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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Somerset Supercharger MUST-DO Detour

With so many of you hitting the roads this holiday season, I realize a lot of folks might be traveling through my "neck of the woods" for the first time.  Even if it isn't your first time, indulge me in a little description of what we call the "Must-Do Detour" between the Somerset, PA and Hagerstown, MD Superchargers.
Yes-- yes, I'll admit this would be a far superior excursion in warmer weather.  But even in winter I think you'll find it worthwhile and starkly beautiful.

A lot of this area was covered more thoroughly in a series of posts I did following a road trip in 2014.  You can read all about that (and see more pictures) by starting that series HERE.  The purpose of this post is to give you the nitty-gritty... starting with my horrible artistry skills on full display as I vandalized this Google map:
Regardless of which direction you are headed on the PA Turnpike, do yourselves the favor of getting off from Bedford to Somerset (or vice versa).  This is the leg of the Supercharger Highway between Hagerstown, MD and Somerset, PA.  Basically you're going to divert on the old Lincoln Highway (Route 30) and follow that instead of the boring old Turnpike.

The detour will add only about 5 miles to your trip-- but you will be climbing a sizable mountain so allow for maybe 15 miles additional range to be used.  Additional driving time will vary depending on whether or not you stop for pictures or to see the Flight 93 Memorial itself.
The Memorial is well off the main road in a newly constructed park, there is really nothing to see without exiting your car and walking to the crash site.  Once there, it is quiet and difficult to imagine a huge jet-- inverted and traveling at 563 mph-- shattering this otherwise windswept hilltop.  In September 2015, the Visitor Center opened.  I have not yet made it out there but have heard it makes quite an impression.
To the east of Flight 93, there is a high ridge peppered with windmills.  These silent sentinels slowly spin their blades and something about the way the march up and down the surrounding hillsides makes their numbers seem larger than they really are.  The road will run you right through the middle of these quiet giants.

A breathtaking overlook is easily missed, but you'll surely catch the view from the mountaintop as you start down.  There used to be a very unusual ship-shaped hotel there.   I can't do the history of the place justice here, but if catch enough room to pull off, you won't regret taking in the view.
Other cool sights are marked on the map-- and include a really cool barn mural of how road trips USED to be done, which is followed by a vintage gas station that makes for great contrast pictures if you want to park your Tesla by the old bubble pumps.  Be sure to enjoy the twisty road on the way there-- I'd love to try it with an Autopilot car someday!
If you need to really stretch your legs, walk the trail around the lake at Shawnee State Park.  The park is gorgeous and has a sand beach, canoes and sailboats to rent, etc.  It also makes for a nice picnic lunch spot.
Please note!
Westbound drivers will have the best chance of not missing the Barn Mural while Eastbound drivers have the best chance of not missing the Overlook (it is very small!)  These two sights are easy to whoosh past if you're not paying close attention!

You can follow more of the discussion about this area on the Tesla Motors Club thread that started it all, by clicking HERE.

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