A good part of my ride was along roads like this one.
Though the view is the kind that my elder daughter might say, "Meh," about, I still enjoyed every turn of my wheels along the roads like these. For various reasons I struggled over the course of the past year to find the same joy in things I'd once taken great joy in, and riding was one of them. It was only a few days ago of this past week when I took the scooter out that I found myself grinning as I'd done for years as I rode along, so yesterday's ride was a test of sorts to see if I could sustain that feeling. Not only had I, but I had it in spades!
A place where I played the accordion in a popular polka band nearly 40 years ago.
Some of the places I rode past were very familiar to me such as the Hanover Section of Nanticoke which was once known as Rhone Station. It's one of those places I visit often enough when I want to take a ride to get out of the house for a little while, but not venture too far from old computer chair. I never go through there without enjoying the warmth of many good memories from a time in my life when I was old enough to drive and work on the weekends with my trusty "cordeen" as my Dad called my squeeze box, but still too young to have to worry about paying bills
Next along the journey comes Glen Lyon which gets its name from "Gleann Lìomhann" which was the Scottish name given to the area by the railroad that ran through it. Like many of the "census designated places" around the valley Glen Lyon had its heyday when the coal mines were not only functional but when life in and around the mines fairly defined the kind of lives the inhabitants endured. Hard lives, but in some respects seemingly better than the lives many "millenials" live now. When my grandfather was a young man working in the coal mines he was able to own his own home and raise his family without my grandma working outside the home. Though many of the homes of those miners stand vacant such as this one pictured above, I ride past and imagine what life was like then when Faith was strong and people seemed to appreciate the little they had more than we seem to appreciate many of the things we have today.
This retired caboose sits in somebody's yard between Glen Lyon and Mocanaqua along with a different variety of caboose parked behind it. Though they're well kept and pretty to see from the road the many, "Private Property - No Trespassing," signs posted along the property make it seem that trespassers might not only be prosecuted but maybe eaten as well.
I've ridden along these tracks, the same ones that run behind my home, only about 500 feet from my back door and which connect Mocanaqua to Nescopeck, but without ever having seen a freight train running on them there. We get a decent number of freights passing through each day; I've just never been sufficiently lucky to have encountered one here. Some day perhaps I'll take a picnic lunch and the scanner tuned into the railroad frequencies and just wait for one so I can pace it with the scooter.
From many points along yesterday's trek the twin cooling towers of the local nuke (I love how the electric company calls it a "steam generating station.") are visible. Indeed, from certain points in the City of Wilkes-Barre, about 25 miles from the power plant the plumes of steam are visible on a clear day. Thank heaven this nuke hasn't experienced problems such as Three Mile Island near Harrisburg or we might have had to start up a local scooter group and name it in its honor such as this group has done. I say that with affection. The TMI Scooter Club is made up of some really great folks!
Just around the corner from the church is Heller Orchard. They have an apple fest kind of event there every autumn, and the whole area around the orchard itself is closed off for various vendors to offer their wares. The small town charm of the area is in the air in a special way when that's going on and visiting during the celebration gives one a feeling of stepping back in time. I must be an "old soul." I find myself longing to be in places in the past - places such as this where it almost feels as if the thin veil between the past and the present has just enough of a rift for some of the past to touch us even now in inexplicable ways.
No trip to Nescopeck is complete without a quick stop beside the large rooster. Its near twin is on the grounds of the Bloomsburg Fair and I can never resist getting a picture of myself beside that one too.
Of course there are some who have a different name for this note-worthily large fellow. Probably the same folks who refer to the residents there as Nescopeckers.
It was in Nescopeck that I figured I'd just ride back the way I'd come, and had begun to retrace my route when I was hit by the bug that made me want to put at least 100 miles on this ride. A mile or so into going back over the road from whence I'd come I did a U-turn to take a fork in the road coming out of Nescopeck that would put me on the way to Hazleton.
On the outskirts of Hazleton is Freeland which has the distinction of being Pennsylvania's highest borough. I suppose that's to distinguish it from Pennsylvania's highest city, village, town, township, census designated place and podunk. All I really know about the place is that my Dad used to go there around Easter every year to get some rings of kielbasy. Well, that and as of yesterday I know that it's also the home of Big Bubbles Laundromat.
When I had gone through Freeland and White Haven to arrive at Blakeslee from where I'd planned to head more or less home I was contemplating putting even more miles on the scooter. My rump, however, had other ideas and was getting just a bit tired of being in the saddle. I imagine other guys who ride scooters experience that particular kind of wedgie that affects other guy parts too - the kind where the only way to fix it is to dismount the bike completely and pull on ones pants and underpants as if there's no tomorrow. In spite of the discomfort I was still thinking about adding one more road to the trip, but the gas gauge convinced me that heading to more of no-man's-land might not be prudent, so back to the house I went.