Sunday Afternoon in the Shadow of the Tunkhannock Viaduct

Exactly one year ago today, I set off from Long Island on Sunday morning with a bug in my ear to see a concrete railroad bridge in northeastern Pennsylvania. It’s called the Tunkhannock Viaduct or the Nicholson Bridge.

At the time it was built in the 19-teens it was the worlds largest concrete structure. Today, almost 100 years later it is still an impressive sight. I dare say it is arresting when you head north along US 11 and it comes in to view.

Why would I ride over 200 miles each way to stand in front of some concrete bridge? The answer is simple. I don’t know.

What is it that you get from being in the presence of something inanimate versus simply looking at pictures of it online or in a book? Again, I don’t know. But… there is something.

Sometimes it seems like my trips to things sprinkled around the country answer questions that I don’t realize that I’m asking. Standing in their shadow makes me feel something. I guess maybe that’s what I’m after – to feel something. To know something with the cells of my body before my mind has time to scramble it up.

It’s nice to see a place that is proud of the hallmarks of their community. Something about it gives me a lovesick envy.

And away we go.


Rachael is the whimsical writer behind the 20+ year old Girlie Motorcycle Blog. As a freelance blogger, she is on a mission to inspire laughter, self-examination, curiosity, and human connection. Girlie Motorcycle Blog can be found on several Best Motorcycle Blog lists.

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4 Responses

  1. Ken Haylock says:

    Apropos of nothing, I often think when I read your bike posts that there’s an epic round the world solo trip struggling desperately to escape from the jail cell of an obviously comfortable & fulfilling life. It’s a nice cage to be trapped in, but still…

    Somewhere in an alternate universe, you decide you’re breaking out, so you take a sabbatical from your career (or quit if they wouldn’t wear that), tell hubby you love him loads and to prove it, you’d love for him to fly out with the kids and meet you in Khatmandu/Timbuctoo/Novosibirsk for a long weekend together in 3 months time subject to trip progress, and hit the road on (or via a flight & a taxi to a container port in a far off corner of the world where you can meet up with) a pimped out KLR or Tiger 800 where you can have the sort of immersive two-wheeled adventure that doesn’t have to be curtailed in time for your Monday morning conference call…

    In that alternative universe, I’d probably be pre-ordering your memoir ‘There are no Muffler Men in Bhutan…’ for my Kindle…

  2. bob says:

    Two of my favorite quotes from climber Sir Edmund Hillary:
    It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.
    You don’t have to be a fantastic hero to do certain things — to compete. You can be just an ordinary chap, sufficiently motivated to reach challenging goals.

    And another from climber George Mallory about why he climbed:
    Because it’s there

    I think they apply to you at various times.

  3. Mike Ross says:

    You are amazing! I’ve spent the last 7 years riding around looking for something. Armed with a camera, cigarettes, and way too much free time I looked for interesting places to go, went there, and found the same thing every time. Its all about the ride….

  4. Mike says:

    Wonderful! My wife often asks where I”m headed to which I usually reply – No idea. I just want to go and stop when I find what I wasn’t looking for.

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