Saturday, July 14, 2007

First stop: Scranton!

We left early this morning and managed to get to the border by 10am. It took an hour to get through and we arrived in Scranton, Pennsylvania at about 4pm. We might have arrived an hour or so earlier but we did stop a few times to eat and stuff. We didn't want to just drive straight here without stopping; we want this to be a relaxing adventure. The scenery on the drive was very beautiful! There are lots of mountains and trees and pretty views everywhere. Apparently the Poconos are just east of here. We didn't know that :)

After we checked in to our hotel, we went to see the Steamtown National Historic Site. I guess it's the only one of its kind anywhere. We got there at 4:30 and it closed at 5pm, so we didn't see many exhibits inside. We were able to wander around and look at various steam engines, though, and that was quite interesting. Some of them have wheels as tall as me!

As we were driving around looking for this museum, we wound up behind someone driving slowly. After we'd stopped at a red light, he didn't start after a reasonable time when it changed so I gave a light tap on the horn. He waved his arm out of the car and banged his hand on the roof of his car. Does anyone know what that meant? Was he trying to give me the finger (he couldn't because he had a lit cigarette in that hand)? Or does that particular gesture mean something else? It was very strange.

Our hotel is nice enough. It's not that expensive and has free internet and a free continental breakfast. We like those things :) There is a 24-hour grocery store just across the parking lot. We actually went there a few minutes ago to get a few things for sandwiches as well as apples and stuff. We have a plug-in cooler in which we'll keep these things; we're doing this because we won't have a fridge in our room in Winston-Salem.

One thing that is odd about Scranton is that very few lanes are marked on city streets. Left- and right-turn lanes are marked but nothing else. Sometimes we wondered whether there was one lane or two, and, well, we guessed. Speaking of odd things, people don't always park in the same direction as traffic. There were quite a few cars facing us as we were driving down the street - this was very strange and a bit unsettling. One other thing - a mall completely encircles the historic site, making it almost impossible to find. I don't like the idea of a retail shopping place obscuring the country's heritage and culture. Sigh. It wasn't even that good of a mall.

We didn't make it to the coal mine today, but we will go tomorrow before we leave for Washington, DC. If there's time we might go and see the Scranton Iron Furnaces - four big stone blast furnaces from the mid-nineteenth century. Providing we can find them, of course :)

As we were picking up maps and stuff, we found out that Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater house is about an hour outside of Pittsburgh!!!!! I'm sure some of you knew this, but we didn't and we are quite excited about this discovery. We're going to see if we can get tickets for a tour - since we'll be so close it'd be a shame if we didn't try to see it. There's apparently another Frank Lloyd Wright house (Kentuck Knob, aka the Hagan House) near to there as well. I don't think we'll have time for both, but we'll see.

Tomorrow: more Scranton and then off to Washington, DC.

1 comment:

Monisa said...

Please please take photos of Fallingwater. I would love to see it.

That gesture is the international symbol for "sorry my face was in my fries, my right hand was on the radio dial and my left was holding my smoke."