Friday, November 25, 2022

2021-03-26: Day 4 of Turning a 1400 Mile Road Trip into a 3404 Mile Adventure! From Ohio into Indiana.

So today was Day 4 of our adventurous road trip where we turned a simple 1400 mile drive from NC to TX into a 12 day 3404 mile sightseeing tour! On this fourth day we finished traveling through Ohio and into Indiana, continuing to pick up new geocaching counties and finding more remnants of the old National Road. So come ride along with us as I share our geocaching adventures with you.

Waking up in Columbus, Ohio this morning, our first stop was for some Starbucks coffee. Well, Candy got a Starbucks coffee. I got the geocache in the parking lot (GC25QYX). Then we drove a few blocks away to a Dunkin Donuts where I then got a coffee and donuts for myself as well as a muffin for Candy.

Continuing our westbound roadtrip and following the Historic National Road (now US-40), we pulled into the Sunset Cemetery in Franklin County for several geocaches hidden here (GC77D86, GC4QFG8, GC54E7E, GC4ER7X). All three geocaches had a lot of favorite points awarded to them so we just had to stop by and find them. A nice Veterans Memorial was on display. But Jack's Cache was by far the favorite and even posted both a photo and video of it below. Be sure to have your sound turned up when playing the video!

(Turn Sound ON With Video!)

One of the advantages of driving the backroads on a roadtrip are the unexpected gems that get to be discovered along the way! Passing through the small Village of Lafayette in Madison County, Ohio, what first got me to stop was spotting this tour of Jeep history somebody had displayed on this fence. It was a perfect photo opp for the Geo Jeep Travel Bug!

Then taking a closer look at the old buildings along this stretch of the historical highway. This first one here I can't find much information on it. The plaque above the front entrance says "Deer Creek Tp, Sub-Dist No 1, 1906." I'm thinking it was an early school that has long been closed. One of the rear buildings has B. S. A. on it and can only assume that at some time in its historical past that the Boy Scouts of America had rented the building. If any of you can provide further details, please use the comment box below. It would be greatly appreciated.

This other building across the street is on the National Register of Historical Places. From the historical marker: "The Red Brick Tavern is a classic roadside inn and tavern from the heyday of the National Road. Constructed between 1836 and 1837, it was in operation when the road was completed past its front door. Over the years, the Red Brick Tavern was a popular place for travelers along the Historic National Road in Ohio. The Tavern hosted six presidents of the United States; John Quincy Adams, Martin Van Buren, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachery Taylor, and Warren G. Harding."

Running north and south along the west side of Lafayette is Deer Creek. To claim a geocache in Madison County we went to the Deer Creek Cemetery (GC1ZDYX) which is next to the creek. While some of my favorite geocaches are cemetery caches, I was more interested in the geocache next to the cemetery.

Crossing the creek about a 1000 feet south of the current alignment of the National Road / US-40, spans the remnants of an early railroad bridge This Interurban bridge was part of the railway that was part of the Springfield London Columbus route. This railway was run by the Columbus London & Springfield Railway from 1902-1939. The Interurbans provided a quick and cheap alternative to regular railroad for transporting people. As for the geocache, well I couldn't find it. Along with many others. It has since been archived.

The next county over is Clark County. It's also where my next two geocaches are located (GCZEFX, GCRDQC). In 1841, Ezra Baker gave the township land to the northeast edge of Enon for a cemetery. Land was added to the Enon Cemetery in 1884, in 1906, and again in 1978. There are earlier burials than 1841, but these were moved from family plots. Three Revolutionary soldiers, two War of 1812 soldiers, many from the Civil War, plus soldiers of more recent wars, are buried in the cemetery. There is a Soldier’s Monument, bearing the names of 31 local men who died during the Civil War, but not necessarily brought home for burial.

Continuing westbound a few miles and dropping down into Greene County, we make a stop for a quick geocache in the corner of a parking lot to claim the county (GC104NY).

