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Sep
20
Category: Travel to USA

The morning dawned a little foggy and comfortably cool, and gradually cleared and warmed up with temperatures expected in the 80F range this afternoon. We followed Route 12 until close into Chicago to stay off turnpikes and experience more of the country and it was a treat. The countryside was pretty with lots of different sorts of agriculture happening. Attractive little towns and settlements and overall gently undulating and leafy terrain and in what seemed no time at all we were pulling into Dupage Honda & Yamaha and catching up with Mike, Mark and all the team These guys have been awesome in sorting our bikes for us to make it all possible and will do the same before our return next year.

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A very nice house in the surrounds of Coldwater … it’s always an awesome one that brings out the camera, this one was the next but still very nice.

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Lovely town buildings as we continued.

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And that would be the thumbs up for the ride, the view, the holiday and the whole experience.

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All sorts of different farms to be seen.

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And attractive towns.

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Effective marketing for on farm marketing .... hopefully.

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Halloween approaching and there are pumpkins everywhere.

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 And that's a quick grab at a quaint old bridge as we turned onto another road. It's no longer used.

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Intensive farming support.

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Barns still in evidence.

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Serious farming efforts here.

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Loved this sign at the Truckstop where we stopped for lunch and the announcements over the loudspeaker for shower bookings and the like were also great. So good to see and hear the truckers / truckies being valued and respected.

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As we headed back to the bikes after lunch the Sherriff’s car pulled up beside us, in the employees car park spot. As the guy got out of the passenger side and said hi I could have told him we were about to go so they could have our parking spot but no, the opportunity for a photo was far too good.

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And there we are back at Dupage Honda & Yamaha to hand the bikes over and feeling very plesed with our efforts. It was an awsome ride and we loved every minute of it especially catching up with Ashley in NYC and Kevin and family in Louisiana, not to mention only experiencing 1 wet day (heading into Toledo) being our first day out with about 2 inches of ran in half an hour!

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Our hotel for tonight is the Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare Hotel & Conference centre.


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Sep
19

It has been another lovely sunny day just made for bike travel. Not too cool to start and not too hot to finish. Bit of a Cinderella ride really albeit with not a lot of photo opportunities spending most of the ride on Interstates but at least that meant we had plenty to occupy our time and attention so there wasn’t any likelihood of being mesmerised and needing to have a nap before we got here. Where we started in Canada was obviously an English settled location with London and then Chatham Kent Windsor and Blenheim (and they’re only the names I can remember) all being passed through. We saw heaps of interesting truck configurations and suspect these are known as Michigan Mules (within the industry anyway, if you need more weight add an axle principle). They look a bit bizarre to us but apparently do the job so some shots of those. We got in by 3.30pm so Norm is tidying up the bikes as we will be returning them tomorrow for storage, so he wants them looking good for the handover. A bit sad the journey is close to finishing. Boo hoo on that front and yippee on getting home to catch up with family and friends but especially new grandson snuggles!

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Lots of roadworks early in the day, narrow lane between concrete barriers for the other direction. All 80kmh.

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Norm was on a mission when we stopped for coffee to talk to a driver about the axle situation, this is the truck he was driving.

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So, the trailer is a triaxle with 1 single axle in front of the tri and 2 single steer axles (1 at the very back of the trailer and 1 just behind the legs). All up this allows him to carry a payload of 40 tonnes.

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And obviously circumstances / different freight tasks call for different configurations.

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And again.

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And again.

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Flat and windy and many wind turbines here amongst the corn.

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Ambassador Bridge. A privately-owned bridge so our toll transponders wouldn’t work. Glad it was dry when it came to fish for cash.

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And it's crossing a big body of water with serious shipping underneath.

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And back into the USA we go.

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We love the many and varied water towers at all the towns, this one in Summit Township.

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Pumpkins and flowers for sale. Have seen lots of these coming up to Halloween and they vary from being quite professional like this and plenty with them lined up on cardboard under trees as well.

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And some interesting things for sale for would be collectors.

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Our hotel for the night the Holiday Inn Express & Suites. This is where Norm cleaned up the bikes so he could remain in the shade.


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Sep
19

To start, I should announce that my phone was ringing when we got into our hotel room last night and we were shocked to see our daughter Rosey with a newborn baby, she was supposed to be induced today but ended up with an emergency caesarean. Little Arlo is in the special care nursery but doing well and will hopefully be out of there very soon. It goes without saying that he is perfect!

