Do Route 6

According to a quote by George R. Stewart on Wikipedia, US Route 6 is a road that “runs uncertainly from nowhere to nowhere, scarcely to be followed from one end to the other, except by some devoted eccentric.” Well friends, it appears that I am that devoted eccentric.

To date I have driven more than 1/10 of the entirety of Route 6, which at 3,198 miles is one of the longest transcontinental highways in the US. But I’m not the only fan of this route. Recently I learned about the US Route 6 Tourist Association, and that a man named Joe Hurley walked the entire length of the route in 2004.

Route 6 marker in Mount Jewett, PA

Before I began my US Routes project in earnest, I didn’t pay attention to the routes that ran through Cleveland, with Route 6 being one of them. But once you notice one route sign, you start to notice all of them (at least I do!). I’ll go into greater detail about the project’s origins in another post; for now let’s get to my most recent road trip.

I originally had plans to meet up with my sister on the American side of Niagara Falls, but with coronavirus cases spiking in Ohio, New York didn’t want me to visit. So we opted to meet in north-central Pennsylvania, in an area known as the Grand Canyon of the state. As luck would have it, Route 6 runs across the northern tier of Pennsylvania, and I decided to drive all the way on that road.

My phone’s GPS, however, had other ideas. Let this be a lesson that if you have to be somewhere at a certain time, do not use the US route system (unless, of course, it’s the most direct way). After some initial frustration and a detour for gas, I ended up following my phone’s instructions and arrived an hour behind schedule. We met in Leonard Harrison State Park and were able to do one small hike to an observation platform. There are waterfalls in this park, but the weather was not favorable and it was too late in the afternoon to attempt that trail (the Turkey Path).

Observation platform view from Leonard Harrison State Park

The next day we had breakfast at the Wellsboro Diner, an establishment that dates back to the 1930s. The rain held off until mid-morning, giving us a little time to explore downtown Wellsboro. Then it was back on the road, with me even more determined to follow route 6 all the way back to Cleveland.

I think I started driving west at 10:40am, and I didn’t get back to Cleveland until 7pm, but I successfully stayed on route 6 except for a small detour to see a dam. Two highlights of the drive were: crossing the Alleghany River more times than I could count, and a sign for potatoes that said 50 pounds for $15 (this is actually not a better deal than I can get at my local grocery store).

And, on the side of the road near the dam, I even saw a waterfall!

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