After Greene was Montgomery County and the next three geocaches. The first one was located at the Polk Grove Cemetery (GC3W2YG). The cemetery is located next to the Polk Grove United Church of Christ. Since I didn't have time to look around the cemetery, I'll just leave you with this little tidbit. What's the difference between a cemetery and a graveyard? A graveyard is what they used to call a cemetery located on church grounds.

The second geocache was another location along the historic National Road. Patty's Bridge (GC196PD), located in Englewood Metro Park, is named after the James Patty family who owned a 160-acre farm in Butler Township. The Patty's brick farmhouse, torn down in about 1975, was located on the high ground northeast of the bridge. The original stone abutments for the bridge are still in place and demonstrate the skill of the workman building the highway. The National Road was America's first interstate highway.

Thomas Jefferson was president when construction of the road began in 1807. It started in Cumberland, MD and reached this part of Ohio in about 1838. The original route of the National Road took it due west of Patty's Bridge and into Harrisburg (now Englewood) Ohio. After Englewood Dam was completed in 1922, the National Road (which later became U. S. Route 40) was rerouted to the south and over the dam. By 1840, the National Road was completed to Vandalia, IL and then later to St. Louis, MO. Today this road spans the entire United States from Cumberland, MD to San Francisco, CA.

We stopped for one more geocache in Montgomery County. It was for a tasty treat at the Esther Price Candies chocolate factory (GC44BKB). It was an expensive geocache. Yep, we bought about $60 worth of chocolates by the time we left!

Our final county geocache for Ohio was a quick roadside stop in Preble County (GC2PMGT).

Crossing over into Indiana, the first county is Wayne County. And for our next geocache we stopped at the Old National Road Welcome Center (GC1WJPK). The Indiana portion was built between 1829 and 1834, linking the eastern seashore with the western interior. The automobile revived The National Road in the 1920's. As cars and trucks took to the road, the federal government established a nationwide network of paved, all-weather highways.

The Old National Road was one of the first routes designated under the new federal highway numbering system in 1926, US Route 40, a transcontinental highway. Once again, the new road gave way to new opportunities. Like the blacksmith shops and taverns of the past, gas station, diners, and motels lead the way to a new era of prosperity. Until the 1970's, with the completion of Interstate 70, US-40 was one of the country's primary east-west routes.

Next door over in Henry County, my geocaching county stop was at the New Lisbon Cemetery (GC8RFP1). After finding the geocache, just a quick glance around and a photo before continuing down the road.

Wanting to make up time and get to Indianapolis before it gets too late, I hop onto Interstate 70. The next county is Hancock County. We stopped for a quick westbound rest area geocache (GCPTZV).

We finally pulled into Indianapolis and I head to the Indianapolis Speedway. But it was too late. The Speedway was closing. From there we drove to the south side of the city to the Holy Cross and St Joseph Cemetery. I was here once before way back in 2007. I was once an over-the-road truck driver. The trucking company I worked for had a terminal several blocks away. While I was there getting the truck serviced, I saw online that there were some famous interments in this cemetery and walked down to see them.

Now they have some much needed upgraded headstones to replace the neglected and broken previous headstones. And a new historical marker which reads: "There are few better known names in automotive circles world wide than Chevrolet. Millions drive the Internationally respected cars, but few know that the company and its revered name originated with three brothers, Louis, Gaston and Arthur Chevrolet. Of Swiss heritage, their story is one that reflects the very foundation of American society. Louis migrated to America at the turn of the 20th century, and after earning enough money, sent for his brothers.

"The brothers immersed themselves in automotive technology as designers, mechanics, and racing drivers. All three raced multiple times in the famed Indianapolis 500, with Gaston winning the 1920 classic. Capitalizing on their huge popularity, Louis founded the Chevrolet Motor Company in 1911. And, despite leaving the firm in 1916, the automotive giant retains the name."

After Gaston won the 1920 Indianapolis 500, he died later that year in a racing accident. Louis died of a heart attack in 1941. Arthur retired in 1942 to Slidell, Louisiana where after suffering from depression, he committed suicide in 1946.

