Wednesday, April 15, 1992...

On the road for another twelve-plus hours today, ending up in Warren, Pennsylvania. My 90-minute drive back to the outskirts of Greater Hartford to pick up where I'd left off proved totally pointless. Not only was there nothing of interest between there and the vicinity of the Bear Mountain Bridge, but for most of its distance the road was the worst possible type for my kind of travel: a two-lane road carrying lots of local traffic. I spent more than two and a half hours driving from Farmington, CT to the Bear Mountain Bridge, which not surprisingly put me well behind schedule for the rest of the day's drive.

Hudson River near Bear Mountain Bridge, NY

Fortunately, the road improved from that point on. The stretch between Bear Mountain and the Thruway overpass was particularly scenic. From Middletown, where US 6 divorced itself from State Route 17, to Port Jervis, the rolling farmland looked more like central Maryland than New York. And once in central Pennsylvania, the ride through the Appalachians was no less spectacular than US 30. A photographic highlight was the view overlooking the Susquehanna and the site of the 1790s-era town of Azilum, founded by French Royalist emigres who intended it as a refuge for Marie Antoinette. The road is much more interesting than I-80; unfortunately, it's marred by far too many north-south undulations, to the point where US 6 takes 80 miles longer than US 30 to cross the same rectangular state.

However, Port Jervis, like every other city of consequence I passed through for the rest of the day, desperately needs a few sticks of carefully-placed dynamite as a springboard to urban renewal. The smokestack industries which once dominated these towns are dead or dying, leaving behind gray architecture and deserted railroad tracks. Warren may be among the worst offenders. My motel, the Holiday Inn across the street, and a Perkins one block away are the only vaguely modern businesses near the intersection of Routes 6 and 62, once the commercial hub of the city. The locals have all moved north; I had to follow Route 62 four miles north even to find a fast-food place.

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