tour de frank, western pa.
my girlfriend and i had been planning a small get-a-way, and set our sights on the frank lloyd wright house south east of pittsburgh, falling water. we loaded my recently acquired 1988 R100RT and took off, with a rural route in mind. this would allow for some relaxation. it was to be her very first trip on a bike, and i am relatively new at "touring" also, so we were really looking forward to this adventure!
we headed up the mighty susquehanna river along 11/15 to 850 W and headed into the countryside. picking up rte 274 in western perry county, we flopped over a ridge and picked up rte 75W. this is amish country and the buggies were out in force! 75 gave out at u.s. rte 30. this was to be our main avenue to the wild western frontier. we turned right and began our adventure in earnest, heading up and over yet another ridge, on roads we had never before travelled.
we stayed on 30 for quite a spell, enjoying the verdant scenery, then picked up a lesser route, also running west, state rte 31, which we would eventually turn off to find our night's lodging, at polymath park resort. we had booked a room in the blum house there.
the polymath park resort is not so much a "resort" in the traditional sense. it is VERY beautiful. they have 3 frank lloyd wright houses on the property, which is located near the little burg of acme, pa. they are basically on top of a mountain, and deep into the woods. two of the homes were there, one was moved in from illinois. one of the houses was actually built be FLW, the other two were designed by him and built by others. they are a non profit organization and are slowly getting their act together, having only opened for business in june of '07.
we spent a lovely evening there and headed out somewhat early the next morning for our "in depth" tour of falling water, a very nice 20+ mile ride away. back east on 31, turning right on 711S to 381S. virtually nobody out on the sunday morning as we rode along in the nice cool air! this part of western pa. is very near the highest point in the state, mt. davis. the mountains and hills here are bigger than in other areas. the roads just roll with the flow.
we took the 2-3 hour tour of falling water, kissed the cool air goodbye, jumped on the bike and rode a short distance to another nearby FLW house, kentuck knob, where we intended to do a walking tour of the grounds, not having the time for more in depth adulation. unfortunately, walking tours aren't allowed, so we said goodbye, and made a plan to return in the fall. getting back on our trusty steed, we headed out to find mt. davis. back at the cafe at falling water, i got a very long verbal account, AND the impossibly small print map of just how to get there taking the small back roads. off we went, stopping along the way to admire the scenic vistas and take pictures.
picking up 281, over to confluence, and riding along 523 to listonburg, we turned uphill and began our ascent to the highest point in all of pennsylvania. mt. davis is 3,213 feet above sea level. when we finally arrived at the summit, we were delighted to find they have an old fire tower you can climb to gaze at the virtually untouched wilderness, atop the high plateau.
this was the last planned stop on our weekend tour, so we clambered back down the tower, jumped on the ol' R100 and took off, heading back to rte 281N, to 31E, to 30E and ALL the way home again! tho it was a VERY hot weekend, with temps in the high 90s, we had covered a little over 520 miles together. we were hot, tired AND happy.
pennsylvania is a mostly rural, very beautiful state, with unlimited country roads. very mountainous, in the old old blue ridge way, there are very few cars and many many motorcyclists! northern pa. is where the southern forests meet the northern forests. the mix of tree varieties can be found in no other deciduous woods anywhere on earth!
thanks for traveling along.
keep the rubber side down and the sunny side up!