2012 Eastern United States travel blog

Somerset, PA - Pioneer Park Campground - site 368

Somerset, PA - Pioneer Park Campground - site 368, another view

Somerset, PA - Pioneer Park Campground - site 368, and another

Winfield to Somerset, PA 0 - our route - 170 miles

Winfield to Somerset, PA 1 - we started out right after the...

Winfield to Somerset, PA 2 - a quilt painted on a wall...

Winfield to Somerset, PA 3 - lots of rolling hills as we...

Winfield to Somerset, PA 4

Winfield to Somerset, PA 5

Winfield to Somerset, PA 6 - lots of small 'burgs' and 'villes'...

Winfield to Somerset, PA 7 - did I say it was hilly...

Winfield to Somerset, PA 8

Winfield to Somerset, PA 9 - rows of corn fields

Winfield to Somerset, PA 10 - downtown Somerset

Winfield to Somerset, PA 11

Nat'l Memorial Trip 0 - our route - 142 miles

Nat'l Memorial Trip 1 - Lots of farms in the countryside on...

Nat'l Memorial Trip 2 - the Flight 93 Flight Crew Memorial site

Nat'l Memorial Trip 3

Nat'l Memorial Trip 4 - though the memorial is for the flight...

Nat'l Memorial Trip 5

Nat'l Memorial Trip 6

Nat'l Memorial Trip 7

Nat'l Memorial Trip 8 - the flight crew monument

Nat'l Memorial Trip 9 - a piece of iron from the World...

Nat'l Memorial Trip 10 - the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel

Nat'l Memorial Trip 11 - the gravel road to the Glessner Covered...

Nat'l Memorial Trip 12 - still in use though the Mothership wouldn't...

Nat'l Memorial Trip 13

Nat'l Memorial Trip 14 - an example of the Burr Arch Style...

Nat'l Memorial Trip 15 - the Flight 93 National Memorial has really...

Nat'l Memorial Trip 16 - one of the placards

Nat'l Memorial Trip 17 - the sequence of events on that horrible...

Nat'l Memorial Trip 18 - a picture of the actual crash site

Nat'l Memorial Trip 19 - the wall of marble panels with crew...

Nat'l Memorial Trip 20

Nat'l Memorial Trip 21 - this large boulder has been placed on...

Nat'l Memorial Trip 22 - as viewed from the wall of names

Nat'l Memorial Trip 23 - always a few conspiracy theorists

Nat'l Memorial Trip 24 - the Trostletown Covered Bridge - no longer...

Nat'l Memorial Trip 25

Nat'l Memorial Trip 26 - some local inhabitants on the other end...

Nat'l Memorial Trip 27 - you can see this bridge doesn't use...

Nat'l Memorial Trip 28 - on the way up to the Johnstown...

Nat'l Memorial Trip 29 - where the lake once was before the...

Nat'l Memorial Trip 30 - the remnants of the dam still exists...

Nat'l Memorial Trip 31 - what it looked like before the flood

Nat'l Memorial Trip 32 - an artist's depiction of the dam overflowing...

Nat'l Memorial Trip 33 - the dam

Nat'l Memorial Trip 34 - the eastern side coming up to Incline...

Nat'l Memorial Trip 35 - the engine house containing the machinery used...

Nat'l Memorial Trip 36

Nat'l Memorial Trip 37 - the gears and pulleys driven by a...

Nat'l Memorial Trip 38 - the Lemon House which was a tavern...

Nat'l Memorial Trip 39

Nat'l Memorial Trip 40 - they used large hand-cut rocks for railroad...

Nat'l Memorial Trip 41 - a local resident of the Lemon House...

Nat'l Memorial Trip 42 - there was a wedding in progress while...

Nat'l Memorial Trip 43 - coming back into Somerset after a long...

Nat'l Memorial Trip 44 - a beautiful government building in downtown Somerset

NHS Trip 0 - our route - 122 miles

NHS Trip 1 - lots of up and down over the mountains...

NHS Trip 2

NHS Trip 3 - the beautiful, shaded drive from the highway to...

NHS Trip 4 - Friendship Hill was the home of Albert Gallatin,...

NHS Trip 5 - like George Washington, he was also a surveyor

NHS Trip 6

NHS Trip 7

NHS Trip 8 - the front of the home, with additions

NHS Trip 9

NHS Trip 10

NHS Trip 11 - the dining room - notice the old plate...

NHS Trip 12 - the parlor

NHS Trip 13 - the first floor had very high ceilings!

NHS Trip 14 - one of the bedrooms

NHS Trip 15 - another, with a child'd bed as well

NHS Trip 16 - stairwell to the 3rd floor

NHS Trip 17 - some of the support structure in the basement...

NHS Trip 18 - the kitchen

NHS Trip 19 - view of the Monongahela River running adjacent to...

