Sunday, March 31, 2013

A bad day

I have run into my first real issue concerning the walk. After a wonderful Easter dinner at my sisters and a great chance to visit with my family I returned to my lodging to prepare for the next days walk. I woke up at midnight covered head to toe with a rash and a mild fever. I had symptoms similar to what my niece Tracy's son Gavin had last December when he contracted staph scalded skin syndrome. Fortunately there was a 24 hour emergency care facility ten minutes down the road.

Dr Ami Loof was the physician on duty. She was puzzled. She took blood work and determined that it was a rare disease called National Road Syndrome. There have only been 17reported cases of NRS. In almost every case it has been someone like me who was in Ohio for a couple decades, moved away and then spent a very large amount of time on the National Road.

As every Ohioan knows we have the only state tree that bears a poisonous nut. The National Road was the first macadamized road using crushed stone. What they suspect is that I had acquired a natural immunity to Buckeye dust which I lost over the past four decades. The extreme amount of time I've spent on the National Road has triggered an allergic reaction.

Unfortunately the only treatment is bed rest. I have intense muscle cramping in both legs. She referred to it as plantar fasciitis of the legs. I am determined to continue walking as soon as I am able.

On interesting thing that the Dr told me is that her mother was the famous reporter Lipra Loof who wrote articles in the Newark Advocate every April 1st in the 60's.

In case you hadn't noticed the doctors name spelled backwards is Ima Fool and her mothers is April Fool.

The Newark Advocate had an article written by Lipra Loof each year on April 1st which always suckered me in. My favorite was when they were going to complete the final phase of the expressway through downtown Newark and they were going to raze the historic 1876 courthouse.

Next time I see each of you I want to know how far you read before you were 100% sure.

I thought one year Google compiled a list of the most absurd April Fools Jokes. If that is true and anyone wants to submit this one feel free.

Today was a good day.

With apologies to Paul Harvey, now for the rest of the walk....

Day 032 - Barnesville to Lore City OH

Temps were in the 40's with a steady rain. The walk was surreal walking down back country roads that we travelled every month visiting my relatives when I was in grade school.

Walking between Quaker City and Salesville I saw that the old B&O rail line where we used to watch trains with over 100 cars full of coal had been abandoned and turned into a rail trail. I did not realize until yesterday that the main B&O rail line actually goes through a tunnel under East Main St in downtown Barnesville. Up to 37 trains a day would pass thru the tunnel during it's heyday.

The line used to pass thru my hometown in Newark were it was joined by the main Pennsylvania Railroad line. There was a switching yard and a roundhouse near our house. Our parents put us on the last B&O passenger train thru Newark in 1961 or 62. My Dad could tell you where every train was going.

I completed my walk and arrived at my Aunt Barbara's and Uncle Gerard's house just as they were sitting down to Easter Dinner with their children and grandchildren. The food was awesome and it was great visiting with my relatives.

My sister Diana in Columbus had invited me to Easter Dinner. I had tentatively accepted so she moved the dinner to 5 PM. I then told her I couldn't make the 200 mile round trip. She and my Mom believed it and were surprised when I walked into Easter Diner number two. My brother Dan saw thru my plan and was expecting me. Diana's children Tracy and Brian were there with their families. Another great meal and a chance to visit with my relatives.

I spent the last four nights at my Aunt Aldreda's house. She is an expert quilter, bakes her own bread and hung the Sheetrock in the extension she added to her house. She always had food waiting for me. My cousin Diane spotted me and my car the last four days and was always one step ahead of me keeping me on track.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Day 031 - Morristown to Barnesville OH

Temps were in the 30's and 40's on a mostly sunny day with no wind. The terrain was gentle rolling hills. Due to US Route 40 being collocated with Interstate 70 between Morristown and Cambridge I needed to detour on Ohio routes 149, 147 and 265.

En route I walked to my Aunt Pearl's house. We had a really good visit. She showed me binders she had put together of family photos and local history. Growing up she could always be counted on for having plentiful supplies of home made jellies and butter mint candies. I remember Uncle Walter taking us to see the Gem of Egypt which was a massive power shovel with a 200 ton bucket used for step mining which was prevalent in the region. It was one of the largest power shovels in the world.

The Wheeling Intelligencer article got picked up in the Barnesville and Martins Ferry papers so a number of people recognized me. Most seemed to know Aunt Pearl and most knew where Temperanceville is which probably has a population under 100.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Day 030 - Blaine to Morristown OH

Temps were in the 40's on a sunny day with little wind. The first town I walked thru was St Clairsville which has an impressive stone courthouse. Next I came upon an original Ohio National Road marker. It was freshly painted which allowed for easy reading. They have the distance to Cumberland on the top. On both angled sides are the distance to the next major city above the distance to the closest town. SC = St Clairsville and M = Morristown in the picture.

I have always been fascinated with maps and highways especially the National Road. I walked by my Aunt Aldreda's house. I remember playing there in grade school and being impressed with the fact that at least three iterations of the national road were within site or listening distance.

AVA has special programs for doing things like walking thru college campuses, walking across covered bridges or on civil war battlefields, etc. Joan was the queen of special programs once stamping 15 books on an AVA walk in Wilmington DE.

