Making a left off of Route 6 in Galeton, I followed PA 144 south to what the map says is the town of Clarence. That stretch yielded about 75 miles of backroad rambling on good tarmac.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record… I saw little to no traffic as I rode along. I’m sure it helped that I was riding in the middle of the week while everyone else was at work.

Even so, there was no shortage of “grass farmers” out tending to their yards everywhere I went. Lawn care seems like serious business in rural Pennsylvania.

Here on Long Island, most people I know (myself included) have someone cut their lawn for them. A truck pulls up, the mower rolls out of the trailer and an army of men swoop through cutting, edging and trimming for all of 5 minutes. Then they pack up their circus and drive away like they were never here. The whirrrrrr of the weedwacker, nothing more than a memory. It is a precision operation. Mo’ lawns, mo’ money.

The people I saw riding mowers appeared deep in thought, turtling along, cutting a path across their grass with deliberate care. Is there something to Zen and the art of Lawn Maintenance? Perhaps I’m missing out on something.

Whenever I pass through the town of Renovo, I’m struck by how it carries nostalgia in the very bricks that make up each building. It cuts the image of a town trapped by its own past.

mailpouch in renovo pennsylvania

On the surface, there isn’t much going on save for a main street of largely empty buildings. But I suspect there are all sorts of busybody, goings-on in the lives of its inhabitants – just like anyplace else.

ghostsign coca-cola renovo pennsylvania fading ad

Renovo reminds me of an ember, a faint glow of its former self. That’s what I love about it. If one day I were to pass through and it was polished like a diamond, I think it would lose its appeal to me.

And so it goes, I pressed on.

 

Other Posts from this Road Trip