Day 1: Memorial Weekend, 2009
Off to Maryland
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I traveled expressway to Washington, PA, where I picked up US-40. Friday night was spent in Uniontown. There was a very recent online discussion lamenting the absence of cherry cider at the Jack Rabbit Trading Post on Route 66 to which I contributed that I had last seen cherry cider at a place on the National Road near Fort Necessity. I was by there this morning and, while it was too early for it to be open, cherry cider is clearly still available.

With one side in shadow while the other is washed out by the low sun of early morning, this is certainly not a great picture. But it is a great road.

My target was the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad in Cumberland, Maryland. That's the "assignment" so I won't be posting pictures of the train ride but here's one from in front of the station. Bikes for the World had a collection station in operation and seemed to be getting some results. I'd not heard of this organization before. It's mission is to move unused bicycles from American garages to the streets of undeveloped countries.

There's a lot going on this weekend including the Canal Place Preservation & Development Authority's Spring Festival and that puts carnival rides and cotton candy on the banks of the C&O Canal.

The train runs between Cumberland and Frostburg and Frostburg is where I'm spending Saturday night. I'm staying at the extremely cool 112 year old Gunter Hotel but, since I'm not yet sure how or if the hotel fits into the upcoming magazine article, I'll not post a lot of pictures. However, I am confident that this picture of my room won't make the printed page.

The hotel is right across the street from the Princess Restaurant which is celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2009. I've stopped here before and tested the signature coconut cream pie but hadn't had a full meal before. Tonight I ordered chicken. Why? Because that's what Harry had.

Harry Truman's stop here in 1953 is covered in Matthew Algeo's recently published Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure. Matthew was in town last night for a book signing and had naturally eaten at the Princess before heading to the bookstore across the street. I've just finished the book and am in the process of reviewing it. I briefly met Matthew at a signing in Richmond, Indiana, a couple of weeks ago. I missed meeting him again by one day. Small world. When I realized that the "Truman booth" was right behind me, I moved to the booth for a moment so that a waitress could take my picture. Back at the counter, I learned that the photo hanging in the booth was taken by the father of the fellow sitting just to my right. Last night, the son had taken Matthew Algeo's picture while the author sat in the booth. Small world. My next discovery was that it was the youngest member of the Pappas family who had taken my picture. It was her great grandfather who started the place and it's her father who runs it now. Before long I was chatting with owner George W. Pappas as if we were old friends. It was a delightful visit with some great folks and the chicken was darned good, too.

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