Wednesday – In Pittsburgh

We spent a good night at Bloomsburg, found out that there was going to be a very big fair in the town, so decided to retrace our way back to the interstate highway 80.

There was low mist in the valley (and rather chilly), but this cleared up immediately we got up onto the freeway which was a little higher. The road took us higher and higher as the vegetation became richer in colour. The sky was almost cloudless except for some wispy clouds floating way above us.

Did you know that here the ivy climbing the trees is obviously not the same sort as in the UK? Although I haven’t studied it in detail it seems to be deciduous as it coats the tree trunks in bright red leaves. It makes a difference to the overall impression of red-trunked trees to the green ones we have at home.

Again, the pictures on my iPad don’t quite convey the majesty and colourfulness of it all as we zip by in the car, hopefully we will have better pictures to show later.

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We stopped off at one point for a coffee. Driving into the little town, it looked really beautiful and inviting on the outskirts. We parked and decided to stretch our legs by walking a couple of blocks in the centre. It all seemed dead. Loads of shops completely empty and only a handful that had the slightest thing going on at all. The houses were generally in a state of disrepair. We didn’t see too many people, but they seemed happy enough. Life was obviously giving them a hard time.

We drove over the Bald Eagle Mountains before starting our descent into greener territory. The landscape was still impressive, but without the sudden glimpses of rich colour.

Traffic here is generally much slower here and the flow seems much more organised. Less dashing about (seemingly) and it is rare for anyone to sit on your tail. The exception are trucks. They zoom along at an incredible speed, faster than the speed limit and faster even than they are allowed on British roads. As my husband pointed out, diesel is much cheaper in the US. If they had paid the same rate as in Europe, they certainly wouldn’t have even considered driving at these speeds as it would cost too much!

Lunch was in a Diner. It looked just like the ones you see in films. In fact this is a little glimpse. My husband is sitting there as the partial subject.

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We arrived in Pittsburgh and without a detailed map or working SatNav, we got lost immediately. We drove over a bridge we shouldn’t have, drove around to get back and got even more lost. In the end we stopped asked the way. A sweet gentleman in a store gave us clear directions and we eventually got here safely.

We have been duly registered, watered and fed. I have had my first Margareta since being here and enjoyed it hugely. We have already met the two girls who were on the Sarah Simblet course with me, plus two American artists who won RHS medals at the same time as I did. It’s good to know one isn’t a complete stranger.

In reading my paperwork more carefully from the Hunt, I think I will need to be just a little more prepared for my talk on Friday. But tomorrow the fun begins.

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