I decided to spend this weekend visiting with family in Pennsylvania. I would spend my first night camping with Dad outside Shepardstown, WV on the Potomac then scoot up to PA on Saturday AM.
I left the burg around 3 and took 81N into MD and WV. The temps hovered between 98F and 100F with the ultimate furnace blast of 102.3F scorching me just north of Winchester. Sure hot for my Aerostich Roadcrafter suit but I manage
I grabbed a beer and some tomatoes at a grocery store off Rt9 then passed through Sheppardstown and over this bridge crossing the Potomac.
The Bavarian Inn is opposite this bridge and looks like a nice establishment high on the banks of the Potomac.
After crossing the bridge, I turned right onto Canal Rd which drops to the river and follows the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal for a few miles. Here is the rail bridge crossing supports. The road under obviously does not get enough traffic to warrant a better design of the supports
I rolled down to the Antietam Creek Campground ($10, National Park Service) and met Dad. He had arrived about an hour earlier and set up his tent and gear.
We are literally right on the C&O.
Last time we met, he noticed my summer gloves had holes in them
so he bought us new pairs
He also brought a bunch of food
So I made some rice, cut up the tomatoes and we had london broil and bread. Great meal despite the 90 degree heat in the shade.
Hot from my ride, I went for a swim in the river.
Brought some soap and cleaned up. The water was not much warmer than the air temp but it was nice to just sit and relax, washing the week's work downstream.
We had a quiet evening and turned in around 10:00 or so. I left the canopy off my hammock to get more breeze through. Around 10:45, I awoke to large bangs which I thought was thunder. Scrambling out of my hammock, I hollered over to Dad that I needed to put on my fly and he should do the same. "I don't see any lightning!", he replied. Yeah...Whats up with that. "Those sound like explosions" We sat for a bit and decided it was too normal to be lightning so I got back in my hammock. Swinging there next to the Potomac River with Antietam Battlefield two miles behind me, I drifted to sleep imagining the great war was in action and I was just a fly on the wall. The explosions continued for about 15 minutes or more and eventually died out in a large flurry.
It turned out to be the Shepardstown Fire Dept Carnival's Fire Works
We awoke around 6 the following morning and it was still hot. About 75F...and getting warmer. I quickly packed up my gear, made some oatmeal and coffee and enjoyed the dawn with my Dad.
After bidding farewell, I scooted up Harper's Ferry Rd N past Antietam into Sharpsburg. I just let the GPS lead me toward Gettysburg.
Along the way, the road turned into a forest and became nice and twisty
I failed to take any shots since I was having a blast and paying attention. I noticed a sign for Cunningham Falls State Park so I turned and found they didn't open for another 15 minutes. Scratch that
Here is what they look like (taken from online)
Eventually made my way to Gettysburg. The last time I was here was around 1999 and the old tall tower was still in place as well as the orignal visitor's center. They now have a brand new facility but I didn't tour it.
Next time when I am not so hot in my stich...maybe a nice fall trip up this way is in order.
I took part of the Auto Tour but 10mph behind a van got old sorta fast at 92F
After deciding I had seen enough for this trip, I scooted forth toward York, PA. This neat old fairground gate attracted my attention so I parked in the NO PARKING area
Turns out it is quite old
After passing through York, I just followed the GPS. I forgot I had set it to AVOID HIGHWAYS which took me an hour out of the way
It was only after I was about 30 min down the road that I figured this out. Oh well, the Susquehanna River was pretty. I failed to get a shot while crossing - nowhere to pull over.
Made my way though Lancaster, PA. The downtown area was surprisingly urban with many types of deli's, food shops and places to waste money. I kept on keeping on until I got to Reading.
I had read they were known for their Pretzels for years so I got one (at a chain...didn't notice this till after I left)
Then made the obligatory stop along the Reading RR.
Leaving this shot, I jumped off a curb and dragged my skid plate. Glad I had it
Thank you Google for helping me find places like this to enjoy lunch
The Reading Pagoda
Some interesting details about it:
The road up was a twisty blast up Penn Mountain escaping the city. You must ride Skyline Drive if you are ever in Reading. Apparently it was the Bee's Knees back in the day too.
Chatted with this dude who just biked up.
Then was buzzed by this WWII era plane
The Pagoda is only open on the weekends so I waited for noon to roll around and went inside for a view. I got a sticker for my pannier and took the walk up to the top...now these are my kinda prices
These kites were all around.
Here is the 16th century bell at the top
And some of the views from the 7th floor.
Did I mention it had AC
And many exhibits about its history and the town or Reading
The only Pagoda with a fire place...
This old Fire Tower can be found up Skyline Drive
I made my way up to visit family and stayed with them for the rest of the day. My cousin has having brake issues on his Jetta (warped rotors) so my host got to work fixing it in the driveway. New rotors and pads
I just sat back and watched. Satisfied he was doing the work, and I poking fun. We joked he should open a shop called Brakes and Steaks
And a little dessert
I slept like a log and awoke Sunday and joined the family in their lively church service in Bethlahem. I lingered around their place for awhile and eventually decided I needed to beat some of the heat so I was off and rolling at 11AM. I rode along the Lehigh River Gap on my way to Jim Thorpe.
(Not my pic)
Jim Thorpe is a pretty cool town!
There was music and folks dancing in the square downtown.
And some interesting history
Then a quick visit at Mauk Chunk Lake
And eventually up to the town of Summit Hill. A coal mining community built on top of the hill. Pretty interesting and many identical houses in a row. Real interesting in winter I suppose but somewhat depressing. On downward into Lansford, I love the Zwiebel Turm as I learned them in German. (Onion Tower)
Down Rt 209, I came to the town of Coaldale. My best friend from childhood's grandparents hailed from Coaldale and Tomaqua down the road. I snapped these shots for them. I can recall his grandfather telling stories of the town, growing up, family still living there and the town's Russian drunk "Chezlo"
I just love these
And as close as I could get to the mine.
Then down the road to Tomaqua
Something about this house just called out to me. Very unique.
Not long after I crossed back into the valley toward 81, it began to rain. This continued getting stronger till I was riding down the highway, lightning all around me, poor visibility, many trucks and construction. I wasn't going to ruin my phone to take shots of that nonsense...or stop for that matter. On I went. When I crossed into WV near Falling Water, it began to subside and I was able to dry out for the remaining hour ride back home.
Little did I know, Loftus was right behind me riding through the same storm
we are silly motorcyclists.
Stats with my new Nuvi 500
Washed the bike, put it in the garage, got a pizza (which I have been craving for weeks) enjoyed an IPA and finished my VA Folk Legends book while watching this glorious sunset.
Next weekend will see me in Alexandria meeting folks for breakfast somewhere. Anyone interested post up on the SMIB thread
Till next time