To get credit for Marion County, we went to Concordia Cemetery just a block away. There we found two geocaches to complete the spot on the map (GC2B3N9, GC2B45F).

That was it for Day #4. We drove up to Crawfordsville in Montgomery County. That's the next county we need and the next location of our geocaches. So we found a place to stay there for the night. Tomorrow we'll finish up Indiana and start into Illinois. I look forward to seeing you back again.

To follow along on our travels and keep up with my latest blogs, you may do so here of course by clicking the "Follow" button to the right. But also by using one or more of your favorite of these social media platforms: FacebookMeWeGabRedditParlorTwitterRVillageGETTRInstagram, and TruthSocial. These all link directly to my profiles. Again, please feel free to comment and / or share.

Saturday, October 29, 2022

2021-03-25: Day 3 of Turning a 1400 Mile Road Trip into a 3404 Mile Adventure!

Hello again friends, family, RV'ers, Jeeper, Geocachers, and Roadtrippers! Welcome to Day 3 of our adventurous road trip where we turned a simple 1400 mile drive from NC to TX into a 12 day 3404 mile sightseeing tour! On the third day we traveled through Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, finding some really cool historic places like this very first toll booth in the country. So come ride along with us as I share our geocaching adventures with you.

So for our first stop today, we were passing by the very northern tip of Mineral County, West Virginia. It was one of the needed counties on my geocaching map. We took the exit off of I-68 in Cumberland, MD and crossed the bridge over the North Branch Potomac River into Ridgeley, WV. It was a quick stop for a quick find near the rail yards along the river (GC3HYE8).

Back across the bridge into Maryland for Allegany County. We start with a virtual geocache at Riverside Park (GC37CB). A couple of things here in this park to see. First we'll start with a historical highway. Probably the most famous of the highway's and byway's is Route 66, which we'll highlight in an upcoming blog as we travelled on it later in this adventure.

But here in Cumberland, Maryland at Riverside Park is a monument which marks the starting point of the very first federally funded road project. Envisioned by George Washington, the "Cumberland" or "National Road" as it was called, was a means to develop the continent and to unite the country. The highway was promoted by Thomas Jefferson and authorized by Congress in 1806. Construction work began in 1811 and this monument was erected in 2011 at the 200th anniversary. The flags that surround the monument represent each state the road traverses and one for the U.S. flag of 1811.

Also located within Riverside Park is George Washington's Headquarters. From the historical marker: "Our founding father spent much of his time in this vicinity while a young man as a surveyor, ambassador, aide-de-camp to General Braddock, and Commander of the Virginia military forces. This cabin served as his headquarters during part of this time."

"During the French and Indian War, a 23-year old Lt Col Washington studied military customs and tactics from this cabin while General Braddock's army encamped at Fort Cumberland in May-June 1755. As aide-de-camp to Braddock, he marched with the ill-fated expedition against the French. His advice to Braddock concerning backwoods warfare was ignored by the arrogant General. Washington led the retreat of those left from the field."

"George was made commander of all Virginia forces in August of 1755 and in the next three years spent much time in this area with his forces. He wrote ardent love letters to his future bride from this cabin at Fort Cumberland. He was with General Forbes in the successful campaign against Fort Duquesne in November of 1758. As President, in 1794, Washington reviewed troops gathered here to suppress the Whiskey Rebellion in Pennsylvania." George Washington's headquarters is the only remaining structure left of Fort Cumberland.

Up on the hill overlooking downtown and the river, the Emmanuel Episcopal Church was built on the site where Fort Cumberland once stood. Constructed from 1848 to 1851, beneath the floor of the church sanctuary are portions of the cellar, magazines, and earthen works of the fort. Research shows that tunnels beneath the church were used as a station on the Underground Railroad in the 1800's.

It was common for forts of this period to have rifle pits or trenches outside the walls as a line of first defense. Two water gates were along the palisade walls near the point of the fort. Trenches, tunnels, or both ran from these to the creek below. They were necessary to protect men going for water or to the storehouses located down the hill from Indians.

