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Oct
28
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Well here we are just out of customs at Tullamarine. The smiles never look as enthusiastic on the returning shot. Ha ha.

We had a great trip and were delighted with how it all went and thought I’d list some of the things which helped it work so well and what we have learnt to make the next trip better.

Worked well:

Grip heaters – will never have a bike without them and were hugely grateful we had them this trip especially the last two days.

Toll transponders – after doing some research on what systems were used in the states we were going to travel in we decided to use EZ Pass transponders and they were brilliant. There were only a couple of roads and bridges that weren’t covered by them and they made life so much easier than having to fish around for coins with gloves and in wet weather and also makes the tolls cheaper. When we have made a decision on just which states we will travel in next year we will see if we keep these ones or use another sort. If you think Australia isn’t very good at doing things on a National basis let me tell you we have the toll thing worked out …. but then we do only have 6 states and 2 territories which are considerably fewer egos and bureaucrats to deal with than 52!

Panniers / saddle bags – my bike had a good (lockable) set on already and Norm arranged to have some fitted to his bike which worked well. This gave us enough room to carry the backpack we carry when on foot and also for all the wet weather gear, bottles of water and anything else we need access to through the day when we’re travelling.

GPS / Garmin – will never travel without one. Even if we misread the instructions (because we can’t hear it on the bike) or misjudge a turn we just have to have a bit of patience and we will be redirected to get to where we need to go anyway. Enough said.

We had a great trip and were delighted with how it all went and thought I’d list some of the things which helped it work so well and what we have learnt to make the next trip better.

Bike seat – I checked out a 950 bike in our local Yamaha shop before we left to see how they felt and I decided the seat was too hard for me so arranged a cruising seat for my bike and glad I did. I didn’t once have a sense of having a sore butt even with some really long days on interstates. Might think about getting one for my bike here even though the seat is thicker than the 950’s.

What we learnt this time:

We usually do the bike handover on the same day we leave but given that more snow was expected this year we returned them the day we returned to Chicago so the day before our departure and found this was a lot less pressured. It gave us comfortable time to repack our cases and consolidate what we needed to bring home and a chance to relax a little and debrief before we climbed on the plane and it was good. We also had a couple of free days before we picked the bikes up which gave us a chance to recoup a little before starting off on the bikes. Both experiences a plus so will aim to schedule that into future trips.



I don’t know, somehow it just isn’t as exciting to have the cases out on the table when we are unpacking them instead of packing them to go away, hardly surprising I guess.

We couldn’t have undertaken our trip without help from a lot of people so thought we would list them and thank them officially. Perhaps some of you can use some of these services now or in the future.

Family:
Our family and other employees - make it possible for us to get away in the first place by doing what we normally do when we are home and at work. Their contribution to making our getaway possible is truly IMMENSE and we couldn’t do it without them!

Our nephew Kevin- who helped us negotiate the legal aspects on the east side of the Pacific.

Bike Sales and Service:
DuPage Honda Yamaha
27 W 215 North Avenue

West Chicago, Illinois 60185, USA
Web – www.dupagehondayamaha.com

Robert - Sales Manager who sourced our bikes and Mike - business owner and his team who prepared the bikes and will store them for our return.

Bike Sale and Service:
Parkway Cycle

http://www.parkwaycycle.com/
1865 Revere Beach parkway
Everett, MA. 02149, USA

Robert (DuPage Honda Yamaha) organised for us to have our bikes serviced here which was about half way through our trip. We also organised to get a rear tyre replaced on my bike and a GPS replacement for Norm when his died.

Traralgon Motor Cycles
http://www.yamaha-motor.com.au/dealers/ ... otorcycles
Lot 8 / Princes Highway
Traralgon East, Vic. 3844, Australia
Lot 8 / Princes Highway

we are grateful for their help in letting us measure up the size of the 950's and helped me determine that I wanted a cruiser seat and not the one which was standard.

Last but by no means least – Travel Agent:
Pinewood Shopping Centre
33-45 Centreway
Mount Waverley, VIC 3149, Australia
Email - travel@travelplus.com.au

Sue Ritter- TravelPlus Australia – Travel Agent extraordinaire who works with us to help us finalise our route and sift through the many accommodation and feature options and her input to our final decisions are greatly appreciated.



There is consolation in getting back on our bikes at home and heading out…..and it gives us some quiet time to start planning the next adventure! It was also a treat to get home to a garden in full bloom with spring colour but not as awesome as the many huge hugs we have had with our children and grandchildren on our return home. How fortunate are we!



I have countless great memories of our trip together but the two best are first of just being with Norm exploring a wonderful country full of incredible scenery, people and opportunity for the two of us just to be together and second the huge number of soaring eagles throughout the country. Many different sized eagles in incredibly varied countryside but the one thing in common is the graceful strength of their soaring over the top of us. Just loved it!


Thanks for joining us. See you for the next trip.


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Oct
24
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For those of you who may think the ride was all beer and skittles (to quote Norm) quite apart from an occasional bit of crappy weather we came across some questionable road as well and here is an example over Norm’s handlebars. …… For the record, Norm negotiated this particular bit of crapola to get some great photos for me but I declined and stuck to the tarmac.



And a quirky mail system in the hotel from a bygone era which is still in use. We also saw one of these where we stayed in the Radio City Apartments in New York City but assumed it was defunct. This is the inlet on the 2nd floor.



The staff here told me the postman comes in with a huge old key to unlock it to clear the mail. Mail can be dropped into it from any floor above and it is cleared from the ground floor and this is the unit on the ground floor.


Bits and Bobs:

Yesterday when we were having lunch at a Chinese Restaurant the waitress saw I was struggling with chopsticks and asked if we wanted forks and I said yes. When she returned she noticed Norm was using his chopsticks (very effectively) in his left hand and asked if he also wrote with his left hand. When he said yes she said that in China they say people who write with their left hand are very intelligent to which Norm of course replied that they say that in Australia also … and I’m not allowed to tell you that she laughed then.

Last night’s Accommodation:



Hotel Baker
100 W Main Street
Saint Charles, IL 60174

A lovely stately old building with surprising public spaces and large areas for weddings and other functions. Very nice restaurant with helpful staff there and elsewhere throughout the hotel. Spacious comfortable room and lovely comfortable bed to retreat to for our final night.


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Oct
24
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We had lovely hot showers when we got in yesterday afternoon but by the time I’d finished dinner I still felt cold I donned my long coat and hood to do the blog which Norm thought was worth a photo. Todqy's top here was 45F / 7C and it is usually 60F / 15.5C so a long way from what we have experienced the last day or so.

