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Issue #215, Epic Road Trip, July 7 2018, Collegeville and Valley Forge, Pennslyvania

July 7, 2018 We’re at Chris Bradley’s house in Pennsylvania - I awoke rather bleary - though it’s cool this morning, and was so last night. I opted to sleep in their guest room, for a potential night away from the noise of the air conditioner and rocking cots of the kids, yet I was somewhat thwarted in my quest for sleep since I was stuffy and their cats kept trying to run and hide in my room. I don’t sleep well with cats. Well, I don’t sleep well at all anymore.

Back to our get-away from Prince William RV park; our plan was to let the kids swim for a little in the morning since we missed the pool hours in the evening after coming home from our last day in the city. They did get into the pool shortly before the proper opening time of 9, since the gate was unlocked; but we still got chewed out by the caretaker with the walrus mustache for ‘not being with our kids while we swam’. Paige made eggs and we did our usual pack-up, hoisting the bikes up to the top of the Cricket.

Driving through Washington and Baltimore was stressful, and someone honked at me once for trying to change lanes in a moment of confusion. We had to pay two separate toll fees at an underground tunnel and then also on a bridge over the Chesapeake Bay. Still, we reached Chris’s house before our anticipated arrival time.

It’s been fun to see and hang out with Chris, my old high school buddy, in his new environment. He and Mary and her kids have lived here for only about a year. He is a neurologist at the Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia; his hair is mostly silver/grey, and it’s long enough to be tied back. He looks like a colonial gentleman from the last century. He came home from work just after we had driven up into his driveway and got the Cricket set up. Mary, a nurse, came home shortly afterwards. Their house was built in 1704, and apparently might have been a stopping-off-point on the underground railroad.

After connecting with Chris and Mary and merging into our new surroundings, we took a trip - on my request - to see Valley Forge, to which I noticed signs on our way in.

We reached the visitor center a half-hour before it closed; and were able to watch a short video on the place, helping to interpret the site. Both Paige and the kids had no idea what happened there, many years ago. I did, as I remember it from school, and have recently re-read the entire account in one of my Washington Books. It was so mellow and pretty it was hard to imagine the hardships Washington and his conscripts faced there one winter long ago.

We went out to where Washington had his headquarters in one of the old “Forge” buildings; walked around in the afternoon sunlight on the very green and leafy green, and saw reconstructed huts. From here we took a circuitous route to the restaurant Chris and Mary will use for their upcoming wedding reception dinner. He took us to the church where they will hold the event, and also past Mary’s old house. It’s really beautiful countryside here, with old houses and rustic homes.

Valley Forge winter
difficult to imagine
on this summer day

rolling countryside
western Pennsylvania
green as a spring day

solo/group kukai
jonathan machen