Day 2: April 21, 2012
One Way Nest
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The few drops of water that were on my windshield when I pulled back onto the expressway were soon gone. A few more appeared throughout the day but there was never anything that could actually be called rain. The weather and the scenery made driving on the expressway OK.

But even OK expressway can wear on you and I eventually punched up the Roadside America Garmin app to see what it had to offer. A tree house just a couple miles off the expressway sounded promising so I pulled off to break up the drive. If I'd known there was parking at tree house level, I probably would have used it and missed the view from the unpaved trail. Roadside America says the Nay Aug Gorge Tree House was "built so that the people of Scranton could peer down into the gorge without tumbling over a cliff." It worked for me.

I also learned of this from Roadside America but that was a long time ago. It was a planned stop on last year's attempt at this trip. The tall marker stands on the border between New York and New Jersey. Pennsylvania touches the two states at the smaller marker near the water.

Some online chatter about scenic highways alerted me to NY-97 north of Port Jervis, New York, and that led to me planning an overnight in the historic Erie Hotel. Originally built in 1890, a 1994 fire resulted in some major restoration. The rooms (here's mine) are quite nice and the restaurant is superb. It was lunch time when I checked in and dinner time when I returned from a drive. The place was pretty full on both occasions which is why I have no pictures of the interior. I do have a picture of the stairs leading to the rooms.

There is one caveat to staying here and it could be an important one for some. The bar is a popular one and usually has entertainment on weekends. A band was scheduled for last night but, for reasons unknown to me, did not appear. But the recorded music that filled the void could definitely be heard in second floor rooms including mine at the rear of the building. This old rock 'n' roller isn't bothered by this sort of thing and tends to consider the sounds of a band that doesn't suck an amenity. Anyone likely to be annoyed by this should probably sleep elsewhere but might still consider dinner and/or a drink.

The bar at the Erie also serves as the hotel's "front desk" so I was able to enjoy a cold one while putting my license number and such on the little card. I was also able to ask the desk clerk/bartender about the scenic road I'd heard about. The main attraction is a an area called Hawks Nest and that, she told me, was half closed with "an ugly red light". I, of course, opted to go anyway but didn't even make it to the ugly night initially. At the NY-42 and NY-97 split, flashing lights and waving policemen directed traffic onto NY-42. NY-97 is the designated scenic route. I turned left in a couple of miles and looped back to NY-97 on some fairly nice country two-lane. At the other end, I was able to talk briefly with the fellow directing traffic but he knew nothing either. A big red cloth sign on a frame announced an "Emergency Detour".

I pulled into a parking lot at a trail head and looked over the signs there. One of the things marked on the map was a Museum of Colonial History that looked to be about 25 or 30 miles away. I selected that as my turn around point and headed off on NY-97 along the banks of the Delaware River. The museum was closed for the season but the drive was certainly worthwhile for its own sake.

I had been tempted to stop here on the way north but decided to hold off until the drive back. They say that John Roebling used the bridge in Cincinnati as a rehearsal for the Brooklyn Bridge. This was one of his rehearsals for the Cincinnati bridge. In the 1840s he built four similar aqueducts for the D & H Canal. This is the only one remaining making it the oldest wire suspension bridge in the country. Most of the iron work, including the cables, is original. Cars now drive where six feet of water once carried canal boats over the river. Learn more about it here.

By the time I again reached Hawks Nest, the emergency was over and I could continue on NY-97. The bartender's comments now made sense as I saw that "half closed" meant one lane was blocked for repairs and "ugly red light" referred to the traffic signals that controlled the one lane traffic through the area. Cars stopped at the light can be seen in the distance in the next to last photograph and up close in the last one.

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