There was some snow overnight at Fort Wayne and heavy fog this morning so we put off our departure until a bit after 9am when the fog was lifting. As we headed off I cranked the grip heaters up to 5 and discovered that it was slightly less cold than yesterday morning because I could actually feel that they were on…a marginal improvement only. The forecast was for scattered rain and snow flurries throughout all of the area we were to travel in and snow coming into Chicago so it felt a bit daunting. I’m glad I didn’t know at that time that it had been snowing for most of the day in West Chicago at the bike shop yesterday. What we experienced on the way today was fog, drizzle, rain, ice rain and snow so nothing left out other than serious hail. The snow actually looked beautiful but thankfully didn’t last long enough to settle or to freeze on the road surface and then of all things when we were about two thirds through the trip the sun came out for about an hour and we had blue skies, go figure. At least it was dry to travel on all the interstates through Chicago and to stop to have some lunch and then clouded over and became very dark and threatening but a huge bonus was that it didn’t start to rain before we got to the bike shop. Another big bonus in all of this was that in spite of the cold we travelled through some idyllic farmland which I would love to see when the weather is such to allow for stopping to take photos (the weather definitely not allowing for that today) not to mention more spectacular leaf colour. How fortunate were we!



We stopped in the outer suburbs of Chicago for lunch and found China Square with yummy noodles and also this old bridge which was very quirky. The shed / building on the top looked a bit weird I thought. Notice the blue skies which disappeared soon after we got mobile again.



We dropped the bikes off at the bike shop in West Chicago then headed for our hotel in Saint Charles and this is a bridge over the Fox River and our Hotel built in 1928 is to the rear right of frame. There used to be a waterwheel just in front to the right to generate power for many years for the early industries in the area.




And a second shot on the bridge itself it is quite pretty.



And a shot from the rear of the hotel across the river to the Municipal Building and yes it’s marble.



And an incredibly well manicured garden just off the terrace, great for a wedding shot which they have often here in a number of incredible spaces within the building.


Bits and Bobs:

We couldn’t have done our trip without some terrific help from our nephew Kevin in Louisiana and also Mike and Robert and the team from DuPage Honda Yamaha (27 W 215 North Avenue, West Chicago, Illinois, 01185 – www.dupagehondayamaha@hotmail.com ). The bikes are both safely back in their care now until we return next year after a lot of planning to decide what we will explore then. How blessed are we!

Now after leaving a lot of bike gear at the bike shop for storage until next year we are in our hotel sorting out our luggage and repacking and reminiscing about what a great experience we have had and looking forward to massive hugs when we get home to our children and grandchildren. It seems a long time since we have done that … and there’s a good reason for that. Getting home will be great!

I will post a brief entry tomorrow before we head off and then some time after I get home a debrief. See you then.

Last night’s Accommodation:



Hilton Fort Wayne at Grand Wayne Convention Centre
1020 S Calhoun Street
Fort Wayne, Indiana 46802

After riding a good distance it was lovely to be welcomed into the warm spacious surroundings of the hotel. The staff was great, the room spacious and comfortable and the bed sublime, we just sank into it. We had a lovely meal at the restaurant but after such a long ride felt cold by the time we got back to the room which I think was our core body temperature being a bit too low. We parked the bikes across the street undercover for $7.00 and had a yummy included breakfast. This is a big convention space and the public areas were many, spacious and comfortable, Very nice.


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Oct
23
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PS: Forgot to mention that the top temperature here in Fort Wayne today was 44 degrees Fahrenheit / 6.7 Centigrade
Overnight low tonight expected to be 32 degrees Fahrenheit / 0 Centigrade so figure it's going to be a cold one tomorrow and that doesn't even mention the impact of the wind chill factor.
Just went outside after dinner tonight to see if it was snowing already and it feels a little milder than earlier and the wind has dropped .... we will see what the morning brings.


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Oct
23
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One of the University Buildings we discovered last night. Much smaller of course but it reminded us both of elements of the Guggenheim Museum we saw in Spain trip.



The morning started brutally cold and dry, but no frost or snow and we headed south west for Fort Wayne with grip heaters on 5, 2 layers of merino leggings under draggen jeans and waterproof pants and 2 layers of long sleeve tops under my leather vest and double lined bike jacket then waterproof jacket on top and started what was a brutally cold ride throughout the day. We discovered as we left that we had apparently entered Cleveland by the back door and as we progressed through it found a much better maintained and affluent city and started approaching the skyscrapers but turned off before we go to them and headed out of town. This is a shot of the skyline from the internet.


We had few stops today due to lack of services on the roads we were on and because we wanted to get the trip over and done with. A bonus was all the magnificent autumn / fall colours we saw on the way as well as the huge amount of farmland we passed through. Our first break was to warm the fingertips on the exhaust outlet then the second at Bellevue for a hot chocolate and fuel, the third at the Beaverdam truck stop and intersection of a number of highways and man did we see some trucks coming and going. We sat in the sun in the window of McDonalds for our lunch and the fourth stop about 40 minutes on from there for another fuel stop then into Fort Wayne. I had even managed to cut the grip heaters back to 4 and momentarily to 3 by the time we got in.



Once we booked into the hotel we decided to go for a quick stroll around town and discovered that the ferocious wind we had experienced on the bikes over the last two days hadn’t let up and froze as we walked so didn’t stay out for long. This is an impressive streetscape across the road from the shop where we got a welcome hot coffee.



An impressive Fort Wayne Courthouse building. We also found another one on the other side of our hotel which was interesting.



And this is the Immaculate Conception Cathedral near our hotel where we finally got to light the candle we wanted to.


A bit disturbing sitting here doing the blog to hear the TV weather talking scattered snow showers here overnight and then scattered rain showers between here and Chicago tomorrow with snow coming into Chicago later in the day. Mmmm, and I thought today was cold. We had planned to drop the bikes off on Thursday but plan to drop them off tomorrow instead to get the travel done and hopefully beat any serious snow. We will see!

Bits and Bobs:



This is the sort of salt damage cars experience here with the salting of roads in winter and this is pretty mild compared to some we have seen on the road.



I can’t imagine there is anyone who hasn’t seen the Griswold Holiday movies and this sign both cracked me up and freaked me out.