At the west end of Cumberland is the Rose Hill Cemetery (GCM8C3). With nearly 8,000 interments, the oldest dates all the way back to 1754. Col Joshua Fry was a surveyor, adventurer, soldier, map maker and a member of he House of Burgess, the legislature of the colony of Virginia. He was educated at Oxford and upon arrival he was made a professor at William & Mary College. He created an important map of Virginia along with Peter Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson's father. In the early days of the French and Indian War he was given command of the Virginia Regiment and ordered to take the French Fort Duquesne near present day Pittsburg. In May of 1754, during the advance he died at Cumberland, MD and George Washington succeeded him in command.

Built into one side of the hill is a row of family mausoleums. This one belongs to the Shriver family and contains nine of its members from 1863 to 1890.

Crossing over the state line north into Pennsylvania, we stopped for two geocaches in Somerset County. The first was in the town of Addison off of US-40 at what used to be the Old National Road that I mentioned earlier. Here is located the countries first toll booth (GC2TVCN). After several years of construction, the National Road officially opened in 1818. Decades of debate over the constitutionality and expenditure of an 800 mile road and it was eventually turned over to the various states through which it passed in 1831-1834.

Pennsylvania, like other states, erected 6 toll booths to help pay for the expense of maintaining the new highway. The Petersburg Toll House was constructed in 1835 at a cost of $1,530. Toll keeper William Condon collected $1,758.87 from Nov 10, 1840 through Nov 19, 1841 and received a $200 salary and the use of the building for his family. The toll collections ended in 1906.

Iron toll gates were added in 1836. Leading into the park across the street is a walkway between two columns. These may have been the ones that held the gates in place.

Posted on the toll house is an old "Rates of Toll" sheet listing the prices for all the various horses, wagons, pedestrian combinations that may be passing through the gates. The Petersburg Toll House underwent a complete restoration in 1997.

Just down the road was our next geocache at the Newbury Cemetery (GC15N55). The geocache highlighted the grave of Captain Black. Son of James and Catharine Black, Milton Black enlisted as 2nd Lieutenant on November 12, 1861 in Company H, 85th Infantry Regiment, Pennsylvania. He died on June 23, 1862 at White Oak Swamp, Virginia. According to his grave marker, he died in Camp Richmond of typhoid fever.

Upon finding the geocache and opening the lid, I was all excited seeing two $100 bills inside. I've heard stories about cachers finding cash or valuables inside geocaches. But with further inspection of the bills, I noticed the "For Motion Picture Use Only" printed on the front and back. Oh well, I found the cache but not the cash. So I left them in the container to surprise the next cachers.

Continuing west on the National Road and US-40 just before crossing the Youghiogheny River Lake and the Great Crossing Bridge, I saw this old abandoned building on the side of the road and had to pull over for a closer inspection and photos. After doing some research, I still don't know what this place actually was at one time. It kinda looks like it might have been a restaurant. If any of you might have some information on this place, please leave it in the comments below.

Continuing a few miles over into Fayette County, we grabbed a quick stop and go cache near the sign of a nursing home (GC3PFBR). Trying to continue momentum and putting some miles behind us, another quick park and grab for Greene County (GC7WMEG). This one was a pretty cool container hanging in a tree like a bird house.

Crossing over into the narrow top of West Virginia, we made a quick exit off the Interstate 70 in Ohio County for fuel, lunch, and a quick geocache (GC4191Z).

Now in Ohio, we're back following the National Road in Guernsey County. One of the great things I like about geocaching is that some of them bring you to some historical places I wouldn't otherwise know about. This is the "S" Bridge which was built around 1828 (GC71EA). Where the National Road crossed a creek at an angle, this stone arch bridge was built at right angles to the stream flow. "S" shaped walls were then built to guide traffic around the jog from the direction of travel across the bridge and back onto the road line. An arch parallel with the stream flow and in line with the road would have been more difficult and costly to build.