NHS Trip 20 - about his first wife, Sophia

NHS Trip 21 - Sophia's gravesite

NHS Trip 22 - the back of the home with the original...

NHS Trip 23 - heading between Frienship Hill and Fort Necessity

NHS Trip 24 - Fort Necessiity National Battlefield

NHS Trip 25 - the replica of the small fort in the...

NHS Trip 26 - the small building within the fort to house...

NHS Trip 27 - headed back to the campground and running into...

NHS Trip 28 - a fire hydrant in the middle of absolutely...

Tuesday was a little hail ....

and lots of rain and thunder


After a slightly late start, the trip from Winfield to Somerset, PA was relatively easy, though it included a climb to the top of the Alleghenies at Cresson Summit, el. 2030 feet. Not very high but coming from the East it was about a five or six mile climb. We were late starting due to a band of thunderstorms we were waiting to pass early in the morning. They did pass about 10:00 a.m.and we didn't receive any rough weather from it but it did make for a more peaceful drive by waiting until it had passed.

We are staying at Pioneer Park Campground which is a very large park with several different areas about seven miles West of Somerset, PA. We are staying in the somewhat open area so as to get the satellite and have a fairly large 50 amp pull-through with full hookups, so-so WiFi, good Verizon and an easy shot to the satellite.

Saturday we headed out early for a long day touring the the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel, Flight 93 National Memorial, a couple of covered bridges, the Johnstown Flood National Memorial, and the Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site. We had visited the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel and the precursor to the Flight 93 National Memorial four years ago as we were touring the area. The chapel hadn't changed much except for the garden area of the Flight 93 Crew Memorial, which is just behind the chapel, was much better established.

The same cannot be said for the Flight 93 National Memorial - everything about it has changed, including how to get to it. It is much more formal and pristine now. We are not sure that is a good thing. The old makeshift memorial and haphazard displays installed by various organizations was, to us, much more powerful as a remembrance. we talked to a ranger there and she said all of the old stuff has been put in storage and a way will be found to display most of it at some point in the future. You can see our 2008 blog entry if you would like to see how it was then.

We then went just a few miles to visit the Glessner Covered Bridge and the Trostletown Covered Bridge. They were still the same as we had last seen them except I was fortunate enough to see a mule deer doe and her two fawns at the end of the Trostletown this time!

Next was a drive up to near Johnstown, PA for the Johnstown Flood National Memorial. On May 31, 1889 the dam that created Lake Conemaugh collapsed after being overrun by the rain-swollen lake and ran down the valley destroying everything in its path including the death of over 2,200 men, women and children. They have a 35 minute movie at the visitor center that can be hard to watch but definitely makes you understand just how bad it was.

After that sobering visit, we headed farther Northeast back up the Cresson Summit to visit the Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site. This was an engineering marvel at the time that connected the East side of the Alleghenies with Pittsburgh and points West. Before this it would take about two weeks of very hard mountain crossing to get across the same area. This was reduced to five days by the Portage. They built 10 inclined plane rail tracks (#6 was at the top as the west side only needed four to get back down while the east side need five to get to the top). Each inclined plane had an engine house containing two steam engines (only one was used and the other a spare) that used a series of gears and pulleys to pull the rail cars containing boats up the side of the mountain or let them down the other side. You will notice that there are two tracks, side by side. They would have one car going down, using its weight to help pull the other one up on the other track. This way the steam engines didn't require as much power. The Portage connected two canal systems that were used to transport freight and passengers. The system was only in operation for twenty years as stronger steam engines were developed that could cross the mountains without using the portage.

Monday we headed out for a couple more historic sites and some more touring of the countryside. Friendship Hill was the home of Albert Gallatin, an immigrant from Switzerland who eventually held the title of Secretary of Treasury longer than anyone before or since, serving under Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Ironically, his first office was as a senator from Pennsylvania but he was removed from office on a party line vote because he had not been a U.S. citizen long enough. He was probably one of the most important figures in our history that no one has heard of!

Next it was on to Fort Necessity where George Washington, as a young Lt. Colonel, suffered a major defeat at the hands of the French. Earlier Washington had attacked a French scouting party and a Mingo chief, Half King, had killed the scout party commander Ensign Joseph Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville. Washington took the blame for the death and the incident is considered to have been the start of the French and Indian War which went global as the Seven Years War.

An interesting side point to this story is that Washington was there to build a road connecting the East to the West over the Alleghenies. This road was eventually to become the first major improved highway in the United States to be built by the federal government. Many parts of it later became US 40 in Southern Pennsylvania and runs by Fort Necessity. It is now named the National Road.

Tuesday was a day of thunderstorms as it rained all day with a little hail thrown in for good measure. The ground here is waterlogged by now and the water takes forever to soak in, creating a nice mess around the campsite.

Tomorrow we head for Elkins, WV where we will spend six days touring the area and just doing what we do best, goofing off - we're retired ya know!!

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