Road Trip: NY/PA/MD/WV/VA and Back

Last week, we went to Virginia for Debbie’s big race, the Grindstone 100. The last time we went to Virginia for an ultramarathon trail race, we flew to Lynchburg via Atlanta. This time, with two kids, and a big race to crew, we opted to drive. We loaded up our VW Eurovan and our GearWagon, and headed south.

We left on Thursday, the race was Friday and Saturday; Β and we returned on Monday. We spent Thursday night with our friend and Debbie’s pacer, Paul Davis, in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. His hometown is a very cool place. On the way there, we stopped in Maryland to visit the Antietam National Battlefield. We were driving by late in the afternoon and the sun was just perfect. The sky was a deep blue. It was an amazing place to see at that time of day. Looking out over those fields where so much blood was shed, you were transported back to a different era. The visitor center was closed for the day. I returned on my bicycle in the morning, but I was too early. Oh well, we walked the grounds and soaked in the history.

Shepherdstown is a neat place. It is the oldest town in West Virginia. Paul and Laura Davis were wonderful hosts. They have a historic home and have put a lot of love and care into restoring it. The Maryland/Virginia/West Virginia tri-state area is loaded with history. Harpers Ferry is close by. The Appalachian Trail is close by. It seemed like a neat place to live and work.

On Friday morning, we rolled south. Our only hiccup was on I-81 in Virginia. We ran out of gas. That was a real bummer. We were deep into our reserve tank and I wanted to go one more exit. My calculations were wrong, most likely because of the extra weight and drag of the trailer, and we didn’t make it. The only issue was that we missed Debbie’s pre-race meeting. We also had to deal with two kids who didn’t want to be trapped in their car seats on the highway with hundreds of trucks roaring by at 75 mph. Lesson learned.

Paul, the kids, and I drove many back roads during Debbie’s race. The countryside was beautiful and we couldn’t have asked for better weather. When we left Swoope, Virginia on Sunday, after Grindstone, we headed for Shenandoah National Park. Debbie and I had never been there before. We have driven the Blue Ridge Parkway, but never Skyline Drive.

All I can say is that on a peak foliage October day, it was a great experience. We went south to north. The 105 miles took us all afternoon thanks to the 35 mph speed limit and a few stops, but it was worth it. The lookouts were spectacular. We crisscrossed the Appalachian Trail many times and I dreamt about being on it for days on end. Some day.

After we left Shenandoah National Park, we hightailed it to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I didn’t realize that the city was about to file bankruptcy. It didn’t matter to us. We stayed at the same Hampton Inn that we stopped at on our way to the Laurel Highlands Ultra earlier in the summer. We had dinner at the Appalachian Brewing Co. On Monday, we made our way home. We stopped for lunch at a great vegan restaurant in Nyack, Β New York. Nyack Main Essentials didn’t realize that they were on Happy Cow. We find a lot of great vegan/vegetarian places with that site. It has helped us many times before.

Debbie had a great race and we had a great road trip.

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