I am not nearly as fanatical as she was but I did sign up for the National Road program put on by Ohio AVA clubs requiring you to walk six walks in Ohio and a walk in Wheeling. I retired from Vanguard last June 29 and left to see my family in central Ohio well before dawn on June 30 planning to knock out three of the walks en route. I did Wheeling and St Clairsville walking many of the same streets I've walked the past two days. I noticed an extreme amount of tree damage. I then found out from my Aunt Pearl that over half of eastern Ohio was without power due to a freak storm the night before. It was eerie that night driving 75 miles with hardly a street light or traffic light.

I passed the location of the Jamboree in the Hills billed as the Super Bowl of Country Music and a number of country western bars.

I'd like to thank Joe Frost for posting an article in the Indiana National Road Association Newsletter and Kathy Ganster for an excellent article in the Pittsburgh Post Gazzette that many people commented on.

The answer to yesterday's trivia question is that the Ohio flag is differentiated from other state flags by its pennant shape.

Today's trivia question is how many miles will I walk from Atlantic City to San Francisco?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Day 029 - Tridelphia WV to Blaine OH

Temps were in the 30's and low 40's on a mostly overcast day with little wind. I was able to wear one of my new pair of shoes for the first time in almost two weeks.

Shortly after leaving I saw a couple women that were walking really fast. They turned out to be regular walkers that think nothing of walking 8 miles in the hills of Wheeling. One had run four marathons including Pittsburgh twice (think hills). The other was 83 and her pace was faster than mine. After leaving them I passed the second Madonna of the Trail statue I've seen. It was in Wheeling Park and was identical to the one on the other side of Washington. It was being renovated.

At the top of Wheeling Hill the first thing I came to was the site of McColloch's Leap. This is where the Major escaped an overwhelming body of Indians by forcing his horse over the precipice. You have to see this one to believe it. Next is the statue of Mingo the Indian who was the original inhabitant of the valley. He extends greetings and peace to all wayfarers.

Next up it was time to take the US 40 picture looking down into the Ohio River Valley including the I-70 / US 40 bridge and the old suspension bridge. It took me awhile to figure out that the shots had been taken at Lincoln School which was a 40 step climb (which seemed appropriate). Trees have grown that would have obscured the view later in the season when they have leaves. One thing that is new on Wheeling Island since the first two pictures is the Wheeling Casino.

I then decided to take a detour to the Washington Visitor's center. It's a small world. I ran into Shelly Hanson who interviewed me yesterday in Tridelphia and her husband Scott. She said she also saw me yesterday driving in Bridgeport, Ohio. It's hard to hide in the hoodie.

The Visitor's Center is located where Meriwether Lewis started the first leg of his journey West heading down the Ohio River to join Clark on September 8, 1803. The visitor center has many interesting displays including an excellent one on the National Road. Nearby was the former site of the Wheeling Market where my grandparents who were dairy farmers delivered their goods each week. They traveled 25 miles partly on the National Road from Temperanceville, Ohio.

Wheeling was the terminus of the original section of the Natimal Rosd proposed by congress in 1806. Construction started in Cumberland MD in 1811 and was completed to Wheeling in 1818 where it provided a connection from the Ohio River to the Potomac. It was such a huge success that the raid was continued thru a number of additional states.

I walked across the old suspension bridge which crosses the Ohio River to Wheeling Island which is still part of West Virginia. The bridge was built in 1849 and for years was the longest clear-span bridge in the world. There is an inconspicuous concrete bridge that crosses the remainder of the Ohio River to provide passage to the Buckeye State.

I've spent one month on the road and just entered my sixth state. They start getting much wider. It will take me six and a half months to cross Ohio and the remaining eight states. In West Virginia similar to Delaware I just nicked the top of the state and only spent one day there.

Trivia answer

Joan was the oldest of four girls. I could not have done the walk without their help. Deb the second oldest is keeping a watch on the inside of my house. Sue next oldest is taking care if the outside of my house and babysitting the house plants. Diane the youngest is dealing with the mail and paying the bills. I also have great neighbors Richard and Jennine who always keep a lookout on the house to make sure everything is in order.

Additionally my niece Nicole and nephew Steve are completely running the Facebook portion of the walk. Nicole has spent over a year in Australia and South Korea. I am counting on her getting the blog page view counts up in that part of the world. True confessions - if you ask me a question on Facebook it's really Nicole answering.

Today's trivia question.

What makes the Ohio state flag different from every other state flag.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Day 028 - Claysville PA to Tridelphia WV

Temps in the 30's it was a light wintry mix as we staged my car so I wore my hiking boots. It had changed to a light mist as I started and then became partly sunny. By the end of the walk all the snow cover had melted.

There were gentle rolling hills. Other than the 10 miles on the Western Maryland Rail Trail / C & O Canal Tow Path in Hancock this was the least steep terrain I have been on this side of Baltimore.

Just prior to leaving Pennsylvania Dick Burig flagged me down at the Liberty Street Cafe. He had seen my picture in Scott Beveridge's article in todays Washington Observer. He bought me a cup of coffee and a bowl of stuffed pepper soup. I had never had it before but it is my new favorite soup. Another person who saw my picture and tracked me down once I crossed into West Virginia was Olivia Grace an extremely cute little 3 year old girl from Washington.

I walked close by the intersection of Dallas Pike and I-70. Over 40 years ago my family dropped me off there where another midshipman was to pick me up and give me a ride back to school after leave. He was an hour late. I remember trying to figure out what my backup plan was going to be if he didn't show.

