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I surprised myself, and Roy, by being ready to take off at 9:00, after breakfasting on those odd Frisbee-like "cheese omelets" at the Hampton Inn. We did a quick driving tour of Millionaire's Row in Williamsport. But it was rainy and we were through with being on vacation, so we didn't stop to take any pictures.

but my wildflower appendix, with all my wildflower pictures, is behind the cut tag )
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090728_02towandaIt's our 25th anniversary today (July 28, the date in the entry title, not the date this was posted)! I wanted to lounge about a bit in the lovely motel room and read back issues of Successful Farming, thoughtfully provided by the management, so I sent Roy to have breakfast at the Red Rose Diner in Towanda, which he did (many photos on his Blackberry but I don't have any). Roy very kindly took his time, taking a few more pictures around Towanda, so I got the deliciously late start I'd been craving for several days.

We drove south on Rt 220 from Towanda, through many lovely small towns, looking for signs of railroads past, especially in DuShore, where I also photographed St. Basil's Catholic church.

more photos and text behind the cut )
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090727_02wellsboroTime to start retracing our steps. We'd both had miserable nights in our damp Ox Yoke Inn room, so we left as soon as possible and headed back to Wellsboro, where we had breakfast at the Wellsboro Diner. I had three eggs up, toast and coffee. Roy had two eggs up, sausage patties and coffee. The diner had cleverly located its rest rooms so that one had to traverse ye olde gifte shoppe to get there, but we both managed to resist its blandishments.

more text and photos )
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Not surprisingly after a night of being extremely damp and unhappy, we were up at 5:30. We played with our Blackberries, looked at the photos we'd taken so far, and waited for it to be 8:00 and, therefore, breakfast time. We waltzed into the dining room at 8:05 and into a new waitress's nightmare: 25 hungry patrons and the other waitress called out sick. It took us almost 15 minutes to get coffee and the hostess pronounced herself mortified but we said we could clearly see how hard the waitress was working (while wondering why the hostess wasn't hustling out there with a coffeepot, but she may have been doing something backstage). Breakfast, when we got it, was fine -- Roy had SOS, I had sunny side up eggs and bacon, we both had toast and fries.

090726_01galetonSo what's the plan?, Roy asked. And the fact was that I had no plan. My plan had been to drive around a bit the previous day, then make the Lumber Museum our centerpiece Sunday destination, and we'd already been there. So the plan became forensic railroading. We started with the Galeton station and engine house, a pair of depressing places, especially if it's raining. Roy went into the engine house (pictured behind him, here). I stayed outside. Then we tromped about around the train station, which hasn't been occupied since the last short line operator folded, around 30 years ago. The lawn is being mowed, which is good.

Out behind the station I found the remnants of a couple of railroad ties and some regular depressions in the ground where ties had rotted, mute indications of where the rail lines had run. Beyond that, in some tall weed I found a rusted hulk that Roy tells me was a track car. I photographed the hulk and then used my new "put the camera on my walking stick, press the 10-second delay and shove it in the cab" technique to photograph the inside. I found a little flower I didn't recognize and took its picture (but didn't upload it to Flickr because it wasn't very good).

more photos and text )


Aug. 7th, 2009 05:04 pm
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Originally uploaded by lb_philly.
I can haz Kiping!

My 32-volume Collected Works, which I believe is complete except perhaps for a very few Varia. Perfect condition except for one sun-faded volume, which I confess I photoshopped a bit here to make it less obvious.

A mad extravagance, the maddest thing I've done for a very long time. I told Roy it was my birthday present and my Christmas present.
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090725_01towandaFirst news of the day: Roy thinks he's coming down with a cold. Fortunately, I have a few Cold-Eze.

We had coffee on the porch with Al the Aggregate Guy from Detroit, his wife, and another couple, up for their kids' camp open house. A woman who is canoeing the Susquehanna and delivering art for a festival later this summer is also on the porch. We talk about places to eat. We agree the Wyalusing is not haute cuisine, and canoeist volunteers that there's a wonderful place in Tunkhannock. We heartily recommend the Wyalusing for bar food and rhapsodize about the hamburgers. Al volunteers that his daughter has pronounced herself sick of summer camp's Very Health Whole Foods Cuisine and is dying for a greaseburger, so they're sold. The talk turns to the Marcellus Shale, frac sand, extraction etc. The canoeist is foursquare against it. Al is not sure what he thinks. We talk about new techniques for purifying and re-using the water to minimize the impact on the environment. Roy is pretty knowledgeable about the business of taking the water away in tank cars for processing.

We had breakfast at the Weigh Station again -- Roy was less pleased with the mushroom/provolone omelet of the first day and I was less pleased with the grilled pepper, spinach and feta omelet. But we were satisfied. I also got some pictures of the charming River Walk and some of Towanda's earlier historic buildings.

can you sense I don't want to give up this vacation quite yet? -- more photos and text )
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090724_01wyalusingWe didn't drag our coffeemaker up the steep stairs to our room at the Wyalusing Hotel-- Chris told us they set out their continental breakfast at 6:30, which was plenty early for us. Roy brought us the first coffee and then we wandered off to the porch to drink more coffee and admire the view of Main Street.

