by Angela Kosar

I used ride a bicycle and rode with many bicycle clubs all over New Jersey. The longest distance I ever road in one day was 100 miles and I would dream of riding my bicycle across Vermont on a Vermont Bicycle Tour. I just knew that my dream wouldn't happen until I retired!

This past fall my dream came true, except those two wheels had a v-twin engine on them. In Late September 2003, my husband and I took a tour of Pennsylvania. We headed out on a beautiful sunny Sunday morning and traveled north to Scranton. We took Route 6, which is marked scenic, but it isn't. There are too many big trucks speeding along. So I wouldn't recommend it for scenic travel.

When we got to Towanda, we saw a group of riders taking a Sunday ride together. I noticed a few of the riders without helmets. It was warm so I tried it. My head got cold fast and I was scared. The “what ifs “ started. You know, "What if I fall? What if a rock hits me? What if ……? So, I put my helmet back on and felt safer.

Our first stop was in the town of Mansfield to eat and rest. We met some local bikers in the luncheon. They recommended we visit Lance’s Harley Davidson to pick up tee-shirts. Bikers are the nicest people I have ever met. We started talking to a group of riders outside and in no time we found out that we all have some things in common. One guy told my husband how lucky he was that I ride my own bike …. I felt very proud of myself.

Route 6 was becoming more scenic and we pulled into this quaint little town called Wellsboro and stopped at the local diner. This diner was different, I noticed they had their own T-Shirts and all sorts of promotional stuff with their name on it. So I asked “Are you famous?"

The waitress said “I guess so, we have been on the cable show 'Places to Visit' on HGTV. Also, we are the oldest diner in the country and are listed in the Guinness Book of World Records”

Afterwards we headed for Pennsylvania's Little Grand Canyon. It was late September and there weren't a lot of people to ask for directions. We didn't know where to go or where the best sites were so we parked our bikes and hiked. It gave me a little perspective for when I eventually visit the Grand Canyon.

This ride was terrific, just me and my husband with no plans. We just did what we wanted, stayed for as long as we wanted and left when we got ready. Some locals suggested we visit the Kinzua Bridge (Iron Bridge). So we headed towards the Allegheny Forest.. The bridge was built of iron in 1882 and was the highest railroad bridge in the world.

When we got there we saw all this orange tape all over the place. When I asked what happened, we were told that a F-1 tornado ran through this area in July. The bridge was twisted like licorice. You could see the path the tornado took across the mountain. Mother Nature does some astonishing things. What a sight! (click here to see pictures of the damage)

We rode all through the Allegheny forest. This forest is HUGE. In 1933 the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) formed through President Rooselvelt’s New Deal Program built wood structures all over the park. These structures still hold their rustic beauty today. I appreciated seeing the history in the forest.

It felt like we had walked back in time. Even the signs in the forest appear to be very old. There was no one else in the forest. I felt almost as if time stood still as we rode our bikes around and took short hikes. During all this time, we didn't see a soul.

The Kinzua Lake is comprised of seven lakes. Route 59 brought us to the lakes. It was stunning, miles of water then land then water. The road then comes to what looks like a road but I guess it’s a bridge that goes over a lake and appears to be level.

I had to stop and just take in the view . It was so open and beautiful. you get a much better view when you ride your motorcycle. The road led to the Kinzua Dam that provides flood control and recreation for the local Allegheny River area. (click here to see trip pictures)

Rain had been forecast for late in the afternoon so I suggested that we find cover by 4:00pm. My husband had chosen the scenic route through the Allegany Forest. So we rode for hours. Eventually, it started raining hard and my goggles were fogging up. I had no idea where we were going because it was hard to communicate in the rain.

Finally, we came into a town where my husband pulled along side a police officer and asked where we could find a hotel. The next thing I know, we're being escorted by the police to a fine hotel on the Ohio border. WOW, I rode my motorcycle to Ohio!! It was a big hotel with a sauna and swimming pool. What a nice way to relax off the bike.

We were north of the Allegheny Forest so the plan next morning was to ride south. We spent the next couple of days just cruising along pretty roads. I wish I could remember the names of the roads so I could pass it on, but I can't. Pennsylvania is a big state. Going west, the state is beautiful with gaps, lakes, so many parks and a lot of history.

We rode south to the Maryland border then came east. It was beautiful ride home. We stopped at Gettysburg for a night. The next day we crossed banck into Pennsylvanis and visited the Harley Davidson Factory in York. After that we came home.

This ride was a dream come true. I can hardly wait to plan next year's ride.

Ride safe, ride free


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