The Beauty Around Us

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Posts tagged ‘Courthouse’

An All-Day Motorcycle Ride

Yesterday was a beautiful day for a ride.  Bob and I left home about 9:00 AM for a 10.5 mile stretch of road that neither of us had been on before. Bob heard about this stretch of road on the Internet. State Route 3001 runs between Emporium, PA and a point west on route 120 between Emporium and St. Marys, PA.

We headed out of Warren on Route 59, where Bob planned to pick up Route 46 south out of Smethport, heading toward Emporium where the famed SR 3001 was supposedly located. Our first stop was at a visitor’s center on route 59 near Wolf Run Marina. I needed to put on a sweater and also took some pictures here.

Allegheny Reservoir Overlook

Bob at Allegheny Reservoir Overlook

We met a retired couple here who were taking a navigation break looking at their map. He wanted to take some back roads and was asking Bob about the unpaved road leading from Jake’s Rocks, and where it led to. As Bob explained, the wife protested to her husband that they didn’t need to take any more back roads this trip. In speaking with the couple, we learned that she was a retired bus driver and he was a retired police officer. They both spoke of the motorcycles they had and adventures they had on them. We didn’t have time to get a word in edgewise, but it was fun listening to them. When we were ready to pack up and continue on, we had to interrupt and say so.

In Emporium we stopped to fuel up, since we already had 35 miles on the trip meter when we left home. It read 105 at this stop, 70 miles so far. While we took a break and ate a Slim Jim, I noticed a large building on the hillside. It happened to be the Cameron County courthouse. I like to capture courthouse pictures in towns we visit, and this was no exception. We took a ride over to the courthouse.

Emporium, PA
Cameron County Courthouse

When we left the courthouse, Bob wanted to see the back of it, so we rode around the block that the court house occupied to get a look. Bob could tell at the first turn that his skills would be tested because the courthouse is on a hillside, and the first side street was kind of steep. At the top was a yield sign, and Bob was thankful he didn’t have to stop. He probably wouldn’t have anyway, because it would have been difficult to get going again. The next street over was easier to maneuver, since turning to a downhill grade is easier for him.

Back down to a main street in town, we found the street that would lead us to SR 3001. As we left town and crossed a couple of intersections, Bob finally saw the sign “10 1/2 miles of winding road ahead”. They weren’t kidding. Looking at the topo map the night before, Bob didn’t notice that the first curve we encountered was uphill and 90 + degrees. It kind of threw him for a loop, especially riding two up, but he maneuvered through it using most of the available road. Luckily, nothing was coming the other way.  We stopped a short distance up the road at an overlook that views Emporium.  There was a lot of mountain laurel on this stretch of the road too.

Route 3001

Route 3001 Emporium Overlook
You can see the Cameron County Courthouse in the center of the photograph.

The speed limit on SR 3001 is 35 mph, which is generous. Many of the sharp turns had gravel in the road, so Bob was taking it especially easy through them. The road condition is good for the most part, with a few bumpy areas. There are several markings on the road, apparently for future construction fixes. Around one curve was a large white tailed doe standing in the road watching us approach. As we got closer, she decided to get out of the way, which was nice. A short blast of the air horn encouraged her to move only a slight bit faster.

After 10 and a half miles of winding road, we approached route 120, west of Emporium. This was the last time Bob had to finesse with clutch and balance for this ride. It was an uphill stop on an intersection that was pretty much blind to the right. Inching as close as he could to route 120 without going into the eastbound lane, we waited for an eastbound car to pass. After it did, we successfully completed the left hand turn and were on Route 120 west headed for St Marys.

In St. Marys, we visited Decker’s Chapel. The chapel was built by Michael Decker after a back injury. Some say it is the smallest chapel in America.

Decker’s Chapel

This Bible was lying on the altar, opened to the day’s reading.

A few miles down the road from Decker’s Chapel is Rose’s Hilltop Diner. When Dad was alive, he enjoyed eating at Rose’s Hilltop Diner while at his camp. Bob and I try to stop at Rose’s Hilltop Diner for a bite to eat whenever we are in the area. As we walked into the diner I thought I recognized one of the waitresses behind the counter. I asked this waitress if she was married to Randy. She said “yes”. I know that she was trying to place me by the look on her face and the sound of her voice. The waitress behind the counter was my cousin (by marriage). We started chatting on Facebook earlier this year. Yesterday was the first day we met in person. It was a pleasure to meet Chrystle. I hope that our paths cross sometime again in the future!

