Way off the beaten track

Trip Start Mar 20, 2011
Trip End Jun 05, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Pennsylvania
Saturday, June 4, 2011


North Jackson(Ohio) to Bartonsville(Pennsylvania)

Today I started out with the hope of getting to within 100 miles of New York city in order to deliver my wonderful Honda to the shipping co early Sunday morning.

I left North Jackson about 9am and headed off along highway 80 yet again. Soon I was seeing signs saying "New York 398 miles". I then thought about taking another more scenic route rather than this boring highway. A few miles into Pennsylvania there was a tourist information centre right on the highway and so I decided to pull in and see what other routes there was across this wonderful green piece of America.

The chap at the centre tells me to take route 6 along the North of Pennsylvania as it is known as the "Grand Canyon" of Pennsylvania. I was now excited and for sure was going to go that route.

I left along the boring highway 80 again and finally turned onto route 5 towards Franklin and further onto the old town of Oil City. Franklin was a nice modern town and appeared very well kept but Oil City was really old and for someone like myself very interesting. It was full of old industrial plants and mechanical history and also very well kept. It was like stepping back in time.

Just outside town was a large notice saying "You are now entering Indian territory" and so was looking out for Indians but somehow I think I had more chance of seeing a Elephant than a Indian.

I headed on up route 62 which was a wonderful road up and across the mountains. Finally I came to a small road on my right known as "route 666". This was shown on my map as a very small road but a short cut for me to reach route 6 and so I took this route.

As I went along this road 666 I passed a number of other motorcycles coming the other way so it must be a bikers route. I took a few side roads just to see if I could find any scenic views from the top of the hills but I soon found out the answer was no.

At one point I was well into a forest and got totally lost and simply sat there listening and watching the wild birds. It was just so peaceful sitting here in this place of wild nature but in the air above something was brewing and that was a storm.

As I tried to find a way out the forest thunder was cracking and mighty large flashes of lightning were filling the sky's, I had to get out of here fast.

Finally I found my way back onto route 666 and headed further East towards the small town of Tionesta. As much as a storm was in the air it had not yet started raining and I decided to pull into this Indian looking fort for a drink and if possible something to eat. The place was called Cougar Bob's Killetville Tavern.

As I pulled up at the door to this fort I was greeted by two chaps who were standing outside with drinks in their hands. "Do they make food in here?" I asked. "Of course man, we make the best food in the village" he replied. Just then all three of us entered the fort and I soon discovered that one of these guys was the owner.

Up at the bar I ordered a Hawaiian pizza and a coke. Sure enough 10 minutes later the pizza is delivered and I hate to say it but that pizza was about the worst pizza I have ever tasted. The outside of it was burnt thru but the inner section was still ice cold. Needless to say I ate it fast and just got on my way.

Outside the storm was getting ever closer and a few drips of rain were in the air. As the road winds and twists it was almost as though I was back in Scotland again. It was green with trees all round and like Scotland rain was in the air.

Again I met up with a bunch of bikers at a scenic spot and again we got chatting. This lot were on a trip around America and were from Canada. One of them even had a old 1984 Yamaha FJ1100.

As we chatted they were all putting on their wet weather gear in readiness for the rain. Me being optimistic was determined It was going to come to nothing and so I left mine off. However 10 miles along the road it came down like mad and I had to stop and put on my wet weather gear.

The rain was coming down like mad now and rivers were flowing over the road. The wind was blowing in all directions and was in all words just a mighty gale!! Keeping the bike up was just becoming impossible but I cracked on at slow speed.

A few trees had been blown down and a number of overhead cables were laying at the side of the roads etc. There were times I just thought I must stop but standing at the side of the road in this storm was not going to be any safer than riding the bike especially as there was trees along every foot of this road.

As I struggled along in this storm I saw the other bikers I had met earlier on the road standing at the side of the road. One of their bikes was on its side in the trees. The rest of them had placed their bikes against some of the larger trees to stop them getting blown over and so I stopped and parked my bike against a tree and joined them in the forest and sheltered against the storm.

After hiding here in the forest for about 40 minutes the storm had calmed and we decided to get on our way. The road was now a mess with bits of trees and bushes and one had to be extra careful. Finally we arrived into the town of Sheffield where I continued East along route 6 and they continued on North.

I was now on the Grand Canyon road of Pennsylvania and even though it was still raining I was looking forward to the magical scenery meant to be along this route. 25 miles on along this route and there seemed to be nothing but row after row of trees and so I decided as the weather was crap to head back to the highway and head for New York.

