Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Top 10 Things You Might See Along the PA Turnpike

1. Rocks along the side of the highway always remind me of the opportunity we were given in our primary years to write to the capitol of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg and they would send you samples of the rocks found in Pennsylvania. They arrived in a plastic tray separated by compartments.  Does anyone remember doing this and receiving their free rocks?  I am going back many years but a lady never tells how far back. It was however before the stone-age. I never got the full educational experience and became a geologist but I do still collect rocks. I always wonder why some sections of rock along the highway have nets while others do not.

2. The Three Mile Island towers near Harrisburg always attract my eye. I know just where to look as you cross the Susquehanna River. Again you may have to be a certain age to remember that day. March 28, 1979.  It was a partial nuclear meltdown. At the time you had to be a nuclear scientist to really know what that meant but for the average American living in Pennsylvania it meant a tinge of panic. How far away from here is that? How far does that leak travel? What does it look like?  Does it smell? The "accident" was rated 5 on a scale of  7 on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES) so not so bad but it did take 14 years to completely clean it up at a price of 1 billion dollars. The glow is the guardrail but when I first looked at the picture I was stunned.  Is that water glowing?

3. Tires aren't really that extraordinary to see on the turnpike in any state.  Sometimes you even see shredding remnants along the side of the road from the big rigs but this was a first for me, a truck carrying many of those big rig tires or possibly heavy machinery tires.  Those are for the big guys. I can't tell if these are new tires or those headed for proper disposal. Especially this time of year we are reminded that tires lying around accumulate water which attracts mosquitoes that could potentially carry the West Nile Virus. It is also a fire hazard, the rubber on the tires can burn for days. Here is a link to the Waste Tire Program in Pennsylvania, where you can dispose of tires.

4. Rain may not be inevitable for you but it seems to be for us on the major highways especially around dusk. I am confident with my driver, he has a CDL license and I am constantly getting an education whilst driving during inclement weather. As far as I can tell, it is a courtesy and a good idea to use your flashers during a huge deluge. The best thing to do is to pull off to the side of the road if you can't see in front of you but flashing lights can give other motorists an indication that you are there and to use caution.  It is in the dmv.state.pa.us drivers manual, "if legal to do so", to use your flashers if you are traveling below the speed limit. I have also seen forums where people and they get kinda mean about it, find the flashers hazardous and distracting. PA people were flashing.

5. Depending on the direction you are heading there are 7 tunnels and maybe even a double tunnel.

6. A spectacular sunset can be found if you are heading west and there are mountains too!

7. Construction happens, and it mystifies me that every summer I am traveling it's not on my map, itinerary or on my GPS but always lies between myself and my destination.  How do they know?  Unfortunately, I was not quick enough with the camera to snap a picture of the sign, but there are certain things your state representatives DO want you to know. I jotted them down, $48 Million for a new bridge along the Pennsylvania Turnpike and $49 million to widen the road to 3 lanes. I am not a fan of the cattle shoots and three does sound better than one. These are our tax dollars at work.

8. Green Power is evident from the wind farm near Altoona. You can usually spot the wind turbines in the general area but I have seen the best display heading east on the turnpike. It is a majestic sight in my eyes. This video was taken on Route 30 but some of these same windmills are visible on the PA Turnpike.

9. The current "legal" speed limit on the Pennsylvania Turnpike is 65 M.P.H., tomorrow July 23 this rate of speed will increase to 70 M.P.H. in "some" sections, other areas are still being evaluated. This is the maximum freeway speed in the state of Pennsylvania. There is no universal set minimum maximum in the United States.  These limits are set by state. The highest rate of speed, 85 M.P.H. allowed in the United States is in an area in Texas a 41 mile portion of Texas State Highway 130. The PA Turnpike increase of speed will run from the Blue Mountain interchange to the Morgantown interchange.  My thoughts are not everyone does the speed limit but if you are a conscientious driver, now you have to know exactly where you are and when this speed limit will fluctuate from 65 to 70. Watch for the signs. The alternative route is pay the piper if you are caught speeding or see the sights at a lower rate of speed on the Lincoln Highway. We all have options.

