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October 2006 Pennsylvania Business Trip

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Road Trip Map
My 2006 Trip to Pennsylvania.
I was going East to take a couple of classes (related to work.) They were both one week classes (and only about 20 miles from each other) so I had a free weekend. It was to be spent in Valley Forge (about 5 miles from my first hotel) and Philadelphia.

It's not my fault Hershey, PA was right in my way.

I only did about 550 miles on Day 1, in part because I left later in the morning, and part because I wanted to get to Hershey when Hershey World was open. Just because.

Flight 93 National Memorial - October 15

I stopped at a Comfort Inn in Somerset, PA. It was only when I looked through the local tourist propaganda that I found I was only 10 or 15 miles from the Flight 93 site.

So I got up early the morning of October 15, and followed the roundabout directions to get to the site, and took some pictures.

Flight 93 National Memorial, Somerset, PA
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I have no pictures of Hershey World. It was packed and all I took was video. But I suspect I picked up a virus here (you're right, it might not have been from some sniffling little kid that was in every corner of the place, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it) that kept me sick for the next three weeks.

Valley Forge National Historical Park - October 20 & 21, Part 1

National Memorial Arch
The National Memorial Arch, Valley Forge National Historical Park.
I went and got information from the Visitors Center in Valley Forge one day during lunch (probably Thursday or Friday), when I was full blown sick, coughing my lungs out. I avoided lunch with the class so I wouldn't infect everyone...

Saturday was Valley Forge Day. I could do it by myself in my car, I even had a self-guiding tour on CD. I was barely able to sit through a introduction movie in the Visitors center. Unlike the day I came for some planning information, today is bright and sunny, if not a little chilly.

I get to the National Memorial Arch, and laugh when I see all the Masonic symbols all around. National Treasure anyone? The interior walls of the arch is the seal of the United States, the Eagle with shield and the unfinished pyramid with the all-seeing eye, and they somehow belong here. This is where the Revolutionary Armies wintered in 1777-78, after all. I visited a place that George Washington actually slept at.

Valley Forge National Historical Park, PA - Part 1
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Valley Forge National Historical Park - October 20 & 21, Part 2

Valley Forge National Historical Park, PA - Part 2
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Independence National Historical Park - October 22

The last time I was in Philadelphia, was in June 2001. It was a grand tour of the east coast from Maine to Florida, mainly to touch six Northeast states in my quest to hit all 48 lower United States. I would relate the follies of that trip, but that 2001 East Coast Trip has it's own page...

I didn't have much time to spend in Philadelphia in 2001. I had reservations to get to in Central Florida. I was on a time-table. So this time, I planned an entire Sunday in Independence Park. Much to my disappointment some things were closed, but most of the things I wanted to see were open and accessible.

I had to pass through a metal detector to get into The Pennsylvania State House (aka Independence Hall) but once in, you had the run of the place. I didn't see Independence Hall last time, but I did this time. The last time I saw the Liberty Bell, but not this time. It was crowded, and my coughing fits would have gotten me thrown out of the place. The Franklin Museum was empty though, and that was a joy since Ben is one of my favorite historical figures.

I was disappointed that the Mint was closed. But I finally did get a picture of Ben's gravesite in the Christ Church graveyard. Through the bars. They charge you a couple of bucks to go in there in person. I'm sure Ben wouldn't mind. He was an enterprising guy. And in case you're wondering, the cents on Ben's grave are thrown there by brides-to-be. It's supposed to be good luck. I can't imagine why, Ben treated his wife like she didn't exist. One of the mysteries of his existence...

Independence National Historical Park, PA
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Conshohocken, PA and On The Road Home

This was just a fun panoramic from my hotel in Conshohocken. Or however you say it. I don't know who chooses the sites for these hotels, but they should be forced to sleep there overnight for a week. That train outside my window would pass by with frequency, getting me up from my coughing, broken sleep...

Conshohocken, PA and On The Road Home - October 25 & 26
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As a post note, this trip to Philadelphia could be considered another part of my Lewis & Clark trek across the country.

Meriwether Lewis left Philadelphia on his 10,000 mile journey in mid-1803, in a time when the fastest one could travel was on a horse; in a time the average person didn't travel more than 20 miles from their home; in a time when people thought if you exceeded 50 miles per hour, you would die.

Three months prior to my trip, I visited many Lewis & Clark sites, from Fort Mandan in North Dakota to Fort Clatsop in Oregon. (See my 2006 West Vacation for details and pictures.) While it's true that The Corps of Discovery's start and end point was officially St. Louis, Philadelphia was Lewis' starting point, where he was schooled by the best minds of the time on what to expect, and where most of the planning for the trip occurred.

It took Lewis 3 years to travel from Philadelphia to Fort Clatsop and back to St. Louis, where the Corps Of Discovery's trip officially began and ended. I accomplished it in three months, and that was with a 2 month layover.

Lewis did a lot more sightseeing, though.

Revisions:
  • 12/29/2012 - Updated to v3.1
  • 09/16/2013 - Finished update to v3.11
  • 08/31/2014 - Update to v3.2