A long overdue 3 days in the Pennsylvania Wilds

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by robert110411, Aug 6, 2020.

  1. robert110411

    robert110411 Long timer

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    My son( from this point on referred to as the Armadillo) and I have been trying to establish an annual tradition ride for a while now. First the road races at New Jersey Motorsports park. Then Unadilla for outdoor motocross. Mostly due to my schedule nothing seemed to stick. But we kept trying.

    Then in March of 2018 my Mom passed. 3 weeks later my dad had a heart attack and triple bypass. To say that I wasn't in a great frame of mind was an understatement. Add in the 10 weeks of work travel during the 2018 and 2019 riding seasons.

    Before then we would disappear at least one day every other weekend and tick off a 200-250 mile day. By April of 2020 we were hardly even riding together at all. We have a group text with some friends of mine that I've know for 40 years. Every day is filled with bike pictures or ride pictures or pictures of the latest gear acquisition. I found I was going days, and sometimes 100's of texts without even looking at.

    To be honest I was thinking about liquidating the bikes and buying a Corvette.

    My wife suggested I try one more trip. I stewed on it for a few days before I called the Armadillo. He met the idea with enthusiasm. At first we talked about inviting the other guys from our text group.......but they're from Chicago and St Louis........and life and COVID got in the way.

    We batted around the Adirondack area or even the Catskills. In the end we settled in a ride around Wellsboro P.A. Everything else just seemed in question.
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  2. robert110411

    robert110411 Long timer

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    So with a destination chosen I was still dragging my feet a little bit. The Armadillo was reaching out every day to plan. To be honest I was kind of avoiding it.

    I did manage to schedule a service for the V-Strom. I had them wire in a Garmin 396 I've had sitting here a few months now. Installed the Cardo Packtalk that's been sitting around as long as the Garmin had.

    About two weeks out I figured I better reserve a room. Two weeks was too late to get into the Wellsboro lodge........but, and remember this part, I felt lucky to book a nice room at the Hampton Inn Mansfield through Orbitz.

    Friday the last day in July rolled around. I still hadn't packed.......but I had most of the day. I repacked my toolbag. Packed some clothes.....and had to run an errand ( we'll get to that in the end).

    The Armadillo showed up around 4:30. I got back from running errands close to 5:00.

    Surprisingly it all went smooth from there. The files the Armadillo sent for the Garmin downloaded and opened. The Cardo connected to everything first try. The V- Strom was running great.........so you know what that means, right?
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  3. Hedonist222

    Hedonist222 Been here awhile

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    Waiting in anticipation for photographs and the narrative to continue...
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  4. robert110411

    robert110411 Long timer

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    So off we went around 6:00 PM. We took Rr100 to Rt309 to Rt309......and inward to Rt15. The whole goal for Friday night was to get to the hotel, unpack, get a good nights sleep and be ready to ride in the AM.

    I usually take a picture before every trip. For some reason, not this one. I did get one at our first gas stop

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    Just past Bloomsbury we started talking about dinner. Everything closes early now so we figured we better find a place soon.

    A Cracker Barrel country fried steak may kill you one day, but it'll be comforting right up until then.

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  5. robert110411

    robert110411 Long timer

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    Heading up Rt15 at night, everything was working great. GPS was working. We were chatting away. Driving through the mountains, pretty much by ourselves at night was a little sureal. It made me want to ride a little more at night.

    Soon enough our hotel was in sight. We pulled on and there were maybe 10 cars in total parked out front. But as soon as we parked a guy with a thick Israeli accent approached us and asked for help.

    What we assumed were wife and kid.......in a car with a very flat, partly destroyed tire. It was a new car with no spare. Couldn't get it fixed until tomorrow........no problem, right? You're in a hotel parking lot. Get a room. Take a shower.......make yourself a few bad waffles at the hotel breakfast bar in the AM and everything will be better.......until he explained the hotel wasn't honoring his online reservation. Could we help him get to the hotel that had rooms........did WE know anyone around with a car?.......you know as we stood next to our loaded down bikes.

    I got a bad feeling walking into the lobby.......but hey, I have a reservation......and a confirmation. No problem!

    Problem. They "Didn't have" our reservation either.

    They did call a local hotel that did have rooms. Frustrated and slightly angry......off we went. 12 miles to the new place.
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  6. robert110411

    robert110411 Long timer

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    12 miles later we came upon the lights of Wellsboro.
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    Wellsboro is partly famous for its gas lamp lit main street.

    Our new accommodations were the Historic Penn Wells Hotel.

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    Wellsboro was the center of civilization during a time when central PA was being ravaged of its natural resources. In its day it was a grand hotel.

    While the hotel itself was old and worn, the staff could not have been more accommodating and it was spotlessly clean.

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    It also was witness 0801202125.jpg to a fair amount of history.

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  7. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    Thank you. Awaiting more..:lurk
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  8. robert110411

    robert110411 Long timer

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    We finally get settled in around 1230 AM, so we slept in a little on Saturday morning. The hotel had a continental breakfast that looked just fine......but we decided to check this place out.