Back to the trip. We left the long johns in the case today figuring that we weren’t going to have any mountain riding like yesterday and that most of the hills were behind us and we were right with mostly undulating to flat land throughout today and comfortable temperatures throughout. We rode through heaps of corn fields and all sorts of agriculture including orchards, berries, pumpkin and vegetables of all descriptions, some of which we were struggling to identify. We have been in Canada since the first few minutes of our trip and have found the housing quite different to the USA. Overall there appears to be very little marginal housing and more brick being used as well as various timber finishes rather than vinyl cladding and consistently good quality along Route where we travelled. The big highlight was to visit Niagara Falls

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And there we are in Niagara Falls.

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One of the Fall faces.

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And the other, the horseshoe.

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And all together.

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Some of the manicured gardens at the falls.

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Our parking ticket and the infringement issued when we had 30 minutes left! Norm tracked down the Policeman who was apologetic. $12 to park was enough without a fine on top when we weren’t out of time.

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And it’s all happening back from the falls.

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And again.

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Farm autumn colour (since we are in Canada) and wind turbine. Have seen a few throughout our trip.

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Another barn.

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80km straight roads nearly all day is mesmerising …. nap time.

And some work shots. Rigs in yard.

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And again.

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And what exactly is that???

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Some more nice real estate.

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And again

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And tonight, is a highlight staying at the Idlewyld Inn & Spa in London Ontario. All kinds of lovely including a delicious dinner and a buffet breakfast will start our day in the morning. The only downside was a slowere mthan ideal Wifi but I guess you can't have everything.

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And a view of the bikes from our dinner spot which is the front of the little round room on the right above. Heavenly.


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Sep
17
Category: Travel to USA

We opted to add the long johns today as it was cool and were grateful for them except for the last hour (1.5kms) in a snail pace dribble over some of the interstate to our exit 200m from our hotel. The only respite from the heat was briefly under an overpass or two and in the shade of trucks …. Not enough.  But that said we had a beautiful day of riding along Route 28 then Route 20 through lots of farmland forest and cute little communities. More eagles soaring and lots of pumpkins in evidence as the locals get ready for Halloween.

We particularly loved Skaneateles Auburn and Seneca Falls with Skaneateles (pronounced as skinny atlas) being knobs hill (our opinion) and the next two in descending order of status going on the real estate. The first incredible, the second just beautiful and third still quite lovely.

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Creative use of a bale elevator.

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Great view of a lake in passing.

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A part work shot. I'd seen this truck earlier but wasn't quick enough to get a photo so was chuffed when I came back from my walk to find Norm had snapped this.

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Found a little community recreation park (closed) but went for a walk and startled some ducks.

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 An old-time clothesline … and a trailer in the back yard.

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Serious intensive farming in this area.

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Specie real estate,

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And again.

And again.

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Another great bridge.

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A wildlife reserve complete with eagles or osprey nests on the top of transmission towers. We’ve seen these elsewhere in the states on previous trips. They are quite a hazard to themselves not to mention the power supply.

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The sunflowers are about done.

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No stopping on pavement … would be more than happy to oblige! The last 1.5km took us 1 hour!

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Hotel foyer display.

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And our hotel for the night the Buffalo Grand Hotel, some of it not as grand as it used to be.


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Sep
16
Category: Travel to USA

We started with grey skies and a light dusting of the wet stuff at some point, but a clear blue sky soon made its way through the clouds and the day has been just lovely to travel in. We wound our way through lots of forest and farmland and delighted to see a lot of trees starting to colour up and have arrived this afternoon in Cooperstown where all things Baseball happen. There are baseball Museums, this is the home of Cooperstown bats, there is a Baseball Stars Wax Museum and even the Baseball Hall of Fame. Apart from that the town is just a delight with picturesque houses and leafy streets. Just beautiful.

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Rondout Yacht Basin bridge, quirky … but a 3-ton load limit?

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Ahh, that would explain the load limit. Probably about to dissolve in a rust cloud.

Ahh a cute bridge in Lexington.

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Love the farm buildings.

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A change of colour slowly happening.

Awesome barn.

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Prattville Diner for lunch.

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Country roads.

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And again.

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Into Cooperstown and there is a definite Art Deco feel in the street.

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And again.

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A lot of specie real estate in Cooperstown.

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And again.

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And the Railroad Inn, used to be a feed supplier building in the railway precinct.


