Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Things I Saw - Part the Eleventh

"You could fly to DC, rent a car and then drive south to Richmond for the price you're going to pay in gas," a well-meaning friend told me. "Plus, you won't have the aches and pains in your joints from all that driving. Have you considered your health?" She was rather upset with me that I should be considering driving to Virginia.

It was a long day, to be sure, but as I hope you have realized in this series of posts, I would have missed all these things because I was in the air, flying over the country I am driving through.

I would also have missed the chance to blunder into country I am totally unfamiliar with because of road destruction. Actually, it was a bridge that was being replaced and the road signs for how traffic was to partition itself were not clear to me. I wound up getting off I-79 north because that's the only option I had. Plus, there was no way to get back on at this interchange.

I realized, in following the road signs, that I was not the only person who made this blunder. There were 2 semi-trucks and at least 5 cars. The detour was well-marked, I assume to account for those of us who can't figure things out when they pass signage at 70 miles an hour. I rejoined I-79 3 miles south of the intersection with my destination, Interstate 80, but the slower going over a 2 lane highway behind 2 trucks added 45 minutes to my travel time.

Still, I would have missed this. I know it's a horribly blurry photo and I apologize. It was at a 4-way stop and traffic was proceeding through the intersection with all due speed. I didn't have time to really frame the photo or take it because we were moving.

I had to do some digging to figure out what these train cars were attached to. I knew it was some sort of railway museum but which one. I only got a small glimpse of the sign as I moved past.

This is the Harlansburg Station Museum outside Harlansburg, Pennsylvania. A former railroad station and two passenger cars seem to make up the buildings of this privately held museum. I had no idea this existed and wouldn't have known about it had I not blundered off the Interstate.

See this is what's important to me when I travel. I like to see things. Normally, I change the quotes to the right, sometimes, daily, depending upon what I'm writing about. The quote by G.K. Chesterton sums up my feelings about air versus car travel this trip.

The traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see.
--G.K. Chesterton

I have seen things, and by extension, you have seen them, that I wouldn't have seen had I flown from Chicago to Washington DC. If I hadn't had to be back to Illinois that Thursday, I would have stopped here. I would have looked. I would have seen.

Too much of our life is spent going from place to place and not really seeing what there is to see. When I was in college, we had to take some Philosophy courses to become the well-rounded students Viterbo felt we needed to be. One of the philosophy professors, Sister Laurian, talked of having a "slender adventure" at least once per week. In this adventure, nothing is planned. You just go where your spirit takes you and be open to the things you'll see and experience. By driving, I could have more than enough "slender adventures" to fill weeks of blog posts and to look back on with pleasure.

So, I'm now curious about this place. It's close to Youngstown and April and Perry or I could simply go there and stay in nearby Oakland. What adventures would I have if my destination was this museum? Yes, I could have flown and rented a car for the cost of the gas for this trip, but I would have missed things along the way. I'll take the stumbling onto a transportation museum in the middle of western Pennsylvania over a walk through an airport any day.

Beverage:  Mixed Berry Seltzer


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