10. Safety and security is always the top priority on the highway. You are now being observed and if you are not comfortable doing the "legal" speed limit in the left lane....moooove to the right.

Always learning something new, for further reading, Abandoned PA Turnpike
is now a tourist attraction and during the 1930s the Pennsylvania Turnpike was designed to improve automobile transportation across the mountains of Pennsylvania, using seven tunnels built for the abandoned South Pennsylvania Railroad in the 1880s.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike was added to  List of Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks in 1988.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Top 10 Things To Do Week of July 21

July 23 -27 This Week at Rose Tree Park many opportunities for great entertainment including the ballet!

July 23 "Inequality for All" film will be shown at the Media Borough Hall located at 301 N. Jackson St. in Media. This event is free and sponsored by The League of Women Voters. A discussion following the film with Dr. Ellen Magenheim, professor and chair of the Department of Economics, Swarthmore College.

July 25 26 27 The 2014 WXPN  XPoNential Music Festival at Wiggins Park and Susquehanna Bank Center 3-Day Passes start at just $45 for XPN members.

July 25 Kidchella Kids Music Festival st Smith's Memorial Playhouse in Fairmount Park 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

July 25 National Carousel Day at Franklin Square, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Celebrate National Carousel Day with a buy one-get one free tickets to the Parx Liberty Carousel!

July 26 Chester City Second Annual Overtown Street Festival 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 6th and Avenue of the States -  Crafts - Food - Music MINAS the Hottest Latin Jazz Group at 2 p.m.– Kids’ Fun. For more information please contact Antoinette Truehart – 610-499-7528.  Delaware Historical Society will offer historical walking tours at 11 a.m. 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. and Philadelphia Union raffle for 2 game tickets!

July 26 Colonial Plantation Farm Day and Evening Summer Concert presents Black Horse Hotel at 6:30 p.m. rain or shine. 11 a.m. - 8:30 p.m. with last entry at 6:30.pm. Concert at 6:30 p.m. (rain or shine!) Admission is $10.00 for adults and $8.00 for children ages 4 to 12.Children under age 4 are free. Buy Tickets.

July 26 Linvilla Orchards Sweet Corn and Blackberry Festival no admission fee. Pick Your Own Balckeries and Corn plus live entertainment. Live in concert: The McCords and Friends! Performances at 10 a.m. 12 p.m  and 2 p.m. and featured performer is Magician John Cassidy! Comedy, Magic & REALLY Weird Things with Balloons. John’s magic & entertainment is great fun for kids and hysterical for parents. Shows at 11, 1 and 3 p.m.

July 27 Part of the Awesome Fest, Nick Cave is examined in a post-punk documentary, 20,000 Days On Earth Advance Screening at the Trocadero. Doors open 6:30 p.m. Show 7:30 p.m.

July 27 Dar Williams at the Bryn Mawr Twilight Concerts held at The Bryn Mawr Gazebo 9 S. Bryn Mawr Avenue, Bryn Mawr, PA. $12 donation.  Children 16 and under free.

Please check links to confirm details and possible weather condition changes.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Top 10 Makin a Summer Songs Mix

Hot Fun in the Summertime Sly and the Family Stone

Heat Wave

Summer in the City Lovin Spoonful

Summer Breeze Seals and Croft

Summer Wind Frank Sinatra

Summer by War

In the Summertime when the weather is fine........Mungo Jerry

Summer Rain Johnny Rivers

Theme from Summer Place Percy Faith

Under the Boardwalk The Drifters

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Top 10 Things You Can Learn From the Flight 93 Memorial

Flight 93 took off 25 minutes late due to heavy morning traffic at the Newark, New Jersey Airport on September 11, 2001. All the planes that were targeted had a low volume of passengers and were all traveling across country with a heavy load of fuel.

Seven crew members and thirty three passengers en-route to San Francisco were only in the air four minutes when the first plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center, a second plane hit the South Tower at 9:03 a.m. to me this was the moment America went into disbelief and panic mode. One plane that was a disastrous accident , two meant something far greater. Passengers on Flight 93 became aware of the dire situation through contact with family members using the airphones on the plane.

