Wednesday, July 25, 2007

NC Tour - Day 2, Tues 24 July, 2007: Dubois, PA

After free breakfast at the hotel, we head down I80 and enter the "Chesapeake Bay Watershed". We pass through the villages of Cessna and Bald Eagle, speculating about the origins of their names. The Pennsylvania Turnpike costs us $1.25 as we travel between Bedford and Breezewood. The Truckstop in Breezewood is heaving and everything that is glorious about a road trip. In quick succession we cross the Mason-Dixon Line into Maryland and the Potomac River into West Virginia. At Berkeley Springs we stop for tourist information and take pictures of the 'Roman' Bathhouse. We opt for the lunch special of half sandwich, cup of soup and iced tea for $4.99 each at the Fairfax Coffee House. We travel through Virginia on the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Highway and stop at the Visitor Centre in an old railway station at Front Royal. There were five passenger trains a day from here to Washington D.C. up until the fifties. The staff are very helpful and curious about the car.
We wrong slotted on the road to Luray after the stop in Front Royal. Marvelous old high-level steel railroad bridges. We back track and finally found the mountain road heading up onto the Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. We spot a Turkey Vulture circling above the road, a black bear foraging by the roadside, and five white tailed deer. Overnight at Big Meadows Lodge built in 1939 with stones cut from Massanutten Mountain. The lodge is run by Aramark Harrison Lodging and our CAA card gets us another discount on a room free from television and telephone. We listen to "upmarket Karaoke" in the Tap Room while drinking green tea, after dinner in the restaurant upstairs. Highly recommended.

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