Forward To The Past (Part Two: Point A to Point B)

Yesterday’s post was all about Penn State and what I was doing there in support of the planned AFROTC Drill Team / Honor Guard reunion. Today, I’ll get from Penn State to Chesterfield, Virginia – eventually…

When I got up Friday morning (Nov 7), I was actually early enough, for a change, to eat breakfast in the motel. They serve (and I use the word “serve” loosely) from 6 to 9 on weekdays, but before Friday I was too lazy to get down from the third floor to the first by 9, so I missed out. No big deal; a Super 8 continental breakfast isn’t anything to write home about.

I had a lunch appointment with my college roommate, John, in Altoona at 11:15. After eating and packing and checking out, I fired up the MapQuest app on my phone and found three possible routes. Since I had some extra time, I opted for Door – er, Route – Number Three, which took me down some state routes and roads I had never traveled before. It was fun driving through rural Pennsylvania at the relaxed speed of 45 mph. Those roads led me to Tyrone, PA, and then to “old” US 220 (actually Business Route 220 now). Before I-99 was built, US 220 was the way to get from PSU to points west, and it went through Tyrone and Altoona. I followed Business 220 south to Altoona, where I was directed back on I-99 to get around the city to where John and I ate lunch.

I arrived at Jethro’s (the restaurant) right on time; John walked in a couple of minutes later. Not bad for someone from Arizona meeting someone from Nebraska somewhere in central Pennsylvania! We enjoyed our meal and the conversation, and all too quickly it was 12:30 and time for me to head southeast to Virginia.

I hopped back on I-99; went through the weird gyrations to get on The Pennsylvania Turnpike; went through the *other* weird gyrations to get *off* The Pennsylvania Turnpike and onto I-70; trucked on down to I-270 and then I-495, and finally hit I-95 in northern Virginia. I made a pit stop shortly after that (by then it was 4 PM) and I called Tom to let him know where I was, and to ask directions to the antique tool club meeting he was going to that night (I said I’d meet him there). He told me we should just forget the meeting (a good thing, as it turned out the meeting is THIS Friday…) and he’d see me at his home in about 3 hours.

Wait, what? Three hours???? It’s only about 110 miles, and the speed limit is 65 – 70! And I’m ahead of the rush hour clog, right? Right??? I mean, I’m already south of the DC Beltway…


I got about another four miles down the road at a good speed, and then SCREEEEECH! Stop (mostly) and go (a little bit) for about thirty (*THIRTY*!!!! Three-Zero!!!!) miles. It took me 90 minutes to go 30 miles, down to Fredericksburg. And then the clog went *Poof!* and I was back at the speed limit the rest of the way to Chesterfield. And Tom was right – it was three hours later, almost to the minute, when I pulled into his driveway. To be honest, for a while I thought that three hours was an optimistic number. By the time I reached Fredericksburg I wouldn’t have been surprised if the clog had held all the way to Richmond.

But I *did* get to Chesterfield, although it took longer to get there from DC than I think it used to take my Mom and me back in the ’60s before I-95 was finished. Tom and Lois welcomed me warmly, as old friends do. We spent some time catching up and then I was shown to my room, where I slept very well that night.

Still to come: Part Three.

(What? You didn’t think I was going to tell you what will be *in* Part Three, did you?) 😉

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