Sunday, July 24, 2016

Blowing Off Steam More Ways Than One

One thing bad about Red Roof Inns is many of them don't have breakfast. One of the best things about Red Roof Inn is they don't have breakfast. Given that we head out of Wilkes-Barre for Scranton to Steamtown National Historic Site for INK. We have been here multiple times and took the tour on one of our visits. Today will be a simple grab and run for the stamp.

Coming off the highway there is a Valero gas station facing us and we need gas. Pull in and to my right was river and this block of buildings sitting on the river. I thought this was the back end of Steamtown, however it is in fact General Dynamics.

General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems boasts one of the world’s most modern forge shops. The shop contains six forge lines. Each line contains an automated, computer controlled, billet heating furnace and automated 3-step press line. General Dynamics website

Makes sense given the prominent building in the picture says Blacksmith Shop.

Right across the street is the Scranton Iron Furnaces, which have the remains of four stone blast furnaces which were built between 1848 and 1857. The furnaces are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

It is still 20 minutes before Steamtown opens, so I bring up places to go have breakfast on the GPS. Krispy Kreme is right at the top, close and I have never been to one. I make a leap of faith, hoping they serve something other than donuts. As we head for the place we came across Sharon's Place and made a hard right turn without warning into the parking lot. Thank goodness it is early on Sunday just outside the downtown Scranton. There is no traffic to speak of.

Parking lot is relatively empty, which is not a good sign, but it has got to be better than donuts. Sharon's turn out to be a GREAT place. Food was good, it was cheap, the folks were friendly, the waitresses a hoot and sassy, all the ingredients for a great spot.

I didn't order anything fancy, 2 eggs flipped and broken, sausage, home fries and toast. Now it is really hard to ruin fried eggs, but it is an art when they are cooked to perfection, which there were.

We hit Steamtown and I regret now that I didn't take any pictures for this writing. It is really a worthwhile destination to going to. Click Here for more info

Next stop is Dingman's Falls, which is part of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. This is where I took Crystal on our first extended weekend motorcycle trip together when we first met. It is special place for me. My guess Crystal feels the same.

Just around the bend from Dingman is the Franklin Mineral Museum that has the Zinc Miner tribute statue for the Americana Tour. This was an active mine until the mid 1950's extracting stuff like zinc and manganese

About 40 miles deeper into Jersey is Washington's Headquarters in Morristown. This was purely a grab and run INK opportunity. From there we headed for my home town, West Orange. First order of business is to grab ink at the Thomas Edison National Historic Site, where Edison had his laboratory. This completed the last stop on the Iron Butt Association National Park Tour. You can see the INK on the photo below in the lower right corner.

Out of the West Orange laboratories came the motion picture camera, improved phonographs, sound recordings, silent and sound movies and the nickel-iron alkaline electric storage battery. Wikipedia

From here I passed my old High School, where Tony Soprano graduated from in the series the Sopranos. I also drove past the home I grew up in West Orange. Great memories!! The area I grew up in really hasn't changed that much from the 1950's.

From here was a straight shot to the Garden State Parkway, Exit 145. Long standing joke about Joisey is a reference to the exit you lived off from the GSP.

One more diversion to another fond memory of my childhood.

Buy Em by the Sack, was Buy Em by the Bag, because we didn't have sacks in Joisey. Sacks is a mid-west term. 12 for 12 cents was the typical order for a grand total of 1.44. A chocolate shake was pretty much the norm to wash down the burgers. Still full from breakfast I had one White Castle and a chocolate shake. Crystal only had the shake. When I ordered 1 they made me repeat I only wanted 1. No one orders just one.

The building has changed, no longer the porcelain signs and stainless steel seats, counters and tables. The burgers are exactly as I remember them thou. Today they are called Sliders, but that name didn't exist in the 50's and to me they are White Castles.

One of the things I remember is watching the cooks placing a bed of onions on the grill, then the square burger with four holes on top of the onions, covering this with the bun. The onions kept the burger off the grill enabling the cooking by steam. The holes insured the burger was fully cooked in the shortest amount of time.

Time magazine credits the Slider as the most influential and important burger creation of all time. My guess Louis Lunch in New Haven Connecticut (don't ask for ketchup) would dispute this fact, since they claim to have invented the burger.

White Castle was the last stop, hitting all highway to get home at a decent hour, have work tomorrow. From here to home was about 220 miles for a total of 350 miles for the day.

In The Bag

Today as we arrived in my home town of West Orange, NJ we grabbed final INK for the National Park Tour. This puts us at the count of 136 parks in 27 states. We began the tour on August 7, 2016 when we picked up the Spyder in Chicago, grabbing the I&N Canal National Heritage Corridor in Lyons, IL, We finished the tour at Thomas Edison National Historic Park in West Orange, NJ on July 24, 2016.

