08-27-2010, 07:54 PM
Joined: Jan 2007
Location: Annapolis MD
Day 1 York PA to Bennington VT
As old men are wont to do we were up at 5AM and out the door of the hotel before 6. It was 50 degrees when we went kick stands up. We had a number of things to see today and were eager to get at them. We took the slab from York to get up to and around Harrisburg. As you go west on Rte 322 you can see this replica of the Stature of Liberty in the Susquehanna River on an old piling of the Marysville Bridge. It was first built in the mid-80s out of venetian blinds and replaced in the 90s.
Riding along we came upon this
What happened? We weren’t supposed to be there till week after next. They even have a fire department.
This won’t be the only thing with a counterpart in Canada.
From there it was further north along the river to Millersburg PA. Millersburg is the home of the Millersburg Ferry, the last ferry on the river. It is a double paddle wheel ferry that runs daily in the summer. Because it doesn’t open till 1100 we had to skip riding it.
Ate breakfast at the Millersburger Hotel, which is a haven for a whole cast of characters who seem to all know each other, including those sipping beer at 0800.
We had to ride roads like this
Then we were off to Centralia PA. Centralia was a pleasant community of about 1,435 souls in 1962. On May 27 of that year, with the best of intentions, a fire was set in Centralia’s garbage dump by firemen hired by the borough council. They had always done this, because the dump had always been next to one cemetery or another, and with Memorial Day and many grave visits approaching, they wanted to get rid of the offending odors as best they could. The firemen piled the trash in one corner of the pit, set it afire and later washed down the smoldering ashes with fire hoses. But this year it went horribly wrong and the fire found its way through a hole in the pit into the vast, black labyrinth of abandoned coal mines that lay beneath Centralia.
Over the next two decades, the people of Centralia watched as repeated state and federal efforts to stop the fire failed either for lack of sufficient funding or political clout. In 1979, after one particularly ill-conceived engineering project, the fire broke through an underground barrier installed in earlier years and moved under the town itself, sending dangerous gases into one home after another and causing the ground itself to collapse. The federal government announced in 1983 that it would simply cost too much and destroy too much of Centralia to put out the fire. Congress then appropriated $42 million to relocate anyone who wanted to leave and the fire was allowed to burn. Today, fewer than 20 people remain and much of the town has been demolished.*
There is smoke coming out of the ground here
The main street of Centralia.
The next stop would be Callicoon NY thanks to the trip report by Braking Bad
who made this seem like a place to visit. To get there required a great ride on this road, among others.
Then a crossing from PA to NY.
Lunch stop in Callicoon.
Now our goal was to finish the day in Bennington VT. Crossing NY to get to the slab gave us our only excitement of the day. Following along behind a pick-up with an uncovered load, a folded mattress became airborne and flew right at me. My initial reaction was that it would hit me in the air. Fortunately it hit the road right in front of my front tire. There is something to be said for a 21’ front tire as I easily rode over the mattress and then thought the worst was over and I would ride it out. Nope. The mattress jammed at my center stand and dragged me to a stop. There I was standing on the centerline unable to go and unable to get off the bike because it was all I could do to stay upright. Fortunately a couple of guys in the car behind Jack stopped traffic and it took 5 of us to free the mattress. Jack says my reaction as the thing took flight was SHHHH******T. He was able to swerve around the whole mess. Unfortunately he forgot to get pictures.
The stop and go traffic through Troy sucked but the ride from the outskirts of Troy to Bennington was a great finish to the day.
Stealing a line from Frenchy750 we toasted the best day ever at dinner.