Sunday, November 15, 2009

Heads or Tails

It's been a long time since I last posted. I kind of got out of blogging for some reason. I still had things to say but didn't post any of it. So, maybe I'll try it again and see how it goes.

Skittles and I took a little trip this past weekend. I've been laid off from work for 2 weeks now with another one to go. I don't particularly like not working, but with the economy the way it is I guess I should be glad it hasn't been worse for me than it has been. In any case I'll take the 3 weeks off.

With being laid off and all we decided that our trip would be somewhat shorter (closer to home). So after some planning we decided to head to Pennsylvania. It's a beautiful state to begin with, with mountains and such to look at and also some pretty interesting sites to see. We decided also that since we were going there to visit Jeni from the Down River Drivel blog. Skittles has been talking to her on the phone and we figured since it really wasn't out of our way we would get to meet her.

The first order of our trip planning was a base of operations so to speak. We decided that Altoona Pa would do. It's kinda in the middle of the state and would give us easy access to all the places we wanted to see.

The first place we decided to see was the crash site of Flight 93 from the 9/11 series of terrorist attacks that happened. This site is in the middle of a big field in farm country. It's not really that far from the PA turnpike, but it was the most southern place we were going to see, so we started there and worked our way northward to other places on our list.

It's a bit sobering to visit such places. To know that people gave their lives to protect others from being harmed. A selfless act to be sure. It's nice to know that people haven't forgotten those brave souls. Many people still visit this site and with good reason too. It isn't everyday that things like this happen.

After we got done seeing this site, we decided to make a little detour and see something that we saw a sign for on the road to the Flight 93 site. It was a covered bridge. It isn't something you see everyday and both Skittles and I like to see these reminders of a bygone era. It had been refurbished with new foundations to sit on but otherwise looked pretty original. It was originally built in 1881.

Our next stop was the site of the Johnstown flood of 1889. The dam that burst and caused this horrific tragedy was actually 14 miles upstream from the town of Johnstown. There is still the remaining sidewalls of the dam that are visible. Any structures that were there are gone, and there is a railroad line running along the base of what was a lake, but you can get a sense of how big this lake was by seeing the area around it. As I have read, this lake was about 2 mile long and about a mile across and 60 ft deep at the dam. This should give you an idea about how much water headed downstream. It destroyed several other smaller communities on it's way to Johnstown also.

This pretty much concluded our first day of sightseeing as we were a bit tired and needed to get something to eat, so off to our base of operations it was(Motel6 makes for a cheap base of operations for us lol)

Our last day there we stopped by the famous Horseshoe curve near Altoona. It's really a railroad fans thing to see. As the name implies, it's shaped like a horseshoe and is a neat engineering feat for a railroad to accomplish. It curves around a mountain and to see it upclose you would have to take either the new tram that was installed or walk up 197 steps to the viewing area. As you see it from the parking area, the viewing area looks to be about halfway up the mountainside that it's on. Well worth it if you're a railroad buff. Unfortunately, it was closed for the season and we weren't able to get up to the viewing area. But I did take a few pics to give you and idea what it's like. We then stopped by the railroad museum in Altoona. We also got to see much of the huge railyard and work facilities that was once owned by the Pennsylvania Railroad. It's amazing to think that at one time this facility and a few others nearby hired over 15,000 people to repair and build rail cars and locomotives.

Then it was time to head home, but not before a stop to meet a friend. Skittles had phoned and talked to Jeni before so we had her address. I have to tell you, having a GPS unit in your car as you travel can be a good thing. You can find just about anything with these little gadgets. Actually it wasn't hard to find Jeni's house anyway. So we stopped and visited for a nice talk and some coffee. We also got to meet her daughter and grandchildren. We also got to see the new kittens and her dog Sammy.

The trip home was pretty uneventful which is good. We stopped a few times to stretch our legs and get a bite to eat. We were home by about 11:30 pm and concluded another trip. Till next time BYE!!






Field where Flight 93 crashed





Looking at what's left of one side of the Johnstown dam



Where Lake Conamaugh "was"



Looking from the other side of dam, we were on the top of the actual dam





Looking at Horseshoe curve from the parking area


4 comments:

Sassy Mama Bear said...

What a great memory for the both of you and a neat trip that you took.

Skittles said...

What a coincidence.. I just took a trip like that, too. =)

Smalltown RN said...

Sounds like you had another great adventure....I love how you and Barb just up and leave and get out there and see that vast country of yours...thank you for sharing this with us...and what great memories were made!!

Karen said...

It is a beautiful area. Glad you could meet up with friends while enjoying each other's company. Our work has slowed so much that hubby and I are in the store together a lot. Sigh. LOL