Day 2: Lock Haven, PA to Erie, PA

Monday, August 31

My unlikely calm throughout Day 1 receded at bed time, and I lay awake in our humid room under plasticky sheets for hours. Something was weird about those sheets.

Around 1 a.m. Andy woke up from a bad dream, probably about evil sheets, and we talked for a little while. I finally nodded off around 3 and woke up five hours later, pleased that I’d gotten any sleep at all, but in less than ideal shape.

02-01

The view upon waking.

The bathroom had a pink carpet and a varied selection of hotel shampoos in the shower. Andy and I took quick showers, then headed down to eat.

Betty, the proprietor of the B&B, is 86 and had recently injured her back. She told us she used to host up to 14 guests at a time but has recently limited herself to four. I came close to offering to cook breakfast myself, but thought it might be insulting.

02-02

Breakfast: French toast, ham, cheesy potatoes, and two broccoli florets (one missing here). Photo by Andy.

I would not characterize myself as a picky eater; I eat and enjoy most foods, though I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. But this breakfast turned my stomach a bit. I struggle with getting past the pinkness of ham. I want to like broccoli, but it’s one of my least favorite vegetables. And French toast, while just fine, is something I’ve never ordered from a menu. I managed to eat the potatoes, the broccoli, and one piece of French toast. I wrapped up the rest in a piece of foil and threw it away hours later after realizing no one was going to eat it.

After a few minutes, Betty sat down with us to eat her own breakfast. She was a talker, and we learned all about her family and a lot about Lock Haven. She used to work at Temple University, and she said she fought for equal pay in the early ’80s after learning that men in her position were making $10,000 more than she was. I had my audio recorder going on the table, but it never felt like quite the right time to tell her she was being recorded. I decided that I could call her later and request permission if I decide to use anything from the conversation. But I’m going to have to get bolder about this kind of stuff.

I did get bold enough to ask her if I could take a picture before we left, at least:

02-03

Betty

On our way out of Lock Haven we drove to Spook Hollow Road, which Andy had seen on a map the night before on our way to dinner. It sounded like it was out of a John Bellairs title—The Secret of Spook Hollow Road—and we wanted to get a photo of the sign. Andy speculated that it might actually be a racist reference. Who knows.

When we got there, there were signs saying “no cars allowed past this point,” so we parked and walked. Shortly down the road was a stone teepee erected in 1913: “THIS MARKS THE SITE OF AN INDIAN TOWN, THE ANCIENT CAPITAL OF THE LENNI LENAPE INDIANS.”

02-05

Alas, there were no Spook Hollow Road street signs to be found.

The most noteworthy incident of Day 2 happened just as we were leaving town. Mickey was stopped at a red light, and a large truck was turning from the street perpendicular to ours. Mickey (a manual transmission) was in neutral, and I took my foot off the brake to let him roll back a little so that the truck could clear the car. But he didn’t roll back as much as I thought he would, and the truck didn’t stop moving. I nervously put Mickey in reverse and tried to back up, but he popped out of gear and idled there. I became paralyzed and just said, “Oh shit oh shit oh shit, please don’t hit me.” This was not the ideal response from Andy’s perspective. (Not from mine, either, but it felt like the only option at the time.)

The truck didn’t hit Mickey. And all of this is on tape, of course.

We stopped in Grove City for lunch at a place called Nonni’s Corner Trattoria, continuing our streak of eateries with “corner” in the name. It was fine.

02-06

A not bad chicken cutlet sandwich.

We’d planned to take a scenic route to Erie but missed the turn off of route 80, so we ended up taking a highway and getting there about an hour faster. All good because both of us were exhausted.

We crashed in the hotel room, which has a Candice Olson look to it (a good thing, as long as there aren’t words on the walls), then had a decent dinner and walked around trying to find Instagram-worthy shots. The end.

02-07

02-08

Dinner verdict: good.

I’m still not on top of my blogging game. I’m trying to get some work stuff sorted out and find a rhythm and balance with everything I want to build into a day. Be patient. Deeper entertainment awaits us all.

Hotel Art of the Day

02-art

Mast of a ship
~24″x18″
Black and white photographic print
Sheraton Bayfront Hotel, Erie, PA

Hotel Art Score

7/10. It’s classy and fits the room’s decor and the hotel’s theme. It’s pleasant to look at all the lines in both the positive and negative spaces.

Art Art Score

5/10. It’s not reaching me in an emotional place, but maybe it could on a different day. There’s some amount of wonder in it, purely because it’s a shot looking skyward. It’s nicely composed, and I like that it can be seen as abstract if you decide to look at it that way. But it feels a little too classy to me, a little too “nice.”

5 Comments

  • Steve May

    I do like the lines in the photo!

    I worry that the food will be underwhelming more often than not.

    • Chris

      I’m with Steve – this is one of my favorite hotel art pieces ever. It’s one of the few (or the only one?) I’d hang up in my house.

  • MRB

    Day 2 illustrates the importance of quality sheets.

    I like Betty’s painted dishes, but I could not have faced that ham after a bad night’s sleep. No wonder your gear-shifting ability was momentarily hampered.

    I’m keeping track of the plates/dishes on which your meals are presented. Is the square plate trend ending or still hanging on? I’m over square plates, I think.

  • Nancy Sullivan

    Beth, I am sorry for serving you broccoli during your childhood years at home. My mother never served broccoli, and when I tried it as an adult, I loved it. I never knew about your color aversion to ham; fortunately, I did not serve it very often. I hope better meals are headed your way.

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