With time running out this afternoon, we quickly made it through some more Ohio counties grabbing easy caches to put the county on our map. The first was a cemetery geocache (GC1JV08) in the town of New Concord and a gas station geocache (GC2339T) in the town of Sonora for Muskingum County. I didn't spend much time in the cemetery looking for a story like usual, but I did spot a Harley Headstone.

After that it was dropping down into Perry County for a roadside park and grab (GC1WPEB). And finally passing through the very NW corner of Fairfield County, it was enough for a quick LPC (light post cache GC48ZFH) in a shopping center parking lot to complete that spot on the map.

That was it for this day of our North Carolina to Texas via the LONG WAY around geocaching adventure. I hope you have enjoyed virtually riding along with us and maybe inspiring you to go and visit some of these places too. Tomorrow we finished up Ohio and made it into Indiana visiting more sites along the historic National Road. So join us again for more of our adventure.

To follow along on our travels and keep up with my latest blogs, you may do so here of course by clicking the "Follow" button to the right. But also by using one or more of your favorite of these social media platforms: FacebookMeWeGabRedditParlorTwitterRVillageGETTRInstagram, and TruthSocial. These all link directly to my profiles. Again, please feel free to comment and / or share.

Saturday, October 8, 2022

2021-03-24: Turning a 1400 Mile Drive into a 3404 Mile Road Trip! Day 2 in Virginia, DC, Maryland, and Pennsylvania

On this Day 2 of our 3400 mile road trip from NC to TX, taking the long route, we geocached our way from Virginia through Maryland, DC, West Virginia, and into Pennsylvania history. Picking up new geocaching counties along the way, we were sightseeing places of Revolutionary and Civil War prominence that included churches, houses, cemeteries and more. So come join us as we travel back in time...

Our first two geocaches were quick urban hides to get credit for the county. In Virginia, there are not only the counties but also some of the larger cities have their own "boundaries" separate from the county. So the first of the geocaches was for Spotsylvania County (GC1FYJ1) and the other just a few blocks away was located within Fredericksburg (GC82XNE).

Our next geocache and county was up the road into Stafford County. It was a old virtual geocache at a piece of Civil War history (GCB1C). This huge stone block base is all that remains of a train bridge which spanned the Potomac Creek. The Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Potomac Railroad crossing this bridge was a major supply route for Confederate troops along the river. Early 1862, the troops were ordered to abandoned their positions here. The advancing Union troops found the bridge destroyed in an effort to slow them down. In May 1862, engineer Herman Haupt supervised the unskilled Union army soldiers in harvesting two million feet of lumber and reconstructing the bridge in just nine days (see photo at top of page). Over the next three years and continued destruction by the Confederates, the bridge was rebuilt four times using this same foundation. You can see the modern roadway through the trees on the right side.

Our next "county" geocache, one of Virginia's separate townships, was in Falls Church. Just a quick parking lot LPC (light post cache) (GC3XCZE), but it fills in a blank on the county map and keeps us moving forward.

Our next two geocaches are practically in the same spot at the intersecting corners of Arlington County, Fairfax County and Falls Church. Located in a small park in a residential neighborhood is the original 1791 survey stone marking the proposed western corner of the diamond shaped District of Columbia for the newly formed United States Capital. Maryland was donating land NE of the Potomac River, while Virginia was to donate land SW of the river forming the diamond shape. However, Virginia rescinded and we have the current half-diamond configuration of Washington D.C. today. The two geocaches located here are a virtual for the survey marker (GC6781) and a Challenge for finding 300 Virtual caches (GC572WE).

Just a short distance away, and in Fairfax County, is another Virtual geocache at this 9-11 Memorial (GCA072). There are a LOT of virtual caches in and around Washington DC, but we don't have the time at this point to get to them all. So we just try and grab a couple every time we pass through the area.

In an effort to not get too bogged down and spend the entire day in Virginia, I make another quick park & grab parking lot LPC find in Loudoun County (GC3V6QF).