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    Food was cheap, fast and pretty good. Service was great.

    On a side note, there is a place not far there called Fez's and they serve a breakfast called "Fez's straight Eight"........it would be impossible for anyone who used to be a fan of either the Ron and Fez or Opie and Anthony radio shows NOT to want go eat there. Unfortunately they were closed.

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    Just as we were getting ready to roll out we ran into Flat Tire No Room guy from outside the other hotel.

    We left town on RT 6 and headed west To Galeton and caught RT 144 in to Germania and on to Austin Dam.

    There are no bad roads out that way. Pretty much gently rising and falling through the forest. Pavement is surprisingly good. We caught a few dirt and gravel roads and even those were great.

    The one thing to watch for are ATV trails crossing the roads. Usually where the trails cross the road they'll be a little dirt......but nothing terrible.

    Austin Dam is a sad story. The town has turned the dam property into a park and they have plans to turn the town into a destination kind of place.

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    Next stop, Kinzau bridge
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  9. robert110411

    robert110411 Long timer

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    From Austin Dam we ran back up to RT 6 and into Smethport. Next time I'll stop and check out Smethport. Seems like there might be some cool history there. On to 59 and to Kinzau state park we went. By now the sky's were looking questionable.

    Kinzau was pretty busy.

    The Armadillo said its the busiest he's seen it.

    Don't skip the visitors center.
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    The sky's opened up and we hid inside for a few minutes. Soon enough the storm passed and outside we went.

    There were a few people in front of us who let the heights get to them.
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    The sky drizzled on us on and off.

    There's usually a food truck parked in the lot there. Barbacue. Wasn't bad. Wasn'tt expensive for a food truck in a state park.
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  10. robert110411

    robert110411 Long timer

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    Sorry this is taking a little bit to post. In in the middle of packing my middle kid off to college. Coincidentally, not far from Wellsboro.

    As we finished up our BBQ from the food truck there seemed to be a break in the drizzle. Looked like as good a time as any to head out for the next stop.

    Our plan was to take back roads over to Benezzette and hopefully catch some elk around sunset......

    But about a mile on the sky's opened up. The Armadillo would have pushed through...... But this guy had zero rain gear. Stupid, right? I've had a motorcycle license since 1981......and this was easily the heaviest rain I've ridden through.

    At some point we said screw it and set the GPS for " Back to the Damn hotel"......with a stop at Walmart in Marysville to grab a set of Frog Toggs.

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    By the time we hit Galeton on the way in the sun was low over the tree tops but chasing off the clouds.....but the day was done.

    We got back to the hotel in time to hang our gear, change and head across the street to The Steak House. Good food, good service, decent price.
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  11. robert110411

    robert110411 Long timer

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    Through strategic hanging of gear and inappropriate use of a hotel hairdryer our gear was " dry enough" to kick off Sunday.

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    Our first stop was Watkins Glen. We headed out RT 6 and hit RT 15. We pretty much treated the first leg like a transit section.

    We've both been to Watkins Glen recently. The Armadillo with his wife, my D-I-L and I with my wife and daughters. So we skipped the falls. If you have the opportunity to see the falls and walk the trails its a must not miss.

    From a previous trip:
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    We did catch breakfast.......not much was open, but we did find a place. The wait was going to be 30-35 minutes to get food.......but then someone came out and announced they were out of bagels. The crowd thinned pretty quickly. Now thankfully......I consider bread to simply be a handle for the real food. So we gladly had our Compton #2 breakfast sandwhiches on whatever it was the substituted for an everything bagel........in about 10 minutes.

    After breakfast se decided to ride the historic Watkins Glen road course. It is a pretty clearly marked 6 miles up and over the hills around the Glen.

    Even at speed limit type speeds it gives you new respect for the guys who drove them in open cars with skinny tires and drum brakes.

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  12. robert110411

    robert110411 Long timer

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    After a quick trip around the historic course we stopped at the waterfront. With all the COVID restrictions it was certainly quiter than last time. The Watkins Glenn harbor hotel sits right at the harbor and I'm sure has fantastic views. Unfortunately we've never planned far enough in advance to stay there.

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    After 15 minutes of walking around a pretty empty waterfront we headed north. Following 14 along the west shore of Seneca lake offered some great views, but to be honest, a boring ride.

    Our destination was Sodus Point bit at Geneva we took a little detour over to Cayuga Lake.

    I wish we'd had stopped for a few pictures. Parts of Cayuga Lake were a bright green. The greenest I've ever seen a lake.

    We stopped to grab a drink and get back on track

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    If we sat here 30 minutes? We saw 30 people pull up, go in....and come out with armloads of cartons of cigarettes......we actually stopped the conversation we were having and started counting. One woman came out with 10 cartons.

    It wasn't until we were pulling out and saw the Cuyuga Nation police pull up that it set in. Turns out they have a Facebook page and announce sales at random.....and we were there on a sale day.

