SUMMER SWARM II, 8/4/19
Somehow we were able to assemble a crew of 5 for an assault on the Gateway to Gamelands despite all the wet weather we have endured this year. We met at the Pilot off of Interstate 78 for a spirited jaunt over to Bangor, Pa. to engage breakfast. Riverton Road, the Carousel, and the Orchard Road slalom warmed up the rubber after we entered the Keystone State via the Belvidere Bridge. The Little Corner Cafe on Pa 191 serves a great morning meal at a reasonable price. Our itinerary for the day would include a farmland tour, some great backroads, mountain passes, and a blitz through coal country before we got up to our dunch spot.
We were able to avoid the Sunday congestion in Jim Thorpe, Hazelton, and Tamaqua by using some of the off routes to get over to New Ringgold. The strafing of Cold Run Road without traffic was a treat as well a spirited pass by Heisler's Dairy as we passed over Wildcat Mountain. The roads were in good shape as we crossed US 209 and headed up to Tuscarora State Park via Catawissa Road. A quick trip through the coal mining town of Mahonoy City gave us an unencumbered ride up Pa 339 with only a slight detour prior to Interstate 80. We stopped at the Sunoco Plaza for fuel and a cold beverage prior to the second leg of the mission.
A 5 mile sprint on the Interstate provided an opportunity to "clear the plugs" and wind our way up Pa 487 through Benton and onto to Camp Lavigne Road through Grassmere. Crossing Pa 118 deposited the group over Fishing Creek and into the lot of the Central Park Hotel. The Hotel was built in 1865 and has served the area well for lodging as it includes a bar and restaurant. The two annex structures on either side take the overflow if the Hotel is full. There is virtually one road in and one road out. The other roads are for logging only unless you want to go to Sullivan Falls which is a combination of ruts, potholes, rocks, and puddles. Been there/done that!
The interior is provincial with a plethora of taxidermy displayed on the walls in the dining room. The menu is lengthy considering such a remote location. Service was slow as things move at that pace out in the country. Most of the clientele are locals that are in for a Sunday lunch. The establishment caterers to hunters, fisherman, and trappers during the specific seasons and can be quite busy. I was first introduced to the hotel back in 90's when the Honda Sport Touring Association ran weekend getaways out of here.
A plan was made for the crew to split as we departed for home after dunch. In the town of Benton, we grabbed Pa 239 down to Shickshinny and crossed the Susquehanna River. We picked up Pa 93 which led us to Interstate 80 where the riders split up to make a dash for home. I took the scenic route through Saint Johns and Honey Hole to enjoy the serenity of Nescopeck State Park with an "eye on the sky" as the clouds were rolling in. I was able to avoid any precipitation by using tertiary roads to the Garden State. I'm afraid that the others were not as fortunate.
I arrived back at my nest with 311 miles on the clock.
Thanks to all for coming out.
"FRIENDS DON'T LET FRIENDS EARLY APEX."