Sunday, May 27, 2012


Saturday evening, Chris and I made plans to ride to Fort Roberdeau to retrieve the PA ST.N tag (more on that in a minute) and then ride north and west to drop it off somewhere in/around Kane, PA. In fact, I spent some time Saturday evening mapping out a route that would take us from Fort Roberdeau up to Kane via some nice looking PA routes, including PA 729 (so chosen for its similarity to my birthday!). 
Motorcycle photo tag is a game in which a rider posts a photo of their motorcycle in some particular location, along with a few clues, and others try to figure out where it is. The first person to find the location, take a similar photo of their bike there, and post it to ST.N gets to pick the next place. And on and on...
When we woke up this morning, the tag had moved! Another local rider had snagged the tag at Fort Roberdeau at 7:30 in the morning. There went our plans... Thankfully, around 9:15 AM, the rider posted the new location and it was even closer to our house than the one at Fort Roberdeau. The new tag was in Boalsburg, PA at the Pennsylvania Military Museum. We decided to suit up and head to Boalsburg to snag the tag. We left the house around 9:45 AM while it was still cool and foggy. Cool is really deceiving because while it was only 65 degrees, the dew point was probably 63 degrees! It was close!

From the Military Museum, we stopped at the new Sheetz on South Atherton Street to gas up, grab some Powerade and pretzels, post the picture of the tag, and head out on our own ride to drop the tag in a new location via PA 45 west toward Tyrone.

We used today's ride to scrub in our new rear tire, which Chris mounted Saturday morning.
I'd say we got our money's worth out of the old one!

It was very foggy when we first started out Sunday morning!

This picture of our bike replicates the picture posted earlier in the morning by another rider.

Still foggy/cloudy as we traveled west on PA 45 past Shingletown.

Another barn along PA 45; I like how the ivy is growing up the side of the barn.
At the end of PA 45, we turned right onto PA 453 toward and through Tyrone. We wanted to pick up PA 729 north but found that there was a detour in place. We followed the detour, which followed PA 453 and 53 until we were able to hook back up with PA 729. We took PA 729 to US 219 up to Grampian. During this stretch of roads, we saw a snapping turtle crossing the street. Its shell was probably the size of a dinner plate or, as Chris said, "That turtle was big enough to hurt someone!" (He said this because I questioned whether or not we should have stopped and "encouraged" it to finish crossing the road.) The turtle was close enough to the other side of the road and we did not see any cars heading in the opposite direction for quite some time, so we hope it make it safely. 

Flashing the peace sign in my reflection in Chris' helmet.

A nice country church on a now-sunny Sunday morning.

Signs with squiggles lead to giggles!

Snapping turtle...please keep all fingers and toes out of its reach!

Chris and I both liked the looks of this old-school hardware store in Grampian.

Grampian Volunteer Fire Company trucks on display.

PA Route 729...gotta love it just because of the numbers!
From Grampian, we continued north on US 219 to DuBois, where we stopped for lunch at McDonald's. From DuBois, we once again continued north on US 219 through Brockway to Ridgway. Heading out of Ridgway, we picked up PA 948 through the Allegheny National Forest to PA 66 to make our way to Kane. 

PA 66 approaches Kane from the south, so our first stop in Kane was the Forest Lawn Cemetery to visit our (Chris') Aunt Dot's grave. She was the glue that kept the family together for summer camping trips, holidays, and just in general. Dot was simply amazing and I miss her dearly. We paid our respects at the grave (and weeded it!) and then walked over to Dot's in-laws' plot to pay our respects (and weed again). Dot's in-laws (Chris' Uncle Denny's parents) were like another set of grandparents to Chris, so it was important to visit Arn and Dor's grave as well.

From the cemetery, we headed in to town. We were originally going to make the new tag location the Texas Hot Lunch, but en route, we passed the Kane Train Station and decided it would make a better tag location so we turned around.
Kane Depot is a beautifully restored late 1800’s train station.  It is home to local Kane and railroad memorabilia.  Art Works at the Depot is also located here. More than twenty local artists represent media ranging from oil paints, water, pencil, photography, jewelry, fine wood products (carved locally), to sculptures. The depot is open late spring through Christmas.
We passed the Penn State DuBois campus on our way to lunch.

Passing "The Hound" radio station our way into Ridgway.

Ridgway's lovely courthouse.

Oooo, cannons!

