NYC to Ohio

It’s time to roll again! Before I get into my present journey I have an admission to make. Back in March, there were a couple of unusually warm days in NYC. With that, I saw an opportunity. I packed up the bike and took off for Florida. I didn’t post a thing about it. For that I am sorry. I’ll get to it at some point.

Now let’s get back to the present. I am on the road again! My plans are loose with two exceptions. I am going to the AMA Vintage Days at the Mid-Ohio Racetrack and the I am headed back to Sturgis. Other than that, I am trying to keep things spontaneous. Let’s go!

Due to incredible storms I delayed the trip by a day. Since I missed a day, and left late the following day, I didn’t frolic on small highways. I hit the Interstate. My destination was a bit further than I realized. I should more accurately say, it took much longer than expected to get there. I booked a campsite at Swanee State Park in Pennsylvania. That ground you see below looks flat and smooth. It wasn’t. I arrived late and pitched my tent by flashlight. This was going to be a quick in and out as it were.

The second day began the type of journey I appreciate. The two lane highway is my preferred route of travel. I began going west on Route 30. I have ridden much of Route 30 further west but had never been to this part. I did a quick U turn when I saw a large unusual structure in the middle of an old cemetery. This is a log church built in 1806.

I walked up to the door of the old church and was surprised to find it open. I was immediately brought back two centuries. It was a place I had previously known only in movie sets. It was easy to picture the place packed with people quietly sitting in this tiny space dressed in their old-timey Sunday best.

Then I saw a staircase in the corner leading to another level. It led to seating that wrapped all around so everyone could see the preacher in his elevated pulpit equidistant between his parishioners above and below. It really was spectacular.

Also along this part of Route 30 is the Flight 93 National Memorial. I have always wanted to stop here. I had mixed feelings. Being from NYC, I remember the day all to well.

I was of course curious, but at the same time felt a self conscious morbidity about that curiosity. It is a sight of profound tragedy. Nonetheless, I rode on. I decided not to go in to the Visitor Center. I didn’t need to see the day replayed. I just wanted to see the point of impact. It’s now not much more than an overgrown crater. Near the tree line in the photo below you can see a brown boulder depicting the exact site of impact.

There is a memorial. A wall made of white marble slabs with the name of a victim carved in each. The white wall aligns with the final flight path. There were a few with additions to some of the names on the wall, like Captain, or Flight Attendant.

One of the marble slabs was especially touching. Next to a woman’s name was written “with unborn child”. It was uneasy to read this. “Unborn Child” is a strange and interesting term when applied to today’s conversations regarding the abortion debate. I wondered how far into term this woman was? It didn’t say. Does it make a difference? It’s interesting to consider when applied to today’s debates. I found It to be the most profound of all the slabs of marble.

At the other end of the wall is a wooden gate. Beyond the gate is where the plane went down.

I rode south a bit before heading west to Ohio. Along the way I passed through a quaint town with this interesting birdhouse.

I stopped when I saw this strange old vehicle parked in front of a building.

As I looked around the building I noticed more old industrial machines.

I have no idea what this thing below is for. Actually I wasn’t sure what any of them were used for.

This marker below depicts the final resting place of General Edward Braddock, or at least most of him. In 1755 General Braddock was mortally wounded by French and Indian troops. A young George Washington, (who suddenly found himself in charge) ordered that the general be buried under the road so that the enemy would not find him and desecrate his body. Unfortunately, his body wasn’t discovered again until 1804 when workers were repairing a stretch of the road. His remains were moved to the site below, but not before some souvenir seekers pilfered his remains. It seems not all of him were buried under this monument. Some of the bones from his hand ended up in the Peale Museum in Philadelphia. They were then sold to PT Barnum and later lost when his American Museum in NYC caught fire destroying all his inventory.

After my log haul across Pennsylvania I crossed a river into West Virginia. At first I was puzzled and thought I had traveled too far south. However, if you look at a map, West Virginia has this one part that sticks way up like a middle finger. And on that finger is a giant wart. This is an ancient Native American mound. The town is named after it. Welcome to Moundsville.

Directly across the street from the mound is the West Virginia State Penitentiary. I would love to take a tour one of these days, but leaving the fully packed bike here didn’t seem prudent.

Continuing into Ohio I came across the barn covered in old murals.

I finally made it to my second campsite in Dillon State Park. It was getting late. I set up the tent and decided to put up the tarp to block the morning sun. The problem is, I didn’t know about the impending storm. That tarp was fine for the morning. It was not prepared for what would be coming that night. Below is the first time I am adding video to a post. What you see is the calm before the storm.

I slept in after a long night with that storm. I mean it was fun and exciting, but I wasn’t sleeping through it. That tarp didn’t have a chance in the storm. The ground is soft here and this spikes did not hold for long. In the morning I hung the tarp again and crashed. I thought I’d have time to see more, but I did visit a couple interesting places. Before I took off for the day I heard some action below me. The campsite overlooks a disc golf course.

Then I took off toward Columbus, Ohio. On the way I passed this amazing office building shaped like a giant picnic basket. Looks good eh Boo Boo?

This sculpture of stacked stones depicts Chief Leatherlips. He was called this by the local white settlers because he never broke a promise.

Within the city of Columbus is this remarkable topiary garden. It depicts the famous painting by Georges Seurat, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grand Jatte.

The original painting can be found at the Art Institute of Chicago. They even had figures in boats on the pond.

I got a new point and shoot camera for this trip. It has a great zoom. Should be fun.

After Columbus, I returned to the campsite. As it was getting dark I could hear a kid riding down the hill on a bike. He was ahead of the pack and yelled bak at his trailing parents. ”Did you say be careful? I don’t need to be careful. I’m too old to be careful!” Ah, the beginning of the ”I’m indestructible” phase.

I had a good night’s sleep on my second evening here at Dillon State Park. It was hot in the morning as I packed up but the sun soon moved beyond the tree above to provide some needed shade. I took a shower (perhaps my last for a few days), and headed North toward the Mid-Ohio Racetrack to camp out at the AMA Vintage Days event.

I took a lonely road North. So lonely that I began to worry about gas since my light gauge went on. I was hungry too. I finally came across a gas station. I was determined not to eat there. I was craving a turkey club. I needed a diner. At the very next town of Mount Vernon there was the Sunrise Diner. It was a damn nice diner too. Clean as could be and everybody working there was super nice. It always takes a couple days to get into the road vibe. This diner sure helped.

I looked at Atlas Obscura while I waited for my lunch. It told me of the ruins of an old glass factory right here in Mount Vernon. I went to check it out. This was once the PPG Glass Company. It churned out glass products of all kinds for 40 years. It sat crumbling for years before being converted into a park.

There were piles of this blue glass placed around the park with signs saying ’stay of the glass’.

From the old glass factory I was headed for the Mid-Ohio Racetrack. I made one last stop to photograph this dancing bear. It’s a Grateful Dead thing, (for those that don’t know). I took it as a sign that it was going to be a great weekend!

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