|Road Trip #1, Digital Photograph|
What is it about Memorial Day that the heavens always weep upon our heads? In spite of all the barbeque plans, all the home gardeners planning to plant their annuals to welcome the unofficial start of summer, the weather on Memorial Day is foul. Appropriately so.
Memorial Day is a day of mourning all the brave, beautiful young men and women who sacrificed their lives in service of our country. It's a solumn occassion--and from records I've kept, always a bad weather day. So Ellis and I drove to Lansing to visit our kids. By the time we were headed home, what was an easy hour ride became a white knuckle road trip that made us rethink the road trip we had been planning earlier in the day to Jefferson's Monticello near Charlottsville, Virginia. We thought we'd go in September, after Labor Day when kids are back in school and tourists are fewer in number.
|Road Trip #2, Digital Photograph|
After just an hour in the car however, we began rethinking our plan. We were doubting our bums were up to many more hours spent sitting behind the wheel in what could be just as adverse conditions as were beating against the windshield.
The rainy ride suggested we needed some stamina training--a few small road trips around the state plus some glute work in the gym--plus short routes. Pulling into the safety of our garage, we sighed relief. Warming ourselves in front of the fire, I reviewed the loose itinerary we had put together. It was ambitious, the itinerary of middle aged people who can stand being strapped into bucket seats for long periods, not for youngsters and oldsters who are in a rush to get there and see the sights. Route times had to be considered.
Four hours seemed okay. But could that be done?
|Road Trip #3, Digital Phtograph|
FORTS AND MANSIONS ITINERARY AS IS:
Pittsburgh was the longest stretch, five hours and forty five minutes from our doorstep, but was worth the push. The city had history-- its downtown area was where the original fort the French had been two hundred and fifty nine years ago.
|The Indians wanted a trading post where Fort Duquesne |
had been, but the colonists built a new Fort
next to the site and named it Pitt after Edward Pitt, the elder.
Chief Pontiac didn't take too kindly to that.
From there, Gettysburg. Three hours and forty three minutes, Northeast.
Having just read The Killing of Lincoln, I thought 'might as well.' I was curious to see this infamous, Civil War battlefield where 51,000 Americans lost their lives in 1863 on what is now pastoral countryside. (The total deaths in the American Civil War was 625,000, the most Americans lost in all the wars we've ever fought). I think this site is a two day visit PROVIDING I find comfortable lodgings, but that's my next task.
For now, I'm interested in the length of our routes.
Jefferson's Monticello was just two hours and twenty six minutes South of Mount Vernon, an easy ride, but after that, I was amazed. I couldn't find an easy way home--and I didn't want to go back the way we came.
|Gettysburg Dead, actual photographic image, photographer unknown|
Charlston is the capital of the only state that sededed from a Confederate State. It seceded from Virginia in 1861 to support the Union and became a state in the Union in 1863--along with Nevada, but that's another story.
From Charlston, we'll head home through Aurora, Ohio--another four hour drive. From there, we're only three hours and thirty minutes from pulling in our driveway safe and sound and probably exhausted from the trek.
We've been to Aurora, Ohio before. We stayed at a stable--not just any stable-- a five star stable where equestrians strut their stuff and keep their horses. All the rooms are suites. It's a resort sort of place where they greet you with champagne, (by that time in this trip, well deserved), leave a basket of hot muffins on your door every morning and the turn-down service lights votive candles and scatters them about the room to delight you when you return from dinner at The Barn, which is not barnlike at all. I think a massage maybe available too, I hope, I hope? I have a feeling my legs will need it if we actually take this trip with 24 hours drive time. Now that we made it home from Lansing, Ellis is balking as I am dreaming.
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN IT RAINS AND RAINS AND RAINS?
|Rain #2, Digital Photograph|