GOOD MORNING WORLD
This past weekend we took a trip ‘home’ for my boyfriend’s 50th high school reunion. He is older than I. In hushed tones not mentioning that my 50th is next year. After all this blog is subtitled ‘eclectic writings of an aging woman’.
We chose to take back roads and stay off major highways as best we could and still not be on the road for hours. We found route 10 and 176 up to Reading PA and then picked up 61N to 81 for only an hour until we were on Route 12 in New York state. We took the same way back with an addition of route 11 to Scranton PA from NY12. After Scranton we picked up 81 only to retrace our original route around Reading PA to home.
We laughed so at IDA on this journey. IDA is our gps voice. IDA stands for Instructional Directional Aide. We are convinced that GPS systems get a kick-back form toll highways as it kept wanting us to find one. We could not decide which words she used most turn right or turn left. Ultimately we decided she used the word “recalculate” the most. It is amazing that at times she did not simply blow up! We definitely were not taking her route and she would finally give in to ours. We spoke about IDA as if she were real and would at one point swear bad words at us and simply stop working. Levity is a good thing!
Our trip up to New Hartford, NY took us through the Pennsylvania countryside on a lovely sunny fall Saturday. We drove through “Harmony Day” in Honey Brook PA. Doesn’t that just sound like the nicest day? It appeared to be as many Amish and Mennonite were in their buggies at or going to the event. There were booths lining the village on the library lawn and a ball field.
After this minor slowing we drove through the bucolic PA countryside. It was a lovely day. As we neared the end of 61 we drove through Pottstown PA. Immediately we were reminded that this is the home of Yuengling beer by the signage. We did not see the factory and can return another day if we deem it necessary. Since moving to this area we know the beer is good even though we had not ever heard of it before. We saved this tour for another day.
- G. Yuengling & Son is the oldest operating brewingcompany in the United States, established in 1829. It is one of the largest breweries by volume in the country. Based on sales in 2011, Yuengling was tied with the Boston Beer Company, maker of Samuel Adams brands, as the largest American-owned brewery.Its headquarters are in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. Yuengling produces about 2.5 million barrels annually, operating two Pennsylvania facilities and a brewery in Tampa, Florida.
Yuengling is pronounced i/ˈjɪŋlɪŋ/ ying-ling, and is an Anglicized version of Jüngling, its founder’s surname and the German term for “young man”.
The family-owned brewery has traditionally changed ownership through the purchase of the company by the offspring of the previous owner. Due to the popularity of Yuengling Traditional Lager in Pennsylvania and the Delaware Valley, it can be ordered by simply asking for a lager.
We did discover a more fun aspect of Pottstown PA. As we were driving through I spied a tall statue and pointed it out. Of course we wondered what it was. Remembering I had my phone – a smart one – I googled it right then and there. Instant gratification for this information junkie was at hand!!!
The statue is of Henry Clay. Here is an excerpt from what I found. It is a delightfully little known fun story of our American history. The link for the full story is below.
Henry Clay lost presidential elections to John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, and James K. Polk. But that’s not why Clay — a slave-owning Senator from Kentucky — has a huge monument Pottsville, Pennsylvania. It’s because as a Senator he pushed through protectionist tariffs on foreign coal and iron, which made Pottsville’s coal and iron more valuable.
The idea for a monument was conceived by Samuel Silliman, a local mine owner, and pushed by John Bannon, publisher of a local newspaper. It took three years to build: a cast iron statue of Clay, 15 feet tall, atop a 51-foot-tall cast iron column — altogether weighing almost 30 tons. It was dedicated on July 4, 1855, the biggest monument in America at that time. Pottsville is so hilly that Bannon could stand on the balcony of his nearby hilltop mansion and admire Henry Clay at eye level. Too bad for the people of Pottsville: a proposed staircase from the main street to the statue was never built.
The rest of our trip up on Saturday was fairly uneventful with the exception of two Dunkin Donut stops. Both places got simple orders wrong. Perhaps I will notify the company. Service IS an important part of their business.
Sunday morning we visited with a long time friend we had not seen in 30 yrs over breakfast and toured the hometown – school and homes. It was lovely to see the village still as pretty as ever. We imagine that much of smalltown America looks the same while mourning the fact that this part of our culture does not get the attention it deserves.
