads became slick we arrived at 2 PM -- a really early stop. After moving into our room, tried to connect to the Internet but no success. Went to the office and connected but it lost back in the room. Called several pizza places but nobody delivers in Breezewood! At 3:30 ventured out to Bob Evans--rib-sticking plain food at a reasonable price: bean soup ( watery, but tasty) , garlic toast , some of which I brought back for later, and Pot Roast stroganoff. Nothing on TV, no Internet so read Sunday's and Monday's papers. Bill asleep by 8:30. Note to self--Bill farts--don't forget the scented travel candle next time!!!