A Winter Drive

Posted By BrokenClaw on January 23, 1999

On a blustery January weekend, we packed our bags and headed west from Baltimore on I-70. We passed Frederick, passed Hagerstown, and just kept driving, with only a vague notion of a destination somewhere in western Maryland. On the far side of Hancock, we turned onto I-68 and approached the man-made mountain pass called Sideling Hill, one of the best geologic exposures of rock in the northeastern US.

Trailwalker on the walkwayWe stopped at the Visitors Center to stretch our legs. The temperature had dropped to 8°F, and the winds were noticeably stronger. Inside the Visitors Center we explored the exhibits which told the tale of travel through the region, from the first Indian trails to the early wagon routes, culminating in the enormous earth-moving project that opened the way for I-68. Outside the building we followed the path that led to an open walkway across the highway. Here the wind was whistling through the pass at 20 to 30 mph. It was like standing in a blizzard without snow. The wind chill was somewhere around -30°F.

Broken Claw managed to keep his hands out of his gloves just long enough to snap a few pictures, including one of Trailwalker bundled to the max. We hurried back into the warmth of the Center. We purchased a lapel pin at the service desk for our collection as a momento of our visit. Before getting back on the road, Broken Claw posed for a photo with the winter valley as a backdrop. When a gust of wind blew off his OU ski cap, he darted down the hill after it, and finally recaptured it with himself knee-deep in drifted snow.

Morgantown

We continued our journey westward. As noon approached, we started looking for a place to stop for lunch. We turned off the highway and followed the signs to a comfy-looking restaurant remodeled from a barn. The dining room was decorated with antique farm implements. The waitress suggested the house specialty, which was cream of chicken soup in a bread bowl. The soup was perfect for such a winter’s day, and the edible bread bowl was fun too. When we got back on the road we finally decided that our destination would be Morgantown, West Virginia. We found several hotels listed in our travel book, so we didn’t anticipate any problem getting a room. On our third try, we found just what we were looking for. We got a special room rate at the EuroSuites Hotel for a luxury suite with a king size bed and a king size jacuzzi.

We settled in, then drove to the local mall and did some shopping. We had dinner later at a steakhouse. Afterward, we drove around Morgantown, home to the University of West Virginia Mountaineers. The town sprawls up and down the slopes, and the streets don’t seem to run in any particular direction. In other words, we got lost. But eventually we found our way to a familiar road and made it back to the hotel. After a long day, we were ready for some quiet relaxation. We checked out mid-morning on Sunday. The breakfast buffet at the Eat’n'Park diner was filling and satisfying. For the trip home, we drove north into Pennsylvania and hooked up with the Pennsylvania Turnpike for the long drive back east.

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