Central PA March 22-24 2006

Wednesday March 22

Light dusting of snow on the ground in Harlansburg. Left Harlansburg at 9:13 with 217.7 on the odometer. Gasup at the Sunoco in Mount Chestnut for $2.50/gal. Odometer was 234.8 and reset to 0 at that point, 17.1 miles into the trip. Arrived at Gene's at exactly noon with 133.6 on odometer, 150.7 total miles.

Tour of Gene's yard looking at yard work recently done. Decided to have lunch at Kelly's Korner, but the parking lot was full, so we continued on and ended up at Billi's Bric-a-Brac. Arrived just after a large group so there was a bit of a wait for our sandwiches. The sandwiches were good.

Went up to Isett's for Gene to tell Judy some details he discovered about a car she is interested in purchasing.

To Altoona . . .

Tried to get into Lakemont Park to photograph the Leap-The-Dips roller coaster, which is a National Historic Landmark. The Park was gated and closed. They would have been willing to have somebody escort us in to see the roller coaster, but it was late in the day and there was nobody available for escort duty. They suggested we come back the next day. I realized that the photo would be more interesting with people milling about, so we should go back in season.

Benzel's Pretzel outlet store, where we each bought more pretzels than we should have.

And . . .

The Vietnam Wall replica at the VA Van Zandt Hospital.

North to Pinecroft looking for the Oak Spring Winery. After touring Pinecroft and into Bellwood, we finally asked some guy and he told us where to go. The winery is on Business 220 between Pincroft and Bellwood at the top of a hill. We went in and sampled two of the wines. I bought bottles of the two we sampled, the Horseshoe Curve and Vidal Blanc Reserve. That evening, we opened the Horseshoe Curve and discovered that what was in the bottle was not what we had sampled! It was sweeter and it was a blush wine. I think the bottle was mislabeled and contained their "White Cin'", which is a blush wine. They say: "If you love ZIN, you'll love CIN" Hmmm! They also have a "Pink Catawba".

Back through Skelp and to Spruce Creek. On the way observing all the Penn Central Railroad bridges across the Little Juniata up stream from the confluence with Spruce Creek. These bridges, along with the tunnel through Tussey Mountain, are in the National Registry of Historic Places.

We drove up PA45 to check out the toll house at Turnpike Road.

Drove through the Colerain Picnic Area, where Gene thought we might find the remains of a furnace or forge. Nada, just 6 frigid picnic tables.

On down for a look at the Huntingdon furnace and the buildings around it.

And a half mile up the Old Mill Road . . .

The Huntingdon Furnace Mill. Currently being restored.
Gene later discovered it is being restored by a Huntingdon attorney who is about to retire.

Dinner at Paisano's on US22 close to Alexandria. Gene introduced himself to the owner, Margie, who he had earlier found out is the the sister of Harry Croyle who married Joyce's cousin Mona.

We stopped to see the new Huntingdon Walmart. It's open 24/7, so when Gene wakes up at 4:00AM, he can now run two miles up the road and buy stuff to help fill his garage. Of course we did a little shopping while we were there.

Thursday March 23

Breakfast at Walt's Cafe. Ran into Dot's Hoss's boss who was also having breakfast there.

Larry wanted a Billi's cappuccino, but they don't open until 9:30, so we toured Huntingdon. Unsuccessfully tried to get to the top of Flagpole Hill, but it's still only open daylight hours Memorial Day to Labor Day. I think we have to relearn that every couple of years or so.

In our wanderings, we stumbled across C@ffeine, an Internet Cafe, who serve real cappuccino. I bought a cup there. It was O.K. But not as good as Billi's. They get their coffee is from Longbottom Coffee in Oregon.
The C@ffeine owner does a mix of things, including electronics installations and making cappuccino at the Internet Cafe. Gene ask him if had ever heard of Bob Newhart and the Grace L. Ferguson Airline and Storm Door Company. But the youngster hadn't even heard of Bob Newhart.

Headed toward Ebensburg and decided to go through Williamsburg, where we went by . . .

The Blue Hole

We took back roads over to the end of the Lower Trail in Flowing Spring so Larry could see it in the daylight.

Into Altoona for a Mexican lunch at El Campesino.

Got on US22 and got off at the Lily/Cresson exit. We identified Mount Aloysius College in Cresson.

And across the street . . .

The other Admiral Peary's Monument.
This is not the Battle of Lake Erie Admiral Perry, this is the first person to visit the North Pole.
He was born about 100 yards south of the monument.

We headed on to Loretto and did a tour of St Francis College.
And looked in at the St Francis Friary across the street. It was well marked with no trespassing signs. It didn't occur to us while we were there, but we could have just ignored those signs because we would have been forgiven. Hmmm. I should have taken a picture of one of them to document it.

On to Ebensburg, where we found . . .

The Cambria County Court House. This rather imposing building is plainly visible from the Ebensburg Route 22 exit.
I've wondered for some time what it is. And now I know.

Then on to . . .

The Cambria County Historical Society. Larry did a quick tour of the building.
Gene hit on a little old lady and got an escorted tour.

Called Spriggles, who were just finishing up with their last customer. Jim said the could be ready any time. So we high tailed it back to Huntingdon. One hour trip. Gene changed shirts and did a quick spruce up.

We picked up Jim and Jean and headed to Alexandria and the Main Street Cafe. There we had a really good dinner, but gigantic servings. Nobody could finish their meal.

Then back to the Spriggles' for some conversation.

And back to Schmidt House.

Friday March 24

Breakfast at McDonalds. Gene ordered a "large black coffee" and got a small premium coffee with the question "do you want cream with that?".

Billi's Bric-A-Brac for cappuccino. Which was good. Also discovered that Skip makes a trip to Cascade Street in New Castle every three or four weeks to pick up bagels. He drives IS80 and comes across 108, within a mile of my house.

Checked out the new sports bar in Huntingdon. It's a new building (or at least new siding) at 13th and Washington. Or was that 15th? Anyway, it's called Memories.

Took a mini tour of Huntingdon. Passed a white PT Cruiser driven not driven by Dot. Drove up Lions Back Drive and ogled the houses there.

Back to Smith's for another yard tour. The new shed is so full you can barely get into it. Gene says he'll take care of that!

To Walmart for a Subway sandwich for lunch. The sandwiches were very good, up to the expected quality of Subways. They restored my faith in Subways, which had been destroyed after eating inferior sandwiches from the PA388/PA108 gas station in Hickory Twp. It seems that the owners of that place not only do not know how to lay out a parking lot, but also can't make good sandwiches.

Left Gene's at 1:55PM, 171 on trip odometer. Saw a white PT Cruiser parked at Diner 22. They're popping up all over the place. Tried to call Beverly at 3:00 in Ebensburg, but busy. Got through to her at 4:00 in Kittanning.

Passed the Geeseytown fire engine going the other way about a mile east of Kittanning on US422.

Stopped for $38.50 worth of gas at the Mount Chestnut Sunoco, using up the $20 Amex rebate card. Home about 4:50.

Margaritas, fresh prepared salsa and Troyers corn chips. Yumm! Then pizza and we watched Mel Brooks' 1968 movie "The Producers" with Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder. The movie was disappointing.

Larry's Other Place
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