Day 4: June 25, 2005
A Bit of Forty



As left the motel, I saw that there was a diner right behind it but it was visible only from the south side. Had I realized that earlier, I might have walked over for breakfast but it didn't look exciting enough to make me turn around. Instead, I drove the dozen or so miles to Uniontown and US-40. Just a few miles more and there was at the Searight's Tollhouse. The first picture includes the tollhouse marker, an Historic National Road sign, and a National Road mile marker post. There was no doubt that I was on the right road. The post is not visible in the thumbnail. I tried a "George Stewart must have stood about here" picture but missed it by a bit. My attempt was from memory and I didn't do all that bad.

In 1953, George R. Stewart published a book of photos he had taken along US-40. That book was called U.S. 40. In 1983, Thomas and Geraldine Vale published U. S. 40 Today which compared many of Stewart's to their own attempts to duplicate them approximately thirty years later. I'm happy to report that the parking lot was not chained as the Vale's found it to be in "off hours". I'm also happy to report that it is no longer painted green.

The parking lot at the Rt. 40 Diner was full and I almost drove on thinking I might not get in. Inside, all the tables were filled but there was room at the counter and I was quickly served. When I finished eating, the tables were empty and the parking lot nearly so. Fifteen to twenty cars and a whole bunch of people had disappeared. There was a banner promoting some sort of golf outing attached to an adjacent building and I imagine that's where everyone disappeared to.

Maybe that's some of the crowd from the diner teeing off across the street from Pennsylvania's Madonna of the Trails in Beallsville. More on that later. The monument is in a fairly attractive setting with a small gravel pull off in front of it. Be careful, though. That's a pretty good step to the pavement.

At something on the order of 200 years of age, this S-bridge near Brush Run Road is still quite solid. A park area with quite a few picnic tables sits next to it. A mile post stands near one end of the bridge so that it's very accessible. I took advantage of this to show why it seems as if every one of the original posts is still standing.

Just east of Claysville, I passed under I-70 and picked up a section of the Old National Pike. The section is about six miles long and rejoins US-40 a couple of hundred yards inside West Virginia. Trees line the edges of part of this old road while other sections are farmed almost to their edges.

At he east edge of Wheeling, WV, this big bottle announces the S-Bridge Cafe. The cafe can be seen, deserted, in the background. The bottle's label touts the cafe's steak sandwiches and declares that "OVER ONE BILLION WILL BE EVENTUALLY SOLD". Wonder if they made it.

Here is the Madonna of the Trails monument in Wheeling, WV. A nice setting and a nice base complete with a low cement wall. Now look at the guy at the left edge of the second picture. Yep, he's swinging a golf club. I've previously commented on the fact that the first two of the statues I saw were on or near golf courses. The count is now four out of five.

This bridge is older than the state it is in. West Virginia was formed from Virginia in 1861. The current bridge dates from 1854. And that's the rebuild after the deck collapsed in a storm. The pillars are about five year older. At Wheeling, the Ohio River splits into two channels to create Wheeling Island. A long gone covered bridge already crossed the narrower west channel when plans for a bridge over the main channel were adopted.

I crossed into Ohio on US-40 and followed it to near Zanesville. When Forty joined I-70 for the second time in Ohio, I decided that it was time to super slab it. The area was becoming more familiar and the temperature was in the mid-90s. I paused beside the on ramp and raised the top. Then, with cockpit closed & climate controlled, I headed home.

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