The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

15 July 2005

Then again, maybe not

Alliance, Ohio — 3573.8 miles

I knew the US 62 idea was toast the moment I got within a hundred miles of Jamestown and NY 17/I-86 turned into a goat path, and not a good goat path at that. (It's beyond patching; they're actually starting to rip out the old road.) On the basis that suspension repairs on this car are bloody expensive, I ducked down NY 16 into the city of Olean, which was sort of neat in the way of a well-kept Rust Belt town.

Once into Pennsylvania, 16 becomes 646, and suddenly becomes one of those shaded, endlessly-curving country roads of which I'm inordinately fond, although the buzz lasts only about two minutes (three minutes if you're following the signs religiously) before you're propelled into a municipality which presumably takes a dim view of this sort of driving.

With the radio set to Bradford's WBFD (and why not?), I slid around the Allegheny National Forest for a couple of hours, passing through Lewis Run, billed as "the smallest industrial borough in the United States," and eventually landing on Pennsylvania 66, where the fun resumed on an irregular basis, and where I saw a house with a US Route 66 sign, which struck me as amusing in its own right.

In the town of Kane is the Ronald McDonald II Funeral Home, which leads to the obvious question: "II?"

Near Clarion, a dealer in trailers manufactured homes is boasting "Amish Quality." Write your own joke.

At Emlenton, off I-80, a truck plaza is offering, per their sign, "America's Worst Apple Pie." I assume this is sub-Amish quality. I didn't try it, for fear it might actually be good.

Besides, this is the fabled Oil Region of Pennsylvania — you don't see people putting Utahzoil or Magnolia State in their engines, do you? — which draws about 50,000 annually to the Oil Heritage Festival. It occurs to me that Oklahoma is far too embarrassed about its own oil patch, that we'd like to think we're so over that. The people who shriek that "It's all about the OIL!" won't like it, but then again, they won't like the 112 (or so) gallons of unleaded I've burned up to bring you these reports.

And I would appreciate it if someone would say something nice about Youngstown, Ohio, parts of which I drove through in an effort to synchronize myself with US 62. What I saw was uniformly dispiriting, and underpinned with remarkably bad streets to boot. Surely something is good about the place besides a live performance, as advertised on the radio (Y-103), of the Huckin' Fillbillies.

Posted at 6:19 PM to World Tour '05


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MeeCiteeWurkor has posted a poll for the 2006 Mayoral Election. Dan Paden rebuts the opinion section of Sunday's Whirled Mad Okie doesn't think much of the cheerleading for Tulsa as a tourist destination, but he's got some ideas for how we can capitali......[read more]

That "US 62 idea" sounds like something I might have tried back when gas prices didn't require taking out a loan before going on vacation. I always wondered what the rest of 17 looked like; when visiting a former girlfriend-to-be outside of Rochester, I took 17 west to I-390, making a mental note that one day I have to travel the rest of the way just so I can say I've been the length of Route 17. As it stands now I've gone from Newark, NJ (where it's NJ 17, natch) north to the southern end of NY 32, where 17 turns west, and from there I've been to the exit for I-390. If the rest of 17 is a "goat path," maybe I'd better settle for what I've seen already.

Posted by: Bryan Doe at 12:11 AM on 17 July 2005

Did you actually travel through Bradford, PA? I ask because on the regional Weather Channel maps we see here in NJ, Bradford is always demarcated as the farthest town to the west, despite it having no significance to this part of the world whatsoever. (As opposed to, say, Pittsburgh...)

Oh, and the weather there in the winter is always worse than ours. Maybe that's why they include it -- to make us feel better. It is sort of our own regional version of International Falls, MN.

Maybe it's a BFD after all.

Posted by: The Prop at 11:01 AM on 19 July 2005