Sent: Saturday, June 16, 2001 4:57 AM
Subject: And you thought I would never leave....
....well, I finally did, yesterday (Thurs Jun 13).
And not to give away the ending, but it was a great day. Well worth the
seemingly interminable wait. Got up around 6 (am), finished throwing a
few things in the van, and then headed out to have breakfast with my friends
Heidi and Nate. Afterwards, it was time to get on the highway.
Interstate 270, up to I-70 West, to I-68 West. The plan was to get all
the way to the edge of Western Maryland to hike the highest point in Maryland.
As you can see from these pictures, the van has a little more cargo than
Was feeling good when I finally got on the road.
The stereo was proving it's worth, had John Lennon's greatest hits in
("Life is what happens when you are busy planning for it"). A
few miles after you get on 68, they have a cool geologic formation visible
where they cut through the mountain to make the road. I stopped to take
a few pictures, and I took my time. You know how you always feel rushed
at this sort of thing, it's cool enough to stop and see, but you have to get
back on the road (or the world will come to an end, I know it will!!).
Well, I just took my time, hauled out my camera bag, and wandered around
looking for good shots. It was great. Unfortunately, the day was
exceedingly hazy, so I don't expect great pictures. Here are a few that
I took with the digital camera:
Over the course of the next few miles I was in for
a rude awakening. After years of screaming down our highways as fast as
legally (heh heh) possible, now I was the guy in the right lane. In
fact, not just the right lane, but the far right truck lane. Not only
that, but I started turning off the A/C on the uphills. Very sad.
At one point, I had to downshift (gasp) into second to get up a hill. I
guess successful change is all about moving out of your comfort zone (but does
it have to be this hard???? ;)
Just for the hell of it, I stopped in Cumberland,
and wandered around looking for good photo's, but didn't find too much.
Got back on the highway, and a short while later started heading south on 219,
the kind of windy 2 lane blacktop this kind of thing is all about. The
Maryland High Point, is so close to the West Virginia border, that the trail
head is actually in WV. To get there, you take 219 into WV, and a mile
past "the smallest church in 48 states" you will find the logging
road that leads to the summit. Well, I had to see what the deal was with
this church (which interestingly is not the smallest in the
"contiguous", or "lower", or "the" 48 states, so
I think they have the 3rd smallest church in the entire US and are playing
with us a little). Well here it is:
Not only that, but right next door is this!!!!!
The smallest post office!!!!
So I make it to the trail head, park the van, load
myself up with camera equipment in order to capture this momentous occasion.
It's only about a mile hike to the peak, Backbone mountain, which is
itself only 3360' above sea level. Fortunately, the elevation gain for
the hike wasn't too bad since I am badly out of shape. Was a very pretty
The second picture was my attempt to capture the
marker and my GPS reading of the location. Well, I saved the reading as
a waypoint in the GPS, which I am planning on doing for every summit I make.
At this point I was having so much fun, I ran
about half way down the mountain going back to the van. Turning the
last corner on the trail, where the road and the van came into sight, I was
struck in a very visceral way that what I am doing will change my life
I finished the hike and was back on the road by
around 6. The plan was to head towards PA (to hit the PA high point
today), and find a place to camp. I was considering a Wal-Mart parking
lot, but had downloaded the wrong list of stores. About this time I was
getting hungry and wondering what to do about it. I found a nice scenic
overlook and decided to pull over and have some dinner. I parked the
van, fired up the stove and made some spicy vegetable with rice soup (well, I
heated it up). Put some Miles Davis on the CD player, sat at a picnic
table and ate my soup while looking at some mountains on the other side of the
Due to the haze, you can't see them, but there are
some mountains off in the distance. There was a rest stop there, so I
washed up the dishes, and back on the road. Back up on the interstate, I
saw some state parks with camping, so I pulled off and drove to one.
After a long drive down a dirt road, I finally found the camping. I lost
a lot of elevation driving into the camp site, it got really humid, and there
was a very pungent deep forest sort of odor. Found a great spot that had
a stream running behind it.
These were actually taken this morning, it was
dark by the time I got set up. Went to bed by 10, some things going bump
in the night got me up around 3 for a while, but other than that was
uneventful. That was it for Day 1, Day 2 was just as exciting in it's
own way, but I need to wrap up this message.
First: We have a winner!!!!
The correct answer to last week's trivia question
was provided by George Miller, and I'll let his reply explain the answer:
"The significance of the
Jeff Beck song "The Pump" could possibly refer to your feeling
of elation from pulling out of the driveway as Cruise did in "Risky
That was the song playing when Tom Cruise first took his father's Porsche
928 for a drive in the movie "Risky Business". I always
planned on playing that song when I bought a Porsche, or in this case the
"Anti-Porsche" as Lana calls it. "Volkswagen, there
are substitutes". Congratulations George, you get 1000 Points.
I have been asked the meaning of the points, and
I'm afraid you'll have to wait (until I think of something).
So here is this week's questions (I had a lot of
time to think), they are each worth 1000 points, but you can only get credit
for one correct answer.
Who "threw seven's"?
(but Billy said that he threw eight's)
Who "went up to their
room, only to find Gideon's bible"?
Complete this Neil Young
opening line: "Look out Mama, _______ _ _____ ____ ______ __ ___
Whoever can tell me the common theme in all of
these songs will receive a 1000 point bonus.
Good luck all!!!
Day 2 recap coming soon (with a quite amusing
little tale). Thanks to everybody who has replied, it is great to hear
from you (and I manage to respond to almost all messages I get). I have
one request though, when you reply, please do not send me back the images in
the message. Since I don't have access to the bandwidth you all have, it
takes forever to download the email.