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Sep
15
Category: Travel to USA

We have had a lovely time exploring Poughkeepsie And Hyde Park area with our grandson Ashley. Norm collected him from the train on Friday and we hired a car and walked the foot bridge over the Hudson River and then visited the Franklin D Roosevelt Home (Springwood) Museum and Library on Saturday and then the Vanderbilt Mansion and some of the surrounding area on Sunday before delivering Ashley back to the station. We were grateful of the car Saturday with a fair amount of rain while today the sky has been blue and the day just beautiful. It was a treat to spend some one on one time with Ashley, we don’t get the opportunity to do a lot of that individually with our grandchildren, and given Ashley’s work is as demanding as it is we were particularly grateful also knowing it will be some time before we catch up in person again.

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Norm and Ashley about to set out on our walk of the Highland Railroad Bridge which was originally considered the great connector for rail traffic being the only bridge between New York City and Albany (Capital of New Yor State) but failing industry and increasing use of interstates saw the decline of rail travel and after a fire on the bridge it looked like it would be demolished but the community fought that and it is now a shared linear park and trailway commenced 1992 and completed 2009. Thankfully we decided to walk it Saturday as it was going to be closed Sunday with a function on.

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Walking bridge.

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Poughkeepsie Railway Station from the bridge.

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Mid-Hudson Bridge from the walking bridge.

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View of the bridge from the elevator platform.

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Almost across the bridge.

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The details.

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Teamwork approaching one of the entry gates to the Marist University. It was the stonework in these entrances which enticed us in for a look.

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Our Saturday lunchtime Diner.

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The FDR Museum and Library. Some great displays.

 

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The FDR residence – Springwood.

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FDR’s library (in the residence) almost empty of books as major restoration is going to start next year and things are already being packed up.

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Vanderbilt Mansion.

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The Man Cave (smoking room).

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And a view in the garden.

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And another.

And more of the garden itself largely established before the mansion was built as this was on a site of a previous mansion unsound to restore.

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A view from the overlook across the Hudson River on our way through the yard.

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And our Sunday lunch Diner.

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And inside. All kinds of cute,

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A shot in the Marist University. Beautiful stonework.

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Mid-Hudson Bridge.

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Some Highland area real estate.

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And another.

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Crossing the Mid-Hudson bridge.

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And finally a farewell shot at the Poughkeepsie Railway Station with Ashley.


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Sep
13
Category: Travel to USA

Without trying to stick to country roads we did anyway because we headed for the country township of Bethel which was where the Woodstock Music Festival was held in 1969 and found a largely sparsely settled old area which I doubt would have survived without the festival apart from a few farms. Woodstock was held on a dairy farm on the edge of town which is now a terraced community space used for all sorts of functions. It reminded us of Lardner Park plus it has a Museum to all things Woodstock and the arts as well.

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We diverted off the road to check out the Dingmans Falls which were a comfortable walk on a recycled plastic boardwalk and even though it is the end of summer there was still some water coming over the top.

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The forest was predominantly Hemlock trees with lower coverage of rhododendrons. It must look magnificent when they are in bloom. They are also under attack by a Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) an aphid like insect from Asia responsible for the severe decline and mortality of up to 80% of Hemlock Trees in the Shenandoah National Park! But enough doom and gloom this is a still section of water on the way to the falls.

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We came across a picturesque little village of Milford and this is the Community Centre.

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And then it was off on the road again.

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And then it was off to find Woodstock territory, and this is some of what we saw. A Hippie VW … sort of.

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The only serious looking farm we saw.

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A photo of a poster in our lunch spot.

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And an Ariel view ….. unbelievable.

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Lunch was at a little country store which is depicted in the board outside. At the time of Woodstock, it was a store with petrol as well as being the Post Office. Just a little store and café now.

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The board with pics from the day.

 

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A plaque outside the museum.

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About to head through the toll booth before Poughkeepsie.

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The walking bridge from the station.

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And the station itself.

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And Norm found Ashley at the station and brought him back to the Inn.

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The Marriott Residence Inn, where we will stay for 3 nights. A lovely 2-bedroom apartment and couldn’t be more opposite in all respects to last nights’ accommodation (all of which have been our choice).


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Sep
12
Category: Travel to USA

We  set out this morning aware that there were forecasts for scattered thunderstorms in all the areas we would be travelling through so were relieved and somewhat surprised that we didn’t encounter any rain until about 30kms before our destination so we decided to forego lunch and make a run for it and soon changed direction from the storm before getting really wet and didn’t get any more rain until after we were in. Yay! We enjoyed the ride through picturesque Pennsylvania farmland and forested hills with all sorts and sizes of communities along Route 209. Very nice travelling, lots of windy bits and not much traffic.