Rose’s Hilltop Diner

Chrystle and I

It was in the middle of the afternoon when we stopped at the Elk Country Visitor Center in Benezette, PA. We knew it was unlikely but hoped to see an elk. We didn’t see an elk, but we did see a nicely restored Hudson in the parking lot.

Restored Hudson

After we stopped at the Elk Country Visitor Center, we decided it was time to head for home. We took Route 555 to Weedville, backtracked up Route 255 toward St. Marys, and then turned north on the familiar to us Route 948. Stopping in Ridgway, we fueled up again. 74 miles on the trip meter here, 144 miles so far. About 50 miles to reach home, we continued out of Ridgway on Route 219, turning on Route 321 to Kane, where we finally picked up Route 6 back into Warren.  We made an ice cream stop at the Dairy Delight on the corner of Routes 59 and 6. While there Bob listened to a voice mail left by a friend who was having computer trouble. The friend was on the way home, so we made a stop there before returning home (subject of next blog post).

Memorial Day Weekend – Front Royal, VA

We spent the Memorial Day weekend in Virginia. During our vacation we drove the entire length of Skyline Drive from Front Royal, Virginia, to Waynesboro, Virginia. We spent two nights in Alexandria, VA. We visited with my cousins, Vernon and Wendy, and their 2-week-old son, Aiden, on Memorial Day.

We left home, en route Front Royal, Virginia, around 12:30 PM on Friday, May 27 . We reached the Quality Inn Skyline Drive approximately 6 hours later. The drive (yes, we drove the car; we did not ride the motorcycle) was uneventful, although we did run into a few heavy downpours. I am happy that we weren’t riding the motorcycle through those heavy downpours!

As soon as we checked into our hotel room, we went to dinner. The hotel clerk recommended the Main St. Mill Restaurant, which was within walking distance of the hotel.

The restaurant was located in a renovated feed mill.

Here’s a picture of me that Bob took inside the the Main St. Mill Restaurant.

Memorial Day Weekend - Front Royal, VA

I liked the restaurant’s tall ceilings, exposed wood posts, the wood floor and the wrap-around wall mural. Bob and I each ordered a grilled chicken breast dinner. The service was excellent, and the food was good.

Our hotel was located about 1 mile from the entrance to Skyline Drive. On Saturday, after breakfast at the hotel, we left for our all-day drive on Skyline Drive (the subject of my next Memorial Day weekend blog post). Before leaving Front Royal, though, I took a couple pictures of the court house.

Warren County Court House and Confederate Monument

The Warren County Court House was built in 1936.

Back Home – The End of a Great Weekend Vacation

We returned home from Wellsboro today. Before leaving the Wellsboro area we visited Leonard Harrison State Park. The park provides spectacular views of Pine Creek Gorge, which is better known as the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon.

Bob and I at Leonard Harrison State Park

It was an easy ride today, less than 130 miles. It was a gorgeous day for a ride. The sky was blue; the sun was shining; and it was a warm (not hot) day. We made two stops on the way home. We made a fuel stop in Coudersport. While Bob filled up with gas I took a walk through the train depot park, which was located next to the gas station.

C & PA Railroad Caboose

Coudersport and Port Allegany Train Depot

The depot, which has been refurbished, now houses the town offices for the City of Coudersport.

Knox & Kane Railroad Car

Our last stop before returning home was in Smethport. We drank cool beverages while admiring the McKean County Courthouse.

McKean County Courthouse

We returned home at approximately 2:00PM. I can’t believe that I rode over 600 miles this weekend. I wonder when our next road trip will be and where it will take us. I can hardly wait to find out!

Click here for a map of today’s route.

Kentucky Vacation – Day 7 of 10 (Part I)

As I write this post, we are home from our Kentucky vacation. We returned home today, in the mid-afternoon. We arrived home a day later than expected (the reason why is the material for another post :-)). I am SO FAR BEHIND in blogging about our Kentucky vacation. In the interest of uploading a post sooner rather than later, I decided to divide details of day 7 of our 10-day vacation into two blog posts.

On Friday, June 12th, Bob and I traveled by motorcycle west of Richmond to Loretto, Kentucky. According to the route that we mapped out at Google maps, Loretto was approximately 76 miles from our hotel. We traveled on winding country roads past inviting historic towns, hay fields, fields of corn and other crops, well-maintained horse farms, goats grazing in open pastures, and lots and lots and lots of cows … brown cows, white cows, black cows, brown and white cows, black and white cows. We stopped briefly in a few of those inviting towns while en route Loretto.

