Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Fallingwater House, Farmington Pennsylvania

As I mentioned earlier, The ride to Pennsylvania was very wet. When we left the parking lot in Newark it was dry but we drove into the weather not 10 minutes later.

There were a total of 21 people in the group: 11 bikes and 1 car. The idea for someone to drive a car was genius. Todd and Pam, the cagers, don't ride and they acted like a support vehicle carrying drinks and extra provisions.

We traveled I-70 east until New Concord, home of Senator John Glenn, and then switched on to US-40 until we got to Wheeling. In Wheeling we stopped for gas and food. Did I mention it was wet? It was almost comical listening to every one's soggy shoes go "squish, squish" walking into fast food eatery.

Twenty minutes later we were back on the road and in the rain again. We hopped back on I-70 for about 20 miles and then headed for the secondary roads. Our leader person never explained the change in highways but I suspect that those among us with half helmets and goggles grew tired of the truck spray. Truck spray is not enjoyable even with a face shield.

We finally arrived at our hotel in Uniontown, PA and unpacked the bikes. Everyone was pretty much soaked and I'm sure that the AC and heating units in the rooms were working overtime to dry stuff out. Wet shoes are a different matter entirely and more than one rider went down the street to a WalMart and bought a new pair that were dry.

Saturday brought dryer skies and the discovery of a flat rear tire on Ralph and Diane's Electro-glide. One of the riders that had not intended to tour the Fallingwater house swapped bikes with them and tended to the tire replacement while Ralph and Diane continued on with the rest of us.

The house called Fallingwater was incredible. Built over a stream and waterfall in 1937 by Frank Lloyd Wright, it was donated to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy in 1963. Some interesting facts:

  • The house was commissioned by the Edgar Kauffman of Pittsburgh, PA as a weekend home
  • Actual building costs for the home was 5 times the original estimate.
  • Nearly all of the furniture in the house is 'built in' meaning it can't be rearranged.
  • All of the toilets in the house sit just 10" off the floor, the owner believing it to be more healthful.
  • The house is home to several million dollars worth of artwork and furnishings by Picasso, Diego Rivera, Tiffany and others. (The original paintings are hermetically sealed in their frames.)

The conservancy no longer allows photography in the house so the photos below were copied from Internet sources.

I have to admit that I was not excited about the destination of this trip. I was excited about the ride. I am not a student of architecture although I can probably tell the difference between Georgian and Victorian styles. I am, however, curious about history and the guided tour provided glimpses into the history of Frank Lloyd Wright and the Kaufman's. I was not bored.

After the tour we hooked up with Howie and Bev (they tended to the flat tire replacement) at Ohiopyle State Park. We had sandwiches at a local no name shop and then decided our next course of action.

Few, if any of the bikes had very many shiny parts left on them after riding in the rain the previous day.

Todd and Pam, our chase car occupants, were the most comfortable but I know Todd had a longing look in his eye when he would gaze upon the row of bikes.

When Howie got the tire replaced, he learned about a large Harley Davidson dealership north of Pittsburgh that "every HD owner needs to visit." The HD visit would add about 100 miles to the trip. Four bikes decided to take that detour and the rest chose to ride the back roads home to Ohio.

And so we took off headed for home, a ragtag band of riders from all walks of life...

Going south through Uniontown and then west on US-40...

A fuel stop near Moundsville, WV where they still had Full Service gasoline for $4.79 a gallon and only 1 restroom.

And then we're off again.

Everything was going nicely for miles and miles. Ohio SR-7 south to Ohio SR-148 to Ohio SR-800. Weaving our wave through the rolling hills and country side, enjoying the sunshine and solitude of some rural roads. That is until I looked back and noticed Diana dropping back.

After about a minute of no riders behind us, myself and the three others in the front turned our bikes around to see what calamity had befallen the others. And that's when we came upon this sorry sight:

Diana, the rider behind me, rides a Sportster 1200. That's her above in the red top. The reason she dropped back was a flat tire, the second of the trip.

We were about 10 miles from anywhere, so we sent Mike, Diana's husband, to hunt down some fix-a-flat and some tools that would help get the bike into town for some tire work. After about an hour we were on our way. The fix only lasted a few miles until we could get to civilization, if you could call Barnesville, Ohio civilization. Mike called a friend and had it trailered back home from there.

We traveled 248 miles that day and got home after dark. We spent it with good friends and were able to share the joys and shoulder the burdens of riding on two wheels.

Would I do it again. In a heart beat!


John McClane said...

A puncture! That's my worst nightmare.

Doug C said...

John: Someone said one thing worse than a flat tire is a flat tire in the middle of nowhere.

Doug C said...

John: Just visited A Scooter In Turkey. Very interesting insights.

Conchscooter said...

Tubeless tires have the advantage of being able to be plugged- a plug kit with CO2 costs about $50. I'd carry one if the Trumpet didn't have tubes...A great ride- now I will have to be polite to great clumps of Harleys clogging Highway On because they might be nice people from Ohio.

John McClane said...

Doug C: thanks.

Any puncture in Turkey will be a flat tyre in the middle of nowhere.

Yes, a great post, Cruising Ohio, great pics.

John McClane said...

Any insights are, of course, totally accidental and inadvertent. No liability is accepted.

Doug C said...

Conch: Good to know about the plug kit. Might be something to consider packing in a saddle bag... if my tires were tubless...

John: We either share insights or provide them.