The previous evening Chris's son Adam strongly recommended the Weigh Station in Towanda for breakfast. It sounded good to us, so off we went. Our omelets were tasty -- Roy's was roasted peppers, spinach and feta cheese; mine was grilled vegetables and gorgonzola. In addition to standard restaurant tables, there was one massive oak table that easily seats 8-10, and was in use by the local "breakfast club." The restaurant also serves as a music venue, and one wall is covered with a combination of musical instruments and messages from visitors from all over the world. The Weigh Station actively promotes local food and drink, with a selection of wines from local vineyards. The wireless is free and easily accessed, other patrons told me.

more text and photos )
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090723_01milfordI'm a failure as a note-taker. I have nothing about breakfast. But I think we ate at the Milford Diner again -- in fact, I'm sure of it. I probably had another of those nice primavera omelets. We took a couple minutes to get a few pictures of the local Presbyterian church and also Forest Hall, a building at the main intersection that was designed by the architect of Grey Towers and that once housed a forestry school. The previous day's pictures were not wholly satisfying because the light wasn't right.

At the outset of our drive across Route 6, it seems a good place to remark on a couple of things that surprised and delighted us: even when a place needed a coat of paint, or was festooned with moldering human artifacts, the lawns were always manicured. Most of the houses we passed were well maintained, with fresh paint (this is lumber country and most of the houses are wood, not stone or brick), and abundant flower gardens. And American flags everywhere. Big ones on flagpoles, medium-sized ones flown from house fronts, little ones in flowerbeds. One sees an American flag so rarely in Philadelphia where we are all far too sophisticated to show any patriotism… I stopped flying ours a few years ago because it had gotten so ratty but I swear I'll get a new one now. (I do put out little flags in my window boxes for Memorial Day, Flag Day, and the Fourth of July.)

more photos and text beneath the cut )
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090722_01myersWoke up early and went outside to photograph the motel cabins in the early morning light because oh, my, it was so beautiful.

We went back to the Milford Diner for breakfast (French toast for Roy, primavera omelet for Laura) and then headed off to Grey Towers ( ), summer home of Gifford Pinchot, first chief of the U.S. Forest Service and governor of Pennsylvania. Pinchot's grandfather amassed the family fortune by clearcutting hillsides and then selling the impoverished acres to unsuspecting immigrants. His father, appalled, went to New York to become a wallpaper dealer, and then encouraged young Gifford to pursue a career in forestry, then unknown in the U.S.

more text and photos behind the cut )


Aug. 3rd, 2009 11:27 am
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090726_12newfieldI edited and uploaded the last of my vacation photos. All 461 of them. All that remains is to make a few edits to the text and upload that in day-size bites. (I come by this honestly. The Aunties kept trip journals, too, although they pressed flowers, purchased commercial postcards and did little sketches instead of wailing away with a digital camera.)

We have workmen in the house right now, ripping out the loathsome jalousie windows in our dining room and kitchen (at last! after thirteen horrible years!) and replacing them with windows that can be tilted inside and washed from the inside.

Roy shot six rolls of film while we were on vacation, and also put 150 frames on his Blackberry. We can't figure out how to upload them to the computer, although he can always email them in batches, I suppose. His film (Provia and Velvia, not Kodachrome from The Last Brick) is back from the processor's. He sorted slides and we looked at about 60 last night. We had both forgotten how much we enjoy the kachunk sound the carousel makes as the slides change. O nostalgia, punctuated by a carousel bulb blowing out and the realization that we just installed our last one.

That is all.

Sad house

Aug. 3rd, 2009 12:10 am
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Originally uploaded by lb_philly.
This was once the finest house in Coudersport, PA. Now, it's sandwiched into a small and irregular lot between a bowling alley and a concrete-lined ravine that holds the fledgling Allegheny River. That beige building to the left is the bowling alley and I don't think there is more than 24" between the two.

The original owner, F. W. Knox, was an attorney who in 19th century fashion did everything -- he helped organize the town and the local Presbyterian church and two railroads. Later the house became the Old Hickory Hotel and Tavern. Elliott Ness drank in the tavern regularly when he retired to Coudersport.

Now the building's fate is really questionable. If we had a bazillion dollars we'd buy it AND the bowling alley and knock the Old Hickory Lanes down.
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25th Anniversary Route 6 Trip -- July 21-29, 2009
Notes (Reflections will come later)

July 21, 2009

We knew that the weather forecast for the foreseeable future was not promising -- a lot of clouds, plenty of rain. But we were determined that we would adapt.

We had to make a few stops in Philadelphia before leaving town, but pushed off around 9:30. Because one of those stops was to make a bank deposit, we weren't able to stick completely to plan, which was to go east on Christian Street to Broad Street (aka 611) and thus officially begin out trip a scant six blocks from home. But we picked up Broad Street a little north of City Hall, went out to Doylestown and then north, more or less paralleling the river.

The city fell behind a little north of Doylestown, as the road became more of a country road, sometimes right next to the river and other times a few miles inland. We followed the road to Easton, where we marveled at the town square with its elaborate Civil War monument and bustling shops, and marked it as a potential destination for a day trip or even a weekend with side trips to the scenic Delaware.

photos start happening here -- click on any picture to reach my photostream with additional photos )


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