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  1. #91
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    7,051

    Default Just wandering.

    It was before dawn when I set out towards the border and the Rainbow Bridge. There were no cars... no queue. It was a very quick crossing. Being the only car on the bridge enabled me to stop for a moment and admire the Falls from that vantagepoint. I had seen the Falls several times before, but seeing them on this morning in the glow of dawn, was something special.

    Soon after lunch I was in Detroit, and figured I would be able to get well on the way south of Detroit before evening. Not so! Business took much longer than anticipated, and it was well after 10pm when I settled for the night.

    Wednesday morning was a late start. I was tired, and just wandered from one park to the next. First up was Sterling State Park MI, which turned out to be mostly parking and boat launching facilities, as well as fishing and swiming. Not really anywhere to go for a walk. Later I pulled off the road to Magee Marsh OH. A bird watchers' paradise! Spent some time here, passing the time of day with a gentleman who was fishing. A retired gent who comes here regularly to fish. Always throws the fish back. (Some of them were the perfect size for a meal for me!) He told me lots about the local area, the lake, the island, Canada - 'there in the distance', and the nuclear power plant visible to the west. It was an hour or more, well spent.

    I continued sautering along route 2. Called in at the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge. Enjoyed the detour to Port Clinton and through Sandusky, before stopping in Huron for some necessary groceries. At Vermilion I headed down the River Road towards I-80, where I planned to spend the night at the Service Plaza. It was pouring rain, lightning, with storm warnings on the radio, which was not conducive to me enjoying this scenic road as I might have under different conditions.

    Ohio encourages travellers on the turnpike to stop and rest, and towards that goal, make limited hookups available. There is the electricity hookup, with water available at the end of the RV lot - for $20. A good few people availed themselves of this service. The phylosophy is, so I heard, that they want people to stop and have a good night's rest, in an effort to reduce crashes.

    By Thursday I figured I best put a few miles away, and stayed on I-80 well into PA. All day she cruised along at a steady pace through the lush green roadside of western PA, stopping only at the rest areas. At Milton it seemed time to stop, and I pulled into another Flying J for the night.

    Well aware that by now there was no way I could get to West Chester and Wilmington during business hours on Friday, and not wanting to 'hang around' that area over the weekend, I proceeded to make my way to Jim Thorpe.

    At White Haven, I headed south and made my way to Weatherly. I'd never heard of it, so here was a chance to check it out. It did not disappoint. Another quaint little village tucked away in the mountains, much like Jim Thorpe, and in many way, just like Jim Thorpe. It was a great place to get out of the van.

    When I eventually got to Jim Thorpe I stopped at their supermarket. I recalled being here in 2009. I needed milk and a few other essentials. As always, I checked to see if they had Rennet Tablets. [These are no longer available at home, and I only recently found them in a supermarket somewhere along the way. Since then I have wanted to get some more, and keep looking for them.]

    At the service desk I asked if they had them, and Ann said, they did... but there were not any on the shelf. I explained why I wanted them, and she said she could get them for me. I then explained my situation to her, and she recalled, I had been in there in 2009. Ever since, Ann has dreamt of travelling as well. So of course, there was a whole lot more time gone, chinwagging!

    Bottom line is, I will have to pass through Jim Thorpe on the way back to Boston, and pick up a whole box she is ordering for me... 72 packets. That will be sufficient for me to surprise family and friends for some time to come. It will also be an opportunity for me to cover the trip originally planned, but which went by the way when my plans changed.

    Lifey

  2. #92
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    7,051

    Default More PA.

    Somewhere along I-80 in western PA, and I am really not sure where, there was a rig parked in the rest area. A BIG rig. It took up half the car parking spaces. It was too big to take the turn into the truck parking area. The driver told me it was 385000 lbs in total. (I should have asked what his brake distance was.) There were 19 axles and 78 wheels. I did not stop to count how many spare tyres were tucked away in little nooks and crannies. Its load was the top portion of a wind turbine. The bit with all the works in it. It was destined for some place in central PA (north of Williamsburg (?) I think he said). It was in the rest area for weighing. The DOT was there, with their scales. Three axles at a time, and each side of each axle was to weigh no more than 14000 lbs. They all came in at around 12000 lbs.

    Anyway, I thought our resident dreamer of driving big rigs, might like the pictures.




    And some pictures of the lovely little hamlet of Weatherly - see previous post.


    The picture doesn't really show how steep this short little bit of road is.


    Back in 2009, I had planned on driving route 209 from Jim Thorpe all the way to the Susquehanna River. That time it poured raining. By the time I got to I-81 I could not take anymore of it... I was not enjoying it... and hopped onto the Interstate. Rarely does a second opportunity arise. I was determined this time to make the most of it.