Last night’s Accommodation:



The Glidden House
1901 Ford Drive
Cleveland, Ohio 44106

After riding a good distance through some very marginal areas it was with relief that we arrived at our accommodation which is just beautiful. The building is Heritage Listed and has been beautifully maintained and provides a lovely space to be in. The room is spacious and well-appointed with a roomy bathroom and parking on site (we can even see the bikes from our window so would certainly hear if an alarm went off). Also nice and handy to many good sites including the Museum of Natural History and lots of other options if we were going to be here for longer. The staff has been welcoming and helpful and the included breakfast lovely. We enjoyed being within the building. Felt spoilt.

Last night’s Dinner:

La Albatross – An award winning restaurant behind the hotel and along the lane so a short walk and what a find it was. From the moment we walked in past the kitchen to the reception we could see kitchen staff working flat out and the serving staff (heaps) all but running back and forth. We had to wait at the bar before we could be seated as did many others. The menu was huge and every meal that went past us looked and smelt delicious as did what we ordered ourselves. We asked if it was a busy night and were told it was reasonably slow for a Monday. When we asked how busy they got we were told they seat 500 on a Saturday night. Great to see all the part-time employment for many Uni Students who are in the area. Our Hotel also use it for their room service so another good recommendation.


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Oct
22
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The morning started cool mild and sunny which was good considering we had been looking at forecasts telling us we are unlikely to get into Chicago without snow. Enough of that, we donned another layer of woollen long johns and tops and waterproofs over the top and headed west.



We soon headed north towards Lake Erie but before then there was plenty of water and this is typical of most areas where boating is a summer pastime. Boats wrapped up ready for the winter.



And a bridge we would probably have ridden over had the GPS not sent us on a shortcut but we wouldn’t have got the photo then so good news. On our way we discovered large areas where most of the leaves have already fallen, others where the leaves are falling around us and even others where little colour change has occurred. This was mainly near the lake so I guess the temperatures have been warmer near the water.



We headed for the Peninsula at Presque Isle and moved through an obvious summer playground region with all sorts of theme parks including a massive rollercoaster with a section literally flying over the roadway as we headed along Peninsula Drive. Cafes, fuel stops and most shops were locked up tight as a drum waiting for the next summer season. That said there were heaps of people walking, running and driving along the Peninsula anyway enjoying the dappled sights of trees and water and even sandy beach onto the main lake area. The majority of this area is a State Park and there are huge areas set aside for camping and picnic sites. This is a shot Norm took of three birds, not sure what, pheasants? Bush turkeys?



And a shot of some of the wetland area with a little colour behind. The balance between beautiful colour and green was about half in half throughout the park which is amazing since snow is forecast to be here by tomorrow night.



And a shot of some quirky caravan type floating houses which I don’t think we have anywhere in Australia. One of a rego plate for you Kevin!



We got into Cleveland by 3pm warm, dry and relieved. We are near the University Circle so went for a walk to check out the ‘Little Italy’ area and had a delicious cappuccino and a wicked snack then headed back and wandered through the University area. This is a shot of some of the differing architectural styles at an intersection on our way back.



One of many impressive University buildings.



And on to the Botanic gardens which were closed but this is a shot of some parkland on the perimiter.



And an attractive display at the Garden entrance.

Bits and Bobs:



We went into the Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Little Italy to say a prayer and light a candle for our friend Ian Miles who died yesterday and this is a sign which is on the entry.



And some posters under the rail bridge on our way back. Like these better.


Last night’s Accommodation:



Horton House Bed & Breakfast Inn
504 Market Street
Warren, PA 16365

A delightful experience of living in a stately home which is an outcome of the lumber boom in the 1700’s and is generously shared by the two brothers who were our hosts. Room really spacious and light and airy, bathroom small with shower but adequate and generous inclusions in the bathroom not to mention all sorts of things available downstairs. The bed was comfortable and the included breakfast delicious. The only negative for me was that we could lock ourselves in our room of a night but the only key we had was for the back door to let ourselves in and out of the house so couldn’t lock our room when we weren’t in it. There was room in the garage for our bikes which was appreciated and they had the softest toilet paper we have found since coming to Canada and the USA which might sound a silly little thing but so nice.


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Oct
21
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The morning started cold but clear and sunny with cloudy patches so we took a couple of pics in Coudersport then had breakfast and headed west.



Coudersport station, very cute.



A corporate building for the defunct communications company Adelphi. The locals call it the Taj Mahal. A very impressive building almost completely empty and the jobs it offered the community have gone.



The Kinzua Bridge built in 1883 to carry coal from one ridge to another but became a 301foot high tourist attraction as well being even higher than the Brooklyn Bridge in New York. In the 1900’s it was upgraded and strengthened to cater for heavier locomotives and loads and kept going until the 1960’s when it was only the tourist trade which used it. It was undergoing a multimillion dollar upgrade in 2003 when storms were forecast and it became dark early and the crews went home. They returned next day to find that 2 separate tornados had swept through and lifted up and dropped two sections of bridge then a 3rd lifted and twisted an end section as well. The 1883 bolts on the original foundations were what gave away. It remains a tourist attraction today.







The leaf colour has been all but absent today with most surroundings being silver with an occasional splash of colour except on randoml slopes which must be protected from the colder weather though around Warren where we are tonight there is still a lot of green and only slight change. Go figure. This was what I thought might be a bit of a last hurrah as far as the colour goes as we stopped to admire the Kinzua Dam in the Allegeny National Forrest.



And the dam behind the tree and bikes.



And a shot of the spillway on the Kinzua Dam which supplies a hydro power station.



A quirky looking building in Warren when we pulled up for a bowl of chilli for lunch where we discovered a café which has a jam session every Sunday afternoon for whoever turns up with instrument or voice and they were very good. When they discovered we were Australians they started playing Waltzing Matilda and enlisted our help to sort their song book and sing with them which was a bit different. It was fun.



And a train bridge in Warren which we liked.



And the hallway we discovered in our B&B. A bit freaky!



The front porch was much less scary.


Bits and Bobs:



One for the grandchildren. If this isn't a haunted house I don't know what is!



And for everyone else. A sign we found at our morning hot chocolate stop (no cappuccino or latte which wasn't flavoured)


Last night’s Accommodation:



Gail Eustace Dupont Guesthouse
109 E 7th Street
Coudersport, PA 16915
What a treat it was to find this little getaway. This is a room above the hair dressing salon of the owner beside her home and it is just beautiful. Spacious, comfortable, decorated beautifully with lots of extras like complimentary food in the pantry and helpful hosts. Excellent value for money! Would definitely recommend and use again if we were ever in the area again.