    We made our way back to 14 and on to Sodus Point.
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  13. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    Enjoyed reading about your ride. That's nice country and thanks for sharing with us. FYI, Kinzua Bridge gave me a severe case of vertigo but I made it out and back without causing a scene or impeding anyone.
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  14. TownPump

    TownPump Long timer

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    Love reading this. How are the room rates at the Penn Wells? Been through that area and eaten at the diner many times but have always been curious about that old hotel.

    BTW, the Bay Street in Sodus Point serves very good food and drinks. Captain Jacks is of course a good place too. My mom used to have a house in Sodus Point until reecently.
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  15. robert110411

    robert110411 Long timer

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    I think for a room with 2 full beds it was $130 a night. I think the Lodge was slightly higher.

    Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures at Sodus Point. First time ID been there in 30 years. Changed a ton.
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  16. robert110411

    robert110411 Long timer

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    It was a pretty busy day and we saw more than one person clinging to the railing and baby stepping.

    I don't love heights, but I can manage. When we sent to San Francisco and my youngest had enough 1/3 of the way across the Golden Gate........I wasn'tt overly upset about walking her back.
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  17. robert110411

    robert110411 Long timer

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    We grabbed lunch at Sodus Point......for some reason? No pictures. Last time I was there was in the winter 30 years ago.

    After lunch we visited the light house the set off to catch parts of the Seaway trail.

    By now I was starting to feel good about riding again. I was in a groove and enjoying the ride.

    We missed a trail marker and ended up at Irondeqouit small boat harbor.
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    The wind there was crazy. At one point we were afraid our bikes would get blown over.

    There was a TV crew there filming what we though was stock footage. We found out later that evening that someone had gone missing earlier in the day.

    We hung out around 30 minutes before getting back on track.
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  18. robert110411

    robert110411 Long timer

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    So the Armadillo thing.

    I think the blame starts with my dad. When I was a kid we were not well off. My dad was a carpenter but the economy was bad. So he found steady work in a mine. He would use his vacation weeks, along with a few other people, to frame a house every spring for a semi-retired local builder.

    That was the extra money. One year, after learning how to ride at the YMCA camp, the extra money bought a 3.5 HP minibike and a white Buco helmet with plastic bubble shield.

    I rocked that helmet all the way until I was riding a 125 in hare scrambles and enduros. A yellow visor and Scott goggles replaced the bubble shield.......but the Buco lived a long full life before it got replaced.

    The day I went to buy my sons first bike, a 1996 Yamaha PW80, asked my dad to pick him out a helmet. Bike loaded up. We get in the truck, I look over and dad has a brand new Bell Moto Jr Jeremy McGrath Showtime replica helmet and Scott hologram goggles...........when I looked at him he just shrugged and said " Hey, I'm a grandfather now. Its different". To be fair to dad, by that point in life he was a Project manager on large commercial construction. Chances are it hurt a lot more to buy that Buco than the Bell.

    Fast forward to College graduation and a V-Star 650 Classic graduation present.

    And another gear shopping trip. Soon enough he had a full face helmet, jacket, gloves and dedicated boots.

    Shortly after I had to deploy for 11 months. While I was away he rode a bunch with a friend from school, the friends grandfather and some guys from the gun club. All half helmet, T-shirt kind of Harley guys.

    The used to tease him all the time...." Oh, hold on, se can't go yet. The Armadillo needs to finish putting on his armor" and similar comments. All in good fun of course. But it did stick.

    And he lives up to it with decent, dedicated name brand gear that gets worn for every ride.
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  19. robert110411

    robert110411 Long timer

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    Next stop was the Charlotte- Genesee light house.
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    When it was time to head out, I was a little surprised at how late it was and how tired I felt. We decided to start the 2 hour or so trip back to the hotel.

    With the Armadillo in the lead, he punched some magic into his phone and off we went. Through Rochester and Palmyra. Then off the highway......and we didn't see a main road or highway again until we popped out on RT 6 a few miles from the hotel.

    I couldn't even begin to describe the route......but every road was a shear joy of gentle rises and drops, curves and corners. I actually felt really good. Around dusk though, we started seeing the deer. While they slowed us down some, I found some joy in counting the herds. I stopped counting at about 85 and that might have been half of what we saw.

    We got back to the hotel just in time to drop our gear and get dinner at the only place still open. The Golden Arches. Even a Big Mac was good that day.
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  20. robert110411

    robert110411 Long timer

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    About 3/4 of the way through Sunday's ride the Armadillos Paktalk died. He's been using it with custom ear buds and the jack wore out.

    Funny thing, I'd spent so much time avoiding any kind of headset for fear it would ruin the solituted I find inside my helmet ......but I suddenly found myself missing the interaction.

    Funny how that works out.

    Monday started with packing for the ride home. After the bikes were loaded up we decided to walk down to the park in the center of town.

    Every small town in the middle of nowhere has a story. You can usually learn about it from their park.

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    After the park we walked a block or so to a bagel shop for breakfast.
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