Monday, June 15, 2015

Taking The Old Way

This weekend I drove to Pottstown, Pennsylvania for my niece’s high school graduation. I drove via Westminster, Maryland and Robesonia, Pennsylvania to meet two friends along the way. The drive brought me past beautiful farmland and was the inspiration for my return trip.

I am not adventurous enough to travel like they did in the olden days, with horses, a wagon and the sun to guide me, but I did plan my trip with some adventure in mind.  Instead of following the fastest route home from Pennsylvania, I decided to allow my Google Maps lady tell me how to get from Pottstown, Pennsylvania to Yorktown without the use of highways and toll roads.  

The first path she chose was U.S. Route 1 which runs parallel to Interstate 95.   I’ve done that before and it’s full of traffic signals and not very pretty.  So I found intermediate towns that led away from Route 1 and set those as my goal.  

I’d be the first to admit that I was hesitant to follow some of her directions.  She was taking me south via westward and northbound state roads.  I kept telling her I wanted to go south, but still she took me west and north, (the Google Maps lady has no respect for my solo discourse on how stupid she was at times), but I did follow her instructions.  

I passed by Hopewell Furnace & French Creek State Park.  I drove on single lane, winding roads banked by lush, green trees.     
My drive through small towns presented row houses that lined both sides of the narrow streets.  Some homes were beautiful and stately, others in varying degrees of disrepair.  Side by side they stood watching the world drive by.  I wondered who lived there and what they did to survive. Would they ever want to do an adventure drive for fun?  If they drove past my house, would they wonder about me?   Despite the character of the houses, most of these little towns were bedecked in the American flag. Patriotism is alive and well in the small towns of Pennsylvania.

The farmland in eastern Pennsylvania is beautiful.  The culture of the Amish preserves a severe way of life.  Nostalgia grows as I pass old barns, houses with clotheslines strewn from window to window, dotted with traditional black, white and blue garb,  horse drawn carriages and teams of horses in the field.  I contemplate the simplicity of their life, yet I am thankful that I lead the life of luxury that I have.  I doubled back several times to get a second glimpse at these historic vistas.  

My goal was to make it all the way to Yorktown on the back roads of the country, but alas, time was against me. Unless I wanted to go all the way out to Front Royal, VA, I had to use some interstate to get past the Washington area.  I drove 23 miles in I-270.  However, once I got to I-95 in Woodbridge, traffic came to a stop and I continued on Route 1.  Again I asked Google Maps to take me to Yorktown, avoiding highways and tolls.  From Route 1, about 10 miles south of Woodbridge, my phone directed me onto state routes that had numbers instead of street names but were so insignificant that you have to zoom in close to see them on a map.

I finally made it to 301, just north of Port Royal and route 17 which took me through Gloucester VA and finally home.