Last nights dinner:

Olga’s - Café and Bar – awesome ambience in an old building with a completely refurbished interior some 20 years ago and looks magnificent. Staff


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Oct
20
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The day started cold and foggy and progressed to cold and frosty and then to just cold then beyond that and we progressed to a series of one great riding experience to another depending on the roads we were on. A bonus for me was that Norm showed me a tip this morning when despite the grip heaters the tips of our fingers felt as if they were ready to drop off, he demonstrated how we could hold our fingertips in our gloves to the exhaust outlet of the bike…bewdifull!

Each day of our trip we have been amazed at the experiences we have had and the things we have seen and think we cannot see anything else which we will consider incredible but we keep on being proved wrong and today was no exception. It was a GREAT day and I’ll let the pictures tell the story!



We did remember to go and see the Millionaires Row in Williamsport on our way out and here is one of the better preserved houses. There were a number of others well preserved, a number now apartments and some just derelict. A bit sad to see.



As we headed for what is known as the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon we found this entry to a walking track to the western Rim as we wound our way up to the overlook. It was a spectacularly beautiful ride.



A view from Colton Point State Park of the Western Rim of the Canyon. Imagine the curved river a bit straighter than shown here and that is it.



And on a short cut to the Eastern rim we came across some farmland and here are some Canadian Geese after just taking to flight.



A view from Leonard Harrison State park on the Eastern Rim of the PA Grand Canyon. Obviously colder on the western rim as fewer leaves left on trees. We went from gently falling autumn leaf confetti today on our travels to full on fallen leaf squalls from fallen leaves as the day progressed.



A glimpse of farmland as we moved along.



And a delightful interlude in the township of Wellsboro and this is the park across from the Tioga County Courthouse.



And a view along a street of the pretty little town.



A great example of a substantial barn we came across in our travels toady.



Next call was at the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum which interested us given both our family histories as well as our own involvement. These are on the road as symbols of different eras in lumber history. !. The axeman, 2 chainsaws arrive and 3 conservation and replanting.



We were at the museum about 1 year too early as a massive building program is underway but this is the Sawmill which housed some great machinery which was both practical as well as reminding me of the machinery my Dad used in his youth.



We moved on to Coudersport and checked in then headed for the Austin Dam Wall and this is the description of what happened many years ago.



And the remainders of the wall from the road above.



And Norm’s bike on the down water side of the wall.. Check it out on the internet. Very disturbing but interesting.



Main street Austin today. When it was wiped out after the dam collapse the paper mill down river from the dam was also washed away as well as the store of logs there which added to the destruction of the towns below. Incredible to think about.



And an impressive building in Coudersport across from where we had a late bowl of soup for lunch then later on dinner.


Last night’s Accommodation:



Residence Inn by Marriott Williamsport
150 West Church Street
Williamsport, PA 17701

A beautiful and comfortable place to be. Great welcome with gas log fire in the foyer. Self-contained space (generous) with a shower (not over a bath) oh what bliss for these two Aussies. Bed superb. Walking distance to anything we want and staff terrifically helpfully. Good value. What more can I say.

Last nights Dinner:

Barrel 135 – Bar restaurant literally behind our hotel in a lovely old building and also outside if it is warm enough and it definitely wasn’t. The atmosphere was great, service friendly and helpful and extensive menu. The food was delicious and we would definitely recommend it.


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Oct
19
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One of the things we enjoyed in NYC was the unexpected little glimpses between buildings of quiet spaces often with water features and almost always with trees and other greenery. Nice little retreats from the hustle and bustle of the city. This was opposite our hotel and ran between West 49th and 50th



Soon after we got through the Lincoln tunnel we headed west and left the town behind and started coming across the sort of colour we had expected earlier in the trip. The hills were draped with dappled shades of gold and red and vibrant orange with patches of green and also silver where the leaves had fallen already and as we climbed higher more leaves were gone and less colour obvious and in some parts more green and silver than anything. The weather and temperature to prompt the changes has obviously varied throughout the mountain areas. This is an example of some of the variation we saw.



A view of a canyon soon after Jefferson where we had breakfast which was indicative of the sort of country we moved through most of the day. We wound up and down mountainsides and alongside rivers with a small amount of farmland thrown in for good measure but almost always through beautiful colour with occasional showers of autumn confetti and it did our souls good to be inserted into such beauty.



And a view of a mountainside at Kittatinny Point.



We were on Interstates all day so we got in mid-afternoon so we went for a brief wander and this is the Williamsport Town Hall.



And we are nestled within the folds of hills at Williamsport for the night. Williamsport is famous for its lumber industry and at one time had more millionaires per square mile than anywhere else in the country and a lot of them lived on a road referred to as Millionaire’s Row for obvious reasons. We decided that was too far to walk tonight so may ride out there and have a look as we leave in the morning….if we remember.
Bits and Bobs:



This was the truck stop we fuelled up at and it was jammed up with trucks queuing for fuel and to get onto the public weighbridge. A trucker told Norm it was one of the more popular and we heard people being called for shower bookings so I’m guessing they are actually cleaned between showers. Not hard to see why it’s popular given some of the sorry examples we have in Australia



Liked this sign on the side of a truck.

I’ve seen a good number of Werner Enterprises Trucks everywhere on our trip except for the last day or so before we got to NYC and of course none there. They have close to (if not all) Freightliners and their colour is close to ours so they remind me of our trucks and remind me of our fleet / home so I’ve missed them. Good to see them back on the interstate today.


Last 2 night’s Accommodation:



Radio City Apartments
142 West 49th Street
New York, NY 10019

Nice handy spot and we navigated our way into it on the bikes. Room very small. Bed reasonably comfortable with a dip in the middle so guaranteed to sleep close, but one side against the wall and not much room to walk on the other. Bathroom small but nicely fitted out. In theory a self-contained apartment with stove and fridge and the like but precious little room to use that and have luggage spread about. Adequate but I wouldn’t stay again given the price poor value for money. A budget choice at more than a budget price in my opinion.

Last night’s Dinner:
Playwright Café – Celtic Pub. Great atmosphere and upstairs in the restaurant where we were not as noisy as in the bar downstairs. Service terrific, extensive menu and delicious food. Definitely worth a visit.


