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.
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 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.
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.
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).