The first city in which we stopped was Lancaster, Kentucky. According to the KyHomeTown website, the city’s name “is said to be derived from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, from which many of the founders originally hailed”. Lancaster is the county seat of Gerrard County.

Gerrard County Courthouse in Lancaster, Kentucky

Our next stop was in the city of Danville, Kentucky. Danville is the county seat of Boyle County.

Boyle County Courthouse in Danville, Kentucky

According to Wikipedia, Danville is called the “City of Firsts”. The first courthouse in Kentucky was housed in Danville. Danville had the first U.S. post office west of the Allegheny Mountains. It hosted the first state-supported school for the deaf. In Danville, Ephraim McDowell became the first physician in the world to successfully remove an ovarian tumor. Danville is home to the oldest college administration building and campus west of the Allegheny Mountains. What caught my eye as we rode through Danville was this statue of two figures standing in a circle.

This statue is in Governor’s Square. Bronze plaques honoring every governor of Kentucky surround the statue.  An image similar to the bronze statue of the two figures is depicted on the flag of Kentucky, as shown below.

Kentucky flag obtained here 

Governor’s Square is part of Constitution Square State Historic Site, which is a 3-acre park that houses the courthouse that was the site of ten conventions that eventually produced the Constitution of Kentucky. There are several other buildings of interest as well.

This was the first post office west of the Alleghenies.
(exterior and interior views)

Replica of the original Meeting House
(exterior and interior views)

The Meeting House housed the first Presbyterians in Kentucky.

The Jail
(exterior and interior views)

The Courthouse housed the Supreme Court of Kentucky. The Constitution Conventions that led to Kentucky’s statehood were held in the Courthouse. (exterior and interior views)

Our last stop before arriving in Loretto was in Lebanon, Kentucky. The city of Lebanon is the county seat of Marion County. According to Wikipedia, the city was named for the Biblical Lebanon because of the abundant cedar trees.

Marion County Courthouse in Lebanon, Kentucky

Bob in downtown Lebanon, Kentucky

We left our hotel around 9:30AM. Approximately 3 hours later we finally arrive at our destination — Loretto, Kentucky. What, you might ask, was the purpose of our ride to Loretto. Maker’s Mark Distillery is located in Loretto. The purpose of riding to Maker’s Mark Distillery was to go on a tour of the distillery. I will write about our distillery tour in my next blog post.

Kentucky Vacation – Day 4 of 10

Bob and I rode to Winchester, Kentucky, on Tuesday, June 9th. Winchester was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981. The business district looks much as it did over a hundred years ago with the five globe lampposts and elevated sidewalk. We walked around the courthouse and up and down one street.

Town Hall


Businesses alongside elevated sidewalk

After taking a few photographs, we departed Winchester. On our way back to the hotel we stopped for lunch at the Waterfront Restaurant & Lounge, located a few miles from Winchester. We learned that the Waterfront is the home of Thursday Night Riders. It being Tuesday, we were a little early for bike night.

We returned to the hotel in the early afternoon. We spent rest of the day, relaxing in our room. We ate dinner at the Waffle House, to which we walked. A funny thing happened while at the Waffle House. I ordered a hot tea. The waitress brought me a glass of iced tea, without the ice. I reminded her that I had asked for hot tea. She took the glass of tea, placed it in the microwave and returned the glass of tea to me. I shook my head and said that I wanted regular hot tea, the kind that you put a tea bag in a cup of hot water. She finally gave me the hot tea that I ordered.

After dinner, while on our walk back to the hotel, we stopped at the gas station/food mart located next door to our hotel. It was only 8:00PM, and the gas station was closed! I had hoped to pick up a 6-pack of diet cola.

We learned that a fellow VROCer by the name of “Sundial” went down in Pennsylvania on his way to the rally. According to the VROC website, “Sundial” has broken ribs and possibly a punctured lung. He was transported to the trauma center in Altoona. Bob and I wish “Sundial” a speedy recovery!

Extended Memorial Day Weekend Vacation – Day 5 of 5

Over the past several days I have blogged about our 5-day vacation in SE Pennsylvania. Today, I post the last installment.

We departed Annette and Ken’s house on Monday, May 25th, in the late morning. Approximately 30 minutes later we found ourselves in the picturesque town of Jim Thorpe.

