Monday, August 22, 2011

Kicks Along PA Route 6

The abandoned house is in a small town about 25 miles north of Titusville, PA. Titusville was the nucleus of the American oil boom which began in the late 1860's. Though the petroleum tycoon John D. Rockefeller was never seen in the valley hamlet, it is here that the oil processed in his Cleveland refineries originated. The finished product was kerosene, the fuel which replaced Sperm whale oil as an agent for home lighting. Along with the near extinction of the species, this fuel put the whalers of Nantucket out of business.

The Susquehanna River is pictured just east of Wyalusing, PA. The valley area was the proposed home for Marie Antoinette. Unfortunately, French revolutionaries chopped off her head before she could make her escape to her American asylum.

Route 6, 400 scenic miles east to west, passes through eleven counties in Pennsylvania's northern tier. Towanda, capital of Bradford County, is this century's new Titusville, only now natural gas, not oil, is the chosen commodity.

The road slows to a crawl starting a few miles outside of town. A bottle neck at the bridge crossing the Susquehanna River is jammed with a slowly snaking line of semi-tankers, dump trucks, excavators and other mobil construction equipment required by the two-five acre platforms where drilling rigs are grinding holes through the earth in order to reach the Marcellus shale, some 5-6,000 ft below the surface. Enough natural gas is trapped in this sedimentary rock to feed America's energy needs for a hundred years according to industry geologists. Woe be it for the local infra-structure of dirt and macadam roads that will bear the weight of this equipment or witness the change in life style a resource harvesting boom of this size and ferocity will bring to the area.

To the west, the PA Grand Canyon is home to the raptors. Turkey vultures, Osprey and Eagles ride the thermals rising from the depths of this magnificent gorge outside of Wellsboro.

A few miles further along the line, this weekend's Rainbow Festival draws hippies to the Allegheny hills to celebrate the nation's birthday. In Applebees Restaurant in Warren, PA, State Troopers and Park Rangers share coffee and pie before beginning the evening patrol. "Someone said we'd better prepare for 20,000 long hairs running naked in the woods," one officer chuckled. "So far there isn't near that number and not one bare bun in the lot... mosquitoes make a mighty find deterrent!"

Happy Fourth of July from RT 6!25 miles north of Titusville

No comments:

Post a Comment