2 Weeks in the Northeast – Day 4

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Day 4 – June 25th, 2019 – Washington, DC to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: ~145 miles
Let’s head west…a little bit!


Missed Day 3? – June 24th, 2019 – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Washington, DC: ~145 miles

Outside the National Academy of Sciences is an impressively large statue of Einstein. It’s 12 feet tall and made of bronze. He’s holding some paper in his left hand, so Baby Jack got up on Einstein’s shoulder to take a peek. he saw three equations representing the photoelectric effect, the theory of general relativity, and mass-energy equivalence. Fancy.

We had a brief stop at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and one of my favorite exhibits was donated by Nissan. Created in 1987 by Mike Wilkins, this is called “Preamble” as it’s the preamble to the Constitution…with license plates.

There were also a couple of old representations of the United States. This one is by Arnoldo di Arnoldi and it’s from approximately 1600. Note the sea monster hanging out near Mexico.

This one is Rand McNally’s effort in 1898 – note how Oklahoma is split into the usual name and “Indian Territory”.

On our way out of town, we stopped at a colorful crosswalk in Chinatown.

The artwork on the street was nice, but I was distracted by a Chinatown-targeted ad for the Can Am Ryker.

Hitting the road gave me an opportunity to experiment with the R1250RT’s power windshield. Here it is in the lowest setting, which shaped the wind right at my helmet.

Here it is in the highest setting – making it one of the very few OEM windscreens that successfully prevents my body from feeling any wind. I actually hated the sensation, but I was impressed nonetheless.

Back in Pennsylvania!

We knocked out about 100 miles of highway while I goofed around with the windshield, trying to see if the aerodynamics affected the gas mileage…except I got very bored of having the bike in cruise control while trying to find level ground that was long enough. The monotony was broken up by a quick stop at an ice cream shop called The Igloo. That’s when I learned that the bike will automatically bring the windshield down once you park and shut off the bike – then it will bring the windshield back up to the last setting once you power the bike back up. None of that happens if you turn the bike off by leaving it in gear and putting the sidestand down.

Vy and I had more ice cream on this trip then we had in the prior 12 months.

Iggy appreciated our business.

One of the earliest transcontinental highways was the “Lincoln Highway”, which ran from Times Square in NYC to Lincoln Park in SF. For reasons I can’t figure out, the Pennsylvania portion of the route became known for several large buildings that were designed to look like objects. The “Coffee Pot” was originally built in 1927 by Bert Koontz in Bedford, PA, with the hopes of inspiring travelers to stop at his gas station next door. It started as a restaurant but in 1937 it was converted into a bar with a hotel that was attached to the rear. It was moved and restored in 2004 for travelers to continue enjoying – but only from the outside.

The stop I was most excited about for today was the Johnstown Inclined Plane – the world’s steepest inclined plane that can carry vehicles. It opened on June 1st, 1891 after a flood in 1889 ravaged the area as the community thought it would make for a good escape route, and it actually served that purpose in 1936 and 1977. The hill has a 71% grade and the run of 890 feet takes 90 seconds to complete. If you wanted to drive from the bottom to the top in a car, it would take you about 10 minutes. (Yes, we rode up to the top just to take the trip back down)

The cars depart every 15 minutes, so we got tickets (they have one specifically for motorcycles) and explored the museum/gift shop.

There’s a small window that allows you to look into the motor room. The motor is labeled #1 in the top left corner, and it’s a 400 horsepower induction motor made by General Electric.

The rope has a claimed breaking strength of 335,000 pounds, and there’s 70,000 feet of it throughout the circuit!

Loading up in the “car”. We would be alone on our 90 second trip.

It’s comical how many photos I took during this brief journey, but it was an awesome experience. I’m a sucker for old engineering projects that have been maintained.

We rode through Latrobe, Pennsylvania – home of the banana split. Seeing as we had already enjoyed some ice cream just a couple of hours prior, we figured we should continue on.

We weren’t going to eat one, but we had to get a Baby Jack photo, obviously.

In the town of Dauphin there’s a local landmark that actually started as a prank. A surprise Statue of Liberty appeared on the Susquehanna River, but residents had no idea why or where it came from. It took 25 years for the truth to come out: a lawyer built it to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the actual Statue of Liberty, and then put it up in the river at night with the help of his friends. It survived for six years before it got knocked over in some strong winds, but the community had grown to love it so much that they raised $25,000 to build a replica that’s lasted ever since.

We spotted a Vanderhall in the wild! I was so shocked that I had to do a u-turn just to get a photo. Have you seen my review of the Speedster? I’d personally get the Venice (pictured here), which is what Nathan reviewed on Bike-urious as well.

The McDonald’s in North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania is hiding a bonus: the Big Mac Museum. The Big Mac was created 40 miles away by a franchisee named Michael Delligatti – the family now has nearly 20 locations. For the 40th anniversary of the Big Mac, the family created a museum in their busiest restaurant.

There’s a timeline of different Big Mac packages:

As well as the biggest Big Mac…in the world. Baby Jack for scale.

We rolled into Pittsburgh in the evening and it was too late to check out any of the sights we had planned, so we went straight to dinner at Muddy Waters Oyster Bar. The weather was perfect for us to enjoy the small outdoor seating area and people-watch inside.

It was a perfect fit as Vy and I love cajun food, though I couldn’t really sample the intriguing list of libations as I still had to ride us back to the hotel.

I could, however, enjoy a lobster roll, so that’s what I did before we retired for the evening.

Tomorrow we’d explore Pittsburgh and check out some ducks…on to day 5!

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