Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Road Trip, Day 4

We left Salisbury this morning, failing to stay like we had provisionally planned the night before. We traveled up 13 into Delaware, eventually picking up 1, the Korean War Veterans Memorial Highway, at Dover, the capital of Delaware. My wife noticed that at least one of the signs spelled Korean with two Rs.

After passing through Wilmington, we made the snap decision not to stop in Philadelphia, but to bypass it and stop at Valley Forge. In retrospect I'm very glad we did.

Intermittent showers continued to follow us around the area, and with the rain came heavy traffic around the south side of Philadelphia. That's when we made the decision to just pass on by the city. Our travel time had already been impacted by travel up 13 before 1, and I was in no mood to fight traffic in a major northern city like Philadelphia. Se we headed up I-476 to King of Prussia and Valley Forge, stopping at the King of Prussia Mall for lunch.

King of Prussia Mall is huge. But it's a mall, and as such we stayed only long enough to eat a quick lunch and then head on. When we finally stopped at Valley Forge Historical National Park it was 2:30pm. We didn't leave until sometime around 5pm.
We traversed and experienced as much of Valley Forge as we could in 2 1/2 hours. When 5pm finally rolled by the day was getting cloudy, the light was getting dimmer, and the rain showers were beginning to get a little heavier. I managed to fumble around Valley Forge township before figuring out how to get back on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and take us to Dover, Pennsylvania, where we've stopped for the day.

Valley Forge is a beautiful place to visit. I could have spent the entire day tramping around and photographing as much as my cards could hold. The essential American history the park represents makes me stop and really think about our roots, especially during this presidential year. I've read a lot of historical works about George Washington, in particular 1776 by David McCullough. While Valley Forge is beautiful and green and the wooden cabins look pristine and "continental", the truth of those times is a lot rougher and grimmer than the park portrays today. More than once I stopped to think about the men who lived in those cabins and the men who led them, and what might have happened if Washington had broken at Valley Forge. They were indeed a far tougher generation than we are today.

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