    It was a beautiful sunny day this Friday, making for a most enjoyable drive. A drive to restore my enthusiasm. Each village had something of interest, though I did not stop in all of them. (Neither did I take notes.) I do however recall in one there was a big parade... fire engines of all eras. There were bells, horns and sirens echoing through the mountains. It was a most enjoyable sight. The streets were lined with cheering, flagwaving onlookers. I came across this parade three times as it wound through the town. Never found out what the occasion was.


    You can't plan these gems!

    It was late afternoon when I arrived at the truck stop where I had planned to spend the night - only to find it all closed with barriers all around. Looked like it was being renovated. Later, at the same brand truck stop along I-81, I learned that it had been flooded almost two years ago, and was still being rebuilt. (There is no mention of this in the current Truck Stop Directory, nor on the company's website.)

    The next day, Saturday, I checked out Harrisburg PA, and recalled members Tony and Megan having issued an invitation (through Couchsurfing) whenever I was in the area. By now it was too late.

    When on 322, heading towards I-81 from Duncannon, I had seen an old arched railway bridge across the river. At the Visitor Centre they were able to tell me where to get the best view of it. Not easy! It was on a busy road right along the river, which did not have any pullouts. I noticed some cars parked on the shoulder under one of the arches of the viaduct, but figured it was not a very safe place, especially with my big vehicle.

    I pulled into a parking area of a business which was obviously not open. Now to get across this busy road. I can't run. Once that was achieved, I discovered that the lovely lush green vegetation along most of the roads in PA, which I love so much, was now my enemy. There seemed not to be a spot where I could get a decent view... to take a photo. I walked a little further up, and wonder of wonders, there was a spot where a like minded soul, had cut down the trees. It wasn't perfect, but it did allow me to take a few shots.


    While there, several trains crossed the river... ever so slowly. It made me wonder if the speed was a requirement, due to the age of the viaduct.






    Sunday I figured I best start making my way towards West Chester, so I could attend to business there - and in Wilmington - on Monday. 322 was the route of choice - all the way to Chester. With the exception of the nightmare which is Hershey traffic - I thought I had avoided it - the route, like so many of these country routes is lined with villages and towns, small strip shops and malls, and a huge variety of architecture and agriculture.

    Here too, as on many of these rural roads I have travelled (and was yet to travel), there is a generous quantity of produce available at the farm gate. Local manufactureres too, often sell direct to the public. These include furniture, artifacts and clothing. Neither my budget nor my luggage allowance would allow me to partake of much of this, and I successfully resisted stopping at most of these, and the many roadside and yard sales.

    Lifey

  3. #93
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    11,011

    Default That's lonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnng!

    Thanks for the update and wonderful pictures Lifey !

    That sure is some rig. I would imagine the driver arrives to his destination about 10 mins before the load he is carrying ! lol

  4. #94
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, Australia
    Posts
    158

    Default

    Thanks for showing so many pics Lifey. Good to see what you are talking about. Being a ex interstate driver, i love the truck ones. I agree with Dave lol. Stay safe.
    Cheers. Keith

  5. #95
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    7,051

    Default Finding my way... and friends.

    Having successfully attended to all the reasons for visiting West Chester, I set about to find route 100 down the Brandywine River Valley, into Wilmington. I had heard that there are parks along the way in which you can park overnight. It was mid afternoon, and I wanted to continue to enjoy the wonderful byways of Pennsylvania.

    Try as I may, I could not find route 100. Followed the map closely. Tried to get Nuvi to help me. Even asked a couple of times, all to no avail. The Brandywine River Valley was no where to be found. This of course meant that I ended up in rush hour traffic - such as it is in West Chester. It was after 6pm when I found myself on route 842, narrow and winding, a long line of traffic behind me and nowhere to pull over. That was when I saw the sign, Brandywine Valley Association Camp. Saw it too late to turn into, it was on the other side of the road. Somehow I figured they should be able to help me, and when I was finally able to pull into a side street, turned around and went back.

    Although there were several cars in the parking lot, these all belonged to visitors to the park. The office was deserted. There were no camps running at this time. One gentleman who came back from exercising his dog in the park, showed me how to get to where I wanted to go. He also assured me that there would be no objection to my parking overnight where I was. It was too late to spend much more time driving around.

    There was a service station nearby, and I decided to go and fill up, before retiring for the night.