We add Clarke County to our map by picking up a geocache in the County Seat of Berryville (GCXGQF). From the historical marker: "The year after Clarke County was formed in 1836, construction began on a brick courthouse based on county justice David Meade's design. The courthouse was remodeled in the Neoclassical style about 1850 when the portico and copula were added. Portraits of locally prominent judges and lawyers from the 1840's to the present are displayed in the courtroom. The last public hanging in Clarke County occurred here in 1905."

There was much to see around the courthouse square. One of which is this statue erected as a memorial to those Clarke County residents who fought and died during the Civil War defending states rights and the Confederacy.

The other was the Grace Episcopal Church and Graveyard erected in 1832. Do you know what the difference between a cemetery and a graveyard? Originally graveyards were burial grounds on church property, whereas cemeteries were land specifically designated for burials. Some very old churches actually have clergy or other very prominent members buried WITHIN the church under the floor. Their flat headstones would be down the isles between the pews.

My next two geocaches are in the Winchester Township. On previous roadtrips through Virginia I had just skipped the small townships, instead just focusing on the larger and rural counties. But I'm gonna have to fill these in on the map sooner or later. Might as well get to working on them.

During the Civil War, the Union and Confederate armies each used the Frederick County Courthouse (GC4XT0K) as a hospital and a prison. The Greek revival style courthouse was completed in 1840. It was the third courthouse constructed on this location. In 1758, the first courthouse was the site of George Washington's first election to office, when voters here elected him a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses.

Though these buildings have not been around that long, Colonel James Wood, a native of Winchester, England, laid out and founded the new Winchester in Virginia prior to 1743. It received a charter of incorporation from the colonial legislature in February 1752. Colonel Wood was the first surveyor of Orange County from which the county of Frederick was carved by an act of the House of Burgesses passed in 1738.

The Taylor Hotel, also our next virtual geocache (GC890KN), was a major stopping point for travelers because of its location on the Valley Turnpike and also was the center of town life. During the Civil War it was the headquarters for several commanders, most notably Confederate General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson. This is the Taylor Hotel below as it looks today.

Arriving in November 1861, his stay at the hotel was short. Continuing crowds of people eager to meet the famous Stonewall Jackson, he moved a few days later to a private residence of the Lewis T. Moore house, which is now the Stonewall Jackson Headquarters Museum (GC4XT6Y) pictured below. He used this as his headquarters until March 1862 when he left Winchester to begin his Valley Campaign.

Finally exiting Virginia and making our way into West Virginia, our next stop was in the town of Middleway to grab a geocache for Jefferson County (GCM0TN). From the historical marker: Middleway, founded in the late 1700's, flourished as a trading center for most of the 1800's. About 1820, the Lutherans and German Reformed congregations joined together to build this church. Some years elapsed and the building was erected and finally the Presbyterians agreed to bear one third of the cost. Services were alternated, thus the name Union Church.

As the village declined, the Union Church and its cemetery deteriorated. In a more recent act of destruction, vandals smashed tombstones with bats and knocked others askew. The nearby Grace Episcopal Church, built in 1851, (pictured below), having acquired the forsaken property, stepped in and has restored the site to its former dignity.

For Berkeley County, I stop for one of the famous WVTim gadget caches. Since 2012, it has had over 1400 finders and awarded nearly 700 favorite points. Located on the grounds of a fire station, it's made to look like an old fire house. I'm not gonna give you the GC code to this one cause I'm gonna tell you how it works. In order to open the compartment that contains the log sheet, you must first open the compartment which contains a package of balloons. Insert the balloon into tube on the side leaving enough around the tube for you to blow on and inflate the balloon. As the balloon expands on the inside, it opens the door containing the swag and log sheet. A fairly simple gadget cache but fun none the less. Oh and please take your balloon with you as you don't want another cacher to using the same one as you.

