"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

An-Almost-Trailer-Fire & 9/11 PA Memorial

Somerset, PA
Happy Camp RV Repair

Smoke.  That's what brought us to our next "campground" in Pennsylvania.  We had just pulled into a nice County Park and were getting all leveled.  I noticed a bad burning smell and then saw smoke coming out of the basement!  Steve immediately unplugged the shore power and disconnected the batteries.  We called around and found an RV repair center very close by.  Luckily Steve was able to get the legs back up and we drove over.  The owners of Happy Camp were very nice.  They looked the rig over right away and put a tech on it immediately knowing we are fulltimers and live in our rig.
Our home for the next few days.

They said we could stay in the rig while they worked on it and even let us put all our fridge/freezer things inside their shop freezers.  Whew.  That's always the worst part.  You hate to loose any food.  They hooked us up to power and said if we needed water or to dump they'd take care of that too.  Nicest people!  You hardly come across that kind of treatment.  Their shop is in a huge locked complex and they even gave us a key so we could come and go as we wanted.
It took two days for them to diagnose, find the problem and repair it.  It turned out to be a high amp DC wire from the converter to the batteries that shorted out to ground when it rubbed against the frame.  It was so hot that it melted holes in two of our four batteries including the posts.  We were so lucky to be there when it happened or we could've had a serious fire that would burned our rig to the ground in minutes.  The tech thinks it was just bad routing of the wire so he put extra insulation around the new wire where it shorted before and secured it better.  It also melted several other wires.  Let me tell you, there are a LOT of wires in these rigs!  When he had the belly pan down there were wires everywhere.  He checked everyone to make sure there was no other damage.  After repairing them, we turned on/off all systems, plugs and switches to make sure everything worked properly.  Our total bill?  $1100.  $100 in parts and $1000 in labor.  Ouch.  We're still hoping it'll be covered under warranty, but we're not holding our breath.  It was a Friday when they finished and the owner said we were welcome to stay the weekend if we wanted.  We thanked them for all their work and generosity and left Saturday morning.  This was our first major problem with our trailer and it was a doozy.  It was several days afterward before we felt comfortable that our home wouldn't catch on fire!  We highly recommend them if you're nearby and need repairs.

A fun geocache TB find.  You are encouraged to add a western themed item to it.  We added the red cowboy boot.

We're here to hike the Highest Point and to visit the Flight 93 9/11 Memorial.  While we waited for our trailer to be repaired we did a few geocaches and drove around the small towns.  There was a Festival going on that focused on all-things tractor.  Pulls, races, shows, etc.  It would've been nice to attend, but we wanted to head out when the weekend came.
A random elephant in town.
On our drive over to hike Mt. Davis's High Point, we passed several farms. Some huge.
And some small and simple.  This is Amish country and there are many horse and buggies around.
This is another High Point that you pretty much drive to.  There is just a short trail to the marker.
They put up some great plaques with a lot of information of the area and the state.

We found three triangulating markers but it took a bit longer to find the REAL one, the geological marker for the true summit.  Steve found it hammered into the tip of one of the boulders
Also on the summit is a tall lookout station.  I'm not really afraid of heights, but these open walkways give me the heebie jeebies.  I did go up top and took a couple of pictures and enjoyed the views, but then quickly went back down.  Even Hurley wouldn't go up very far.  He wimpered while we went up and was happy to have us back down.

Perfect views all around.  You could see some early fall color and some wind turbines.
On the way out there was another trail I wanted to take that let to Baughman Rocks.  It had a very interesting story to it.

This is a flat area except for these rock "spires" that stick up about 30 feet and cover maybe a 100 foot circular area.  You could walk over and jump across them.  Steve was not keen on this.  He had no problem up on the viewing platform but was worried that Hurley or I would slip or fall.
It's like if you cut slits in warm jello and it pulled apart.  A really fun area to check out. I would not be comfortable with small kids here though.

More farms on the ride back.
I don't know why, but I found this sign amusing.  Gotta love a good deal on some dented eggs and bent cheese or butter!

