Wife and I are several days into the North to South leg of our 2023 Winter Road Trip, and so far it’s been a very good time. There’ve been a few adventures and experiences already, and this is the first installment trying to capture some of them for the blog.
Departure was last Thursday, February 2, about mid-morning. We loaded into the Jeep everything we thought we needed for the trip, and barely had enough room for the houseplants and other items we were dropping off at Younger Son’s abode in New Hampshire on the way out of New England.
One of the primary goals we have for this trip was to avoid using Interstates as much as possible, with the exception of Day #1. Roaring down I91, we briefly stopped in Lebanon, NH. There we had lunch with Younger Son, left our things with him for safekeeping and got back on the road.
Nothing new to see as we headed across Vermont, crossing over the Green Mountains into Manchester, and then tracking south down Rt. 7 to Bennington. There we resumed westward progress, actually getting through Troy in a reasonable fashion. Usually the traffic there is bad, but not that afternoon. We were on the wonderful New York Interstate race track ahead of schedule cruising down Interstate 86 towards Pennsylvania.
We reached Sayre, PA around 6:30PM, checked into a “barely good enough for a night’s sleep” hotel, grabbed some dinner and called it a night. We would find that while we escaped from New England, we did not escape from the cold.
The predicted arctic blast last weekend did not ignore Pennsylvania. We awoke Friday morning to temps in the single digits, with strong winds delivering sub-zero wind chill. I recall thinking that most of this day would be spent in the car. This thought turned out to be incorrect.
The plan for Day #2 was transiting the northeast corner of Pennsylvania, mostly along US Rt. 6. Avoiding Interstates where possible was on. It’s a very scenic drive, even in mid-winter. Up into the Allegheny mountains we rolled, oftentimes through wind-whipped snow squalls. Snow was moving more horizontally than vertically due to the
high winds. We traveled from white-out to full sun and then back into the snow in a matter of minutes. This went on the entire time we were at elevation.
Along US Rt. 6 we traveled through several very remarkable towns, notably Wellsboro. I would have stopped there to wander through the downtown area if the weather wasn’t so ridiculously frigid. That town is on the list for “another time”.
We passed through Coudersport and then Smethport as we continued through the hills. These towns also need revisiting. We continued on, heading upwards toward Mt. Jewett. Here we found Kinzua Bridge State Park and I broke out the cold weather gear.
Kinzua Bridge was a train trestle that was over 300 feet tall, and it was taken out by a tornado in 2003. The State of Pennsylvania salvaged some of the trestle, creating a walkway out over the gorge, and left the rest of the destroyed bridgework right where it fell. The minute I saw it I knew I had to walk out there, so I did. The views were fantastic, especially straight down through the glass panels set into the deck of the walkway. Here are a few photos taken in 3°F temps, not counting the stiff breeze.
Below is a link to a video I made while at the end of the skywalk.
I had to take off my gloves to operate the camera, and my hands were cold for the rest of the day.
Now afternoon, we stopped for a quick lunch at the Kelly Hotel in Marienville. I don’t think this establishment has seen any renovations since it first opened. The decor was 1960s, and the sandwiches were very good. Eating quickly, we were soon back on the road, and exited the Allegheny Mountain area. Then we hopped on the interstate in order to swing around Pittsburgh, which is not on the itinerary for this trip. Our destination for that evening was the Comfort Inn in Triadelphia, West Virginia. We arrived before the sun went down.
Wanting a light dinner, and not wanting to go too far from the hotel, I asked the hotel manager for a recommendation. He directed us to Cafe Annie’s, a half mile down the street. He said the food, though basic pub fare, was good. So, off we went for a quick meal to end the day.
When we arrived at the Cafe, we were greeted by these signs on the door. And, yes we had to be buzzed into the building. What did we get ourselves into here?
It turns out my worries were unfounded; nothing nefarious behind the secured entry, only video gambling machines. Gambling is “more legal” in West Virginia than other places, and these machines are all over the place. But access and age verification must be strictly controlled.
It fell to Terri to provide that control, as well as provide bartending and cooking services. She was also the cashier for the gamblers. Despite single-handedly running the whole show, she had time to chat with Wife and I about the history of the Cafe, which goes back a couple of decades. She made us laugh telling us of other visitors from out of town, when encountering the secured front door, thought they had ventured upon a strip club or worse.
Annie’s was super clean, and while the menu was limited, the food was very good. And very inexpensive. It was obvious that the gambling carries the operation.
I’ll definitely stop here again when passing through.
We escaped the cold the next day as we went along the Ohio River and into Kentucky. All of that will be in the next post. Soon, I hope. Thanks for stopping by!
Note: When a link is provided to a place, attraction or business, that indicates a positive experience, and a recommendation of the place, attraction or business. If there’s no link, well, I think you can figure out what that means. 😆