Yes, it was a very long day….

This is the rest of the day which began in the prior post – a VERY long day!!

Near Frostburg, and within sight of Interstate 68, I finally was able to see up-close a massive steel framework, which has been basically unchanged for perhaps 15 years (we.ve driven that highway several times.) It’s the landmark of a local church – God’s Ark of Safety – and is built roughly in the shape of the front half of a boat (or Ark?).   The foundation for the un-built back half is intact, but appears to be deteriorating due to weathering.  Apparently, the edifice is personifying the name of the church…but with no progress for all these years, whether they will ever get their ark finished is questionable!

Taking to back roads again, I detoured southwest toward toward Lonaconing, another little burg with a bit of history – the Lonaconing Iron Furnace, a part of the Georges Creek Coal and Iron Company which was formed and built in the late 1830’s.  This huge edifice (50’ square at the base, 25’ square at the top, and 50’ high) produced pig iron at the rate of 6 tons per day, which was then taken to Clarysville MD and shipped by the B&O Railroad, to be used by others to make metal products. 

This furnace was the first in America to successfully make pig iron using coal and coke instead of charcoal, so it is important in America’s history.  However Congress lowered the tariff on imported coal, thus it was cheaper to buy Welsh coal from overseas than use Pennsylvania coal.  Unable to compete, Lonaconing closed in 1855.

Along the valley floor were abandoned railroad tracks of the Georges Creek Railroad (former Western Maryland.)   In what appeared to be a former railroad shop area next to the those tracks were stored about 5 old diesel locomotives and several freight/passenger cars, in varying states of apparent disrepair.

Finally I reached Westernport, a town of under 2000 inhabitants which in 1794 was known as Hardscrabble due to the rocky soil which made planting difficult.  In the late 1790’s it became known as Westernport – as it was the farthest west navigable port on the Potomac River.  Its cute little railroad station now houses a museum.  I knew it would not be open, but it was nice to see another piece of history preserved.  And to visit another town, which I will likely never see again…  From Westernport, it was off to the motel in Cumberland.  And the GPS took me over some interesting (not bad, just unusual) roads…

It had been another day of “she” – “her” and so on, by the few folks with whom I had personal interactions.  No “side eyes” or other such issues. 

I was still going to be eating my lunch from the cooler, which would minimize personal interactions.  However, segue back to this morning. I had gone to the breakfast area before departing the hotel, to see if they had a prepackaged “something” I could take along for a snack.  Yes, they did.  The attendant showed me where they were, and said “Have a nice day, Ma’am” and so on. Very nice. As did the desk clerk… 

Gas stations were another place for interaction, and no problems were encountered.   I was just another female customer. Yes, the virus threat is still real, and with home life so busy at this point in time, I hurried to get out of there each time.  Covid was not something I needed to take home with me as a souvenir.

Finally, the motel was in sight…”May I help you, Ma’am.” Another fine day! Bring on tomorrow…

More to follow…

Mandy

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