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Oct
18
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We wanted to come back to New York City for two reasons. The first was to catch up with a precious friend, prophet, priest and mentor being Father Chuck (Charles) Gallagher SJ and we had arranged to take him out to dinner and spend some more time together but that wasn’t to be as he died a couple of weeks before we got here. We lit a candle for him in St Mary’s yesterday evening,



The second reason was to visit the 9/11 Memorial to pay our respects for all the lives so needlessly lost and for the spirit of the American people in how they have and are dealing with it. We had witnessed the horror of 9/11 unfolding on our television as we were watching an episode of the ‘West Wing’ and at first assumed it was part of the show and were appalled to find that it was really happening. We saw the second plane approach and strike and the damage at the pentagon as well as hearing about the crash of flight 93 and we continued to watch with dread wondering where else in the world terror would strike and wouldn’t have been surprised if we had been witnessing the beginning of the 3rd World War. We hopped onto the subway and headed for the World Trade Centre and were surprised at the absolute sea of people who were making the pilgrimage. This is part of the garden of reflection as we entered the site. It was surprisingly peaceful.



The South Tower reflection pool. The Museum is the building on the right hand side and that won’t be open until spring 2014.



Work continues and it must be under incredible duress as this is an incredibly busy area with people, businesses and construction all on top of each other and a huge number of police and security personnel.



The north tower reflection pool. We saw a number of white roses on this one. The Memorial puts a white rose on each name on their birthday. There were also a number of personal mementos left like flowers and rosary beads.



A shot from the Memorial Garden of One World Trade Centre Freedom Tower which is progressing well but still under construction as you can see from the construction lift right up the side.



And this is a survivor on the perimeter of the area. Rumour has it that in spite of losing a part of his back he didn’t even look up. We saw a photograph of him sitting in the rubble.



An unusual look at 5th Avenue. Life continues, steam diverted from under the pavement in front of the Louis Vuitton store and traffic continues.



We decided to revisit Central Park and see if there was much autumn / fall colour in the trees since we had seen some evidence of that in patches on our way in yesterday but alas there wasn’t much to see but I love the park. It is a real people park with people walking, jogging, picnicking, walking with prams and playing sport and you are barely onto it and the sound of the city and traffic disappear completely so a real sanctuary to escape to. This is a quirky tower on the perimeter of Central Park.



And a view of some of the skyline from the park.



And this is our driver Robert and his horse Billie.


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Oct
17
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We had an early start but the hotel made sure we had breakfast before we left and it was mild enough to head out without any waterproofs and here we are in the lnie to get on the ferry at Lewes. Shortly after this the fog rolled in and was with us all the way across to New Jersey and gradually dissipated.



And the front of the ferry as we approach the dock at Cape May one and a half hours later. Happy the bikes stayed put as there was quite a swell on the trip over.



After a lot of parkway (freeway) travel having a coffee, adding another layer for warmth then some lunch and holy smoke we struck multiple lanes of traffic, on ramps, off ramps and roadwork’s then we’re in the Lincoln tunnel and to the guts of New York City and not long after that at our hotel and here I am very pleased with myself.



We had a shower and did some washing then headed out to explore and here is the Radio City Music Hall not far from our hotel.



And we headed for Times Square, heaps of which is literally dug up, here is Norm enjoying the view. Once we headed for the other end we discovered it was much more peaceful and quiet for all the noise and horn honking where things were dug up.



And here is a view back towards the other end which gives some idea of the huge number of people and activity all around.



And a couple of extremely young New York Policemen with me. They were good fun.



And yes its official we were finally on Broadway just didn’t have the names up in lights.


Bits and Bobs:



A tow sign we found in the underground car park which was interesting since we were the only vehicles in it.



And this caught my eye at a service centre, perhaps Kevin could have used this a month or so ago.


Last nights Accommodation:



Hotel Rehoboth
247 Rehoboth Avenue
Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971

A lovely spacious room with comfortable facilities and room to spread out even with cases open. Beautiful hot shower and comfortable bed. Enjoyed the spacious balcony as well as the complimentary wine, cheese and biscuits and the public sitting areas. Breakfast was appreciated before we left and we ate dinner at the in-house restaurant which was also good. The staff was great and couldn’t have been more obliging. Complimentary parking above and below ground. Would definitely recommend this venue and location.


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Oct
16
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We donned the waterproofs first thing as some sea fog had rolled in and we had drizzle to contend with. The jackets came off before we headed into the Chesapeake Bay Tunnel then ditched the jackets late in the afternoon at Ocean City as it had warmed up and the chill was gone but strong wind stayed with us throughout the day so it became a bit wearing by the time we got in. This is the information board about the bridges and tunnels.



This is a shot from the viewing area looking back at the restaurant and the bridge just before the first tunnel heads under the ocean. The sign at the entry to this dock says ‘Maximum 2 rods and reels per person, no cooking, no tents, no camping, and no alcohol’ I don’t know how they can get their lines out without tangling up with everyone else’s.



Once we got onto the island we found extensive cropping with corn finished, potatoes, some sort of turnip type crop and cotton and a number of vegetable processing plants along the way. The communities and housing seemed very marginal in this area along the main highway and only improved slightly as we headed for Chincoteague Island and soon housing was replaced by holiday type homes and activities with the vast majority of all of it closed down for the season. This is the Lighthouse taken from a distance which was where the road to the Refuge and Seaside was closed due to the Federal Government shutdown. A bonus was that when we left we took a secondary road and this was a nicer ride with forest areas as well as farming, sweeping corners and also some less marginal communities.



Our next spot to stop was at Ocean City, Maryland and this is a shot of the roller coaster (Closed) and the whole place looked a bit like a nearly fully deserted Gold Coast and we had most of the road to ourselves. We stopped for a walk on the boardwalk but it was a bit eerie. The accommodation and attractions continued for 15 kms before we got back to just road.



And the Indian carving at the entrance to the boardwalk.



Finally we got into Rehoboth Beach and were delighted to find a really attractive town with tasteful accommodation, shops, boardwalk and private homes. This tells you the history of the place.



The appearance of the town is one of a large permanent population with capacity to cater for larger numbers. We enjoyed Martha’s Vineyard (previous entry) but the commercial side of things here seems more polished. This is a view along one of several little alleys between the main street and others behind it.



And some gulls enjoying being fed on the beach.


Bits and Bobs:



A new sign we have come across today. This was just before the bridge as we headed back from Chincoteague Island but we had seen several on the road heading north along the island previously.



A bit of a giggle … Norm coming back to quote me when he walked into our bathroom here ‘well thank God I finally have my own hand basin”.


Last night’s Accommodation:



Norfolk Waterside Marriott
235 E Main Street
Norfolk, VA 23510

Beautiful hotel with gracious public spaces and wonderfully friendly and helpful staff. The room was lovely and comfortable and the restaurants here lovely. Parking literally across the road and a connecting walkway through on the third level. Nice and convenient.