The Iron Butt Association National Park Tour Master Traveler requires a minimum of 50 parks in 25 states within 1 year.

I&N Canal and Chicago Portage National Historic Site in Lyons, IL

Thomas Edison National Historic Park in West Orange, NJ

The Paperwork to the IBA

As we were heading to West Orange I came up with another journey that will start next year in the July timeframe. This one is gonna take about 30 days on the road, maybe more

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Looking for Lewis Miller in all the Wrong Places

Today is easy, four places to capture and the rest of the day is taking a lazy ride along US6 in Pennsylvania. If you have never traveled along US6, its a great ride. Big sweepers over rolling hills, lots of farm land and neat little towns to pass thru. At time long ago forgotten.

Our first stop is the Lewis Miller Cottage, a National Historic Landmark. This was the home to Miller who was the leader of the Chautauqua movement, an adult education thingy during the 1920's.

The Chautauqua brought entertainment and culture for the whole community, with speakers, teachers, musicians, entertainers, preachers and specialists of the day. Wikipedia

So we hung a right onto Stone Chimney Rd, passed the Elkdale Country Club, the road went from nice tar, to choppy tar, unpaved and ended at a Stop sign, which I complied with. Didn't really have a choice, there was no more road.

Crystal "I don't have a clue where the cottage is"

Crystal pointing to the way back. Like I know that since we couldn't go forward.

We did stop at the golf course to see if anyone knew where Lewis's cottage was. As I walked into the pro shop the Pro said, "You that bad you have to wear a helmet". To which I said, "It's a tough game out there". I explained what I was looking for and he gave me that kind of look, you know the look. There was a cabin up there at one time, all that was left was a chimney thou. That just had to be it. I thanked him and left the shop.

Come to find out the waypoint was way off the mark. The National Park Service does have a disclaimer on their site about some of the places are mere estimates. If I had checked Wikipedia or read the nomination form, I would have found the cottage to be in Chautauqua on Whitfield Ave. Next time we will know and I have fixed my MapSource file of NHLs.

All part of the treasure hunt.

It's gotten pretty hot, only 10:30am and time for water. We also complied with this sign in Salamanca

The Zippo Museum is located in Bradford PA along US219 just north of US6. This was one of the Americana Grand Tour stops. Today there is a ton of people there since they are having a fair like event, with vendors, BBQ, and other concessions going on. They had the gates shut off to traffic, I told one the guys at the gate I was participating in a motorcycle rally and really needed to get a picture of my bike at the front entrance. He cleared the way and said follow me. I thanked him for his indulgence.

Come to find out from a fellow participant in the Americana Tour, I took the wrong picture, I was suppose to get the parking lot lights with the Zippo lighters on top. Another BUST. I just might ride back out there to get the right picture if I have time. It would just be shy of 1000 miles. Hmmm add a little bit, leave home around 4am, quick picture, some signatures, back home around 12pm that night and I have another IBA SaddleSore 1000 completed. I feel a plan coming together.

I parked the bike, hobbled back to the museum and we took a look around.

Since its invention Zippos have been sold around the world and have been described "a legendary and distinct symbol of Americana". In 2012 the company produced the 500-millionth unit. Thousands of different styles and designs have been made in the eight decades since their introduction including military versions for specific regiments. American George G. Blaisdell founded Zippo Manufacturing Company in 1932, and produced the first Zippo lighter in early 1933, being inspired by an Austrian cigarette lighter of similar design made by IMCO. Wikipeidia

I remember as a little tot, my father using a Zippo lighter, where he kept the Ronson lighter fluid, and the occasion stain in the paints pocket when the fluid leaked out of the lighter. Also remember loving the smell of the fluid. Must of gone along with the airplane glue (pre health hazard warnings). His was a plain stainless steel case Zippo lighter. I see brushed chrome ones are available to 18.95 at the Zippo store.

Toward the back of the museum they had this contraption. This is one of those things you could stare at for hours. Simple things for a simple person.

Very cool neon.

Back outside Crystal was kind of enough to go get the Spyder. She pulled in front just in time for a motorcycle parade going by that lasted a good 20 minutes. Lots of bikes.

This one caught my eye, a Honda Pacific Coast, PC800. Honda built there between 1989 and 1998, making about 14,000 in total. One can see the makings of the Gold Wing, ST1100 and ST1300 in the lines.

Out of the 100's of bikes that went by, only 1 Spyder.

About half way across PA rests the town of Wellsboro and the Wellsboro Diner, a great place for a snack.

I had the simple blackberry pie, but Crystal made the right choice. She had the banana, black berry, and strawberry pie. I had a small bite and this is the one to have.

