Each Labor Day I take an overnight ride to somewhere.  First two years it was western PA, in 2011 the plan was to visit National Parks in New England which was an aborted due to washed out bridges in VT (all of them going east west!), and this year it was to visit the National Packard Museum in Warren OH.

The museum has some crazy hours and does not open until noon Tuesday – Saturday and 1pm on Sunday. As a result, I had to leave early and push hard on highways to get there so I had time to see the museum on Saturday rather than wait until they open on Sunday. Other than witnessing a nasty accident in my rear view mirror on the PA Turnpike the 400 mile trip out was uneventful and not pics were taken until I got to the museum.

Once there, I got so see some fantastic cars.  Inside the lobby they had a small section with some older cars.  One was the 4th oldest known Packard, the others were Baker Electric cars from the 1904 – 1913 timeframe. Also, the Packard family was wealthy before the idea of cars ever entered the Packard brother’s minds.  The brothers did not need any money since their father was wealthy, however they started their own electronics manufacturing business in 1890 which was very successful and is still around today as part of Delphi Automotive Systems. The story goes, one of the brothers bought a Winton car and had some suggestions on improving it.  Wilton told them if they could build a better car, go ahead and do so.  Well, they did, and what cars they made!  Here is a sample of the photos I took at the museum:

Display of some of the electronic components they made:

1901 Model C Packard

1899 Winton Phaeton

Some of the Baker Electric cars, left is a 1904 and right is a 1906. The bumper of the 1913 is to the far left

A 1901 Baker

From there you went into the main exhibit hall.  In the connecting hallway was a plaque listing all the firsts of Packard.  Quite a few that are on today’s cars:

Just inside the main exhibit hall:

1910 Touring car

1910 Model 18 Runabout

1916 Twin Six Touring car (yes, 12 cylinders in 1916)

Its engine

Driver seat

1934 Roadster

1937 Business Coup

This is one that my lack of photo skills let me down.  My “good” digital camera made this look pink rather than bright red.

1938 Roadster

1928 Chandler

Don’t know much about this, need to research this company

1955 Packard Clipper Panama

This and the next car were during Packard’s decline.  They all but removed their name from the car for this line.

1956 Packard Caribbean Convertible

1953 Henney Packard Jr Series Ambulance

1920 6 ton truck and a 1948 Harley Davidson Servicar

1941 Touring Limo owned by the widow of JW Packard

1936 Touring Sedan

1939 Touring Sedan

1951 Packard 250

1931 Sport Phaeton

1916 Twin Six racer

1903 Model F

1936 120B Convertible

They had an exhibit of micro cars as well.  Here is a sample of them

In the lobby, first a 1953 MG TD

Austin Healy Sprite

Not sure what this was, but it was interesting

And a Nash Metropolitan

Inside the main exhibit hall:

Something I thought I would never see in a museum,  a Yugo! This still had the window sticker on it.







No idea what the below cars were, but some were cool

Unfortunately, the lighting in the museum consists of spotlights lighting up the cars which looks great in person, however made them really difficult to photograph. It seemed my iPhone took better pics in some cases.  I guess I need to take a class so I can take better pics.

From there, it was about 30 miles to my hotel in Streetsboro OH.  Pretty much rode straight there since there was a nasty looking storm to my south, checked in, grabbed dinner at Rockne’s, and went to my room.  30 minutes later the sky opened up!

End of day 1. Total miles ridden approx 400.

Day 2 of my adventure I woke up semi early – about 7 am.  It had rained most of the night but fortunately had stopped.  My plan for the day was to ride Northeast to Erie PA to see the gravesite of Capt. Gridley who commanded the USS Olympia during the battle of Manila Bay, then turn southeast passing through Boalsburg PA (neat State College) to see the memorial to the 28th Division which was a PA Guard unit. I stopped there the week before as part of a Tour of Honor o visit 7 specific memorials in the state of PA and wanted to spend time checking it out.

I went outside to pack the bike and this is what I had waiting for me.

The joys of a wet bike and wet seat pad! Unfortunately since there is a clip on one side only I cannot remove it without removing the seat, so I decided to strap the seat pad to my saddle bag so it could dry and I would not have to sit on it.

Packed up and headed off.  About 20 miles down the road I decided to get off the highway, so I pulled over at a rest stop and played with my GPS until I could find a good route.  I decided to pick up US 6 and take it east, and at some point turn north to Erie.  I spent 500 of the 600 or so miles I rode that day on roads like this:


I love back roads since you come across the coolest things.  I caught this 20 miles to the west of Erie on US 20

Further down the road I was looking at how close I was to the lake and figured I just had to get a lake front shot, so I spied a road the jogged towards the lake and came across a marina.

Got through some tourist areas and fund the cemetery, but then had a realization: How the heck was I going to find a specific grave in a cemetery?  I know from some reading that there were supposed to be some old Spanish Cannons there that were captured during the Spanish American War, but they I started thinking how likely was it that they were still there.  I decided to ride around and hope I could find them.  As I got to the back of the Cemetery close to the lake, I spied them:

This is an area called “Gridley Circle” and is where he is buried along with a few family members.  Also, there was a monument to Unknown soldiers and sailors.

Close up of one of the cannons. Three were built in the 1770’s and one in the 1790’s.


Info on the cannons

Unknown Soldiers and Sailors monument

Capt Gridley’s grave

And of course I had to get the bike in the shot

After reading all the monuments I headed on my way.  Once I got clear of Erie I had some great roads.  Along the way I came across a sign for Pithole City, which I had visited before.  Pithole was an oil boom town that existed for all of 3 years when oil was found there.  Once the oil dried up, so did the town. Last time there I skipped the museum since I was short on time, so I figured I’d make a quick pass through it.  However, it was closed.

Info on Pithole

Layout of the town

They cut the grass to show where the streets ran.

What looks to be an old steam tractor.  No info on it, but since it has rubber tires I doubt it is original to the town from it’s heyday. Could not find any markings on it

An old oil well

Back on the road and the next stop was Boalsburg for the 28th Division Shrine.  This was created after WWI to honor those that lost their lives in “The Great War”  The area is a park like setting with the shrine in the back and memorials to the various units of the 28th scattered around.  The site also houses the PA Military Museum which was closed

Marker near the front

One of the monuments

Here is the actual shrine

From that distance it gives a good sense as to how large it was.  There are plaques honoring the men that were lost, some in groups and some as individuals.

The first was for all the enlisted men.  Next to it were several with just names.

This one was in the center and was for a General who was mortally wounded

A close up

Another that caught my eye due to the sword. This was for a Lt Col.

Also at the site are two of the 14 inch gun barrels from the battleship Pennsylvania

US 322 from this point is more or less a highway, but not quite an Interstate so it has some cool sights.  Caught this sign as I was about to head down the mountain.  Figured it would be as good a point as any to put the leather back on

From there on it was overcast and I decided to make as much time as I could so I didn’t stop.  There also wasn’t much worth stopping for.  Had I had more time I would have gotten off 322 at this point since there were some PA state routes running parallel, but it was getting late and according to my GPS I would not be home until 10PM.  Got on the Turnpike at Harrisburg PA and it was 100 miles of highway home.

Total for the day was about 570 miles, and total trip was 970 miles.