Photos from the Commonwealth

West Virginia and Pennsylvania share very similar geography and industries.  But there are way more people, and camps, and just things in PA.  Some towns we drove through today were founded before the Declaration of Independence was signed.  West Virginia split off from Virginia in 1863 for those of you who aren’t familiar with our history (and there are a lot of you, still today, ask anyone from West Virginia).  We moved the state capitol several times  — actually from Wheeling to Charleston to Wheeling and back to Charleston.  We just generally didn’t get our stuff together as early as our Commonwealth neighbor to the north. But anyway, anytime I go to Pennsylvania, I don’t really feel like it’s much different from West Virginia, aside from the large cities that are sprinkled throughout.  We have the same trees, the same hills, the same winding roads:

Like these beautiful cows
Like these dotty cows and the clouds above them
And these tall, tall trees
And these tall, tall trees

One of the highlights (and the actual purpose) of our trip was to go to a Nine Inch Nails concert in State College, Pennsylvania.

They rocked the house +
They rocked the house

One of the other highlights of our trip was stopping at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater (“The Most Famous Home in America”).

It is worth the trip if you’re in that area — and when you think it was built 75 years ago, it truly is a testament to the genius of Frank Lloyd Wright:

The iconic shot of the house hanging over the falls
The iconic shot of the house hanging over the falls
My loving husband took this shot of me on the bridge leading to Fallingwater
My loving husband took this shot of me on the bridge leading to Fallingwater

One of the best parts of our trip, however, was something we didn’t plan.  As were driving between State College and Mill Run, where Fallingwater is located, we saw the sign for the 9/11 Memorial of hijacked Flight 93.  We made a split-second decision to go view the site.  Right now, there really isn’t much there.  A beautiful walkway and wall commemorating that day with the names of those who died, and a boulder that sits over the impact site.  You can only view the impact site from afar, which makes sense when you recognize the layout of the land.  It is a large, open field.  The park ranger said that the plane came in at over 500 mph and flipped onto its top.

It was a solemn visit, like many national monuments.  But something about the 9/11 monuments are different to me, probably because I remember that day so well.  Most of the monuments and museums I’ve traveled to in my life memorialize things that happened long before I was born.  And as my husband pointed out as we made our way along the walking path, there were young kids there who were not even alive when 9/11 happened.  To them, 9/11 will be like the Vietnam War — something horrific that their parents lived through.

I didn’t really feel much like taking pictures at the memorial, but I did take one:

The woolly caterpillar
The woolly caterpillar

When I was growing up, my grandma would always say to count the number of black rings the woolly caterpillar has on his back and that will tell you how long our winter will be.  This guy only had a couple black rings, which means a short winter.

Here’s hoping.  I’m already ready for summer again.

What did you do this weekend?  What’s an Old Wives’ Tale you remember your grandparents telling you?  

Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge is a wonder to behold.  It is massive.  It is vermilion orange.  And it’s cold up there, any time of year.  It is a wonder mostly because of the length of the bridge.  It is about 4,200 feet and was opened in 1937.  Most of the bridges on its scale were opened in the last few decades, as technology improved.  But nope, no screwing around in CA.  Need to get across that bay and into WINE COUNTRY as soon as possible at 5 p.m. on Friday afternoon.  (And as far away from Oakland as possible.)

As I stated in my previous blog entry, the fog in San Francisco likes to hang out for the duration.  It’s like the annoying neighbor who doesn’t just say hi and keep walking, but wants to stop and ask about your day, and then ask what you’re having for dinner, and maybe ask if you have a glass of water (even though he lives three houses away).  Before you know it, he’s there eating your best ribeye and leaves before it’s time to do the dishes.  That’s the San Fran fog.

On the day we went to see the bridge, I didn’t know if I was up for walking the nearly mile-long span in the wind.  We weren’t even going to be able to get any good long photos of the bridge (giant fluffy white clouds only).  But detail shots, we did get a few:

The suspension cables
Suspension cables
Perfectly spaced for small dogs and people to NOT fit through
Perfectly spaced for small dogs and people to NOT fit through

IMG_0269

Pause just a sec, I am going to assume these guys were in a rock band together
Pause just a sec, I am going to assume these guys were in a rock band together
OK, resume viewing detail shots
OK, resume viewing detail shots
Some of that lovely vermilion orange
Some of that lovely vermilion orange
Woohoo, Golden Gate.  I was freezing.
Woohoo, Golden Gate. I was freezing.

 

If you are prone to vertigo, I would not recommend this trip because TALL
If you are prone to vertigo or have a debilitating fear of heights, I would not recommend this attraction because TALL

Have you ever been somewhere you have seen in films hundreds of times before you actually saw it in person?  Did it live up to your expectations?