Up next in Morgan County, I stopped for a quick guard rail cache (GC4AX47) but still a significant point of history. From this point along the banks of the Upper Potomac River, Stonewall Jackson began shelling Hancock, Maryland from Orrick's Hill, January 5, 1862 after it refused to surrender Jackson's men were able to plunder a large cache of rifles, ammo, and blankets from a supply train that came into Alpine Station. After destroying remaining supplies, the B&O Railway track and the bridge over the Great Cacapon, Jackson marched his army of 8,500 men to Romney and captured it.

Crossing the bridge over into Maryland, we followed the river westbound until we got to that narrow piece of Maryland that separates West Virginia from Pennsylvania. Turning north a few hundred feet into Pennsylvania for our next geocache in PA's Fulton County and a significant piece of survey history. Here is located a stone survey marker for the Mason-Dixon Line (GC2BCKX).

The Mason–Dixon Line was surveyed between 1763 and 1767 by Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon in the resolution of a border dispute between British colonies in Colonial America. The disputants engaged an expert British team, astronomer Charles Mason and surveyor Jeremiah Dixon, to survey what became known as the Mason–Dixon Line. It cost the Calverts of Maryland and the Penns of Pennsylvania £3,512/9 to have 244 miles surveyed with such accuracy. To them the money was well spent, for in a new country there was no other way of establishing ownership.

Mason and Dixon's actual survey line began to the south of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and extended from a benchmark east to the Delaware River and west to what was then the boundary with western Virginia. The surveyors also fixed the boundary between Delaware and Pennsylvania and the approximately north–south portion of the boundary between Delaware and Maryland. Most of the Delaware–Pennsylvania boundary is an arc, and the Delaware–Maryland boundary does not run truly north-south because it was intended to bisect the Delmarva Peninsula rather than follow a meridian.

And finally our last geocache of the day was a virtual (GCED74) at the Sideling Hill Welcome Center on I-68. The Interstate 68 highway through Maryland is also known as the National Freeway. It runs parallel to US-40 and the original National Road which was built in the 1800's. I'll talk more about the National Road more next week when we visit some of the remnants along the way including the first toll booth in the United States.

That's it for today. To follow along on our travels and keep up with my latest blogs, you may do so here of course by clicking the "Follow" button to the right. But also by using one or more of your favorite of these social media platforms: FacebookMeWeGabRedditParlorTwitterRVillageGETTRInstagram, and TruthSocial. These all link directly to my profiles. Again, please feel free to comment and / or share.

Friday, September 23, 2022

2021-03-23: Turning a 1400 Mile Drive into a 3404 Mile Road Trip! Day 1 in North Carolina and Virginia

WOW! What a roadtrip! So after two weeks, we finished up in Maiden, NC and now have to drive back to McCamey, TX to start the next project. Google maps says that it should only take 21 hours and 1400 miles. But where's the fun in that? BORING!! This wouldn't be the AwayWeGo Geocaching Adventures blog if we did that. NOPE, we took the LONG way back to Texas. It ended up taking us 12 days and 3404 miles later to reach our destination! So I hope you'll join us over these next few weeks as I bring you the stories and photos of the places we've discovered geocaching and sightseeing along the rural backroads and byways of the upper mid-west. So let's get started with Day 1 in North Carolina and Virginia...

Our first stop after checking out of the Lake Norman RV Resort on this cool spring morning, was for a virtual geocache (GC7B67D) in the historic town of Hillsborough, NC. On the grounds of the 1768 St. Mathews Church, later to become the Presbyterian Church, is the Old Town Cemetery. Not a traditional churchyard burial ground, it is one of North Carolina's oldest municipal cemeteries, established in 1757 by the Colonial Assembly and is the final resting place of several people who are significant to North Carolina history.

Among those buried here are William Hooper (1742-1790), who studied law in his native Massachusetts before moving to North Carolina where he established a law firm first in Wilmington and then Hillsborough. His gravestone lists several of his accomplishments, his greatest one was the signing of the Declaration of Independence. In 1894, Hooper's gravestone, and perhaps some of his remains, were moved to the Guilford Court House Revolutionary War battlefield. After a statue of Hooper was erected a few years later, the gravestone was returned to Hillsborough.