Just as I was about to turn off route 6 I came to the town of Kane and stopped for a few photos of this well kept town. Through the town I made a left turn onto route 321 and there ahead of me was a old disused railway and station. Of course I had to stop and get a few snaps of this old wooden building. It could not have been anymore than a year or so that this station had been standing disused. While walking around here I got a few strange looks from the locals and soon the police arrived but just sat in their car and watched me taking photos.

I then headed onwards on route 321 and then 255 to St Mary's. As I approached the town I saw a sign saying "City of St Mary's". A city I thought, cant possibly be a city in this hilly area. As I arrived into this so called city I right away noticed how well kept it was. The centre being all done up for memorial day last week. I took a few photos of the town and then headed on through to the other end when I noticed a railway running right up through the centre. Wow, I thought. Its not often you see such things in this day and age and the best of it was it was still being used. This line ran right along the door steps of shops and car parks etc. Would have been great to see a train coming through this town.

Onwards I head along route 255 and then 153 which finally brought me back onto highway 80 to New York. Since I left the highway earlier in the day I had ridden about 150 miles around Pennsylvania and so thought it cannot be too far to New York. I turned off the highway at the next off ramp and went hunting for some accommodation for my last night in US. It was while looking for accommodation I met two Harley riders who looked like they were doing the same as me and so I pulled up beside them.

Of course we got chatting as bikers normally do. I asked them how far off from New York city we were and they said its about 300 miles to go!! Surely not I thought but looking at the maps they were right and so I decided to head on for another 200 miles or so but not before a nice cup of hot chocolate. I stopped at a little shop and stood drinking my chocolate and had a laugh with the girls in the shop. The one girl Lindsey, just thought I was so mad riding a motorcycle for 16000 miles.......I agree, I am;-)

It was now rather chilly and I was sure feeling the cold. It was again time for the gloves to go back on and even the heated grips. What a change in weather from when I left North Jackson this morning!!!

I headed onto the highway again and simply flew along at about 80mph in the slow lane. Again I was being overtaken by every other vehicle on the road even though the speed limit is only 65mph. At one point I was sitting at 80 when I saw this massive HGV truck catching me up at a great rate. I increased my speed slightly but he kept coming. I'm up to 90mph and he comes passed in the next lane!! It was on a rather steep downhill and I began to wonder if his brakes had failed and he was a runaway!! I never saw that truck again so he must have just kept going at that speed. Mad and extremely dangerous!!!

I headed on into the early evening and finally decided to turn off the highway after about 200 miles simply to fill up with petrol. I pulled into a service station and was simply going to fill the tank and get going until I asked the shop attendant how far it was to New York city. When she told me it was only 89 miles I made my decision right there and then, I was stopping here for the night.

I headed into town and started looking for somewhere nice. As this was to be my last night and the end of a mighty long journey I thought I might as well enjoy the last evening somewhere nice!! I thought of a nice hotel like on the top of a hill with a wonderful view or something like that but after riding through the town a few times I soon believed there was no such place in this town and I had to just settle for one of the typical high street motels.

The motel was nothing special at all but right over the road was a wonderful steakhouse and for sure I knew where I was going for dinner!!

Bike gear off, shower and into some normal clothes and over the road to the steakhouse it was!! But something was wrong here!!! Its only 20h05 on a Saturday evening and the place is just closing. Em, excuse me but are you selling steaks?? “No, we're closed” was the answer!!

After looking around the local area and finding nothing I decided to head back along the road on my bike to another steakhouse I noticed on the way into town. I walked in here and right away got a good welcome. As I was shown to a table I noticed a lady with a massive plate of ribs and so before I even looked at the menu I said to the waitress “one large rack of ribs please”. On top of that I decided also to have a Chocolate Martini to celebrate the last night of the journey.

As I sat there eating this wonderful plate of ribs I was thinking back about the trip. It had been a really magical adventure and I was extremely sad that it had come to a end. However on the other hand I was also rather happy that I was going home. Being away from home for this length of time is a long time. Being away this long and having to take in as much as we have and do as much as we have in such in this length of period is quite simply very hard work.

Getting home to my little cat Tom and back to work and reality will be quite satisfying. At least I will know where and what I will be doing each and everyday......or at least I should!! These last ten weeks or so anything could happen along the road. Bike failures, punctures, someone could get ill and need help or you could simply be hijacked!! One just did not know what everyday was going to bring.

At times down in South and Central America one was without internet or phone and simply away out in the jungle. As I have said before, I would often head off the beaten track and away up little side roads simply to explore these out of the way places and take photos of them. Such places were simply just wonderful and all contact with the rest of the world was simply lost. Out in such places like the Atacama desert was just fascinating as there was simply not a single sign of any life. It was almost like being on another planet as I am much of the time;-)

Thats all tonight
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