We left behind the largest city in West Virginia and departed from the small town of Romance. We headed to our next destination.
First, we headed north. Next we turned east. Then we entered the state known as “The Birthplace of Aviation”. However, we didn’t stop in Ohio. We kept driving.
“Honk! Honk!” We welcome you to the state of Pennsylvania with us.
Pennsylvania is our next destination.
We have only been gone from home five days. We have visited two states (KY and WV), traveled through another state (Ohio), and arrived at yet another state (PA). Realizing our adventure is not a race across America, Gary and I decided to slow down in Pennsylvania.
We had clear passage, but others did not. We were thankful that we were not one of the vehicles traveling in the opposite direction. These vehicles had come to a complete stop for miles and miles. We watched for a cause of the stand-still traffic on the interstate, but we never saw a reason.
Since we have arrived at our next state destination, you might be wondering where are we heading in Pennsylvania? Buddy was excited when he heard that we were heading to PA, but he was quite disappointed that we here not heading
Buddy understood, but he didn’t enjoy hearing these words, “Not yet, Buddy. We will tour Gettysburg on our southbound loop of travel through the Mid-Atlantic states. We’re exploring Pittsburgh first, but I promise we’ll stop in Gettysburg before heading home for Christmas.”
Pittsburgh not only fit into our basic route, but it also attracted our attention when Gary and I learned that:
- Pittsburgh has been rated “a top world destination” by National Geographic and Today.
- Pittsburgh has been ranked as “the most livable city” by Forbes, Places Rated Almanac, and The Economist.
However, when planning our route we did not uncover that the New York Times had also given Pittsburgh these accolades:
- Pittsburgh is “the best way to enter an American city”.
- Pittsburgh is “the only city with an entrance”.
We discovered these accolades from first hand experience.
I have already shared with you that our travel day had been uneventful. Had been uneventful. However, our travel day did not remain uneventful.
As we approached “the only city with an entrance”, our uneventful travel day became an eventful travel day when we experienced construction, a warning sign, a tunnel, and a bridge. Despite our best efforts to examine our route before our travel day, somehow Gary and I had missed all of these events.
At the time, I had not researched Pittsburgh thoroughly. So, I did not have any notes on the tunnel or the bridge,
but I will share notes with you on this virtual-travel day.
Let’s begin the events with a sign. This sign immediately caught the attention of both of us. Gary and I looked at each other. Neither asked, but our expressions spoke, “Did you know about the tunnel?” The sign clearly stated that the tunnel had a clearance of 14 feet. With our big rig topping at 13’3″, Gary was not concerned.
Even though the warning lights for truck over-heights were not flashing, I was still concerned. I was not only concerned about the height of our home on wheels being less than the tunnel clearance, but I was also concerned
by the words ‘flammable liquids prohibited’. “Aren’t we carrying propane? Isn’t propane flammable?”
My knight did not answer me. He did not say a word. He concentrated on keeping our big rig within the lanes,
which had been narrowed due to construction. He focused on maneuvering our dually and 5th wheel through traffic and concrete barriers.
The tunnel eventually came into our view. Now we saw more than a sign, we could see what we were about to face. The tunnel we had unexpectedly encountered had a name:
- was constructed between 1957-1960.
- travels underneath Mount Washington.
- has a North and South portal. This is the South Portal.
We inched our way forward with the traffic waiting our turn to enter the tunnel. I saw another warning sign.
I looked for another clearance sign for additional verification. I did not find one. I looked to my knight for reassurance.
My knight remained silent. He concentrated on the task in front of him.
The tension mounted as we faced the mouth of this portal. We were putting a lot of trust in the posted clearance height of 14′ as well as the recorded height, 13’3″, of the RV from a brochure. I wished we had 9 feet to spare instead
of 9 inches. I help my breath as my knight drove us into the tunnel. Once inside, I exclaimed,
My knight, who is now concerned with the nearness of the tunnel walls on his left and the traffic on his right, remained silent.
Did you know that The Fort Pitt Tunnel
- is 3,614 ft. long and 28 ft. wide
- is lined with 187,200 sq. ft. of ceramic tile
- has 1,788 light fixtures.
Three thousand, six hundred and fourteen feet is a long distance to drive when you driving in a tunnel. Today,
I remember wondering if this tunnel had an end. We did not see light at the end of the tunnel for quite some time.
And once we did see light, I remember being blinded by sunlight, as we finally exited the tunnel.
As soon as Gary had successfully navigated through the Fort Pitt Tunnel, we saw his next challenge, the Fort Pitt Bridge.
But we did not have time to concern ourselves with the bridge, because we were distracted.
We were distracted by the striking skyline of Pittsburgh.
Today, with the surprise and stress behind us, Gary and I agree that Pittsburgh truly is “the best way to enter an American city”.
Since pictures can’t capture the actual adventure, I have found a video I want to share with you. If you would like to witness “the only city with an entrance”, click here for a short video.
At the time we did not know that Fort Pitt Bridge:
- is a double-decker bridge.
- is known for difficult lane changes, especially on the lower deck.
Fortunately, there were no lane changes for my knight to make, as we traveled over the Monongahela River with ease.
We admired the sight of downtown Pittsburgh and continued our drive in a northeast direction past Pittsburgh.
We drove for another twenty miles, which thankful were uneventful.
So, why did we bypass Pittsburgh, if that was our chosen destination in Pennsylvania?
We continued our drive, because Gary and I were unable to find our family a temporary address in Pittsburgh. For Pittsburgh campgrounds, we found that either our big rig didn’t fit into the campground or the campground rate didn’t fit into our budget.
However, we found an amazing place to park our big rig for an extended stay in Tarentum, Pennsylvania.
I’ll see you next time at the campground.