Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Quest for Quirky Americana Pop Culture Landmarks III: Week 3

Day 15

From "The Good News, Bad News Department" today: I found gas in Youngstown, OH for only $.84 a gallon, the bad news that I was almost on full when I found it. Anyway at $.84 a gallon I had to stop and get gas.

The first stop today was at home of "The Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators, and Weather Prophet Extraordinary" the one, the only, Brian Boytano, er I mean Punxsutawney Phil. The world famous ground hog from central Pennsylvania. (For the record, the movie was shot in Woodstock, Illinois. He does live in tree trunk called Gobbler's Knob, which also sound like something that you can get in Philly for $20.00.

Before the movie came out, a group of 5,000 to 10,000 people would come to see if Phil saw his shadow. It was a small town gathering where some people would be a little intoxicated. All and all it was a Happy Family Outing. The movie hacome out and now Phil is known world-wide. Even more importantly, he is known through every college campus in Pennsylvania, which there are a lot of in the greater Punxsutawney area. Including IUP were Mike Doughtery goes, to name one.

February second is now more than just Ground Hog day. The town swells to population of over 35,000 people mostly drunk collage students. As anticipation to the moment gets near, the group has been known to start chanting "free the rat, free the rat" In their defense what else is there to do at 5:00 am on a cold day when you are drunk?

The last stop today was at the corner of Hurd Ave, and West Shore Drive. Sound familiar? I didn't think so. I did find the town on the New York State map, they don't list it in the cities, but if you look up Lake Superior State Park and go a little to the right you will find the town of Bethel, NY.

Hurd Ave and West Shore drive was ground zero for "An Aquarian Exposition in White Lake NY." The music and art show that took place their will forever be known and remembered as WOODSTOCK. The party that ended the 1960's andwas a turning point for a generation, unfortunately not mine. I was at LIVE AID in Philly in 1985 with my cousin Sean from Canada. Mary, from Peter, Paul and Mary told us that this was our Woodstock. I don't think the two compare.

As I arrived in the little parking lot on Max Yasgur's Farm looking over the field, there were two cars parked. One car's license plate said WOODSTOK and the other one YASGUR69. Surprise, surprise one of the people was sitting on his hood smoking pot.

Everyone else was cleaning up from last weekends "A Day In The Garden", a reunion show of sorts. It was the first and only time most of the performers came back to the spot and played again. It would have been a fun time, but as usual, I was a week late. The town of Bethel is a rural, economic deprived area. They have missed out on a lot by not capitalizing on their history. Only one store in town had anything to do with the show. They did have a campground called "Woodstock on The Lake" it was so bad I asked for my money back and left.

With only a 100 or less cars in town, the area was quite congested. Small country roads, one lane bridges, and even at times only dirty roads. The one quote that the radio stations always use from Woodstock is the stage announcer saying "Hey man, the New York State Thru Way is closed." This and it being referred to as "Upstate New York" made it rather difficult to find. First of all, Its not Upstate NY. Its only 20 minutes way from the PA Line at Port Jarvis. Although, if you are in NYC then I guess that everything else is "Upstate". Secondly it is no where near the NY Thru Way. If people parked on the Thru Way they had a long walk So far of the beaten track, so hard to find, so unable to handle the millions of people, that is just some the myth and magic that will always be WOODSTOCK.

Eight Post Cards, Three to "B"

I have $174.00 left in the budget and four days to get to work. Still deciding what to do next...

Day 16

My CD player is stuck on the 88th song of the 88th disc and its only a ten disc player.

I awoke this morning in the shadow the Highest Point in New Jersey monument. Located at High Point State Park. The monument is 1803 feet above sea level. For the fourth time this trip I have come across a monument shaped like the Washington Monument in DC. I know that the obelisk is a type of architecture, but give me break. It's been done, and you are not going to top it. The one in Washington was there first. Pick some thing else.

This was the only obelisk that was big enough to walk in, but wouldn't you know it, the damn thing was closed for renovations and I was unable to go inside.

I spent the rest of the day driving around my old stomping grounds in the Pocono Mountains. By the way the "Pocono Mountains" as they are known, is nothing more than an advertising gimmick. The Pocono area is technically a plateau. One of the many thing that I learned in geography before graduating from the University of the Pocono's, East Stroudsburg University.

On a parting note, it has been called to my attention that some of the post cards have been sent with no stamps, and people are getting Postage Due notices. Sorry about that, let me know and I will send you the $.20...

I would like to take the time and thank everyone that helped with this trip. The list is to long to mention everyone. A lot of people have lent, or given or helped out in some way, and I would just like to say thank you.

Tune in tomorrow to see how this whole trip ends...

6 postcards, 4 to "B"

Day 17

Well it's over! Yet any other trip has come to an end. Next year's trip will hopefully be to Alaska via the Alcan Highway. It's the same thing I said at the end of last year's trip also. I only have four more states until I've been to them all. Hopefully, after next year I will only have one...

The following is stupid facts and figures about this year's trip:

2 country's
13 states(crossed state lines 22 times)
3 providences
6840 miles (1382 miles in Canada)
4 miles on the back of a tow truck
391 hours, 27 minutes on the road
307.981 gallons of gas
$324.66 spent on that gas (356.94 Litters of gas, $191.50 Canadian funds spent on that gas)
Most expensive gas: $1.22 a gallon in Billings, MT
Cheapest gas: $ .84 Youngstown, OH
19 miles to gallon (4.5 miles to the liter)
$38.50 in tolls
$15.00 spent in towing
$142.00 in car repairs
1 run-in with the local law enforcement
$54.00 spent in speeding tickets
181 postcards sent
37 postcards sent to "B"
$126.70 spent on postcards and postage (Ouch!!!)
3 pairs of sunglasses lost or otherwise destroyed.

It should take me a week or so to clean out the car....

No comments: