The day is full and the roads are empty.
Tiger lilies, corn flowers, and daisies boarder the summer roadside in Central Pa. Even in the midday light, their colors are deep and inviting. I found this stretch on the way to Bald Eagle creek. I was driving the shuttle car for one of our summer canoe trips, and I made a note to ride through here on the bike later in the weekend. It was good. So good that I turned around and rode it again.
One of the many things I enjoy motorcycling is the solitude and simple beauty. The rush of wind in the helmet and the quiet presence of mind that an empty road brings has turned out to be everything I expected. However, I miss traveling in a car with friends.
My father and grandfather were Pennsylvania State Troopers. They knew all of the back roads and diners. As we drove, they would point out the roadside attractions and local stories. Pop was the history ace. When he would visit, he and our neighbor Harold would prowl the roads in an old Impala and swap stories. If it happened in Pennsylvania, Pop or Harold knew the back story.
Dad on the other hand was all about local color. Years spent hanging out with old coots left him with the secret locations of the best diners and roadhouses, late summer trout streams, and vast blueberry fields. Most of the good stuff is gone now, but I remember names like, The Star Garden, The Big Trout, and the Renovo YMCA. And when I'm in the mood for a two mile walk in, Spruce Run is still good for native trout in all but the driest of summers.
There was a time when my wife and I would spend hours off the beaten path. We would share stories of what this region was like when we were growing up, or tell tales about the local history we learned from our parents. These are things we had planned to do with our daughters. Pennsylvania's lost highways and their history were to be a staple of our children's summer days.
With gas at $4.00/gallon, our car time is now spent running errands. Family rides with no particular destination have fallen by the wayside. If the traffic I saw today is any indication, the Sunday drive has already become a thing of the past.