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Oct
15
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To quote John Denver ‘Almost heaven, West Virginia, Blue Ridge Mountain, Shenandoah River’……well they were the country roads we were riding on yesterday and at one time on the Blue Ridge Mountain Turnpike. We were both singing John Denver favourites for a lot of the ride. This is a picture of a view on the ‘Skyline Drive’ (which we didn’t get to see due to the fog / rain) compliments of the internet.



This morning we headed out a few kilometres to Thomas Jefferson’s home and really enjoyed learning more about him and his work but the first available tour of his home ‘Monticello’ was 12.20pm so we didn’t stay for that. This is a shot compliments of the internet.



We headed for Richmond and this is a shot of the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart facing the Monroe Park.



And a theatre undergoing some refurbishment works a couple of buildings along. This was quirky. Looked a bit like Art Deco with tiling on the little towers worthy of a mosque and a sign on the front saying ‘Box Office Closed’ seemed a bit unnecessary since there were gates all around it to keep people out.



We called into Williamsburg (part of the triangle between Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown) an area which featured heavily in the war of Independence and then the Civil War. We visited the Visitor Centre but decided we didn’t have enough time to do the whole period tour and headed for Jamestown and then came across parts of the old Williamsburg village and here is a view in a street leading to the town square. Once we arrived here we ditched the waterproofs and travelled without them for the rest of the day which was a welcome change.



And a glimpse of the Williamsburg Inn, a very substantial complex.



We headed for Jamestown on lovely winding roads surrounded by dappled shade from the surrounding forest and gold coloured leaves and pine needles drifted up into the middle of the road. Very little colour change overall, lots of leaves have fallen and a bit of colour change and lots of green so obviously there hasn’t been enough cold weather to prompt the change. We got as far as this sign as the Federal Government shutdown struck again.



So, we headed for Yorktown which the biker at the road closed barrier told us was open. We headed off on more of the lovely roads which wound through the forest to Yorktown and were astounded at how many parking areas along the way were closed due to the shutdown and this is a building on the Yorktown waterfront.



And a shot of the bridge on the George Washington Memorial Highway over the York River with a clipper under it which sailed under the bridge then turned around and came back again. It looked spectacular.

As we came into Norfolk we travelled 6.5kms over a bridge and tunnel network. The tunnel in the middle was 2.5km long and went under a shipping lane which was very impressive.



Once we got into our Norfolk Hotel here we headed for the waterfront for a short walk and found the Battleship Wisconsin which is a Museum here. Very impressive.



On our way back to the hotel we discovered the US Customs House; well at least that’s what the sign said so I guess it is.


Bits and Bobs:



Don’t you hate it when things become unravelled especially in public, this is near our hotel.em]

Last night’s Accommodation:



Photo compliments of their website because with all the rain we forgot to dart out and take a photo. Dear, dear, dear.

Omni Charlottesville Hotel
212 Ridge McIntire Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903

Nice room even if it does have 2 beds which takes up unnecessary space. But they do have 2 luggage racks so makes up for it. Nice bathroom though small, yummy accessories, good wardrobe space, lovely public spaces and comfortable bed. All round a nice spot to drop and handy to many shops and eating options.


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Oct
14
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Yesterday evening we drove around Front Royal and discovered there had been a ‘Leaves Festival’ on with all sorts of stalls and things happening through the day. These are the last of things to be cleared away in front of the Visitors Centre and the Mill Restaurant in the background where we had dinner.



And some quirky little houses we spotted on the way back to our Inn.


Well we came to this area to ride ‘The Skyline Road’ along the ridge through the Shenandoah National Park. It is known as one of the best and most spectacularly beautiful bike rides in the world but alas our host last night told us that the road was within the National Park and due to the Federal Government shutdown wasn’t open so we wouldn’t be able to see it. He also told us as a consolation that with the current weather i.e. raining and foggy we wouldn’t see anything than that anyway. Mmmm, so we headed for Sperryville and were told when we fuelled up that the road was in fact open, you just couldn’t drive off into the National Park sites. But, the rain and fog had continued unabated for the whole ride thus far and was expected to continue for the rest of the day (which it did by the way). Anyway we decided we might just as well give the Skyline Drive a miss and just get into Charlottesville as soon as we could.



A Public Building in Madison as we pulled up for a brief break and don’t you just love all the wires strung between poles. There have been more of them underground lately so they haven’t been so obvious.



And another building we spotted across the road. One extreme to the other.



Once we were in Charlottesville we waited for the rain to ease and headed off up the walking street to see what we could see. This is a city building in Charlottesville with a memorial on the end for James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe at the end of the Walking Street / Mall where there was also an amphitheatre.



Across the street from this building was the Visitor Centre on the left (the new) and Transit Centre in the distance (the old). Interesting mix.



A street view in the walking street in Charlottesville.



And another.


Bits and Bobs:



This sign caught my eye in the Mall.

Last night’s Accommodation:



Lackawanna Bed & Breakfast
236 Riverside Drive
Front Royal, Virginia 22630

When we first approached the building we wondered if we had the right one as we had experienced a GPS glitch and the building didn’t exactly look like somewhere we would be heading however we saw the name out the front and then we headed in and were delighted to find a beautifully restored historical building and charming hosts. We enjoyed relaxing in the parlour, the shower was hot, the bed beautifully comfortable and the included breakfast absolutely delicious.


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Oct
13
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The day started out dry and cool and deteriorated into patchy rain but given some of the very wet roads we found we apparently missed the worst of the rain. We followed signs to a canal and aqueduct complex and found a remote and deteriorating spot which was the 29th lock in the system a long time ago and here we are at the locked gate!



Since it was so remote we decided to have a look anyway and this is part of the old canal but we discovered the aqueduct was a 1.5 mile walk and given the waterproofs we decided to give it a miss and instead walked down to the river.



It was the Potomac River and I took a panoramic shot (or thought I had) but discovered it didn’t work so here are two shots compliments of Ken’s camera in each direction. Down river.



And up river. The water was flowing very fast after all the rain yesterday and there was a fair amount of floating debris. It was a huge body of fast flowing water and soon after in the trip we got to travel beside it and saw lots of rocks and rapids as well as crossing over it.



Our lunch spot was Brunswick which was a tired little town and I guess the dark skies didn’t help any.



Bits and Bobs:



Norm spotted this as we headed back to the bikes in Brunswick.

Last 2 night’s Accommodation:



A view coming from the town.



And from the opposite direction looking at the Lobby entrance across what is supposed to be a garden and car park but which doubled as a water feature yesterday.


