Day 1: October 7, 2011
A Bit of National Road
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This is where I stayed Thursday night. I was supposed to spend most of the night at home preparing myself for a 3:30 AM departure on Amtrak. But, after Amtrak canceled my train I decided to salvage the trip by driving and to start on Thursday so I didn't have to do the entire eastbound bit on expressways. I left home thinking I might make Washington, Pennsylvania, but I did a bit better than that and, although I left I-70 for US-40 at Washington, I did not come to roost until Uniontown.

I noticed the M G Motel when I reached Uniontown but I had a Super 8 in my sights. When the Super 8 wanted $85 I headed back to check it out. The room was small. In fact, the bath, sink, and stool arrangement may have set a new standard for compactness. But it was clean and tidy and offered everything I needed for $50. The place is definitely a PJ and possibly even a J. It is not, however, recommended for families of four or feuding couples.

Amtrak's cancellation did spare me a middle of the night drive to the heart of Cincinnati. In its stead I got an 8:30 uphill drive in heavy fog through a construction zone. Fair trade, I suppose. The first picture is on current US-40. The second is on the old road through Addison.

The toll collector at the Peterson (now Addison) Tollhouse looks pretty good straining to see approaching customers through the fog. He is a somewhat recent addition (i.e., since 2008) and so it the plaque that tells of the structure and its occupants.

Beyond Addison, the fog was burning off rapidly and I soon had a clear view of the road and hillsides including some fairly colorful ones. I bet they would look great from an Amtrak observation car.

In Grantsville, I grabbed a photo of the Casselman Inn then stopped at both ends of the wonderful bridge just beyond. The first picture of the bridge is from the west end and the second from the east. Seeing the picnic tables near the bridge always makes me want to break out the wicker basket filled with Chardonnay and Brie or at least a brown paper bag with some "Mad Dog" and Cheese Nips.

From the bulletin board at the bridge's west end, I learned that your sole cannot be felt in Maryland; At least not legally. I had no idea.

It's sad to see this place more and more deteriorated every time I pass. It is now to the point where I have to wonder if will even be standing next time. I stopped to take the last picture from near the place where I first saw this cluster 2001. It's still a dramatic sight.

While I was out photographing the buildings, another car stopped and, although no one got out, it was clear its occupants were studying the buildings, too. It moved slowly from spot to spot and even crossed the road. It was parked nearby when I returned to my car so I walked over to say hi. It was a couple from near Baltimore who were out on a day trip. Both recalled traveling the road by bus and by car. I told them I was headed to Baltimore then added that I would be staying in Laurel. With a laugh, they said that was actually where they lived and gave me a bit of information about the town. Coincidence is cool.

Steve Colby, creator of the wonderful Cumberland Road Project, lives somewhere around Cumberland and I sent a last minute email his way when I thought I might be coming through here. He didn't see it until it was too late but probably wouldn't have been able to meet me in any case. But there's a thread in the American Road Magazine Forum that Steve started and of which I've taken particular note. That thread is here and concerns a possible surviving section of original Cumberland Road. It mentions a couple of nearby stone culverts which, armed with approximate coordinates, I thought I might find. Both culverts and "road" are on the south side of the current Braddock Road.

I parked as close as possible and started walking east along the north side of the road while studying the south side. A few things, like the pictured concrete culvert, caught my eye but no stone culvert. Eventually I crossed the road, took a picture of it heading into Cumberland, and started back. Shazam! There's no missing one of the culverts from this angle. It somewhat faces the east so, even though it may be in the area covered by the photo of the concrete culvert, it wasn't visible as I faced east myself. There are some fences further up the slope and, not really knowing what I was doing, I did not cross the guardrail and made no attempt to find the other culvert or the road section. Just finding one culvert was good enough. The coordinates I got for it are N 39 38.411 W 78 49.098.

This is essentially the original route of the Cumberland Road before it was rerouted through The Narrows about 1830. I've driven most of it in bits and pieces but I don't believe I've ever entered Cumberland on it. I proceeded to do just that. The sign is at Fayette Street near where Braddock's Road actually started. Beyond the intersection, it becomes Greene Street and continues to the original Cumberland Road starting point near the Potomac River. The stone in the last picture, washed out and nearly unreadable here, commemorates that. The picture looks west along Greene Street.

The only time I'd ever been inside R. H. Wilson's Old Country Store was during the 2008 Wagon Train and it was pretty crowded. I didn't even realize that there was a second floor filled with classy antiques and other home decor items. I filled a bag from their candy jars then headed outside for a healthy lunch of a Goetze Vanilla Caramel Cream Bulls Eye washed down with well shaken Yoohoo.

I next stopped at the nearby Wilson Bridge which I fondly recall crossing on a horse drawn wagon in 2008. A father and son were fishing from the bridge today so I avoided any close ups but I did walk across the old (1819) bridge.

For the last stop of the day, I revisited a Frederick, Maryland, stop from 2006. The Canal Bar & Grill is making a big deal about just adding Batch 19 beer. Getting excited about a Coors product is just about as silly as Ohioans getting excited about the imminent arrival of Yuengling. But both are harmless and great fun. The park still looks great and the condos have been completed.

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