According to Wikipedia, the web-based encyclopedia, the town of Jim Thorpe “has been called the “Switzerland of America” due to the picturesque scenery, mountainous location, and architecture”. Jim Thorpe is also known as the “Gateway to the Poconos.” The highlights of our visit included Race Street, walking up to the Asa Packer Mansion, and watching a Memorial Day service at a Civil War Memorial.

Carbon County Courthouse

St. Mark’s Church on Race Street

Rowhouses on Race Street

Civil War Monument

Asa Packer Mansion

Memorial Day Service at Civil War Monument

We will definitely make a return visit to Jim Thorpe. Our 45-minute stop did not allow adequate time to thoroughly explore this lovely town.

Extended Memorial Day Weekend Vacation – Day 4 of 5

On the 4th day of our vacation (Sunday, May 24) we checked out of Best Western Concordville Hotel and left en route Ken and Annette’s house. Annette is Bob’s 3rd cousin. Annette’s grandmother and Bob’s grandfather were 1st cousins. Bob and Annette are 3rd cousins because they have the same great great grandparents. Bob and I met Annette for the first time in September 2007, when she and Ken stopped in Warren on their way, I believe, to a toy show in Ohio.

Cousins (Bob, Cynthia and Annette) Meet for First Time

Ken and Annette’s house was approximately 85 miles from our hotel in Concordville. On our way to Ken and Annette’s house, we stopped briefly in West Chester. We drove through West Chester the previous day, on our way to Victory Brewing Company. I admired the architecture of the Chester County Courthouse. I thought we would drive through West Chester on our way back to the hotel; however, the GPS took us a different route. We programmed the GPS so that it would take us to Ken and Annette’s house via West Chester. We stopped briefly in West Chester. I took a photograph of the courthouse, and we continued on our drive to Annette and Ken’s house.

Chester County Courthouse

What caught my eye as we approached Annette and Ken’s house was a mountain ridge, the Blue Mountain. It has the appearance of a great wall.

Bob, Ken and Annette with Blue Mountain in the background

According to Wikipedia, the web-based encyclopedia, “Blue Mountain is a ridge that forms the eastern edge of the Appalachian mountain range in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. It cuts across the eastern half of the state from New Jersey to Maryland, providing a distinct boundary between a number of Pennsylvania’s geographical and cultural regions. To its northwest side are the southern and central mountains and valleys, the “coal region,” and the Poconos. To its southeast side are the Cumberland Valley, the “capital region,” Pennsylvania Dutch Country, and the Lehigh Valley. The ridge of Blue Mountain runs for 150 miles through Pennsylvania…”

Soon after arriving at Annette and Ken’s house we walked over to the next door neighbor’s house, where we all had been invited to a BBQ. Annette and Ken’s neighbor hosts this BBQ each year during the Memorial Day weekend. Guests include family and friends. Bob and I were invited back next year 🙂 We met so many people, I cannot remember their names. I can’t even remember the names of our hosts. Everyone was very friendly, and we had a great time. I particularly enjoyed conversing with Chris and Cecilia.

Chris and Cecilia

Cecilia is from Seoul, South Korea. She came to the U.S. with her parents some time ago. Our conversation centered around our hosting a South Korean exchange student, although we talked about other things too.

Another activity that I enjoyed was playing “Sevens”, which is a card game for 3–7 players using a standard deck of 52 cards. The dealer selects the seven (hearts, diamonds, clubs or spades) that will start game. All cards are dealt to the players. The owner of the selected seven begins by playing it. Everyone else deposits a nickel into the kitty. Similarly, the other three sevens may later be played as the first cards of their respective suits. After that, cards may be added in sequence down to the ace and up to the king. A player who cannot play a card deposits a nickel into the kitty. The game is won by emptying one’s hand before the other players. The winner receives the kitty.

Up until the fourth day of our vacation we had no rain. Thankfully the rain held off for the majority of the time that we were at the BBQ. When the rain came, though, the storm was a doozie. First came the thunder, booming off the mountain, and the lightening and the rain. Then came the wind. The wind was quite strong, blowing the chairs sideways on the patio.

Bob and I spent the night at Ken and Annette’s house. Before leaving the next day for the last leg of our vacation, I took a couple more photographs of Ken and Annette.

Ken and Annette

Thank you, Ken and Annette, for your hospitality. We enjoyed visiting with you very much and look forward to seeing you again!

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