There are 40 Memorial Groves of Tress planted on site to honor the passengers and crew. The groves line the Ring Road as you drive to the visitor's shelter.  The display consists of 7 species of Pennsylvania native trees: red oak, white oak, black oak, scarlet oak, chestnut oak, black gum and sugar maple.

As these trees mature they will serve as a beautiful living tribute to those that lost their lives on this field, September 11, 2001.

To the left of the Memorial Walkway is the crash site and debris field, the area beyond the wall is not open to the public. There are open sections in the wall where people can leave mementos or some form of tribute to the victims and many people have. Several pieces of evidence were found in this area, including knives, passports of the terrorists and hand written documents in Arabic describing the plans. There were thousands of pieces found with the largest being a 6 x 7 piece of the fuselage.

 The walkway is .25 mile distance to the wall of names. I would imagine the typical focus on this walk is the field of debris.  It is still hard to imagine that this has happened 13 years ago and equally hard to comprehend that this senseless act of killing innocent people has helped any cause. The vicious circle of terrorism continues all over the world, on September 11, 2001, it struck home.

The wall of names of the passengers and crew of Flight 93 are lined up in alphabetical order and engraved on marble. Some names are more familiar than others but each of those names has a particular significance to each and every family member who suffered a loss that day. You can read the bio of who these people were at the nps.gov website. You can also watch a video of their faces. As you approach the wall it appears that the sections are lined up, but as you get closer you can see they are on a diagonal.

The granite walkway in front of the wall of names leads down to the Memorial Gate is suppose to represent the flight path of Flight 93, to me it resembled a runway. The plane came over this ridge.

Beyond the Memorial Gate in the open field of debris sits a large boulder. It is the approximate location of impact. The public is not permitted beyond the gate but you can certainly get a clear view.

I would imagine but I am not sure that the families of those that perished here, are allowed to go to the boulder. You can see the rocks placed on top, this is a custom at grave sites to indicate I was here and I care.

The area with the empty benches just beyond the visitor's shelter resonated with me. I could see a family member sitting there facing the wall of names reaching out to their loved ones. Pennsylvania was not a target of this terrorist plan. The passengers of United Flight 93 prevented a possibly much larger scale of loss of life.  It was never determined where this plane was to attack but many believe the U.S. Capitol or the White House were spared by this heroic act. I hope those families can find some comfort in Pennsylvania and this reclamation project and memorial.

As you turn and walk away from the wall of names just beyond the ridge you can see the large windmills of western Pennsylvania. I was always fond of these larger than life structures. Now as I pass them on the Pennsylvania Turnpike they will remind me of the memory of the passengers of Flight 93. Their spirit is in the air.

September 11, 2001

Extensive information can be found at the National Park Service Flight 93 National Memorial.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Top 10 Lincoln Highway Gems Part Two

1. The 1927 Lincoln Highway Coffee Pot originally sat on the west end of Bedford. It was designed by Bert Koontz to attract business to his gas station.  The early restaurant served ice cream, hamburgers and Coca -Cola. It was moved to the Bedford Fairgrounds and restored in 2004.

2. Art deco styles Dunkle's Gulf Service Station in business since 1933. The terre cotta style tiles depict stylized geometric foliage and chevrons. I will admit my illiteracy, I wasn't sure what a chevron was.  I thought it was a car and it was but a chevron referred to here would be an insignia of stripes meeting at an angle.

3. The 1766 Espy House would be next but I totally missed it.  It was headquarters to President Washington during the Whiskey Rebellion.

Heading into Everett

4. Just before The Hometown Bank on ypur left you will find an original Lincoln Highway Concrete marker with a friendly design make by local artist.  I should have also included the chalk drawing on the sidewalk by the current residents along the Lincoln Highway. It gave an otherwise plain marker personality.

5. Across the street you will find "Five Dollar Bill", a gas pump with President Lincoln painted on it.

6. Not much further in town you will find the Historic Union Hotel which looks like another good place to eat depending on your time of day visit and appetite. The tavern was built in 1802. In 2009 a major remodeled was done.

7. If you are having trouble finding the Everett mural, carefully cross the street to take a nice picture of the Union Hotel and turn to your right across the bank driveway.  There it is. The town originally named Bloody Run was changed to Everett in 1873.