The tallest headstone is an obelisk honoring William Alexander Graham (1804-1875), who was governor, a United States Senator, and vice-presidential candidate.

The oldest part of the cemetery is just north of the church buildings in what now appears to be an empty field. In 2016, a ground-penetrating radar revealed that at least 100 graves are located there. The original grave markers, probably rough fieldstones or carved and painted wood have long vanished.

The only other stop in North Carolina on this trip was to make up for a previous DNF, see previous blog. Located in Chapel Hill was a geocache for the North Carolina County Challenge. I first attempted the geocache back in 2019 while working on another project and taking a roadtrip to pickup new counties. At that time of my visit the cache was missing so I wasn't able to sign the logsheet. Last year I completed the last couple of missing counties I needed to complete the state, but wasn't able to make it back to avenge my DNF. Upon this return trip, I noticed a new earthcache was placed at the outdoor amphitheater. So we gathered the needed answers to submit for the find.

Then we made the short hike through the park into the woods to find the ammo can replacement to claim a find for finding a cache in ALL 100 North Carolina Counties (GC19YRC)!

Crossing over into Virginia, it's back to focusing on county caching, virtuals, and other places of interest. First up were a pair of geocaches in Brunswick County and the town of Alberta. Usually not something I want to do when I don't want to spend a lot of time and that is hunt for a train hide geocache (GC80MYC). However this one was found pretty quickly and I moved a few blocks down the road.

We drove to another cache (GC8WD4N) just down the road at the sight of the original school house. I was hoping to find the remains of the school or something. But it was demolished in the 1980's and nothing remains except the short entry road to an empty field. I did find the geocache though.

Every now and then you get the unexpected surprise of finding something interesting when geocaching and sightseeing along the backroads during a road trip. The old bank building, now abandoned, is still standing on Main Street and 1st. I did a quick search to try and find some history on the building but didn't have any luck. It looks like a similar building I saw down in a small town along the Rio Grande in South Texas.

Driving north on US-1 into Dinwiddie County, we passed by this old motel and I just had to stop and get a photo of it. Located in McKenney, VA, the Wilmurt's Motel first opened in the 1930's as Wilmurt's Lunch Room, Cabins, and an Esso Gas station. As automobile travel grew in popularity after WWII, it expanded into a motor court / motel style business and did away with the cabins. It finally closed in the early 2000's and sits empty.

For this counties cache, we drove up to the town of Dewitt at the old fire tower (GC84NWP). The fire tower is no longer in service but at one time there were more than 150 fire towers scattered all across Virginia and were used to detect forest fires. Tower operators would sit up in the small room at the top mostly during the spring and look for smoke columns. When they saw one they would check with a neighboring tower for a cross reference and then call or radio a forestry person who would respond. Virginia on average has about 1,000 wildfires each year.

When we got to the city of Richmond, we had originally intended to find the virtual geocache at one of the large cemeteries that contain some significant interments of Virginia history. However by the time we got there they were just closing the gates so we couldn't get in.

So we drove over to the Virginia War Memorial for the virtual geocache there (GC7B656). In 1950, five years after the end of World War II, the Virginia General Assembly authorized the building of a memorial to honor and remember the nearly 10,000 Virginians who made the ultimate sacrifice serving in the U.S Armed Forces. A design was chosen, as was the location – nearly five acres overlooking the James River and downtown Richmond along U.S. Routes 1 and 301, the primary route from Maine to Florida before the construction of Interstate 95. As construction began, America entered the Korean War and plans were changed to include the heroes of this conflict. Construction was completed in 1955 and the Memorial was officially dedicated on February 29, 1956. The Memorial celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2016. The photo of the statue at the top of this page is looking through the center of this building below.

Our final geocaching stop for the day was in Hanover County at the I-95 Travel Bug Hotel (GC8132F). By now it was around 7:30 PM and we were hungry and tired ourselves and still needed to figure out where we were gonna stay for the night. So stop by next week when I'll show you Day 2 traveling through Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia's colonial history, Revolutionary and Civil War sites and more.

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