We doubled back from Hershey to Harrisburg at the start of the day to find route 209 which gave us a perfect opportunity to check out the Rockville Bridge which is the longest stone masonry arch railroad bridge in the world built between 1900 & 1902 by Pennsylvania Rail. It has 48 arches, is 3,820 feet long and replaced an iron one built in 1877 which replaced a timber one built between 1847 to 1849.

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Great timing. A coal train crossing. Was still crossing when we turned around and came back.

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And the other side.

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Lots of little towns along the way, many of them several kms long with houses right on the street like these and only 2 – 3 streets deep..

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Coffee at a Diner in Pottsville on this little square.

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Many ups and downs in roads in the country as well as the towns.

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Nearly in and so is the rain.

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We had a genuine American hotdog for a late lunch which was yummy.

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And of course, it started to rain while we ate. My handbag served as a very inefficient umbrella on the way back to the motel.

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The Pocono Plaza Inn, under restoration…….


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Sep
11
Category: Travel to USA

We didn’t have a very big day of riding lined up toady and had planned to call into the Flight 93 Memorial to pay our respects and hadn’t realised until last night that today was in fact the 18th Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks so we visited along with several thousand others. We enjoyed a lovely ride there through fields of corn and many small farming communities which was peaceful. Then we arrived at the memorial and considering this wasn’t a public holiday here the numbers were impressive. Much work has been done since we were last here and the trees have grown incredibly so softening the edges of things somewhat. The Vice President, other dignitaries and family members of those on the plane were in attendance so security was tight with Secret Service, State Troopers and local Police all in attendance. We couldn’t go as far as the memorial site and left our bikes some distance away, were cleared by the secret service then transported by shuttle bus. Was quick on our way to the memorial but we waited in line for over an hour for a shuttle on our return. We were pleased to see the incredible number of motorbikes in attendance and the demeanour of all in attendance was respectful and patient. Our not so big day got to be a very big one.

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Heading out of Cumberland.

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Pennsylvania farming land.

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Country roads.

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Corn corn and more corn.

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A real general store where we grabbed an iced coffee.

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Flight 93 Memorial.

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RIP.

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What happened.

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The Investigation.

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‘We’re going to do something’.

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Since 9/11.

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The Tower of Voices and a couple of Aussies coming to pay their respects and despite some of the chimes being readjusted we did hear the chimes.

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A common field one day, a field of honour forever. What looks like a path heading up between the 'field of' is the path from the memorial to the impact site.

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Interstate hold up on our way in. We went from 120kmh to stopped in a matter of metres and managed not to get run over with both of us heading over the fog line and  a 4 wheel drive finally stopping beside me not to mention many cars off the sides of the road and choking smoke from all the truck tyres.  2 lanes into 1 and snail pace for around 5kms. We were hugely hot by the time we got past that!

 

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And the Econo Lodge Hershey where we will lay our heads down tonight. Sorry we couldn’t pick up a Hershey bar this afternoon, it would have melted by the time we got it here so would have been a waste ….and a very messy pannier / saddle bag.


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Sep
10
Category: Travel to USA

Another cool start with comfortable travel throughout the day, partly due to the temperature and partly to being in the shade for most of the day travelling on country roads with only the last 2kms on an Interstate. Yay. We rode through mountainous hillsides, forested hills and open farmland. Even saw a few cattle and sheep and with or without the scattered settlements we saw the ride would have been magnificent with dappled shade, rugged rocky outcrops, rippling streams and more leaf confetti and leaves on the ground to swirl through. It would seem the fall / autumn has arrived in these here parts even if it isn’t official until September 21st over here. Norm spent some time exploring Downtown Cumberland this afternoon while I caught up on some NTC work.

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Part of the Old Dairy at Warm Springs. It is an intriguing historic little settlement which has had many historic buildings retained and well maintained. Very nice.

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And quite the oppsite, a bit down at heel later in the morning.

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A little bit of country delight.

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Lovely country roads.

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A specie house in Franklin.

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A cute little tractor sign finally got a pic.

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My next ride…a Slingshot. Nah,

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More country roads and even more rugged rocks in them thar hills.

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The Mall Downtown Cumberland.

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The historic West Maryland Station.

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An impressive tribute to the developent of travel in front of the West Maryland Station.

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And our hotel for the night The Ramada by Wyndham. Can't get much closer parking than that!


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