Trip 8--October 12, 2003

Highest Point in Pennsylvania

Mount Davis

3213 feet (979 meters) above sea level

Traveling Companions: Joohee Lee, Lingxing Yao, Xiaoyu Zheng, and Ruhai Zhou
Vehicle: Thrifty Car Rental's 2003 Mitsubishi Galant

Ruhai, Lingxing, Xiaoyu, Joohee, and I were in Pittsburgh for the 75th Annual Meeting of the Society of Rheology, but that was Monday through Thursday, and since we arrived on Saturday night, we had Sunday afternoon to travel around.

Fallingwater in fall

We woke up early on Sunday morning and drove down the Pennsylvania Turnpike to the Donegal exit where we got off and went to Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater. The Kaufmann family owned a Pittsburgh department store, and they also owned a huge tract of land an hour-and-a-half southeast of Pittsburgh, which they had bought from a Masonic lodge. The land had a hotel and cabins that the Kaufmanns allowed their department store employees to visit on the weekends to get away from the dirty air of industrial Pittsburgh. Their son, Edward Kaufmann, Jr., had studied at Taliesen under Frank Lloyd Wright and so in 1937, when the Kaufmanns wanted to upgrade their "rustic" cabin at their weekend get away, they naturally turned to Wright for a design. And did Wright ever deliver! It sites right on top of the waterfall and even uses the flowing air from the stream for air conditioning. It was always their wish that it be open to the public after they stopped using it, and so now we can tour it. But make reservations (which we should have done) or arrive really early (like we did do) if you want to tour it on a fall weekend. When we left at 1:00 there was quite a long line of cars waiting to get in.

With our architectural landmark seen, it was time to move on to some highpointing. After an hour of winding our way through the beautiful fall colors of the Laurel Highlands area of Pennsylvania and making sure that my Chinese and Korean colleagues saw an Amish horse and buggy on the road, we made our way to the Forbes State Forest, Negro Mountain Division, which is the home of Mount Davis. Note: If you plan to go through Meyersdale to get there, Mount Davis Road is not accessable from US-219; however if you go into downtown Meyersdale, it is easily findable--just look for corner with the World War II tank on it and then follow the signs to Mount Davis via Mount Davis Road.

You can drive to the parking lot at the summit, from which it is a very short walk to the observation tower.

A view of the tower

A view from the tower
Next to the foot of the tower is a pointy, pyramid-shaped rock with the USGS marker on the top and graffiti on the sides.

Everyone (except Ruhai) wants to commune with the USGS marker.

Xiaoyu

Me

Lingxing

Joohee

Then we drove back to Pittsburgh and tried to navigate the bridges and highways of downtown Pittsburgh in order to find some excellent Korean and Japanese food. Then we went back to the hotel to get a good night's rest so we could get an early start in the morning on the rheology.

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