Today's media thank you goes out to Christine Bryant of the Eastside Messenger and Shelley Hanson of the Wheeling Intelligencer who are writing articles.

I spent last night at the Montgomery Mansion B&B in Claysville. It is a beautiful Victorian mansion built in 1880. Barbara and Steve Havens put me up. They had stayed here and loved it. The owners Shirley and Butch Smith took care of my every need.

I should hire Barbara out as my trip planner. She told me on Monday which was my day off from walking to pick up my car from the shop and bring it to the B&B which was an awesome place to catch up on my trip planning. She picked me up there that evening to spent the night at her place. Tuesday morning she drooped me off east of Washington and all I had to do was walk back to my car and belongings.

Strange coincidence but the B&B was 100 ft beyond where Tuesday's walk was planned to end. It turns out that the room I was going to be using was empty when I arrived. Shirley and Butch did Barbara & Steve a big favor by allowing me to move my stuff in and take a shower which I had not done since doing the double walk on Sunday.

Everything at the B&B was wonderful. I particularly liked the pecan French toast and amish bacon. Don't tell Shirley and Steve put I hooked up trailer to the back of my car and I am taking the rain mist shower and the jacuzzi with me for the rest of the trip.

Today's trivia question.
How am I maintaining my household while being away for eight months?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Day 027 - Washington to Claysville PA

On the road again. (Went to Willie Nelson and Lee Ann Womack concert with Joan and her Mom at the Mann Music Center). Everything is covered in white again. Temps in the. 30's and intermittent flurries. Footwear for the day is hiking boots. March 15 was the last day that I wore one of my new pair of sneaks. I've been wearing either hiking boots or my old sneaks that I've worn since August. My big toes are starting to wear a hole in the material. Yes I keep a log of what shoes I wear each day.

I pronounce words with "wash" in them with an added "R". Joan would cringe if I said I was going to waRsh the clothes or when I referred to our nations capitol. Whenever we would discuss WaRshington PA I would tell her I was correct since that's how the locals pronounce it. When I talked to a Pittsburgh media outlet and told them I would be passing thru WaRshington the gentleman laughed and said I must be a local. I have crossed over to the land of having to ask for a pop if you want a soft drink.

I walked thru Washington and walked down some of the same streets that Joan and I walked during the AVA walk here less than three years ago. After leaving town I walked past one of the original stone "S" bridges (details in future blog) and walked past a sign commemorating the birthplace of William Holmes McGuffey. My Mom gave Joan and I a set of McGuffey readers that her parents had used. I am now walking on PA bike route "S". I seem to run in to it everywhere the last few years. I used to drive a portion of it on some back country roads on the way to work at Vanguard at the other end of the state.

Sean Ramaley a former member of the PA House of Representatives took me out for dinner. His aunt Gwen passed away in 2005 from ovarian cancer. For the next three years, he sponsored a resolution in the PA House recognizing Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. For the last 7 years, he has marched with survivors and other families during the Pittsburgh-area's annual Walk to Break the Silence. Philadelphia does the same walk in Fairmont Park each September. I have walked it the past two years with my sister-in-laws nieces and nephews. This year it will be on Joan's birthday and I will be in Nevada.

Sean offered to pay for a nights lodging. I can't believe I'm saying this but my lodging is covered into the first few days in Indiana. He offered me a rain check and said to give him a call the first night that I am without a place to stay. He is second person on my waiting list.

I want to thank the following members of the media for their coverage of the walk. Cathryn Stanley of the Barnesville Entrprise, Andrew Miller of This Week Community News, Jim & Tony from WJPA Radio Washington, PA, Scott Beveridge of the Washington Observer and Diane Adams of Small Town Life. I will post the articles on the blog as they are published.

I am officially losing track of how all of these media personnel are finding out about the walk which is a very good thing. If anyone finds an article about the walk that I have not recognized in the MEDIA section of the blog please send me the link so that I can thank them for their efforts by recognizing it on the blog.

If anyone knows of a media outlet or publication that may be interested in covering the walk please feel free to contact them directly. They do not need to be on the route of the walk. Tell them to check out my blog and then to contact me at or 610-906-6252 if they have questions. They are welcome to use any text or pictures on the blog or Facebook.

Last night Barbara & Steve Havens put me up for the might in the house on a wooded lot built by Barbara's Dad a WW II Vet in 1952. En route to her house we stopped at the Sarris chocolate store. It had a really neat display that was a four foot high working carousel made out of chocolate. We had a delicious chicken dinner followed by German chocolate iced brownies which was an amazing combination of two of my favorite desserts. I maintained super human restraint by only eating four. She packed four for me to take on the road.

The way Barbara found out about my walk was that Carol Rautenstrauch the LBW bus trip coordinator extraordinaire contacted the PA Alpha Delta Kappa (Phi Chapter - Washington) which Barbara belongs to.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Day 026 - Snow Day # 2

Last night we positioned the RV within site of the dealership where my car was located. Reveille was at 6 AM. The accumulating snow had stopped after depositing 3 inches in Washington. It flurried throughout much of the day. At least this time when I walked a double to stay ahead of a forecast snowstorm it snowed.

Bob and I cleared the snow off the RV and my car. We loaded my car and he was off. Bob is a former VP of the KSVA who I had only met once before this past week. He has run very many marathons and walked over 200 AVA marathons in numerous countries. He is obviously an expert in long distance walking and served as my coach and mentor the past four days.

At times I felt like an Indy race car pulling into the pit for a quick turnaround. The RV would appear he would supply me with a hot drink, we would discuss weather forecasts, road conditions and the timing of the walk then he would turn me loose for a couple more laps.

Joan and I took the Historic Trails York White Rose Wanderers bus trip
In May of 2010. We walked in Connellsville, Washington, Mingo Creek, Rices Landing and Greensburg. The hotel we stayed in was just down the street from where my car was worked on. It was across the street from where an Arby's had been located in the 70's. This was the midpoint when driving between Newark, Ohio and Norristown, PA when we were dating. This would be my one stop where I would get a roast beef sandwich and gas the car. The Arby's has been moved to the north side of Interstate 70.

Today the blog went over 10,000 page views. That is insane. In addition to hits from the US and Alaska there have been people from Canada, Brazil, Europe, China and Australia. Keep up the good work telling everyone that you know that might be interested to tell everyone they know.

The answer to yesterday's trivia question:

In lieu of a backpack I have been carrying the following items in the hand warmer / pouch on my hoodie: Sunglasses
Pepper spray
Dog biscuits
A snack
A plastic sleeve with:
Maps for the next two days
US 40 pictures for the next two days
Itinerary for the next month

The pepper spray and dog biscuits are in case a dog gets to aggressive. I have not needed to use them.

I also carry a water bottle on a strap which I refill as I go.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Day 025 - Uniontown to Washington PA

It was overcast with temps near freezing all day. Today was the first day in about a week where there was no snow cover on the ground.

The walk started in Brier Hill which is the birthplace of Janet De Orio who with Joan Lampart took care of me the first four days in New Jersey. I could not find many of the buildings she remembered from her childhood. There was an exposed coal vein that had enough equipment located near by that could indicate active mining although nothing was happening early on a Sunday morning.

Bob caught up with me in Brownsville He parked the RV and we walked together thru downtown Brownsville and across the old bridge. The downtown area was full of abandoned buildings that would have been impressive in their heyday. They included a railroad station, bank and church. The bridge crossed the Monongahela River which joins the Allegheny River in Pittsburgh to form the Ohio.

Near Daisyville I came across one of the Madonna's of the Trail. They are large statues erected by the Daughters of the American Revolution as a memorial to the pioneer mothers of the covered wagon days. My Mom had given me a post card of one of the Madonna's after I had gotten the idea to do the walk but before I had told anyone.

I started walking at 7:45. I had walked 5 miles ahead yesterday because of snow in the forecast so I arrived at today's scheduled end point at 11:30. I walked across the street to the Chuck Wagon Restraunt. The waitresses has just read the excellent article written by Tara Amber in this mornings edition of the Uniontown Herald Standard and recognized me from the picture. They insisted that I have breakfast. One of the waitresses Bonnie Is a cervical cancer survivor whose picture is on the blog. I put the article on the blog.

Next I crossed over Van Voorhis Hill (1445 ft). As I passed thru Scenery Hill I stopped at the Century Inn that was originally known as Hill's Tavern when established in 1794. Joan and I had stayed there as a splurge in the 1980's after a visit with my family in Ohio.

Lukens Steel had bought Washington Steel a stainless steel producer. In the 1990's I was assigned to go there for two weeks to train sales department personnel on a new order entry system that was being installed. On a whim I called the Century Inn to see if they could match the rate everyone had been getting at a chain hotel. The owner Megin Harrington said they weren't open for the season yet but that she had staff she was paying to do work including making breakfast for her three young boys and that she would take me on for the two weeks at the hotel rate. It was February. One day after training it was in the 70's so I grabbed a T-shirt and a pair of shorts to head out jogging. Megin said that her oldest son was into soccer and wanted to run for training and asked if it would be OK if he joined me. I said sure. We did a 6 to 8 mile run on some serious hills south of Route 40.

Probably my most embarrassing navigational error occurred the next day. By morning the weather had turned into a really nasty winter storm. A group of people had arrived from Lukens for the first time. I had written directions for them to get from their hotel to the plant and gotten east and west backwards. They went miles out of their way needlessly in the storm.

I went inside the Inn to find out that the Harrington's still own the building. I talked to Gordon now 32 who was the boy I jogged with some 20 years ago. He said as part of his training he had jogged with a number of guests over the years. I can't be sure but I think I may have been the first. I rememberer him saying that day was the furthest he had ever run. He wanted me to stay for a meal which would be too much with the walking I still had planned. He had some great sandwiches made to take out.

Next I went to the Tradesmen's Inn in Scenery Hill. The waitress there said that she was a member of the PA National Road Assn and that she had been told at a meeting to expect to see me coming thru. They offered water for the trip and insisted I had a cup of coffee and packed their specialty BBQ chicken wings and beer batter steak fries to go.

Because of the winter storm warning tonight calling for 4 - 6 inches of snow (more in the mountains I just crossed) I walked 23 miles to the end point of tomorrow's walk. I finished walking at 4:30 and the snow started at 6:30.

Today the funds donated to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund passed the $10,000 mark. Thanks to all for you incredible generosity. If there is anyone that wants to donate and doesn't know how it is easy. Go to my blog and click on the donate link in the upper right above Joan's picture. There are detailed instructions for how to pay by personal check, pay pal or credit card.

Last night Bob and I needed to make use of facilities in a hotel. We stayed at the Holiday Inn in Uniontown. Once again the staff was extremely helpful and gave us a corporate rate. It seems fitting that Holiday Inn has been taking care of me since they went to bat for Terry Hitchcock whose autobiographical movie My Run was the inspiration for my walk. After one of his marathons he stumbled into a Holiday Inn and the hotel clerk not only put him up for the night but for the rest of his journey.

Today's Trivia question:

I have been trying to travel ultra light using the hand warmer pouch built into the green hoodie that LBW gave me in lieu of a back pack for as long as I can.

What do I carry in the hand warmer every day?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Day 024 - Fort Necessity to Uniontown PA

The day was sunny with temps starting at 30 and maxing out in the high 30's. My water bottle did not freeze at all today.

Shortly after starting I passed a meadow with over two dozen wild turkeys. The first US 40 picture was of Braddock's Grave. George Washington was afraid that Indians would violate his grave so General Braddock's body was buried under the road that his troops had recently completed at a rate of three miles a day. The troops then marched over the grave during their retreat to mask all signs of it. In 1804 what was assumed to be his remains were moved to this location. One interesting note is that a second very large stone commentating the burial site that was missing in the 1983 picture has reappeared in the same location.

After crossing a few smaller ridges I crossed the very long and fairly steep Chestnut Ridge which had a great overlook view of Uniontown. When I got to Uniontown it was finally warm enough to take off the hurricane jacket I've needed for days and show my florescent green colors. The Fayette County Courthouse was a very impressive stone building.

The next US 40 picture was of the Toll House. The biggest change since 1983 was the addition of black full sized statues of a farmer guiding his sheep that had been added a year ago. They were hidden by the building in my picture. I stopped in at the Fayette County Historical Society. The friendly staff show me a picture of the Toll House taken during a 1905 reenactment of the last toll being taken.

Due to the forecast of possible snow tomorrow I walked an extra four
miles. We went to an Byzantine Rite Catholic Church for Palm Sunday vigil services that reminded me of the church Joan's grandparents went to on top of the hill in Bridgeport, PA.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Day 023 - Addison to Fort Necessity PA

Last night was the first night in the RV. It is really spacious with all the comforts of home. Once again the crew of the Blue Goose pampered us with food, drinks, gift certificates and helped us with the RV generator which would not kick off last night.

The weather for today's walk was a carbon copy of yesterday's. I managed to keep my water from freezing by putting the water bottle between my hurricane jacket and my hoodie. It just had a few ice chips today.

The National Road mile markers kept referring to Petersburg which confused me. It turns out that Addison was named Petersburg in the early 1800's. I walked across about a half dozen unmarked ridges and by the Youghiogheny River Lake which was really scenic.

I want to thank Tara the reporter and Robert from the Uniontown Herald Standard who will be doing an article in Sunday's edition. Also Ananda who is an anchor at WHAG TV Hagerstown and a full time student at Georgetown that is doing an article for the college paper.

The walk finished at Fort Necessity where we took a US 40 Today picture of a replica of the old fort. The 1953 picture was a picture of an impressive fort that the park service tore down a few years later because they found documentation that it was not historically accurate. Other than adding an earthen mound my picture was very similar to the much less impressive replica in the 1983 picture.

Nearby we saw a sign for a fish dinner at St Joan of Arc Church. The parish adopted us to the point of providing supplies, food, donating money for the walk and providing overnight parking for the RV.

The repairs on my car have been completed. They diagnosed the problem to have been caused by rodents chewing on a wiring harness. I have no idea what state the rodents are from. I will pick it up when I walk to Washington on Monday.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Day 022 - Grantsville MD to Addison PA

An inch of snow fell overnight. I was just starting to work on the logistics of walking the next couple days in the mountains of western PA with snow in the forecast when the cavalry arrived in the form of Bob Gambert and his 33 ft RV.

Bob is retired Army, former Vice President of the Keystone State Volkssport Assn and a world traveller who recently returned from Germany. Our first order of business was to get my car to the Honda dealership in Washington PA. I was getting warnings for my ABS & VSA. It was a 90 minute drive thru three states with varied weather including a snow squall. I will walk back to pick up the car next Monday.

During the walk it was overcast with temps in the 20's, intermittent flurries and a 20 mph headwind with higher gusts. I don't know what the chill factor was but my water bottle froze solid.

I crossed Negro Mountain (2875 ft) and Keyser's Ridge (2800 ft). Next was today 's US 40 Today taken as I crossed the Mason Dixon Line from Maryland into Pennsylvania. Not a lot had changed in the three pictures. I entered the Laurel Highlands section of PA and crossed Winding Ridge Summit (2601 ft). We finished the day at the Blue Goose in Addison, PA where the staff really spoiled us.

I spent last night in the Casselman Inn. It is on the National Register as one of the many old inns that serviced travelers on the National Road. Food was excellent and the price for lodging was really reasonable. The pictures throughout the Inn of Grantsville, the Inn, the National Road etc were fascinating.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Day 021 - Frostburg to Grantsville MD

Temps were in the low 30's. The day started out without a cloud in the sky. It changed to total overcast. Snow flurries started to fall after I finished walking. The entire day I walked into a steady 20 mph headwind with higher gusts.

The first half of the walk was a long climb thru Frostburg (2200 ft) up to Big Savage Mountain (2900 ft) and across a ridge line to Little Savage Mountain (2810 ft). Little Savage Mountain was the site of today's US 40 Today picture. From the mountain my picture looked really similar to the 1983 picture. Once I walked further I realized that the barn described in 1953 as being "neatly maintained" and in 1983 as "shabby with patches on the roof" looks like a major earthquake had hit it. Josh a Frostburg native who gave me a ride said that he thought it had been deemed a historical site and that was why the state had not torn it down.

Next I crossed Meadow Mountain (2900 feet) and descended to Grantsville where I passed the Casselman Bridge which was built in 1813. It is a very impressive single arch stone bridge. It was the largest single span bridge in America. I walked three miles further than planned since the five day forecast mentioned possible snow several times.

Today I was traveling along the same route that General Braddock marched west from Fort Cumberland in 1755 on his ill-fated exposition to Fort Duquesne (now Pittsburgh) at the start of the French & Indian War. There were a number of historical plaques detailing his encampments.

I checked out of the Cumberland Holiday Inn this morning. Thanks to Zak working the desk for taking care of everything I needed.

Answers to trivia questions:

Miles driven = 2180 for 259 miles walked to Cunberland

Shoes, etc:

7 new pairs of ASICS 2170 sneakers ( 3 for first half of walk, 3 for last half of walk, one spare)

1 pair of old ASICS 2170 sneakers for walking in Atlantic Ocean, light rain and snow days

1 pair Rockport dress shoes

1 pair Rockport waterproof hiking boots for heavy rain and snow days

3 pair custom orthopedic inserts to be swapped into second set of shoes halfway across the country

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Day 020 - Cumberland to Frostburg MD

Temps were in the 40's on a mostly sunny day. As the temperatures rose the white ground cover from yesterdays snowfall receded especially in the valleys.

I walked from Rocky Gap State Park to Cumberland during the first half of the walk. It was a seven mile long gradual descent. Cumberland is located on the Potomac River and is the origin of the National Road. There was an obelisk commemorating the location downtown.

George Washington was concerned that the settlers in the wilderness (current day Midwest) across the Appalachians would trade with the Canadians and become French or travel down the Ohio / Mississippi Rivers and become Spanish. Before the Revolutionary War he surveyed a route thru the mountains to connect the Potomac River with the Ohio River. In 1806 with Thomas Jefferson as president Congress approved the first federally financed road to connect Cumberland MD with Wheeling, West Virginia (was part of Virginia at the time).

As I headed west from Cumberland I passed the first Toll Gate House on the National trail. It listed the various tolls for persons, animals, wagons etc.

I added a WALKING section to the blog with the links to American Volkssport Association site, the Liberty Bell Wanderers site and two walking videos.

Today's trivia question. When I finished yesterday's walk I had walked 259 miles. How many miles had I put on my car since leaving home on February 27 ? Answer tomorrow. I know I haven't answered the question on the number of pairs of shoes yet. Patience is a virtue.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Day 019 - Pratt to Cumberland MD

The forecast for the day was for a winter weather advisory with temperatures near freezing and 1 - 3 inches of snow. The forecast was dead on.

It made no sense for Tom to make a three hour round trip to position my car so I headed down on my own. Shortly after I positioned my car a friendly snow plow operator offered me a ride to my start point. Riding in a snow plow on the interstate is really interesting. The cab is so high that I felt like I was the copilot in a 747.

I love walking in the snow and would have been disappointed if I did't get one "winter wonderland" walk. Everything was covered in a blanket of white.

First up was Polish Mountain. Joan was Polish, Slovak and Ukrainian and proud of it. At the top of Polish Mountain on the south side of the old National Road was a stone marker. On the north side of the road was a tattered American flag flying from a pole next to a small pine tree.

I walked down into the valley thru the town of Flintstone. For those old enough to remember the cartoon show I thought it was interesting that there was a Dino Drive in Flintstone. Next I walked over Martin Mountain. There was a stone marker at the top but it was completely covered with snow. I finished up at the entrance to Rocky Gap State Park where the snow was really starting to pick up in intensity.

For the past 6 days I stayed at the home of Tom and Lorraine Jackson who live in a picture postcard perfect log home on a heavily wooded lot surrounded by a state forest, two state parks and apple orchards. Tom described it perfectly when he said that he has to drive at least 15 minutes to spend money.

I should hire Lorraine out to write my blogs. When I was at Nelson's house I saw Lorraine's blog about the arrival of spring on the night of the alleged snow storm on March 6th. It was poetic.

Lorraine was away at work. I found out that Tom is a man of many talents. He is a gourmet chef and baker, an outdoorsman who navigated me thru the mountains on what was some of the most confusing parts of the walk. He is president of the Keystone State Volkssport Association and knows more about beer and what glasses it should be served in than anyone I know.

The Liberty Bell Wanders sold T-shirts to raise money for the walk. When I arrived I dropped off the final 3 of 7 shirts that I delivered during the walk. Talk about snail mail. In order to lighten my load I left my snow shoes at Tom's house. I am looking forward to having the final piece of apple pie he sent with me that he baked with local apples.

Tonight is the first night I will be staying at a hotel and not with friends. The hotel clerk at the Holiday Inn in Cumberland said his family had been heavily impacted by cancer. He gave me a really low rate. Brenda Maxwell a two and a half year ovarian cancer survivor had contacted me and said that she did not live along my route and could not put me up for a night but wanted to pay for the first nights lodging so she gave the hotel clerk her credit card info.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Day 018 - Hancock to Pratt MD

The day was overcast with temps in the 30's. The visibility was unlimited which allowed for me to take in views in all directions that photographs would not do justice. I was traveling thru the Green Ridge State Forest and only saw two commercial establishments. Both were gas stations.

The Allegheny Mountains are a series of ridges that run north and south. Since I am traveling west I am climbing and descending each ridge. Today I crossed Sideling Hill, Town Hill and Green Ridge Mountain.

Traversing Sideling Hill I traveled on an impressive very long switchback. Town Hill was the highest peak of the day at 1680 feet. From the top of the hill you could Maryland, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. The final ridge of the day was Green Ridge Mountain at 1240 feet.

The carillon at the United Methodist Church of Piney Plains played a very long and enjoyable Sunday morning concert as I walked by.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Day 017 - Indian Springs to Hancock MD

The day was overcast threatening rain all day with temps near 40. Today's walk went thru Hancock, MD which is in the narrowest part of the Western Maryland panhandle. Squeezed into a two mile wide strip are the following from North to South:
Mason Dixon Line
Interstate 70 / US 40
Hancock, Maryland
MD 144 (old National Road)
Western Maryland Rail Trail
C&O Canal
C&O Canal Towpath
Potomac River
West Virginia

I could see both Pennsylvania and West Virginia today but it will be later this month before I actually walk thru them. The Western Maryland Rail Trail is a paved bike path that starts east of Hancock and is currently 22 miles long. The C&O Canal Towpath is a 184 mile long dirt path from Georgetown to Cumberland, MD.

Four members of the Susquehanna Rovers AVA walking club joined Tom Jackson and I on the walk today. They were Alice Eckardt, Amy Trommer, Sue Wheeler and Pat Eby.

Tom choreographed the walk so that the four Rovers walked with me starting at the Western Maryland Rail Trail trailhead. Once the Rovers finished their walk they returned to their car and I cut over to the C&O Canal Towpath. Tom had driven to Hancock and was heading east on the towpath. When we met he walked west with me to his car where we drove to Weaver's Restraunt for lunch with the Rovers who had spent the last hour shopping. Once lunch was over Tom drove me back so I could pick up where I left off.

Everyone got AVA credit for doing the C&O Canal Towpath Walk section #3. I was surprised to be able to do a 16K walk. I did not think I'd be doing a single AVA walk en route. Tom handled the paperwork for everyone.

The Rovers wanted to know if I would be back in time for the annual Hershey walks Thanksgiving weekend. I told them I couldn't make any promises.

Right I'm the middle of the tow path were two turkey vultures mating. Sorry no pictures. This is a PG rated blog. Joan and I had done AVA walks on two other portions of the C&O Canal Towpath. During the 2006 conference in Hagerstown we walked the towpath near Williamsport, MD. In October of 2008 the Liberty Bell Wanderers had a bus trip to the US Freedom Walk in Arlington. We walked a potion of the towpath near Georgetown as part of the half marathon walk.

If anyone is interested in purchasing the "US 40 Today" book by Thomas & Geraldine Vale, Sue was able to buy it new from Amazon com.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Day 016 - Hagerstown to Indian Springs MD

It was a beautiful day mostly sunny temps hovering around 40. I did not get a send off this morning from the Maryland State Police.

The terrain was rolling hills. The walk was only 12 miles ending at the trail head for the Western Maryland Rail Trail. I completed it in less than three and a half hours.

I want to thank everyone for getting the word out to the media. It has been amazing. Tom said that when he was driving to meet me at the car drop off point this morning FM 104.7 WAYZ a clear channel station heard throughout the tri-state area (MD-WV-PA) had my walk as the second story after the new Pope. Must be a really slow news day. I have no idea how they got the story.

I was really glad to see that on WHAG-TV in Hagerstown last night they had a great shot of Anne Kat walking with the puppies. The interview has been posted to the media section of the blog. I was at the Mc Donald's in Indian Springs where a woman with a really cute young girl in a purplish pink dress recognized the fluorescent green hoodie and gave me coupons for future McDonald's visits.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Day 015 - Boonsboro to Hagerstown MD

I encountered some flurries while driving to the start point. It was mostly sunny day with temps in the 30's and a constant head wind with gusts over 20 mph.

The day had an interesting start. I had gotten permission from the owner to park my car at the street end of a very long driveway. Apparently someone thought this looked suspicious and called the MD state police. While the first officer was running a check on my drivers license and plates the backup patrol car arrived. I showed them my blog passed out cards to the cops and was on my way.

Anne and the puppies once again joined me for the entire walk. Anne has completed a hat trick of three walks and the two puppies finished their second complete walk. They said that they were disappointed that Anne and I had not let them go over South Mountain yesterday. When the waitresses in Gracie's Cafe saw we were walking they gave us both a bottle of water for the road.

On the way to Funkstown Bejoy Joseph a reporter for WHAG Hagerstown took film of us walking and did an interview for the evening news.

The first US 40 picture was of the 190 year old stone arch bridge that crosses the Antietam Creeks just outside Funkstown. The 1953 picture had three billboards. The 1983 had four. There are now only two standing and one doesn't look like it has had an advertisement on it for years.

The second US 40 picture was of the 200 year old Rochester house called Mount Prospect in 1953 Hagerstown. It was demolished in 1958 for a parking lot. The major difference between today and the 1983 picture is that in 1998 they added fancy murals to the concrete wall that surrounds the parking lot.

Joan and I attended the Third Biennial Atlantic Region Conference in Hagerstown seven years ago this week. We did walks in Williamsport, Hagerstown and Antietam, MD. I remember the morning that we did the Hagerstown walk it was cold and raw like today and all the walkers stopped at an indoor farmers market and got something warm to drink.

I have been cutting down on the number of pictures that I attach to the blog this week because where I am has weak cell and WIFI connections. All US 40 pictures have been posted to Facebook. I post additional pictures to Facebook everyday that aren't on the blog. Since the Facebook page is for the walk and not my personal Facebook page you do not have to have a Facebook account to view the pictures. Go to the Facebook link on my blog to view the additional pictures.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Day 014 - Frederick to Boonsboro MD

The day started sunny with temps in the 30's and finished overcast in the 40's.

Anne Kat Dittrich walked with me the entire walk becoming the first person to complete two entire days. She again brought her dogs Bernard and Lexi. They are brother and sister and are two of the most well behaved dogs I have ever seen.

The dogs wanted to go the distance but we had to leave them with her son halfway thru the walk as we started up South Mountain due to the shoulder of the road being so narrow.

The US 40 Today picture was looking across Middleton Valley. Much of what was open land has been replaced with a golf course and the buildings associated with it.

As we were approaching the summit of South Mountain we encountered a few snow flurries before crossing the Appalachian Trail.

The Frederick News Post article did include a picture of me walking in a downpour. The link has been added to the blog along with a new Ellicott City Patch article that shows Cathy, Barb & Anne Kat at the Visitor Center.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Day 013 - New Market to Frederick MD

It was a 5:15 AM departure from Buck and Collen's to drive to Frederick to position my car. It was great to connect with one of my Academy roommates after all these years. It was like staying at a luxury high rise. Each night I would look out my bedroom window for a killer view of the US Capitol Building fully lit.

They put me up for four nights. One of the first questions I had was did they still have the reddish dyed marble egg that Collen had bought Buck in Annapolis when they were first dating. It was prominently displayed in a glass bowl with five other marble eggs they had accumulated around the world.

I had forgotten that they met at a Halloween party at the Academy the weekend before I met Joan on Halloween. The day they met Buck came back to our room and told Jim Haggart our other roommate and I that he had just met the girl he was going to marry. Jim and I both took him on for $5. Buck still has the bills signed and framed by Jim & I. Absolutely the best bet I ever lost. They got married June Week and will be celebrating their 40th this year.

Yesterday afternoon Buck gave me a tour of the Navy Yard and got me into the National Museum of the US Navy which I had always wanted to see. I can't imagine they will ever ask me back after I told them one day that I lost the access card to their parking garage and last night while I was packing I misplaced his key ring (both found).

Anne Kay was my escort this morning. On her way to work she dropped me off at the dairy farm east of New Market where I started today's walk. Temps stayed in the 50's all day with the steady rain and occasionally heavy rain for the first 2.5 hours walking from New Market to the Frederick Airport. I measured 2 inches of rain in the Fredrick rain gauges (trash cans ).

This is the first day I've had to walk in the rain. I wore my Rockport waterproof walking boots my hurricane jacket that I got with an Easter Mountain Sports gift card given to me by my sister-in-law Diane and her husband Mike. I'm using the brand new bright red and white Vanguard golf umbrella that fellow crew mates Imelda and Janet scrambled to get for me when my original fell apart just before starting the walk.

I learned a couple things. One is that the umbrella makes a going shield from car splashes. Second the umbrella did not prevent my pants from becoming soaked from above the knees down. I ordered Marmot rain pants from REI to solve that problem.

On the way Sam Yu photographer from the Frederick News Post took pictures of me in a downpour. I'm sure I will look like a drowned rat. The rain finally stopped just in time to take my Route 40 Today picture of the Barbara Frietchie House. It was similar to the Ellicott City picture of a Main Street with most buildings looking the same but probably many of the businesses changing hands. In 1953 a dark sign announcing the house hung from a large wrought iron post in 1983 a white sign and today the iron post is empty with a new park service sign in the yard. Next I met up with Nick Stern who will be writing an article for tomorrow's Frederick News Post.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Day 012 - Cooksville to New Market MD

The temperature quickly rose from the 40's to 60 on an overcast day. The walk passed a number of farms where I saw many horses, sheep, cows, etc.

I was joined today by three very dynamic ovarian cancer survivors.

Cathy Eshmont had escort duties positioning me and my car to start my walk. Cathy was responsible for contacting Rachelina and Vickie from Howard County Tourism and
Brandie Jefferson who wrote the Ellicott City Patch article. The article was how everyone knew I was passing thru. It is posted in the MEDIA section of my blog.

She saw me drooling over the coffee table book "America's Road - A Photographic Journey across the National Road from Baltimore to East St Louis" in the visitor's center and bought it for me. Buck asked if I was going to retake every picture in that book and the answer is an unqualified NO.

The other two local ovarian cancer survivors that I met have been very busy getting the word out about ovarian cancer and helping out and participating in local events to raise awareness for ovarian cancer.

Maureen met me at the start of the walk and walked an hour with me to Lisbon. She is a very fast walker. Kelly was able to break away and meet me as I walked thru Mt Airy where we had a good visit.