August 15-17, 2008
This was my first trip to a new state in 9 years that ended up being 2 new states by the end. Holly and I decided to make this year's summer trip our farthest yet. We again had our 3 kids and Leslie. We drove Holly's wonderful van again as well.
Hayley and I finally made it to Holly's in Rocky Mount late Thursday night. I decided to take 64 Business because of my car's very worn tires and brakes. We were all for the most part ready for bed when we got there so we did.
We woke up Friday morning and left Rocky Mount for I-95 around 6 am. I drove for the first couple of hours which made me very nervous because I had never driven such a big vehicle on an interstate. Holly started driving right before we passed through Richmond, Virginia.
Our first detour of I-95 was to take I-395 to the National Mall in Washington D.C. We were able to use the HOV lanes and passed the Pentagon into D.C. at 10:30 am. We drove around the mall and headed down Constitution Avenue because Holly had not seen the Albert Einstein statue. We then turned north onto the construction on Connecticut Avenue, through Dupont Circle and into Chevy Chase, Maryland at 11:30 am.
We just made it onto I-495 and to I-270 before we had to find a pit stop for Rose, Holly's daughter. We exited on Montrose Rose to Falls Road in Rockville, Maryland and rode around the suburbs until we finally found a park. We then made it back onto I-270 toward Frederick, Maryland when it started to rain. We exitedin Frederick and drove through the Market Street downtown area. We then took 7th Street to US 15 North. Once the highway leaves Frederick it becomes rural but is still 4-lane. This is the area where Camp David is located, and lots of beautiful farms and foothills. We stopped for lunch at Mountain Gate Family Restaurant in Thurmont, Maryland. After lunch we went to some yard sales. Holly had been to Thurmont before when her Mom lived in Frederick and remembered they had yard sales on Fridays. We ended up on the outskirts of Thurmont and ended up in the small community of Creighton, Maryland. We then headed back to US 15 North and into Pennsylvania!
Pennsylvania is the 11th state I've visited and I was very excited. It is one of the top places I've wanted to visit. Besides the history and beauty of the state it is also where Poison got their start. We took the US 15 Business Exit into Gettysburg. We rode past the new Visitors Center and through the very tourist driven downtown. Then made it back to 15 North. We stopped for gas in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania during rush hour where traffic got backed up that turned out to be only for one stoplight. We avoided it by going through town. Back on 15 North we took Exit 114 through Upper Allen Township. We then made it to my highlight of the trip, Mechanicsburg, hometown of Rikki Rockett and former home of Bret Michaels. We rode around for a while and I called Stacey to tell her where I was. We then got on I-76, the Pennsylvania Turnpike headed east. This was very new to me, because instead of exits they have Service Areas with food, gas and restrooms. The Turnpike was also one of the most beautiful highways I had every been on especially for being an interstate. The huge barns and farmhouses in the rolling hills were beautiful. I look forward to going back and traveling the back roads of the countryside of all of Pennsylvania someday.
We exited off the Turnpike at the Valley Forge interchange and drove to the Girl Scout Council of Eastern Pennsylvania, where we were staying for the weekend. The Council building is located in Valley Forge and we saw most of the deer population of 1,500 as we were driving through. Since Valley Forge is a National Park, hunting is not allowed, the deer population has grown very rapidly, as it has at home. We met the Girl Scout Ranger, Chris, who lives next door, and got unpacked. Holly and I then headed to the Acme Grocery Store in Phoenixville, PA, driving over a dam and some historic homes. We had tacos for dinner then went to bed for the night.