West Virginia Part 3 (Fallingwater)

There is no denying that Frank Lloyd had an eye for beauty. Both Steve and I have looked at his work over the years, and decided we’d like to see one of his more picturesque homes, named Fallingwater, near Pittsburg, PA. Since Steve and John were living within a couple of hours drive of it, we decided to make the online reservations for the next day, and make the drive. We reconfigured the rental car so Franco could lay down in his dog crate when it was taken apart, and Steve, Alice, Franco and I headed north.

This part of the country is very scenic, and we chose not to travel the main highways on the way up there. It was a pleasant if somewhat long drive. When we arrived the first thing we observed was the huge and well laid out parking lot. This place was used to handling crowds! I dropped Alice and Steve off near the visitor’s center, and drove around the parking lot until I found a place to park with some shade for Franco. Then I hurried over to the visitor’s center. We knew our group number, and waited for it to be called over the intercom.

When our number was called, our group was directed to walk down a path to meet with our tour guide. After introductions, the guide asked us all where we were from. One of the young women in the group said she was from Michigan. I asked her where, and she said the Lansing area. “Do you have pets,” I asked her. She looked at me somewhat quizzically and said yes her parents did. “Then you probably know about the family business, Soldan’s, right?” I asked. “YES,” she said. “My mom buys all our dog food there.” Yet another example of how small the world really is.

Our tour guide was very good, and we all thoroughly enjoyed the tour, asking numerous questions as usual. One of the first questions the tour guide asked after where we were from was, “How many of you would like to own this home?” I shook my head no and she asked why. I told her, “I doubt I could maintain it.” She told the group I was right and she seldom go that answer.

After the tour I got to thinking about this house, and what a story it makes. Wright was an enigmatic character, and this structure seemed to be a good example of how genius, arrogance, and perseverance often combine to make some wonderful art. Mr. Wright’s vision for this structure was advanced beyond the engineering and materials capabilities were at the time. According to this Wiki article, the cantilevers were under-engineered, and even when Mr. Wright’s on site construction engineer doubled the amount of structural steel in the main cantilever, the slab sagged about 7″ and was near collapse when it was stabilized using modern techniques and materials.

We headed back south after a walk with the dog, and stopped at an Indian restaurant in Morgantown, PA on the way home. Back on the highway, we were nearing our destination when I saw an ambulance in my mirror. I pulled the vehicle over to the side of the road, and must have struck an bungee cord that was lying there. The metal hook in the cord stuck in the tire tread, and the other end of it beat the side of the car over and over until I managed to get the car stopped.

Steve managed to pull the end out of the tire, at which point it began to hiss ominously. Fortunately we were close to an exit, so we drove off the highway slowly, found a gas station, parked, and proceeded to change the tire.

We had to remove most of our stuff from the car in order to get at the spare tire and jack. We put Franco’s crate on the parking lot near the car, and Alice proceeded to try to coax Frank to take a walk while Steve and I were busy with the tire. Frank would have none of it! I believe he could sense the tension in the air, and the only place of security known to him at this point was his crate, and by golly, he was going to stay there.

We quickly got the tire changed, and reconfigured the car once more to accommodate the flat tire in addition to the rest of our travel gear. Then it was on to home for the culmination of an eventful trip.

I’ve never had something like this happen with a rental car, so wasn’t too sure how all the details would work out. I am happy to report that both Enterprise Rental Company, and State Farm Insurance worked with us well and fairly. Although we had to pay the deductible we were glad the rental car would be fixed to everyone’s satisfaction.

The next morning we headed back toward home, and made it to Charlotte, where we planned to meet Mom and Dad for dinner around 5:00. We were old pros at driving and parking the RV by now. We had a nice dinner, a good night’s sleep, and a good trip the rest of the way home. The drive was about 2,100 miles. We learned that even with the trouble with the lights at the beginning of the trip, and the damage to the rental car near the end, that if you are flexible and react when a monkey wrench gets thrown into the gears, you can still have a wonderful trip.

One Response to “West Virginia Part 3 (Fallingwater)”

  1. […] of the road, and it caused significant damage to the car. You can read more about that adventure by CLICKING HERE. Since I had declined to purchase the additional insurance for the rental, I was responsible for and […]

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