Sunday, August 09, 2009

Interesting times!

Well that was, well, interesting.

We went to dinner out at the Log Cabin in Gaines on Route 6 in western Tioga County. The food was great and the service superb. Then we went further west into Potter County to show them Coudersport with the idea of taking a loop down Route 44 through Cherry Springs State Park to Carter Camp and the junction with Route 144. We would then turn northeast again and rejoin Route 6 in Galeton.

The rain had ended by the time we arrived at the restaurant and the skies, while darkening, were still dry when we left Coudersport. We were enjoying the drive down to Cherry Springs when the clouds really became black and the winds began to howl. Small branches and debris started to fill the street as the rains pelted down. Lightening and thunder activity increased. Then, rounding one curve, we found a tree recently blown down across the road.

Another car was stopped on the opposite side of the road and there was someone starting to don rain gear to deal with the tree. Being in the new Jeep, we had no rope or tow strap which would have made the clearing much easier. The other fella didn't have any either so we were reduced to trying to wrestle the damn tree out of the road. Luckily, it was pretty well shattered from its fall to the pavement, the other guy had a hatchet to chop some of the smaller limbs off and make the tree lighter, and another vehicle showed up with three strapping 20-somethings who made quick work of the remainder of the tree.

Just as we finished up and were getting ready to move on, a white pick-up came up from behind and passed us all heading south. We found it stopped about half mile down the road where a larger tree had fallen. As I (and my three new friends) pulled to a stop) the guy in the white truck got out with an axe in hand and started to chop the top off the tree.

"You guys got the last one," he said, "this one's mine."

As he cut, we cleared the debris away. As we worked, another car came up from the south heading in the opposite direction from us. The driver remained in the car while we worked. Eventually, we had one lane opened for passage and the white truck moved on. As I prepared to move forward through the gap, the car in the opposite lane moved forward and the woman driver stopped to say thank you.

The remainder of the drive to the Route 144 junction was uneventful except for continued lightening and thunder. My young buddies continued south toward Jersey Shore while I turned north toward Galeton.

There was sign of strong winds along Route 144 and a few branches were in the road and the lightening and thunder show continued to occur ahead of us, but there were no more fallen trees. Until we got to Galeton. There we were stopped for a time as we were told Route 6 was closed both east and west. We took advantage of the restrooms and gas pumps at an Exxon station and wished they had a Pennsylvania map! (Another item to get fro the Jeep.) After half and hour I noticed that some cars seemed to be heading east so we ventured forth. Only to be stopped about two miles down the road at Phoenix Road.

We were told that power lines were down east of there and that there were several road blockages on Route 6, but Phoenix Road had been recently opened if not entirely cleared. If we followed Phoenix Road northward we would eventually get to Route 49 which runs east to Route 15 and we could get home. Hopefully.

We found 10 or 12 trees blown down across Phoenix Road, but someone with a chainsaw had done a good job of clearing at least one lane to make the road passable. We succeeded in reaching Route 49 and turned eastward through Westfield and Elkland where we saw several homes and cars damaged by falling trees and limbs.

Arriving back at the Aerie we found a few small branches on the road and in the driveway and that some rain had blown in through open windows. I found the rain gauge to contain 1.08 inches of water from last night and today.

An eventful afternoon just tooling around the countryside after dinner.

The 6 o'clock news reported a tornado in Allegheny County, NY, and winds measuring up to 80 mph in the Potter and Tioga County areas.

No comments: