Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

June 5, 2018

Belle Vernon, PA

Too soon our trip came to an end.  I forgot to take a pic of our hotel the whole time we were there so I got this shot around 11pm which is when we started the drive east.  


We pulled over around 4:00 AM and Russell was gonna take a nap.  Unfortunately the dashboard lit up that the battery wasn't charging and there was an issue with the brakes.  Greeeat.  Thank god I have AAA cause I called them right away, but it took 3 hours for them to show up.  It was determined that it was probably an alternator issue.  We were 600 miles from home and I was so tired (having been up since 7AM the day before) that I start crying.  The guy said that he would lead us to a garage in Belle Vernon and, hopefully, they could squeeze us in.  We hobbled west for one exit and pulled in.  The mechanics were very nice and said they would get it done and us on our way, but it would be a wait.  We didn't care.  Just do it.  They took it into the shop at 10:30 and were kind enough to lend us a pick up truck that fit Sagan too, so that we could go get some breakfast and kill time.  

Since there was literally NOTHING to do, we took a short walk around so that I could take some pictures.  It's a very run down, hinky town and I was afraid to go off on my own so Russell walked Sagan and escorted me.

And guess where we were?  Below that blue bridge I had to take a picture of on the way west. 




Belle Vernon is in way western PA, only 40 or so miles from the border w/ West Virginia.  This is coal mining and steel country, which has not rebounded from prior recessions and times are still hard. 





I'd love to have gotten a look inside this place but it was being torn down.






The decay made for some interesting pictures.  I may convert some of them to black & white.





This is where we waited till about 1:30 in the afternoon.  They were good to us though, and we truly appreciated their kindness.  

Monongahela River.  If you were to follow that river in that direction (north), you'd hit Pittsburgh in about 30 or 40 miles.




They had to replace the alternator and the rear brake lines.  But on the test drive, the front brake lines blew out.  Talk about a kick in the chiclets.  That was so demoralizing to hear.  The guy said what he could do was block it off the really bad line in front and it would definitely get us home.  We finally got rolling again at about 2pm.  We were supposed to be home by then.  So back on the road we go, 10 hours behind.   Russell missed a turn and we ended up slogging through downtown Harrisburg (the state capitol) at rush hour.  I saw Three Mile Island from a distance.  Next thing I know he's off the highway and we are lost in very rural....and hilly.....PA, with limited cell signals.  My friend Liz was texting with me cause she was online trying to find where we were to tell us how to get back.  After about a 45 minute detour, we were back on I-78 and those last 300 miles were torture.

10 comments:

  1. rather haunting pics of Belle Vernon. I've never been in that piece of PA. Sorry the trip ended with a limp to the finish line. Car trouble is so awful. But it sounds like nice folks took care of you and kept you rolling, sputtering to the end. Home, sweet, home - I'm sure your bed felt good. I'd say your Spring 2018 was overall a huge success!

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    1. It was pretty miserable. It felt like we were never gonna get home. We were on the road over 24 hours, and awake 43 hours. He collapsed into bed the second we got in but I had to take a shower! Slept till 11AM!

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  2. How frustrating! But I'm glad you were with Russell, and you made the most of your time. Looks like a spot out of an old time movie.
    Be well, JoJo.

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    1. Yeah it was an experience that's for sure! Actually the delay ensured that I would be able to take pics of a couple Mail Pouch Tobacco barns. If we had been traveling on schedule, it would've still been dark out.

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  3. I'm so sorry you ran into all that trouble. It's so aggravating to be so far from home and have all those issues leaving you to feel so helpless. I'm glad everyone was so good to though. Those pictures had a kind of sad but also longing feeling for me. It made me wonder who once lived there.

    Elsie

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    1. It would've really sucked to have been stuck there all weekend and not able to leave till probably late Monday night. We are still so grateful to them for getting us going.

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  4. Oh no!! that not at all good..Thank god you are fine now..

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    1. We knew that the brakes could be an issue but we were unable to get them checked out before the trip. The fact that they held up as long as they did was great...although in retrospect it would've been so much easier if it had happened while we were in OH cause Val could've just driven us to and from the hotel while it was being fixed.

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  5. What a rotten series of events JoJo. No wonder you were so tired when you got home. You still got some really good pix though. Think I have crossed that blue bridge at some time in the past.

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    1. Thanks Jo. It was definitely stressful.

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