8. Heading out of the town of Everett you will pass the Igloo Ice Cream Parlor or if you can't resist you will drive in for a taste. Again timing is crucial but I have never known a bad time to have ice cream unless they are closed. They also have yogurt for the health conscious.  It's all good.

9. Roadside Giant Oversized Quarter with George Washington's profile sits to the right of the entrance of the Down River Golf Resort.

10. Take a slight detour onto Zion Rd. just about a mile ahead.  You will pass a former motor lodge (no photo), a log house and a 1760 tavern which has been a private home owner by the same family for over 50 years. You loop right back to 30.

Sources: Bedford County Visitors Bureau tour suggestions. Again hats off to the them for such a great visitors guide,it promotes tourism, interest and conversation. What more can a location offer.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Top 10 Things To See Along the Lincoln Highway

The Lincoln Highway was the first transcontinental highway for automobiles in the United States.  The Lincoln Highway stretched from Times Square in New York to Lincoln Park in San Francisco. Who hasn't ever dreamed about driving cross country? I will share a small piece of the Lincoln Highway and its iconic highlights in western Pennsylvania, specifically Bedford County. Much of the historic Lincoln Highway, became part of US 30; it is still known by that name in many areas.

1. The Lincoln Highway Farm painted on two red barns has been owned by the same family for over 150 years. Bison are sometimes seen roaming in the pastures.

2. Across the road is the Bison Gift Shop where you can purchase bison meat and other bison related items. At th top of the driveway you can view a vintage gas pump "Remembering Our Native American Past".

3. It all has to start somewhere and my journey began at the 1806 Old Log Church   This building was spotted out the corner of my eye as we traveled Route 30 west.  Wow, look at that, so down Cemetery Road we traveled. The door was open and out walked a couple.  At first he was a little defensive and said we are just sightseeing and we said so are we. I thought at first he worked there and he thought we did. We mentioned we were on our way to the Flight 93 Memorial and they had just completed a day of touring the Bridges of Bedford County. The woman went to her car and produced the 2014 Bedford County Visitors Guide.  I did mention the guide last week.  I don't work for them but I am most impressed with their presentation. Besides the bridges, they present a self guided tour of the Lincoln Highway Landmarks.

Chestnut Ridge and Schellsburg Union Church and Cemetery (added 2005 - - #04001482) NRHP

The church has its original wineglass pulpit. How many churches do you know that leave their doors open?

4. The Pied Piper at the edge of a driveway was once the entrance to the 1950's  Fairytale Storyland.  On the property now is Country Originals Craft Shop.

5. Driving through the borough of  Schellsburg you will pass the vintage gas pump "Vincent Van Gas" in front of the Lincoln Highway Auto Center.

6. The Borough of Schellsburg (1810) is a National Register Historic District Two photos below must be part of the 73 residences, three historic churches, one former school, 15 commercial buildings, three mixed use buildings, and 15 barns on the list of historic places.

7. Gravity Hill,  a side excursion where you can defy gravity for FREE in Pennsylvania. Cheap Thrills and a motion picture where your car rolls uphill and backwards unaided! I was told I almost drove into the woods backwards.  Wasn't me.  It must have been some other phenomenon. Gravity Hill is listed in the visitor's guide with the covered bridges. We added to our itinerary here.

8. At the entrance to Shawnee Sleepy Hollow Campground on Shawnee Sleepy Hollow Rd. (part of the original Lincoln Highway) you will find a 1775 former tavern house made of log and stone. Follow the road down to the stop sign turn left and join 30 East.

9. On your next venture, you can visit the Lincoln Motor Court with cabins that have bene refurbished to their original 1945 look and you can picture yourself with an "old fashion selfie". It looks like a nice cozy place to stay and the people are very friendly.

10. A good place to stop for lunch or dinner on today's tour is the historic Jean Bonnet Tavern built in 1769. This spot is full of historyWhiskey Rebellion? No, I did not have lunch there but I should have. It is just another reason why I must return to this area. I always like to keep my options open.

 Grab something to eat we will be back on the trail tomorrow.


Latrobe, PA is home to the Lincoln Highway Experience Museum.