At the intersection of US 6 and SR 4008 (Porter Rd) in Troy PA is this giant gas pump. This is one of the Americana Grand Tour stops. The gas station where this is located dates back to the 1940's. There are matching regular size pumps by the entrance.

Our last stop of the day is one of those that you pass by and have to turn around and go back. Crystal was piloting and I tapped the Sena10 and said, you have to turnaround. This is Sanford & Sons in Wyalusing PA. Also on US 6.

While we were walking around I started to get landscaping ideas for home. Our front lawn is really only crab grass, which does stay somewhat green during droughts, and I could see the potential of this art (maybe kitsch) for the lawn. I keep threatening to put flamingoes out front. Now I know where to get them. I wonder if they will send via UPS.

From here it is about 50 miles to the Red Roof in Wilkes-Barre. A great day of riding, more leisurely than the last 2 at 283 miles.

Friday, July 22, 2016

It's a Wonderful Life Lucy !!

Didn't have to get up at the crack of dawn. First stop doesn't open until 9AM, so it is sit around and wait. Having time, we headed over to Denny's across the street and have a nice light breakfast, back to the room and packed up the bike and headed out.

The first scheduled stop was open so we just blew past it and ended up at the Camillus Erie Canal Park. It was still before 9, but waited until someone showed up so I could get my INK.

The park contains a replica of Sims' Store, a mid-19th-century canal store originally located about two miles east. The store is operated as a museum and gift shop. Other historic features include a salvaged set of lock gates from Old Erie Canal Lock 50 (Gere's Lock), a waste weir, a feeder canal, and the remnants of an earlier lock and aqueduct that were in use from 1825 to the mid-1840s. Wikipedia

In the second picture below, see the cat just lying around. There is a sign out in the parking lot for travelers to check the inside of their car to make sure the cat hadn't jumped in to hitch a ride. While I was taking picks I got pretty close to the cat, which normally they would get spooked and walk off. Not this one just calmly sat there while I invaded their space.

Nice scenic spot worth the stop. Got my INK (NPS stamp) as well

Can you hear me now ??

Just down the rode is Seneca Falls for 3 stops in the area.

The Visitor Center has INK, traffic was light, stopped and got my stamp. Lady in the VC, said "Oh you want the one down the street", to which I replied "I know about that one, but want this stamp as well".

The right up the street is the Women's Rights National Historic Park. At this location is the Wesleyan Methodist Church, which was the site of the Seneca Falls Convention, the first women's rights convention. The last time we were here, back in 2009 the church was still undergoing restoration and was simply the walls.

One more stop in town for the It's a Wonderful Life Bridge for the Americana Tour. While the film was shot on set in California, Seneca Falls is believed to have inspired Frank Capra's creation of Bedford Falls in the movie. This is the bridge that George, while drunk, drove his car into and where he thought about committing suicide.

Not too far is Rose Hill a National Historic Landmark. This was simply a grab and go picture opportunity to satisfy my quest to visit all the National Historic Landmarks in the county. The house was built in 1939 by William Kerley Strong, a rich New York City wool merchant. The design was attributed to Minard Lefever and Alexander J. Davis (architects) who has a profound effect on 19th century architecture and interior design. Given that is was probably built by very skilled carpenters in the local area using the designs of the Leferver and Davis.

The heat has built up and stopping for water is going to be the mantra for day. During one of our oasis stops this was sitting outside. A CB750F Honda slightly ratted out. Crystal asked the guy if it was uncomfortable to ride without a sit, to which he responded, I have been riding it that way for so long I have gotten use to it.

We hit the Niagara Falls area right around 2:30PM. First up was the Adams Power Plant Transformer House, a National Historic Landmark. The last time we were in this area, we tried visiting this, however I had it marked in the wrong place and ended up in a neighborhood with boarded up houses, abandoned and very reminiscent of Detroit, MI. Never the less we didn't find it. When I was planning this trip, this time I used Google Maps to physically locate the property.

Adams Power Plant Transformer House in Niagara Falls, New York is a National Historic Landmarked building constructed in 1895. It is the only remaining structure that was part of the historic Edward Dean Adams Power Plant, the first large-scale, alternating current electric generating plant in the world, built in 1895. Wikipedia

When we pulled up the gate was open, so of course I trespassed and went onto the property to take pictures. Well the owner was on location and from afar started yelling at me. Rather than simply walk away I started limping toward him. At first he was giving me a rash of shit (rightfully so) and when I told him I was an amateur photographer and history guy and simple chase National Historic Landmarks, he softened a bit. He was concerned I was from some historical or citizen group taking pictures so they could harass him about the condition of the property. Our conversation probably lasted 20 minutes or so and offered on another day to let me go inside and take pictures. I did email Peter, the photos I took.