Federal Pointe Inn
75 Springs Avenue
Gettysburg, PA, 17325

This is an absolutely charming building which has had a previous life as a school which means large halls and rooms and a sense of a genteel space about it and is beautifully decorated. The room is spacious and comfortable with 2 armchairs and desk as well as drawers and plenty of storage space and a well-appointed bathroom. Bed lovely and comfortable. No restaurant on site but a breakfast option literally across the car park and plenty of dining options a short distance away.

Last night’s Dinner:

Café Saint Amand – a French Restaurant which had a cozy atmosphere, good service, extensive menu and absolutely delicious food. BYO alcohol only which we haven’t struck before here.


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Oct
12
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Well for anyone who has been paying attention the Federal Government shutdown is still in place and we were booked in for a tour of the Gettysburg Battlefield, the site of the battle in the American Civil War believed to have been the decisive battle in July 1863 which led the Union troops to victory however because the visitor centre, Museum and tours are run by a foundation (not the National Parks Service) they were allowed to continue to run … even though they couldn’t access much of the park. We did a bus tour with a comprehensive commentary of the battles and the perspective of the geography and where and how the battles were planned and fought. Our guide Paul gave a great commentary and our driver was terrific. We travelled on through roads through the park which were left open to local residents and also had vantage points from private property with permission. Had the weather not been pouring rain like it was on our ride in yesterday afternoon we also could have gotten out of the bus but no one did. After the tour we headed for the Visitor Centre and visited the Museum and the Cyclorama and had some lunch.



This was the statue of Abraham Lincoln outside the visitor centre.



And this is part of the Cyclorama a magnificent oil painting on canvas measuring 42 feet high and 377 feet in circumference. I’m glad we had been on the tour before we saw it as it made much more sense and was a fitting end to our tour. Very moving. Massive to think this was a war between a country’s own people. Brutal.



A second shot of it.



And a third.



And the last one. We also learnt that in the 1800's there was a Cyclorams in Melbourne!



After we left since the rain had dissipated somewhat we decided to drive some of the routes we had taken on the bus to get some photos of some of the memorials put in place by the regiments to show where they had fought. This is from a car park in a bus tour operation on the edge of town with sign compliments of the National Parks Service.



And some fences with barricades as used through the war on one of the roads through the battlefield road and a memorial visible in the distance.



And a mural on a building wall with our hotel on the bottom.



And after Norm and I had a massage to try and keep the backs from locking up here is what we found on our return to the hotel and the area is under flood watch so who says all we’re doing is kicking back and having fun! A number of the areas we travelled through yesterday are in flood today and the small streams around here are now large.


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Oct
11
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Another reason we were in the area was to see the Frank Lloyd Wright designed house ‘Fallingwater’ at Bear Run and it didn’t disappoint. You might remember we visited many of his houses in Chicago. We managed to have a guided tour of an hour and could easily have spent longer. The house was gifted to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy in 1963 and earlier this year they welcomed their 5 millionth visitor! Our guide told us that there would be 900 people visiting just today as October is their busiest time of year.



The day started cool but clear and sunny with a pretty crappy forecast so we headed off but stopped soon after we left Ligonier for this farm view complete with Harvest / Halloween pumpkins laid out for sale. We have seen thousands of them in our travels.



This is the first glimpse of the house as we rounded a corner in the driveway. It looked superb amongst the dappled green and gold of the trees and the dense green of the naturally growing rhododendrons throughout the property. When they are in flower the flowers are white with pink highlights and it must look superb.



As we approached the entry we saw may other visitors on some of the terraces. The bottom one off the living area and the upper one off the main bedroom. Each bedroom has its own bathroom and terrace, all of which were private from each other as was the guest house above the main building. The stairs you can see literally come down almost to the water above the waterfall so you could paddle in the warm weather and this also allows cooled air to ascend through the house in the hot weather.



And a view of the house nestled into the side of the hill with the waterfall. This was taken from the spot Frank Lloyd Wright first viewed the site from and he decided this would be where he would site the house.



The Ohiopyle rail bridge now a timber footbridge. Very impressive as it spans the river.



And a view of the waterfall and some of the rapids adjacent to the town of Ohiopyle. It is a massive body of very fast moving water.



From here we headed off through more of the beautiful Laurel Highlands. It was spectacularly pretty and the road was an awesome one to be on a bike with very little traffic. The rain came just after lunch and was persistent and the humidity was very high which made visibility a bit tedious. We stopped for a break and a hot chocolate and coffee at a servo proudly signed as being a ‘Veteran owned business’ so we were pleased to support it. This flag was out the front and there was a silhouette (not seen well from this angle) of a soldier paying his respects to a fallen comrade, Quite moving.


Bits and Bobs:



On our way home from dinner last night Norm spotted this stone wall and at first glance thought he had found a map of Australia but not quite, so here it is.



And one for Michael who believes there is no such thing as an exhaust pipe (choofa) which is too large, we spotted these at our lunch stop.


Last night’s Accommodation:



Campbell House B & B & Efficiency Motel
305 East Main Street
Ligonier, PA 15658

We stayed in a part of the main house in a very spacious suite complete with breakfast table where our breakfast was served, sitting area with comfortable seats to watch the TV and a gas flame fireplace, complimentary wine and snacks, comfortable walking distance to a number of dinner options and to top it off electric blankets on the bed (yum). Breakfast was delicious and the bed wonderfully comfortable. A nice spot to drop.


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Oct
10
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We have had a good ride today and thankfully our backs have been relatively comfortable. The ride saw us travelling on some great turnpikes and interstates with good surfaces and covered the ground well. We wound through lots of beautifully kept and productive farmland, much of it in the hands of the Amish by the look of the buildings and then climbed through leaf covered hills to mountain ranges. The leaves are changing here as well but a lot of trees have already lost their leaves ahead of the usual colour change. Part of the ride took us on tunnels under three mountains, Blue, Kittatinny and Tuscarora Mountains which was an impressive experience. Once we left the major roads we have had a great ride on the Lincoln Highway and the I 30 W with steep climbs and lots of corners as well as the great views.



A view from lookout point Mount Ararat, Allegheny Mountains, elevation 2,464 feet. We climbed to over 2,900 feet before we started to descend and glimpsed some great views which we couldn’t stop to photograph.



A farming view as we descended.



The point of our ride today was to visit the Flight 93 National Memorial, Stoystown but alas it was closed due to the Federal Government shutdown. We had hoped being more remote it may have been open ….. and so did many others who pulled into the entry in the time we were there. Everyone was annoyed. This is a view from the top of the hill of part of it only and showed that even if we could ride around the barrier that apart from being unlawful would have meant that we would encounter personnel at the plaza as there were several cars there.



