Of course the better view is on the Canadian side which is fine because weíve screwed the Canadians on pretty much everything else. As far as Iím concerned they can have this, but I have no interest in riding my motorcycle over the border and going through customs, twice. Besides, itís 100 Days and 48 States. Not 48 States and 1 Province.
My next stop is the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site in downtown Buffalo. On September 14, 1901, in the library of the Ansley Wilcox home, Teddy Roosevelt became the 26th President just hours after the death of President William McKinley. McKinley had been shot and critically wounded by an assassin in Buffalo on September 6th while attending a public reception at the Pan American Exposition. I sit and watch the 15-minute video presentation that includes a wonderful biography on the fascinating Roosevelt. Many of the places Iíll be visiting on my trip exist today because Teddy enjoyed the American wilderness and wanted to ensure it would be protected for future generations. Thanks Ted!
I spend my afternoon in the wilds of Pennsylvania, crisscrossing the Allegheny Forest in search of the green dotted roads. By 5:30 I arrive at my destination for the evening, the home of Jane and Alan Bress in the Squirrel Hill section of Pittsburgh. The Bressí are old family friends Iíve known my whole life and after a week on the road, itís nice to feel welcome at a real house. Plus I get to do my laundry and have a home cooked meal!
Alan, an oncologist and lifetime Pittsburgh resident went to school with my father at Washington & Jefferson College where they were fraternity brothers. There were about 18 guys who lived in the frat house and the surviving members of the fraternity and their wives have a reunion annually, each year at a different location. The group has made a point of always including my mom even though dad passed away many years ago. She will always be close with this crowd.
I really enjoy seeing Alan and Jane and the rest of the W&J group. Not only are they a fun bunch of people, but spending time with them makes me feel closer to my dad as they all knew him so well.
Alan and I take a drive up Mount Washington and view the city as dusk settles over the old steel town. The view is spectacular, with the Allegheny and Monongahela merging to form the Ohio River and the striking architecture towering over it all. It really is a beautiful place, having emerged from the mill closings as a more diverse and stable city. With three great major-league teams, a burgeoning computer industry, and a medical research and academic community that rivals any in the world, I can see why Jane and Alan have made Pittsburgh their life-long home.
I decide to shorten my path by a few miles today and cut through the Allegheny National Forest, instead of my planned path which has me going up to Warren and then down the Allegheny River. So in Barnes, I turn west onto Route 666. Yes, thatís right, ROUTE 666. I thought they had rules against that like no 13th Floor in high-rises. But the road is smooth and it goes where I need to go. I reach Lynch about 6 miles later, and I realize I havenít seen another vehicle or person since I got on the road. Then I reach Truemans, another 5 miles away, and still I havenít seen a soul. There are a few houses along the way, but no one seems to be home. I keep going. Through Mayburg and then Kellettville and still not another being crosses my path. Iím getting a little nervous. Have I entered The Twilight Zone? A road sign says "The David Zeisberger Highway" with the numbers 666 written below. Who is this guy Ė a nice Jewish boy or some devil worshiper? And then I look down at my odometer and it reads four thousand, six hundred and sixty six miles. 4666! Suddenly I feel like a cast member from the Blair Witch Project. By the time I get to East Hickory and US-62, Iím white as a ghost.
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