One of these days, Chris and I will get up here for lunch at Lumberjack's!

I miss you, Dot.

Mmmm, Flickerwood wines!

 New PA photo tag location - Kane Depot!
Since we were already so far north, Chris suggested we continue to the Kinzua Bridge State Park since I've never seen the Kinzua Bridge. We took US 6 east out of Kane and made our way to the park. On our way there, I casually asked Chris if he's made any headway on the plans for my birthday weekend ride. (Last year, we did a weekend ride for Chris' birthday. If you missed it, well...ready about it here.) He said, "No. When's that?" Oh, if you could have seen the look on my face when he said that! Chris was kidding, of course, but I scowled nonetheless!

Grr. Don't you forget my birthday!!!
We arrived at Kinzua Bridge State Park and walked out onto the new (as of 2011) overlook/restored section of the bridge. The devastation from the tornado that destroyed the bridge back in 2003 is still quite staggering! I thought the glass panels at the end of the bridge were pretty cool, too!

Left turn to the park.

Interpretive sign about the viaduct.

Six of the towers of the old bridge have been restored.

Iron Work by Phoenix Bridge Co.

Looking left from the bridge.

Looking right from the bridge.

There's Chris! Notice how the old train tracks run down the center of the bridge.

Looking down from the bridge.

Standing on the glass panels looking straight down (darn glare!).

Tornado devastation, circa 2003. 
Here I am on the Kinzua Bridge.

With the camera right against the glass panel "floor" to mitigate glare.

Looking back toward the hillside.

Looking down through the openings in the train tracks.

Interpretive signs recount the history of the bridge.

The bridge began as a means of transporting goods and raw materials by train.

Interesting tidbits about the Pennsylvania Wilds Area.

Bridge history...except that last sentence is a grammatical atrocity!
We left Kinzua Bridge State Park at 3:27 PM and it very quickly became a race against the monstrous line of thunderstorms bearing down on us. We headed west on US 6 to get back to US 219 to head south. As we traveled west, the skies became darker and darker. We kept telling ourselves that we'd be turning south soon (the skies to the south and east were still "bright"). We took US 219 south through Ridgway where the winds were so bad that they were stirring up huge dust clouds that obstructed our vision and choked us out! But we continued on; we had to stay ahead of the line of storms!

We picked up PA 153 and headed south to Penfield where we stopped for a quick fill-up of petrol. Along PA 153 we hit a bit of rain...not enough to soak us but certainly enough to give us a bit of a chill as we were riding along. After Penfield, I only managed one more picture before stashing my camera in case of heavy rain (which looked to be imminent). 

Crossing train tracks leaving Kinzua Bridge State Park; they seem to go on forever!

Hmmm...that looks ominous!

Ugh...looks at those skies!

Riding through Johnsonburg along PA 219.

We're surrounded by "bad skies!"

Arriving back in Ridgway, pretty sure we were gonna blow away!

Riding toward the brightness, but being overtaken by the darkness. 

That DOES NOT look good!

Fill 'er up quick! We need to get back on the road!

Looking west as we cross over I-80 at the Penfield interchange on US 322.
This picture does not do the situation justice. Those skies were pure evil!
As we were riding through Clearfield, the storms were to our left and were seemingly being held at bay by the mountain ridge. The skies were SO DARK and the leading edge of the storm was producing quite a bit of lightning. Chris asked me if I wanted to stop in Clearfield for a bit to wait it out or if I wanted to continue on for home. I said we should probably just keep going. We'd been successful in outrunning the storms so far! The lightning was disconcerting and we did hit a little more rain, but we managed to get all the way home before the skies really unleashed their fury. Within five minutes of arriving home, a severe thunderstorm rolled through with winds in excess of 60 MPH, heavy rain, thunder and lightning...the whole nine yards! When we got in the house and pulled up the radar, we were shocked to see the extent of the storms that had been chasing us the last two hours of our ride!

Evil clouds rolling in at The Homestead just after our arrival.

OH. SNAP. We JUST made it home. That would have been UGLY!!!
Our photo tag adventure lasted just under eight hours, we covered 289 miles, I got to see the Kinzua Bridge, and we were storm-chased by one whopper of a line of storms. It was a great day!

1 comment:

  1. Did you see the dinosaur sculptures/lawn art on the way into the Kinzua park? That would have made a good tag location as well.