The Beauty Around Us

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Posts tagged ‘St. Marys PA’

Family Visit and an Elk Sighting

On Saturday (March 10) Bob, Raphael and I enjoyed lunch and conversation at Hoss’s Steakhouse in St. Marys, Pennsylvania with my brother, his wife and their 6-year-old grandson. Raphael had seen Jim and Judy in July 2008, when he last visited. It was the first time Raphael met Kaleb. Can you believe it? I forgot to take a picture of Raphael with Jim, Judy and Kaleb!

After lunch Bob, Raphael and I went to Benezette. Jim, Judy and Kaleb returned to camp, where they were spending the weekend. In Benezette we stopped at the Visitor Center.

Raphael in front of the Elk Country Visitor Center

We didn’t see any elk at visitor center. We drove up Winslow Hill and saw a large number of elk grazing on hill, too far away for a great-looking picture. We did see four elk on private property along Route 555. I photographed the closer of the four elk.

Elk

Benezette Elk

Yesterday, after admiring the variety of chainsaw sculptures at the Ridgway Chainsaw Carvers Rendezvous, Bob and I decided to drive to Benezette in the hopes of seeing one or more elk. Before sharing photographs that I took of the elk, I want to share with you what we did prior to arriving in Benezette.

Our first stop, after leaving Ridgway, was at Elk County Medical Center in St. Marys, PA. My friend Gretchen’s son, Trevor, was in the hospital after suffering a perforated lung. I met Gretchen through her blog, Gretchen’s Travels, and we met in person at last year’s Ridgway Chainsaw Carvers Rendezvous. You can read about that meeting here. We met Trevor at the Rendezvous as well. I guess we didn’t make any impression on him, though, because Trevor doesn’t remember meeting us! I did what I came to the hospital to do. I gave Gretchen a hug. In fact, I gave her two hugs. I wanted Gretchen to know that she had the support of her friend. Gretchen’s husband was at the hospital as well. Randy, it was nice to meet you finally! Trevor was admitted to the hospital on Thursday, February 16. Hopefully he will be released from the hospital today.

Our second stop was at Hoss’s Steak and Sea House, also in St. Marys. We enjoyed steak (me) and chicken and ribs (Bob) for lunch, accompanied by the bountiful salad and dessert bar. No one ever leaves Hoss’s hungry!

After eating lunch we drove to Benezette. We stopped at the Elk Country Visitor Center first. We didn’t see any elk in the field, as we circled around the parking lot. There could have been elk at any of the viewing stations; however, we didn’t get out to look. The weather had turned cold and blustery, and I had no desire to brave the elements! We continued on to the Winslow Hill viewing area.

Winslow Hill Elk Herd
as seen from Dewey Road

After photographing the elk herd, we returned to Route 555. Just prior to Route 555 we saw four elk, located a lot closer than the Winslow Hill Elk Herd!

These elk were grazing on private property
near the intersection
of Winslow Hill Road and Route 555

After viewing the elk, we returned home. What a wonderful Saturday we had! I hope your Saturday was just as enjoyable.

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).

Our Saturday Drive

What a lovely week it was! I’m happy that we had the opportunity to enjoy the lovely weather this past Saturday. We drove to Benezette, PA, which is located an approximate 1 1/2-hour drive from our house. The purpose of a trip to Benezette was to visit the recently opened Elk Country Visitor Center.

We made two stops prior to arriving at the visitor center.

The Cross

Our first stop was along Mt. Zion Road, near Benezette, where we walked through a small wooden gate and walked across the field to this cross. There is a sweeping view of the countryside from the cross.

Mt. Zion Road becomes Gray Hill Road, as you continue into Benezette. Shortly after turning left onto Route 555, we saw three bull elk at a campground.

The first two bull elk that we saw.

The third bull elk that we saw.

After admiring these three elk, we continued to the Elk Country Visitor Center.  We arrived at the visitor center shortly before its 9:00 AM opening time.

Elk Country Visitor Center

Elk Country Visitor Center

Elk Country Visitor Center

While at the visitor center, we watched a 4D theater presentation about the elk herd in Benezette. We experienced our first snowflakes while watching the multimedia presentation! We walked all three trails, which led to overlooks where elk may be seen. All three trails were short and easy to walk. We didn’t see any elk at the visitor center. We spent a couple hours at the visitor center. If we could have found more to do in the area, we would have stayed around until dusk. As it turned out we didn’t find anything to do in Benezette, so we started our drive back home. We made a few stops on our way back home.

We ate a late breakfast at the Hilltop Diner, located about 5 miles outside of St. Marys. Breakfast was a leisure affair; it was close to noon when we left Hilltop Diner.

We stopped at Straub Brewery in St. Marys, where Bob enjoyed a complimentary 5-6 oz. drink from the Eternal Tap.

Our Saturday Drive
Bob took this picture of the Eternal Tap.

We stopped at Clear Creek State Park, at Beartown Rocks. The main attraction at Beartown Rocks is the collection of enormous rocks and rock/tree formations.

Bob at Beartown Rocks

These house-sized rocks had a wooden staircase. We walked up that staircase to the top of the stack of rocks.

We could see a far distance from atop those rocks!

Several rocks created a tunnel-like formation

We returned home around 4:00 PM.
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