In the AM I listened to Dr Dennis Fulbright talk about phytophthora root rot at the PCTGA summer meeting. A little before noon I hit the road to return to State College. I decided to take a scenic route. My directions told me the trip was 22 miles shorter than my trip out to Erie, however the estimated travel time was 30 minutes longer (it ended up being shorter).
The weather was wonderful. I think I commented out loud about 20 times about how nice the day was while I was driving . . . and there was no one else in the car. it just needed to be said.
I started heading south on PA-19. This took me through a neat little town called Waterford (that’s where Fort Le Boeuf was). I picked up PA-97 for a few miles, which took me through Union City, where I hopped onto PA-8. This led me to Titusville, the birthplace of the modern petroleum industry. I stopped at the Drake Well Museum for an hour. When I think of oil in the United States I think of Texas and Alaska, not Pennsylvania. But it all started here.
One of the outdoor displays at the museum is a full-fledged oil rig. Inside the rig there are several massive chains. They look like bicycle chains on steroids. Each link is about the size of my fist.
A replica of Drake’s Well is built on the site. The structure was recreated board by board from photographs, and the original blueprints were used to build the steam engine and boiler. The replica was placed in the same site as Drake’s building, and the same hole in the ground was used.
The well was pumping crude oil, however since the museum is not licensed to pump oil from the ground they were simply circulating oil for demonstration purposes.
I left the museum and headed east on PA-27. In Pleasantville the road became PA-36, which is known as the Colonel Drake Highway. This took me through the town of Tionesta. Soon after Tionesta I drove through a beautifully forested area with many campgrounds and cabins (including Cook Forest State Park).
Eventually I ended up back on I-80 headed east. About this time it occurred to me that I had not eaten anything but two Krispy Kreme doughnuts in the past 27 hours. Signs for Gio’s BBQ beckoned as I approached the exit for PA-970. So I jumped onto PA-970 and followed that to US-322 (that’s where Gio’s is located). I ordered a pulled pork BBQ sandwich, and it was good.
My plan was to follow US-322 right to State College. And I did. But I did make one quick stop in Philipsburg at Killion’s to get an ice cream cone. I think it has been nearly a decade since I have had a vanilla soft ice cream cone. I’ll make sure another decade does not pass before I have another one.