We did see the falls but only drove past them. We did drive onto Goat Island, but they wanted $10 for parking and we did have some crucial time sensitive places to grab in Buffalo. And yes we have been here before and walked around the falls. One of these days we will cross into Canada and see the falls from that side. I hear it is a much better view.

Buffalo is a hop skip and a jump from Niagara Falls. We visited the Buffalo State Hospital, a National Historic Landmark. This is the architecture I am use to seeing for the asylums we have visited in the past, the Kirkbridd Plan.

The Kirkbride Plan refers to a system of mental asylum design advocated by Philadelphia psychiatrist Thomas Story Kirkbride (1809-1883) in the mid-19th century. Wikipeidia

The Richardson Olmsted Complex is a former insane asylum in Buffalo, New York, United States. The building was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986. The Olmstead Complex has undergone renovation and remodeling to function as a hotel and conference center for the city. Wikipedia

So as not to miss our time slot we headed straight for the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural NHS to capture INK. We have been here before and this was simply and grab and go for the National Park Tour. This is where Teddy Roosevelt was sworn in to the Presidency of the US in 1901 as a result of William McKinley being assassinated.

Our next stop was Kleinhans Music Hall. Eero Saarinen also designed the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.

Kleinhans Music Hall, home of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, was built in the late 1930s and opened October 1940. The building was designed by Eliel Saarinen with his son, Eero Saarinen and "was recognized as one of the greatest concert halls ever built in the United States". Wikipedia

A little bit looser on the artistic side are some of the murals on Allen Street in Buffalo.

This one is called Voyage. The mural was inspired by people’s intrinsic nature to overcome adversity in the face of race and gender bias. I thought about climbing the fence, but Crystal talked me out of it.

Right across the street was this joint, The Allen Street Bar and Grill.

We ended going thru the center of Buffalo, which doesn't bother me in the least. I love looking at all the buildings and people in our great cities. As we approached Niagara Square, this magnificent Art Deco building is right to our left. With no hesitation I pulled over and said to Crystal, I just gotta get a picture of this.

At 378 ft (115.2 m)[2] height or 398 feet (121.3 m) from the street to the tip of the tower, it is one of the largest and tallest municipal buildings in the United States of America and is also one of the tallest buildings in Western New York. The cost of building City Hall was $6,851,546.85 ($94.4 million in 2016 dollars[9]) including the architect's fees, making it one of the costliest city halls in the country. Wikipedia

Way back I started out in architecture school and lets just say I didn't have the spatial aptitude for design work and became an accountant instead. Given that I have always had an appreciation for great architectural buildings. The Art Deco era of the 1930's created some of our most memorable buildings. There is only one other building in my mind that revivals City Hall in Buffalo and that is the Guardian Building in Detroit, MI.

If look all the way to the lower left, you can see Crystal talking with the security guard about the Spyder. Whenever we stop one of us is always talking about the Spyder.

This picture is technically a disaster as a photograph, with the building falling backwards, but I still like it. It is a merging of 12 photos and took my about 4 hours to put together of processing time, brought my computer to its knees begging for mercy, but when it was all done both the computer and myself were satisfied with the challenge.

Right across the street is the McKinley Monument.

The McKinley Monument is a 96-foot (29 m) tall obelisk in Niagara Square, Buffalo, New York. Its location in front of Buffalo City Hall defines the center of the city and many of Buffalo's major roads converge on it. The monument was commissioned by the State of New York and dedicated September 6, 1907 to the memory of William McKinley, 25th President of the United States, who was fatally shot while attending the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo on September 6, 1901. Wikipedia

We will return to Buffalo one day soon to ride to the top and view Buffalo from its tower. I have read the woodwork and stain glass windows inside are second to none.

What would a trip to Lake Erie be without a shot of the lake itself.

One of the boats that got off course. Looking for the Edmund Fitzgerald in all the wrong places. Not even the right lake to boot.

In Pomfret, NY which is where we turned left off Lake Erie and headed due south for the next destination, we stopped for water at a local gas station / old style supermarket / general store. This was the Men's Department. Crystal calls this pic Shotgun Wedding.

Last stop of the day was in Jamestown, NY birthplace of Lucille Ball to grab this mural for the Americana tour. Lucy wasn't just a pretty face or a great comedian.

Lucy became the first woman to run a major television studio, Desilu Productions, which produced many popular television series, including Mission: Impossible and Star Trek Wikipedia

It's the World's Largest I Love Lucy Mural, an image from the episode, "California, Here We Come," of Lucy, Ethel, Desi, and Fred singing as they drive across the George Washington Bridge on their way out of New York City. Roadside America

We stayed in the next town over Falconer for the night. Miles for the day was 289 miles not a lot but a full day nevertheless.