Central PA Oct 17-20 2007

Wednesday October 17:

Left Harlansburg at 9:09 with a reset trip odometer. Dreary morning. Noticed that Book's gas is $2.879. Arrived at Smith's at 11:58 with 149.2 miles on trip odometer.

I was expecting to stay until Saturday, but Smitty had alternate plans for Friday night and Saturday. They were driving Bill Skipper to Oswego NY so Bill could go salmon fishing. Bummer.

Lunch at Kellys Korner. Chicken corn soup and hamburgers. Gene pays his part with $4 in quarters from his car coin cache. Bank stop to get Gene some paper money.

Head south on PA26 to Riddlesburg. Looked for and couldn't find Minersville coke ovens. Later determined the reason we couldn't find them was because we were looking in the wrong place. They're on PA913 1 mile east of Coalmont.

We continued south to Bedford and west on Business US30 to the fairgrounds entrance and . . .

According to the tablet at the door:

"In 1927, Bert Koontz designed and quickly erected the Coffee Pot on the west end of Bedford. His intention was to attract visitors to his adjacent gas station. The early restaurant served ice cream, hamburgers and Coca-Cola. In 1937 it was converted to a bar and a hotel was built in the rear. The Coffee Pot became a regular stop for Greyhound bus passengers since the bus depot was next door."

This is what the building looked like on July 22, 2002.

It was moved to the present location and restored in 2004.

Newly restored Bedford Springs Resort. Magnificent.

Gene rolled over 150,000 miles on his odometer. Raced back home for a quick shower.

Dinner with Spriggles at The Mill Stone Manor; 11979 William Penn Highway; Huntingdon, PA. Very nice. Run by the ex Mimi chef and manager. Then back to Spriggles for a chat. They will be retiring in December.

On way home from Spriggles', I bought Sheetz gas at $2.899. Worked out to be 20mpg. Smitty thought it was a good price and returned with his car for a fill up also. Who would have ever believed a couple years ago that he would think $2.899 was a good price for gas!

Thursday October 18:

Breakfast at McDonalds, Smitty deciding his "Big Breakfast" is not very "Big". He says the value and quality of service have gone down since a change in management. Attesting to that would be the few customers there at 8:15 in the morning.

On to C&ffeine for Larry's cappuccino fix. But we had to do a memory refresh to find the place. They remembered us from our visit a year ago.

Drove through Sinking Valley to Altoona. Checked out the brand spanking new Logan Towne Mall.

Then to the Logan Valley Mall for an Orange Julius. It has been years since I've had an Orange Julius. Back then, they were made from fresh squeezed oranges and were very good. Now they're made from frozen concentrate and are so-so. After tasting this one, I wouldn't walk across a mall just to get another.

Checked out Harbor Freight Tools across the street from the Logan Valley Mall.

On up the Allegheny Front to Lily, where we drove up Mountain Road and toured . . .

The Wind Generator Site.

Headed north on US220. Around Port Matilda, the fishing pole tube blows off Smitty's car, drags on ground for a ways. Stopped and resecured. No damage.

On to State College, where we had lunch at . . .

Otto's Pub and Brewery; 2105 N. Atherton St.; State College, PA 16803
Highly recommended, especially for beer lovers.

Hunt for the National Weather Service on Innovation Drive, expecting to find a large facility with satellite dishes and weather gathering equipment. After driving the length of the drive and finding nada, we stopped in the Conference Center and asked Conference Services. They had a map of Innovation Park with a directory on the back. NWS is in suite 300 of 328 Innovation Drive, apparently only a set of offices.

423 acres recently added to Rothrock State Forest.
It's south of State College, with an entrance on PA45, 1/2 mile east of the PA26-45 split. It's a gravel road opposite the yellow Jordan Farm house. The land with a trail runs up toward Musser gap.

Ice cream at Meyer's Dairy. Then to Mill Creek and Cars Unlimited to check in with Bill Skipper. Dinner with Bill at Millers.

Watched the Indians get creamed by Boston in the fifth game of the ALCS.

Friday October 19:

Breakfast at the Side Street Cafe and Deli. Bill Skipper showed up. Late.

Drive by of Bill Skipper's boyhood home and then over to . . .

Bill Skipper & Associates' Fishing Camp on the Juniata. Nifty.

South on PA829 up the mountain to a not so spectacular peek at "The Outlook". It was foggy and drizzling. I took a couple of pics that were less than exciting.

On to Cassville, where we knew we would find . . .

From Cassville, we headed over Clear Ridge to get to Jacks Mountain to see if we could get to the fire tower and NOAA tower. Coming down the east side of the ridge, we stumbled across a minivan with a trailer stopped in the middle of the road. He'd broken an axle. With a tow strap, in low range, Gene was able to pull him forward enough that he could drift the van and trailer back and into a drive. They had a cell phone and were in contact with somebody to come help, so we left after that. They did tell us that we couldn't get to either tower because the roads were gated closed.

Since we couldn't get to the towers, we changed plans and decided to go look in the correct spot for the Minersville coke ovens. Stopping for a sandwich on the way.

Minersville Coke Ovens
We found the ovens one mile east of Coalmont, north of PA913. The last time we were here, we didn't get to the site because the bridge was washed out. It is still out, but this time we found a way around, via Minersville Rd to the east.

This photo is the washed out bridge from the oven side, looking across to PA913.

For photos of the historical site, click on the photo or: link.

Drove all the way to the end of the road into State Gamelands 67, which is directly to the north of the historical site. It was a long drive with no other outlet. All crossroads were either gated closed or marked no motorized vehicles. It started to rain and we headed back to the Schmidt house.

Packed and headed home at 2:55. Spotty heavy rain showers to Indiana, then dry the rest of the way. There was construction a couple of places on US22 with very slow traffic.

Larry's Other Place
Copyright © 2007 Lawrence McMillen. All rights reserved.