    On my return to the Association's campground, I met a couple who were there with three of their grandchildren. Jane and Todd wanted to take the children to the regular Monday evening concert, which was advertised on a board. But somehow, there was no concert to be seen. After chatting for a while on this hot summer's evening, Todd asked if I would like to come back to their home, and perhaps have a nice refreshing shower. There was no way I could refuse such a friendly and generous invitation.

    It happens at least once every trip, that I am invited into someone's home, and end up feeling completely at home - one of the family. And so it was in West Chester. The three children were occupied with a new puppy, acquired only that day. They had a great time choosing from my collection of pins and koalas. Todd helped me with a phone problem, which even he was not able to solve. Then, before bed, I joined the family in thanksgiving.

    Next morning it was like saying goodbye to lifelong friends - we had met just thirteen hours before.

    Once again I set out to find the elusive route. It was at a prison that I finally got precise and clear directions to the route I was seeking. It did not disappoint. I am so glad I persisted.

    After Wilmington I headed out to Fort Dupont SP, where I had a whole picnic area, all to myself. It was comfortable in the shade of the large trees, as I took my time making some lunch and washing the accumulation of dishes from the last 24 hours (or so - lol). The car was parked under a tree, and I decided to linger a little longer... with a good book.


    The library at Delaware City was a good place to use wifi, and when I finally left there, it was time to head to Elkton, where I planned to stay the night.

    Sue was leaving the library at the same time. She was parked next to me. Curious about the flag on my vehicle, we got to chatting. I accepted her invitation to join her at a yarn shop in Chesapeake City the following day, where every Wednesday there is a knitting sit-in.

    Chesapeake City is a small quaint little town with narrow streets, very little parking and buildings which look like they belong on a postcard. Right by the yarn shop, at the end of the street, on the canal is Ship Watch Inn. One attraction here is that you can sit and watch all the yachts and boats pass by. Next door to the yarn shop it a small cafe where Sue took me for lunch. It's on the corner of 2nd and George.

    It was late by the time I headed back up 213 to FJ at Elkton.

    Lifey

  6. #96
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,133

    Default

    Nice update.

    What's the nature of the phone problem mentioned above?

    Mark

  7. #97
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    7,051

    Default All fixed now!

    How was I to know that they had used the zip code of the store where I got it all set up. There was no way I could access the account to see what was going on... without that zip code.

    Lifey

  8. #98
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    7,051

    Default Heading South.

    By now it was high time I put some miles behind me, if I was to stay on (a rough) schedule.

    Route 213 from Elkton south through MD is like so many of these country roads I have travelled. An absolute delight. It is actually designated a 'scenic byway', though not marked on my map, as such. I then realised that it is a State or County designated scenic byway. Maybe it will never be a national scenic byway, and more's the pity as few will choose it from the maps, as a scenic road to travel.

    When I got to 301 I took this all the way to where it met up with I-95 in VA. From there it was I-95 all the way to...... the turn-off to Ft Pierce FL. It was now cruise control, the whole way, set at 64 - sit back and enjoy! Overnight's were all at truckstops along the way. Some very nice truckstops along that busy route. And of course, in FL there are the security patrolled rest areas.

    It was at the turnoff to Ft Pierce that I finally left I-95. I can't recall how many overnight stops I made, suffice to say that I departed the highway at regular intervals to visit a library or other venue with wifi, and other diversions. Neither do I recall why I decided to head for the beach at this point. But when I got to Ft Pierce I stumbled upon a wonderful sight. (I am so glad I do not look up all these before I go... they wouldn't be a surprise!)

    I saw it as I was driving east, and was of course, in the wrong lane to get a closer look. So round several blocks, before I found my way back. It didn't help that it was raining. Here was one of the most magnificent murals I have ever seen. I sat there for a good while to work out what it was that I was looking at... what was mural; what was building.




    I did not think to note its address, but according to Wikipedia it is at 101 US 1, N. Fort Pierce, Florida 34950. (27°26′49″N 80°19′37″W) Here is a really great photo of the front of the building. (More photos in my album.)

    From there to Lighthouse Point, where my daughter and her family now live, I alternated between US-1 and A1A. Accompanied by regular tropical rain storms..... and mosquitoes!

    Lifey

  9. #99
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,133

    Default did you see the name of the artist?

    Yes, that is very cool. Did you happen to notice who the artist was?

    Mark

  10. #100
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    7,051

    Default Didn't give it a thought.

    Never thought to look for it.

    I just sat there in the rain, in my van, trying to work out what was building and what was mural. Not until I saw that photo of the front of the building, that I worked it out. Those murals are on a flat wall, other than the little porch. Absolutely brilliant.

    Lifey

    Edit: I'll check it out when I visit down there, next year.

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