July 13th - Having commuted to and from Philly yesterday on the Lincoln Highway, we allowed ourselves to circumvent the city and grab a detour to New Hope, PA for brunch — another last-day indulgence. We found pleasant, uncrowded, country roads and fewer people in the streets of New Hope than would be typical for this time of year. Our waitress told us there were indeed fewer "shopping bags" walking the streets. We‘ve found the economic pinch to be pervasive across the Lincoln Highway.
Archive for the 'Road Reports' Category
We like American murals. Do you like American murals? Berwyn, PA.
Several years ago, during an Alps motorcycle tour with my son Adam and sister-in-law Joyce, we awoke one morning in the Lauterbrunnen Valley of Switzerland (some call it the most beautiful valley in Europe) to find 6 inches of snow had fallen overnight. I frantically rushed to the inn’s front desk to determine the condition of surrounding mountain passes. Closed? Open? If closed, when would they open? The tension was building when Joyce suggested we stay in this magnificent valley for the rest of the day; a divergent solution that would never have occurred to me. Of course, it turned out to be one of the very best days of the tour.
Motoring through the battlefields of Gettysburg, PA.
After an early-morning interview with Charlie Sherman, a radio host out of New England, we were off to Gettysburg and its attendant battlefield with mixed feelings about the site being an appropriate venue for loud mufflers and Budweiser — it was Bike Week. Harleys were predominant and the tone and tenor of our prior encounters with diehard fans of The Motor Company continued: unlike our previous BMWs, Sophia and Marchello are big hits with the Big Twin crowd. Waves and thumbs-up were the standard greeting throughout the Gettysburg streets and countryside. This was something new for us — as was Bob’s consideration of a leather-fringed vest to go with those new chinos. Jeanne would never allow a tattoo.
McConnellsburg, Pennsylvania. The MP3s did not overheat.
On a 75-degree blue-sky day, we left the mom-and-pop Shawnee Motel, saying goodbye to owner Bill Triplett. Whenever possible, Bob and I prefer to avoid chains and this country-like motel just outside Schellsburg fits the bill. (Ask for a room in the back.) We headed in the wrong direction — west — intentionally so we could repeat the last segment of yesterday’s ride — a perfectly-paved, banked and gracefully-curved road to Lookout Point of Mt. Ararat in the Laurel Highlands section of the Alleghenies. We climbed to the 2,464-foot vista point and beyond that to the Bald Mt. summit at 2,906 feet. OK, so it’s not the 18,340-foot pass I rode ten years ago in the Himalayas — the worlds highest motorable road, it wouldn’t exactly meet our definition of a “road.” Nevertheless, in the Alleghenies it’s flat-out fun on the MP3; a quick ticket to biker heaven. We were never troubled by having to pass cars, as there simply weren’t any Restauranteurs are telling us business is hurting; gas prices are taking their toll. Probably because of our preoccupation with the road, we were unsuccessful in finding the ashes of the old S.S. Grandview Ship Hotel. If not for scheduled commitments we would have turned around and repeated this section yet again. The road-hugging MP3 was as at home here as it was in downtown Pittsburgh. Once a road establishes a rhythm, as this section of the Lincoln Highway does, you don’t want the dance to stop.
You know it’s a media day when Bob shows up to breakfast in his very best wash and wear shirt. There I was in my ragged polyester T-shirt, left to rely solely on my wits to squeeze by. My real edge was that all important one-year difference in our age.
Newell Toll Bridge between Ohio and West Virginia
With only fifty miles to go to make our noon appointment, we were off to a luxuriously late start at 10am. It was the first time in almost four weeks that we weren’t on the road by 7:30 AM. We crossed the West Virginia state line at East Liverpool, going over the hundred-plus-year-old Newell Bridge and into Chester for about five miles of West Virginia Lincoln Highway. The Newell Bridge is a model of our trip’s adopted theme, "We’re not done yet". Not only is the bridge still functional, but it’s a revenue generator with a seventy-five cent toll. (Ride a Piaggio MP3 and save a quarter!) The bridge is a two-lane, quaint steel structure with a stoplight on the West Virginia side. Somehow, you feel good just going over it. It has a steel-plate grade surface that’d make a two-wheeler squirrely. The MP3 handles it just fine. The bike continues to surprise with its ease of handling. Many non-riders have said, "You know, I’d give that a try.” They should, it’s a bike that can be handled on the first try.
The sadly-dilapidated theatre in Bucyrus, OH.
We continued to be impressed with Ohio’s attention to marking the Lincoln Highway. This is in contrast to Indiana’s minimal recognition that the historic road even exists — which we understand (and seriously hope) may be changed next year. While portions of the Highway are four-lane and tedious (e.g. the Mansfield area) historic towns (Galion and Wooster, for example) that have accomplished some outstanding restorations make up for the boring stretches. An operational movie theatre downtown continues to be a sign of health.