I really enjoy traveling through rural and small town America. I have found such interesting and curious things off the main road.
During my first trip in my rig in 2013 I ended up at the tail end of a parade in a small town in southern Minnesota. People cheered and I waved. It was a few minutes of fun.
Last year I discovered the future birth place of James T Kirk. in Riverside, Iowa. There are banners on most of the post marking the main stars of the original Star Trek series. I found a closed museum commemorating everything Star Trek and even a large replica of the Star Ship Enterprise. They take this to parades and events on a trailer. No-one was around it was a Sunday morning and I had the place to myself.
I am heading west from northern New Jersey, where my rig and Miss Elsie the cat have spent the summer while I traveled to Africa for two months. Once again I decided to go rural. I picked up route 6 in Milford Pennsylvania and have been ambling my way west. Thanks to many on the RV Life Style Facebook page I had some knowledge of where to stop.
Having explored the eastern part of this route and it was a Sunday and many places were closed, I pushed west to new and uncharted territory.
Last night I camped in a very rainy state forest campground on the west rim of the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania. Pine Creek Gorge, otherwise known as the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania is close to a 5 mile gorge, cut by water into this area of the Allegheny Mountains. It is located in north central PA. I got one good glimpse of the canyon before the rain settled in. I was the only ones in the campground. This morning I awoke to clouds down in the gorge and the sun beginning to shine above. It was a good morning for a hike along the rim.
As I continued west, each small town has it’s own flavor. I stopped in Galeton this morning for a late breakfast at The Brickhouse Deli. I was welcomed in by the owner. It is the first time I have had French Toast in three months. It was Texas style and was absolutely yummy. I sat on the front porch, enjoyed the sun and the free wifi. The owner came and checked on me twice. We, of course had a discussion about my Roadtrek.
Coudersport is the county seat of Potter County. A museum on the corner of Main and Second street caught my eye and I decided to park and take a walk. The Eliot Ness Museum was, unfortunately, closed. As I was peering in the windows a man, Steve came to the door and invited me in. This is a brand new museum (4 days old) and not yet opened. They were having a private party to celebrate his mother’s (Marge) 100th birthday.
Eliot Ness, a famous law enforcement officer (remember The Untouchables?) spent the last two years of his life in Coudersport. He is their most famous resident. Eliot Ness Fest is held every July. People come from all over with their vintage cars. There is a parade, a vintage car show, a salute to law enforcement, a theater performance and more. Here then is another reason to return to this small town.
The museum is forming quickly. There were five cars from the era, set up in the museum, Jack, was painting. They have showcases set to be filled. Someone has given them a Thomson Machine Gun to display. A theater is getting ready to show films. A local photographer’s work was already on display. It would be interesting to return next year and see how they have completed the renovation of this store front building.
Marge did not look 100. She was a delight to speak with. She is a Judy Bolton expert. This author wrote a series similar to Nancy Drew but her characters grew up as the series continued. Four of the books took place in Marge’s home. She has become somewhat of an expert on all things Judy Bolton. There was table in the museum dedicated to Judy Bolton paraphernalia.
I am glad I stopped in this town and met a group of people who are full of life and interests.
My last stop today was the Kinzua Bridge State Park. This park main interest are the remain of the Kinzua Viaduct, which was the tallest and longest railroad bridge in the world when it was completed in 1882. While undergoing restoration in 2003, it was hit by a tornado, destroying 60% of the bridge. It was decided to leave the bridge and ruins as it is today. A walkway with a glass insert was created along the remaining viaduct. I walked the viaduct and then hiked to the valley floor to see the ruins created by the tornado. It is a powerful reminder of what nature can do.
Tonight I am camped at Red Bridge National Forest Campground. I am overlooking a reservoir and enjoying a late afternoon and evening, just me and the cat.
Tomorrow or Thursday I will complete my tour of Route 6 in PA and cross into Ohio. By the weekend I will be visiting my Ohio family, before I continue west.
I will continue on the backroads for the rest of my journey, as much as I possibly can, looking for unique adventure along the way.