It was a nice day of hiking around and tomorrow we will move to a nearby campground in Maryland as it's closer to the 9/11 Flight Memorial and the MD High Point.  Tomorrow will be 9/10.  We could've waited for the eleventh as they were having a special annual service that the families attend, but we knew there would be crowds and news out as they were also unveiling the 3rd and final part to this memorial.  A huge sound memorial, The Tower of Voices, where there will be a chime for each person who lost their life that day.  Sort of like a large collective windchime.  While that part hasn't been built yet, there would be a display of it.
It was a beautiful, sunny day with some clouds out.  A short drive and we were there.  The National Park Service run this memorial.  They had the grounds set up for the big 9/11 event the next day.  There were huge groups of motorcycle clubs and lots of media.  Since we were early, it wasn't that bad.  We got a great spot to park without any problem. 
A representation of the Tower of Voices, borrowed from the NPS website.
There was a lot of thought put in to this memorial.  You walk up the "runway", which is made to look like the Hemlock trees that grew here before the crash.  They are black to represent the stark color difference.  The diagonal lines represent the branch patterns of the tree and are duplicated throughout the memorial.  It is a very solemn place.
As you walk down the runway towards the lookout you will see 3 bands that represent each plane crash with the time, place and flight number.
The 2nd World Trade Center crash.
The Pentagon crash.
The pathway is the actual flightpath that Flight #93 flew just before the crash into the field.
Before we walked down to the original Memorial down below, we went through the new Visitor Ctr.
There is a viewing deck outside that shows the final flight path and crash site.

In the distance you can see the Memorial Wall and walkway leading to the crash site.

Inside the patterns and colors are repeated and the displays and information very well done. There were tiny bits of the plane and personal objects displayed.  The most touching part for me, was recordings of the passengers calling their loved ones on their cell phones knowing it would be their last conversation.  Very, very sad.
The 9/11 victims.
These guys had a friend that was on the plane.
News media out already.
Some people in the immediate area giving their account of the crash.
The plane crashed upside down and made a distinct V shape in the earth.
As we walked down the path to the Memorial Wall, we looked back up to the Visitor Center and Observation Deck.
The wall gives you the illusion of being one continual piece which is to represent that they were all in it together, yet it is actually separate panels, one for each person, to represent they were individuals.

The panels are off-set just a touch.
At the end of the wall is the gate.  Once a year, each 9/11, family members are allowed to continue past the gate to the crash site for a special memorial service.
The above are pictures taken through the gate showing the path to the final site.  There is a huge boulder placed at the exact spot.

Walking down to the site you pass personal objects and letters left in memory for the crash victims.
Coins, medals, painted rocks, letters and many other types of objects.

At the bottom is the original, phase I memorial with seating and plaques.  There are park employees throughout that are very informed and will answer questions and give talks.

One of the empolyees gave a very nice account of the day of September 11.

It was a very moving tribute to those that lost their lives that day.  Here and in NY and DC.  We have not been to the other memorials yet but hope to see them both at some time.
It was a quiet ride back as we both talked about where we were and what we were doing when we first heard.  If you're nearby, this is a really nice memorial to visit.



  1. What a beautiful memorial! Looking forward to your visit here at home soon!!

  2. What a scary time, my biggest fear...hence the number of fire extinguishers in the rv. 9/11 will be forever etched on our hearts.

    1. I never really thought much of a fire before. Now it seems like it could happen so easily.

  3. Wow! So very glad your home is all right. Nice that you found a place quickly that could find the problem and allowed you to stay.

    Being from PA we took a motorcycle trip out to the Flight 93 Site before there was anything there but fence. Boy the finished Memorial is beautiful and so well thought out. Thanks for all the photos and the explanation.

    1. The memorial is very impressive and very touching. I'd like to go back some time and see the last phase. The almost-fire was very scary! So glad we weren't gone with Hurley left in the trailer!!

  4. Wow, that was a close call for you guys! That memorial looks to be well thought out.

    1. The materials used and the layout of the memorial are impressive. Definitely a close-call!

  5. The Flight 93 Memorial is the best I've ever visited. It was so thoughtfully done and so moving. We both cried. I couldn't even listen to the voices on those phone calls because I saw how Steven reacted. It was just an amazing place.

    1. I agree. It was impossible not to cry listening to those calls.


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