Travelog Part 5 – PA to VA

From Bethlehem to Allentown. Wow, Allentown was amazing. I’d never seen anything like it. Driving down a relatively narrow street and on either side rowhouses, for blocks and blocks and they are all just a few feet from the street. Street, sidewalk, rowhouse. No lawns.

It was our plan to spend the night somewhere in Lancaster County. Duane was interested in finding Muddy Creek where the Freys had been before they went to North Carolina. We entered into the town of Lancaster shortly before nightfall. We attempted to find a reasonably priced motel, but the least expensive was a Quality Inn and they were asking more than we wanted to pay so we kept driving around. Discouraged by the prices, we left Lancaster. We had not driven at night before and did not know that the reading lights on the review mirror remained on all the time. Though there were switches for each light they did not work. We pulled off the road and tried unsuccessfully to get them turned off. The manual was no help. Finally, we drove off into the countryside. After arriving in Buck and seeing nothing there, we realized that we were not going to serendipitously happen upon a cheap motel and there was not another town ahead of us of any size until over the border in Maryland. Desiring to avoid the heavy traffic around Baltimore, we turned around and went back to Lancaster ending up at the Quality Inn.

We had dinner at a restaurant, I think it was called Michael’s. It was attached to the Inn. The host explained that this was regarded as one of the best restaurants in “this half of Pennsylvania”. I didn’t ask if that was the Eastern half or the Southern Half and whether or not the statement was significant at all. Anyway, the food was quite good. Duane had crabcakes, which I tasted for the first time. I can’t remember what I had, a spinach salad, I think. Off to bed. I had to go to the desk to get new lightbulbs, three were burned out. Not an auspicious beginning to the night, but we slept well and were on our way early the next morning.

Since we had spent far more time in Bethlehem than we had planned for in our itinerary, we decided not to spend any time in Muddy Creek. Instead we headed out through York on Highway 30, to I-15 whereby we skirted Gettysburg, followed 15 to Frederick, MD and then took Highway 340 to I-81 near Winchester, Virginia. All the rivers from the Susquehanna to the Delaware were all quite swollen and muddy, a consequence of heavy rainfall prior to our arrival. We spent that night in Harrisonburg. There we were able to find a Motel 6 conveniently located next to a Mexican restaurant and across the street from a grocery and a coffee shop that had wireless internet. Okay, now that all sounds pretty good, but there was a catch or two. I didn’t discover that the Mexican restaurant used processed American Cheese until after I started eating the quesadilla and what I referred to as “across the street” above, I need to mention was a death defying trip across four lanes of traffic at a very busy intersection. Yes, there were pedestrian crossing lights with a time countdown so you’d know if you were going to make it or get squished like a bug. Nevertheless, intrepid travelors that we are, we braved that automotive stream four times. The lattes there were not bad as I recall. I don’t know why that is so important to note, except that the search for good coffee was a recurring process during the trip. We drank a lot of crappy coffee. That corner of Harrisonburg reminded me of Beaverton during rush hour. We were glad to get out of there and on our way the next morning.