Day 8 - Harrisburg to Pittsburgh

If yesterday was no-brainer fun at Hershey, today was the opposite.  Conversations and visits that probably drove the girls a little crazy but that continued our theme of taking in things 'American'.

Stop #1 - Gettysburg.  We made a general Big Trip rule that we weren't going to duplicate many of the topics, and Gettysburg seemed to be the right choice for our Civil War exposure.  We listened to as much podcasting on the battle as the girls could focus on during our drive and then after a little prep in town, we went on a nice long horseback tour around the battlefield (and due to me screwing up scheduling, we had to get squeezed last minute in by the AWESOME folks at Hickory Hill Horse Farm - thanks Pam and Beth!)  It's hard to get your hands around the scope and gravity of that era and that battle, but riding the land and reading all the information around the scene was pretty awe inspiring.  The discussions with the girls really wandered but we touched on history, war, race, slavery and many other things.  Mission accomplished.

Stop #2 - A little levity between deep stops came via Kim making a complete U-turn on a back highway to visit Mister Eds Elephant Museum in Ortanna, PA. ( How to describe Mister Ed's...a huge Dells-like gift shop revolving around someone's elephant obsession with great homemade candy and outside gardens and a nature walk with flip flops hanging from the trees.  Completely 'Big Trip' and completely worth the stop.

Stop #3 - Flight 93 Memorial, Stoystown, PA.  Understated and gripping.  Another one that is hard to describe completely, but the current memorial did a very good job of simply describing the day, the background and then leading you out to the crash site and giving you time to look and reflect.  More emotional than I would have predicted.  It's really out there in the middle of the Pennsylvania countryside, but well worth the visit if you ever get the chance.

After a long winding ride through the Blue Ridge and Allegheny mountains, we arrived in Pittsburgh for the night.  We'll  try to take in some of the Steel City tomorrow. See you then!

- Jim

I love this picture.  Kim and MK discussing 9/11 at the Flight 93 Memorial.  The black low diagonal wall you see is where you stand to look over the crash site.  The white higher wall to the right has names of those who died in the crash.  The white wall is exactly aligned with the flight path.  The wood gate is what you look through to see the boulder in the distance (it's the small bump in the grassy field).  The boulder is the spot of impact.

Name Wall, Flight 93 Memorial, Stoytown, PA.

Gettysburg, PA.

Mister Ed's Elephant Museum, Orrtanna, PA.