Tag: Pennsylvania

Photos: Steamtown National Historic Site

Photos: Steamtown National Historic Site

Steamtown national historic site sign - scranton pennsylvania

This spring I took a drive to Scranton, Pennsylvania to visit Steamtown National Historic Site. While I was there, strict COVID protocols limited access to some of the indoor spaces and displays, but I was able to enjoy walking around outside in the train yard.

Steamtown national historical site - scranton pennsylvania - engine 47

I’m not what you would call a hardcore railfan but I find the machines interesting nonetheless.

Steam engines make me think of my dad, who was indeed into trains. He’d told me stories about hanging around the train yard as a kid, and I kept that narrative in my mind – making up tales of what that kid-version of him would have thought about what I was looking at as I walked around.

Walking the tracks at steamtown

The thing I found most fascinating about the locomotives is how much “life” they seemed to have within them. They exude power and something like a sense of menace. Especially inside the workshop. They looked like sleeping animals that could roar to life at any moment and tear the building from its foundations. But, they instead allowed themselves to be tamed, to be cared for by their handlers. For now.

Indoor display of locomotives being worked on - Steamtown national historical site - scranton pennsylvania

One of the indoor displays features a cutaway where you can see the inner workings of the engine. Looking at it, I found it a marvel that anyone could figure out the method to the madness of tubes, and chambers and lines to make these beasts go. Fascinating.

Interesting place. Worth the visit.

cutaway engine - Steamtown national historical site - scranton pennsylvania
Rusting steam engine - Steamtown national historical site - scranton pennsylvania
Brooks-Scanlon coal car - Steamtown national historical site - scranton pennsylvania
Boso Texino railroad graffiti Steamtown national historical site - scranton pennsylvania

Dirt graffiti on a rail yard car – Bozo Texino ⁠

Apparently like any other subculture, there is a visual language and common mythology among railroad hoboes. There is actually a movie that tries to uncover this very graffiti subject called: “Who is Bozo Texino?”⁠

File Under: There is always something new to learn.

peeling paint and rust on rail car - Steamtown national historical site - scranton pennsylvania

In rust we trust.

green mountain rusting boxcar - Steamtown national historical site - scranton pennsylvania
engine 47 at Steamtown national historical site - scranton pennsylvania
rusting boxcar Steamtown national historical site - scranton pennsylvania
canadian national railways - rusting train car - Steamtown national historical site - scranton pennsylvania
engine 47 at Steamtown national historical site - scranton pennsylvania
Steamtown national historical site - scranton pennsylvania
engine 790 at Steamtown national historical site - scranton pennsylvania
engine 6039 inside the shop at Steamtown national historical site - scranton pennsylvania
bungs at Steamtown national historical site - scranton pennsylvania
Motorcycle Drive-by: Ghost Signs

Motorcycle Drive-by: Ghost Signs

When I am out exploring the world on my motorcycle, Ghost Signs are some of my favorite sights. Their nostalgic nod to a bygone era fills me with a sense of innocence and direct simplicity. They stir up feelings of missing a place and time that I never even knew.

Enjoy these blog posts about Ghost Signs


Hunting Ghosts: Uneeda Biscuit and Gold Medal Flour

On a July day in 2017, I spent the afternoon riding around Troy, New York looking for ghosts. What I discovered was that I needed a biscuit. And some… flour?

uneeda biscuit ghost sign and triumph bonneville in troy new york
Uneeda Biscuit …and a Bonnevlle in Troy, New York

2017 in Review: Photos of Great Ghost Signs Seen in My Travels

In 2017, I did a fair bit of bumming around on the bike. I found myself in places like West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Each state is home to some terrific ghost signs.

mail pouch tobacco ghost sign point pleasant west virginia
Mail Pouch Tobacco ghost ad in Point Pleasant, West Virginia – Home of the Mothman!

Roadside Snaps: Mail Pouch Tobacco Barns and Signs

A handful of Mail Pouch Tobacco and Block Brothers snaps seen in 2015.

Mail Pouch Tobacco Ghost Sign from Carnegie Pennsylvania
Block Brothers ghost ad uncovered in Carnegie, Pennsylvania

Motorcycle Drive-by: In Case You Missed It Series

Sometimes blog posts get buried with time. This post is part of a throwback series to introduce or reintroduce you to things you might have missed.

Thanks for reading!

Metal Gear Garden – York, Pennsylvania

Metal Gear Garden – York, Pennsylvania

While navigating my way around York, Pennsylvania to look for murals and ghost signs, I rode passed a metal garden which had giant flowers made out of gears and things. 

Something about the Gear Garden felt reminiscent of the PennDOT Sculpture Garden in Meadville, Pa.  – another great stop. Perhaps the idea of making something lovely out of throwaways is the connection.

I bet the flowers look especially lovely on a bright blue day.
Will Ride for Donuts

Will Ride for Donuts

My love of donuts is known far and wide amongst my friends. Perhaps you’ve even noticed the pink donut sticker on the BonBon.

I don’t know when the love affair began, really. But I do have many childhood memories of sitting at the counter on a swivel stool with my dad at our local Dunkin Donuts. Spin, spin, spin.

Nearly every time I pass Maple Donuts on Route 30 in York, Pa. I find my wheels turning in to the parking lot automatically. Perhaps donuts have a particularly strong gravitational pull. After all, some people believe Earth is shaped like a donut.

Sometimes I even bring some home to share. Topboxes are great for this.

Have you ever seen a more glorious mailbox than this sprinkley dough hoop? I’ll save you the trouble – you haven’t.

Donuts for dayyyyyys.

One for now, one for later. Even after being squished in a tankbag, the mighty donut delivers.

After pulling in to Huntington, West Virginia this October, I opened my hotel app and found a place to stay. For some, the view from my room window might seem a little lackluster. But to a donut lover? Well… you know.

My holy grail donut stop was definitely Randy’s Donuts in Inglewood, California. Deliciousness and roadside royalty wrapped up in one neat package.

What could possibly surpass the scrumdiddlyumptiousness of eating a donut in a filthy parking lot, under the watchful gaze of that giant rooftop beast? Nothin’, that’s what.


Roadside Giants Along the Lincoln Highway in Pennsylvania

Roadside Giants Along the Lincoln Highway in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s leg of the Lincoln Highway has some interesting sights peppered along the route. For reasons unknown to even me, I especially love riding along it’s western half.

The Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor established a group of 5 roadside attractions called Roadside Giants for people to stop at and enjoy.

This 1921 Selden pickup is just a walk across the parking lot of Shatzer Fruit Market in Chambersburg.

I previously wrote about this Chambersburg peach-covered gas pump at Shatzer Fruit Market in the post: Tales of a Second Grade Nothing

In October, I was able to stop and see the awesome giant quarter near the town of Everett.

I’ve now seen two out of the five giants. Seeing the rest will keep me thinkin’ ’bout the Lincoln.

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