Sunday morning, I left Middlefield, Ohio; it wasn’t too tough to make the decision to get up.
I’d spent a restless night on the ground after pitching my Lawson Blue Ridge out on the grass. I only realized after unpacking it that I’d forgotten the tree straps back in New Brunswick …
Feeling a little stiff and sore, I had a breakfast of champions (discounted day-old muffins and an apple in the Wal-Mart parking lot) and headed down I-80 towards Pennsylvania. This is a very straight, flat route, but I was happy for that, for once. I was so busy looking around that, if this had been the twisties, I might have ended up in the ditch.
I left town just around the time that the local Amish faithful were headed towards their Sunday morning worship meeting; I met buggy after buggy of bearded men and bonetted women. I really wanted a photo, but as the Amish aren’t necessarily keen on this idea, I refrained.
After a while, the temptation grew too much, though. I passed a lone buggy headed down the road in the opposite direction from church (maybe he was a member of the Amish Mafia?) and decided to pull over in front of him, then let him pass, and snap a photo of his buggy from the rear. Surely he wouldn’t have a problem with that?
He seemed to guess my intentions, though, and pulled off into a lumber yard before he reached me. So the only photo I have of a real-life suspender-wearing Amish person is from half a mile a way or so, somewhat similar to all those fuzzy Bigfoot photos.
I was hoping to ride to Jermyn, just outside Scranton, through a network of secondary roads. However, I was re-directed from my route because of a motorcycle accident in front of me.
So, I took a very bumpy, very twisty back road to Rt. 6. This short road would have been fantastic if I’d had a well-set-up adventure bike, and Superman’s X-ray vision; as it was the pavement was bad and visibility limited, so I took it easy en route to Rt. 6.
It turned out Rt. 6 was a great choice for the Switchback; it’s not straight, but it’s not boring either. The sections of this secondary highway that head through the Allegheny Mountains are especially scenic. There are plenty of small towns en route as well, and there’s even some small mom-and-pop cabins, motels and restaurants still in business en route. It wasn’t all Holiday Inns and Burger Kings.
On roads like this, you usually get stuck behind traffic, or even a cop car, and Sunday was no exception. But thankfully I managed to escape the speed traps unscathed, and still had a good time pushing the Harley through the sweepers. Like I said, this road isn’t twisty, but you should be able to enjoy yourself, if the highway patrol doesn’t interfere.
It’s a long stretch of road, though- much longer than I anticipated, and by the sun started to go down, I was getting frustrated. The GPS app on my phone conked out, and I thought I was much closer to the Scranton area than I actually was in reality.
Once I figured out my whereabouts and realized I was going to have to travel after night in deer country, I also noticed my gas gauge was starting to look a little on the low side. Surely there’d be no problem finding a filling station in this area, with its dense population, right?
Wrong. But thankfully, I reached my destination without running out of fuel or hitting a deer, and managed to fill up first thing this morning. But from now on, once evening comes, that gas tank is staying well-fuelled. I don’t need to be stranded roadside in Podunk, PA, in the middle of the night. In fact, considering how much roadkill I’ve seen since I crossed the border, I’d prefer to keep to my policy of not riding at all after dark, if it can be helped. It would make it easier to pitch my tent as well …
Anyway, I typed most of this up in the parking lot at Pocono Mountain Harley-Davidson while my bike was serviced, and stayed in Amish country again in Honey Brook, PA, last night. The roads around this town are all brand new asphalt, and fantastically smooth – but watch out for the horse manure all over the road, from the buggies!
Tuesday morning, I hit the superslab, to get out of PA and into West Virginia and the Appalachians. Just about the time I hit Gettysburg it started to rain … and kept on raining. More on that in the next postcard …
Check out all the pics that go with this story! Click on the main sized pic to transition to the next or just press play to show in a slideshow.