Our ride back was a bit more gray as clouds floated across the sky. The air was still summer in the 80s. It was like a seasonal fight was about to occur. Of course Fall will win though Summer was holding out most of the day.
As we approached Binghamton we ran into some traffic at a construction area. As it was time for a stop anyway we got off re-visited one of the same aforementioned DDs in Hallstead PA only to have another service issue as did another person. Definitely see a letter going out in the next day or so to the corporate headquarters. When we got back on the road we opted for another back one and continued into PA on route 11.
We discovered that we were traveling down the Lackawanna Trail. We had no idea and enjoyed the thought of driving where many had probably walked in moccasins or upon horses when it was dirt alone.
We drove through sleepy little towns like New Milford, Kingsley and Hop Bottom. It wasn’t until I was doing some research for this post that I discovered that US RT 11 is a fairly big deal. From Wikipedia with a link below.
U.S. Route 11 (US 11) is a north–south United States highway extending 1,645 miles (2,647 km) across the eastern United States. The southern terminus of the route is at U.S. Route 90 in the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge in eastern New Orleans, Louisiana. The northern terminus is at the United States-Canada border in Rouses Point, New York. The route continues across the border in Canada as Quebec Route 223. US 11, created in 1926, largely follows the route of the original plan.
Until 1929, US 11 ended just south of Picayune, Mississippi at the Pearl River border with Louisiana. It was extended through Louisiana after that.
The Maestri Bridge, which carries US 11 across Lake Ponchartrain, served as the only route to New Orleans from the east for six weeks after Hurricane Katrina due to its sturdy construction. The storm virtually destroyed the Twin Span Bridge on I-10 and damaged the Fort Pike Bridge on US 90.
Interstate 81, constructed in the 1960s, parallels the route of US 11 in many areas. Beyond I-81’s southern terminus, other interstates run along corridors paralleling US 11, specifically I-59, which is joined to I-81 by I-40, I-75, and I-24.
Then we came to Nicholson and this huge bridge. It said Lackawanna R R on it. Here is what I found while looking this morning. Would have looked on the way except that the smart phone was out of charge. Found this interesting to discover about the bridge.
Tunkhannock Creek Viaduct – Longest Concrete Railroad Bridge
Commonly called the Nicholson Bridge, the Tunkhannock Creek Viaduct was constructed from 1912 to 1915. It is the the world’s largest concrete railroad bridge, part of a major improvement to the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad. The bridge is 2,375 feet long, 34 feet wide, and 240 feet in height. I have been on a railfan trip out of Steamtown that crossed the Viaduct, but I think the most impressive view is from the town below. It is not unlike seeing Niagara Falls from the Maid Of The Mist.
We continued on 11 until Scranton PA where we got lost. Route 11 simply disappeared from the signage. We found our way back to 11 after some wrong turns and IDA trying to get us to the PA Turnpike. We decided that since there was a college in Scranton that students must have needed the 11 sign for something and left it to the traveler to wend their own way around the city.
We also kept seeing signs for Steamtown and could not decide if that was the name for Scranton at one time or simply another town. Still do not know and will look forward to looking further to finding out. In the meantime discovered a National Park with that name and added the link should you care to visit.
After the wrong turns in Scranton and time elapsing quicker we got back on 81 for the short hop to connect to Rt 61 so we could still relax through some countryside to get home.
We were now going south on 61. It of course is a different view than we had coming north. We of course are seeing the same things only with a different perspective. We can read the signage on both sides of course – the large ones. What we did not read were the small hand-made signs on the other side as we simply could not see them.
Each side of the road has it’s delights. I could see signs on both sides for veggies, cider and mums and some were too small to read unless we were on that particular piece of road. Coming south I could actually read them. It was enlightening. We all have seen the funny church signs that are on the internet. I wonder what some people think when they create their signage. Remember people used to send signs into the Late Show to both Johnny Carson and Jay Leno?
At the risk of being insensitive and a bit off color I must share a sign that had us in gales – I mean gales of laughter. Read it for yourself. It may just be your chuckle for the day. The sign said:
We recycle vinyl records in the rear.
As you can imagine when the laughter subsided the questions came. What did they do with cassettes and CDs? Where did they keep the inventory? Still laughing this morning!!!
…..ONWARD TO MORE MISADVENTURE…