And here is the sign on the barrier that may or may not have been added to by an Australian tourist ….. or someone. Anyway, enough said.



We discoverd that other than the memorial there was little which would draw people to the area, at least on the main road anyway so it was with some relief that we turned off the main road to discover an attractive little town. This is a house just down the hill from our accommodation in Ligonier.



And another on the way to our dinner spot.



A bonus for us was to find Fort Ligonier which was the scene of one of the key battles in the French and Indian War. Fort Ligonier, built by the British in 1758, has been reconstructed and houses a museum with outstanding artefacts and exhibits relating to the 18th century events here. It was very impressive and we were glad we got to see it. They are preparing for 3 days celebration from October 11th to 13th. This is a shot within the fort walls.



And of the barricades on the perimeter which demonstrates why it was never overrun by the Indians.



And the rotunda in the square in the middle of town. Shame they are preparing for a big influx of people because there are extra rubbish bins everywhere.


Bits and Bobs:



At one of the turnpike service facilities I spotted this sign on a door in the restroom which intrigued me in what it had to offer.



I was impressed with what I found.



A quirky sculpture Norm spotted on the road between the Memorial site and Ligonier.



And a display table in the window of a shop in Ligonier.


Last 2 night’s Accommodation:



Lancaster Arts Hotel
300 Harrisburg Avenue
Lancaster PA 17603

An interesting building starting life as a tobacco storage warehouse from 1881 up until 1945 and then a paper and twine store for another 40 years and now a hotel. It has beautiful big timbers throughout the building and lovely old brick walls and timber floors. Our room is spacious and comfortable and bathroom well fitted out with a large shower. A continental breakfast and free undercover parking is included and the public spaces are quirky and tastefully decorated. I've also enjoyed a profusion of artworks throughout the hotel. Very nice. An enjoyable experience.

Last night’s Dinner:

John J Jeffries – the Hotel restaurant which had a cosy but modern ambience, great service and a sense of privacy while dining as well as enough carpet and soft furnishings not to echo. So nice. The best bit was the food which was superb! Good value and great experience. Definitely recommend it!


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Oct
09
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The planned tour of Valley Forge didn’t happen compliments of the Federal Government shutdown because this is a National Park. Interesting that it is called a National Park so one would assume they belong to the ‘Nation’ rather than the politicians but apparently not. So here we are at the main gate to the park.



And a sign at the closed off road which was repeated on signs around the perimeter of the park.



A little further along the through road we found the George Washington Memorial Chapel in the hands of Private Operators and we pulled in and found it to be a very peaceful and beautiful place and appreciated some of the history we heard from a volunteer then walked along the road to discover a little more of the history.



And this is a memorial above the battleground across the road from the Chapel



A short distance from the chapel a log cabin built on the site of one of the originals built to shelter Washington’s troops. It was a brutal time here with 2,000 men dying over the two years and not from battle but starvation, illness and the cold.



The plaque on the cabin.



And another cabin further along the road in memory of some of the regiments which served there.


We continued our trip onto Lancaster and saw huge evidence of intensive agriculture along the way as well as evidence of much involvement of the Amish community but as the day progressed I became more and more aware of a really tight and painful lower back and later in the day Norm did also. That’s the worst of being such a couple of old crocks so bottom line by the time we got to Lancaster the need for a chiropractor was clear and so I googled Chiropractors in Lancaster then the closest one to our hotel and found Dr Kevin Long who was kind enough to stay back to treat us both which we greatly appreciated. We both feel more comfortable tonight and have been icing the sore bits and hope a good night’s sleep will see us more comfortable in the morning as we have a big day ahead of us. We finally figured out tonight what the trigger was for our back trouble. The hop on hop off tour was in a bus with little to no suspension and the roads around Philadelphia were appallingly rough and jarring with many times of jarring compression of our frames, a couple of times in particular.



On our way back from seeing the Chiropractor we passed the Franklin & Marshall College athletic ground and found students hard at training so thought a picture was in order.



And some student accommodation across the road.

Bits and Bobs:



Interested to see that there is reverse parking here, this is the first place we have seen it.

Last 2 night’s Accommodation:



Best Western Plus Independence Park Hotel
235 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106 - 2813

A welcome and gracious building to retreat from the city. Lovely comfortable bed, helpful staff and charming room. We have found the first hotel to have 2 luggage stands (about time). Included continental breakfast and also coffee / tea and biscuits in the comfortable lounge / lobby each afternoon. Walking distance to lots of great sights and car parking just around the corner. Good value for money.

Last 2 night’s Dinner:

CUBA LIBRE – A Cuban restaurant and a recommendation from our hotel and just around the corner. The ambience was great as it was decorated like it was in a Cuban courtyard and it looked fabulous and the food didn’t disappoint. It was beautiful and reasonably priced. A great night!

The Continental – A beautifully restored and decorated Diner which is now a Cocktail Bar and Restaurant. Another recommendation from the hotel and across the road from last night’s choice. The ambience was quirky, the service good and fun and the food absolutely delicious with lots of choices of small and large plates and combinations to share and good value as well. Another great night.


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Oct
08
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A wet and windy day today and we knew that was coming so instead of going on a circular ride we stayed to explore Philadelphia some more and we managed to stay mainly dry.



Norm and Ken planning the day in the hotel foyer which was decorated with inspiration from one of the homes on Society Hill.



Betsy Ross’s House. Betsy Ross made the first American flag for George Washington and was a very gutsy woman who knew she was risking being tried for treason if the Colonists hadn’t succeeded in winning their independence. It was a great tour.



The city skyline as we approached the city on our hop on hop off bus tour.



And from another direction.



An impressive sign outside the Hard Rock Café, as well as lit up it revolves. Quirky.



The penitentiary where Al Capone was incarcerated … not for his crimes but for tax evasion. Makes you wonder which crimes are considered more serious still I suppose better to have him behind bars than not.



Elfreth’s Alley the oldest inhabited street in Philadelphia. Very picturesque.



A view of more of the Benjamin Franklin bridge (approximately 3kms long) and was the longest suspension bridge in the world for many years.



The Liberty Bell which we took a photo of from outside the facility as we couldn’t get inside due to the Federal Government Shutdown.



And part of the Constitution precinct where the Declaration of Independence and Independence was hatched. Couldn’t get in this either and we couldn’t even go into the park precinct with police guarding entrances. Crazy stuff. A political row is preventing Federal employees from earning an income and private individuals in business from working as well so reduced tax income….and it’s not just us who think this is crazy. People everywhere we run into are seriously ticked off with it.


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