– Portland, Maine to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania –

The drive today was mostly pretty quiet. It was a rough morning, though. Mark, Ripley, and I didn’t get to run, since it was raining pretty hard when we got up at 5am. Very disappointing since we didn’t get to run yesterday, either, because our day was so long.

Rain on the Suburban

Instead, we got into the shower and got on out of there. Just down the road, we stopped at Dunkin Donuts for breakfast. Don’t tell anyone, but Tim Hortons is way better, especially the donuts. The sandiwches are better, too. The only way Dunkin Donuts has Timmie’s beat is that they serve unsweet iced tea in most places, and it’s usually pretty good. Otherwise, bleh.

We have arrived at the point in the trip where, yes, we are stopping to see things, but the things are smaller, and fewer and farther in between. Today’s major stops were at Springfield Armory National Historic Site and Delaware Gap National Recreation Area. Both are more minor parks, but since most of our time now is spent making miles, that’s about right.

Spiral stairs in the Armory

We left the hotel really early, around 6:45am, which is a little later than we sometimes manage when we get started at 5, but we spent a little time making sure that the rain wasn’t going to stop beforehand. It definitely wasn’t. It rained most of the morning, and some in the afternoon. Sometimes it poured.

It took about 4.5 hours to get to our first stop in Springfield, Massachusetts. We passed through a lot of the little states on the way, most of which my parents have never visited. Dad has been to Pennsylvania and New Jersey on a work trip, but Mom hasn’t been to any of them. We also got Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, and obviously Massachusetts, which were all new to them. Too bad we missed Rhode Island. We’d gotten New York on the way up here, or that would count, too.

Wall of rifles

It was still raining in Springfield, but it was also pretty warm. Mom elected to stay in the car with the dogs and take a nap while the rest of us went into Springfield Armory National Historic Site.

This site is one of two national armories, and was the “primary center for the manufacture of United States military firearms from 1777 until its closing in 1968,” according to Wikipedia. It has a huge collection of historic weapons, mostly made by Springfield, but also a few from the opposite sides of various wars.

Kristy and the mishaps

We were mostly there for Mark and Dad, as they have a much stronger interest in that sort of thing than I do. My favorite part was the “mishaps” section, where you could see what happened to rifles when they misfired somehow and basically exploded. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near one when that happened, but the damage done to those guns is just fascinating.

We spent a little over half an hour in the museum looking around. In addition to rifles, they have a few handguns, a few cannons and mortars, and some swords and things like that. I assume non of those were manufactured on the site. The place is huge, but only one building is still the national historic site. The rest is a community college now, which is very strange to see.

Mark’s a park ranger now

The museum has a manufacturing portion as well, and you can see some of the equipment running, though it isn’t actually doing anything. We had a good time looking around, and I think Mom and the dogs had a good nap. It was raining again when we came back out.

We stopped for lunch just a few blocks away closer to downtown Springfield at Hot Table, which is a panini place. We got really lucky and found a parking place just outside, and it started pouring rain after we ducked into the restaurant.

Springfield Armory manufacturing equipment

Our paninis were fantastic. I’ve never been there or heard about it, I just happened to spot it on the map and see that they had sandwiches and a vegetarian menu. Everyone loved it. It’s fun to find random restaurants like that with such good food.

We had to run out to the Suburban when we left to keep from getting soaked, and the highway was terrible for a stretch as the rain kept coming huge, torrential waves. It was not a pleasant drive.

Hot Table

It was another 3.5 hours to Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, where we stopped again to look around. This area has been having serious flooding in the last few days, so the river was way up. In addition, I guess some sort of storm damaged the park sometime in the last year, so large portions of it were still closed.

We were really only interested in taking a look at the river, so when we discovered the visitor center was closed and we couldn’t get a stamp, we picked a little pull off and went down to look at the river.

Delaware Water Gap flooding

It was definitely high. Surprisingly, the bugs weren’t too bad, and we spent several minutes entertaining the poor dogs, who’d been trapped in the car all day by the rain. By now it was warm and only a little cloudy, as we’d driven through the majority of the bad weather for the day. The rain continued north without us.

Around 5:30, we stopped at an Arby’s for dinner for Mom and Dad. Dad didn’t want to eat too late, and we wouldn’t be at the hotel for another two hours, so we got them some sandwiches.

Bribing Ripley with treats

Mark and I had Qdoba about an hour later in a larger town. I really love Qdoba food. I need one in Denton. The closest one to us is on the way to Fort Worth. DFW doesn’t have too many of them, for whatever reason. I sometimes think it is better than Chipotle.

We made it to our La Quinta around 7:30pm. It’s nice to be back in La Quintas, which we will be staying in for the rest of the trip. No more worries about quality or a lack of free breakfast.

Qdoba for dinner

Tomorrow we’re going to get up and run here in Harrisburg, which is flooded from the recent rains, so we will have to be careful what we pick. Later in the day we will do Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive. I think Mark has something else planned for the morning, too, but I don’t remember what it is. I bet I find out tomorrow.

– Trip Total : 7,786 miles

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