Travel Log 6/20/2018

Travel Map

Scranton, Pennsylvania area

While in the Scranton area, we spent three nights at Lackawanna State Park. We were in a loop pretty much by ourselves (since it was midweek). We left on Friday, so I’m sure the campground probably filled up, but it was definitely quiet while we were there. The park has a nice lake for fishing, paddling, and swimming and seems to be a popular daytrip location for locals.


Our secluded campsite



As usual, Scooter enjoyed getting out and exploring



I’ve never seen an orange lizard before



I had to be careful where I stepped if I went out at night!


We spent some time at Steamtown National Historic Site. This is a National Park site dedicated to the preservation and history of steam locomotives. It consists of a restored roundhouse, in which two museums are housed, as well as the visitor center and a working roundhouse garage. One museum traces the history of steam trains in America, and most specifically in the Lackawanna valley of Pennsylvania. The other museum looks at the technology associated with steam locomotives and their infrastructure. The garage displays many of the engines in Steamtown’s collection and has active ongoing repair and restoration projects.


One of the engines sitting in the roundhouse yard



A broad view of the interior of the remodeled roundhouse yard



The working turntable still aids in the movement of engines in and out of the garage



The history museum had an extensive timeline display which wound like a maze through the attraction



This was an intriguing display about the various people and roles associated with rail travel. Artifacts and explanations about each person type could be found on the back side of each case.



This was the interior of a mail-sorting car. A video at the far end shared an interview with a mail carrier remembering trying to figure out the destination of a mail piece to “Mr. Hot Dog” in Washington. It was figured out to be for Supreme Court judge Felix Frankfurter! 



They also had an Executive class car to look through, including dining, meeting, and sleeping spaces.



One of the engines being serviced in the roundhouse. Note the smoke coming from the stack. If the engine is in for short-term service, they keep a fire going in the firebox.



The technology museum explained not only about the workings of trains and rail systems, but had interesting videos and displays about the associated building projects as well (stations, bridges, etc.)



Photographs of all the steam locomotives owned and displayed at Steamtown


We also took a short excursion to Archbald Pothole State Park. This is a small preservation site of a glacial remnant discovered in the late 1800s. It is a 38 foot deep pothole formed by the runoff of meltwater coming off one of the large continental glaciers which covered the area 15,000 years ago.


Interpretive sign about the discovery and preservation of the pothole



The observation platform extending out over the hole



The terrace steps within the splash pool. This is an interesting geologic feature because it’s obvious that there’s no stream valley associated with it, and yet it shows definite signs of typical natural pothole formation such as would be found at the base of a waterfall. Hence the interpretation of it being associated with streams running off a glacial sheet.


Gettysburg, Pennsylvania area

We drove 169 miles to Mountain Creek Campground, a privately-owned campground near Mount Holly Springs, Pennsylvania. Mount Holly Springs is between Carlisle and Gettysburg.

While passing through Harrisburg, I was reminded of another geologic feature called a water gap. The large Susquehanna River passes through several parallel ridges here. It has obviously downcut through the ridges, but did not turn and flow between them as one might expect. The best explanation for this is that the river pre-dates the formation of the ridges. As the mountains folded (like a sheet of paper being pushed together on a flat surface) the preexisting river cut across the uplifting ridges.


Susquehanna River
Water gap as seen from Google maps Streetview (since I was driving and couldn’t take a picture of my own).



Appalachian Folds
Here’s a Google maps satellite view of the Susquehanna River on the right, cutting across several of these folded ridges. These are the anticline/syncline folds of the Appalachian mountains 



Anticline diagram
Illustration from a Wiley Geology text illustrating the anticline and syncline folding and their resulting surface expression 



Our site at Mountain Creek campground


We spent a day at Gettysburg National Military Park. We were only able to view the displays in the visitor center on this day. They have a very good movie narrated by Morgan Freeman, along with an amazing Cyclorama (360-degree, 42 foot high, 377 feet in circumference) oil painting depicting the last day of battle at Gettysburg, and a wonderful chronological museum about the civil war leading up to Gettysburg.


The entrance to the visitor center complex



The U.S. flag during the Civil War kept stars for both union and confederate states on it



We were a country with two governments for a time



Displays included many artifacts from the conflict


We were unable to explore the battlefield at this time. We interrupted our journey to fly to Orlando to complete the purchase of a house there which our son and daughter-in-law will live in, keeping care of our furniture. We’ll use the house as a homebase during our travels. When we get back to Pennsylvania, we plan to finish our tour of Gettysburg.

We were fortunate to find Char-Lyn Kennels in Carlisle in which to board our dog, Scooter. On Wednesday, we drove down to Baltimore to Baltimore Washington International Airport.

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