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Billy Kingsley

Route 6, Route 20 Appreciation

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Something I've been wondering...why doesn't Route 6 get a lot of press? It rarely gets mentioned on the list of most important roads in America, yet it runs from the tip of Cape Cod all the way to California! At it's construction, it was the longest road in the USA, and is still the second longest since California chopped part of it off. 

 

In researching Route 6, I discovered that Route 20 is even longer, and runs from Boston to the Pacific Ocean in Oregon. Although I have spent less time on 20 than I have on 6- 6 goes through my family's home town of Peekskill, NY- it would seem to me that these roads should get more recognition than they do. 

 

I have to admit, when I was on Route 20 when I went to Toledo last month, I had no idea that it was a coast-to-coast road. I went onto Route 66 while I was there and considered a ride on it to be one of my "bucket list" items. I might have been more excited to be on 20 if I had known it's importance. I've known the importance of 6 for many years, because it's something I go on fairly often. 

 

Just a few thoughts...I still have much to learn about our highway and interstate system, but I have not been appreciating these roads enough myself. 

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The PA section is noted for its quirky roadside attractions and its scenery.  I think it gets overshadowed, in PA anyway, by Route 30 which goes through more populated sections of the state.

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Here is a closed but still intact (as of 3 years ago) Mobile station we stumbled on in Western MA, route 20.  Poked my nose against windows, closed but old fanbelts made me wonder what else might be in the building.  A very cool small town.  Western MA has some great old car roads!

20161016_163418.jpg

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We love driving on Route 6 through PA.  In September 2019, we drove a lot of it both ways between SouthCoast, Massachusetts and Mansfield, OH.  It's mostly a wide 2-lane road, perfect for older cars.  We were driving our 1941 Studebaker Land Cruiser.  The Lumber Museum, east of Sweden Valley, is good for a 2 hour stop.  There is an old CCC camp on the site. Driving west, there are fantastic old houses in Smethport and the remains of the Kinzua Bridge, worth a stop.  West of there, we spent a night coming and going at the Kane Manor Country Inn in Kane.  Not fancy, but at $68/night for two people with breakfast, it's a great deal.  It's an interesting old mansion, charming host.  Huge rooms, nicely furnished.  There are several decent restaurants in Kane.  On the eastern side of Route 6 in PA, we like the Silver Birches lodge on Lake Wallenpaupack, near Wilsonville, e. of Scranton.  Comfortable rooms, a heated outdoor pool, and the lake in the summer.  Further east, near the NY border is Milford and the Hotel Fauchere, another funky place, and its fine restaurants.  Just around the corner is Helm's Service Station with a sales room of antique cars.  Their Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Local-Business/Helms-Antique-Autos-247899655795005/

 

Another good stop on the eastern end of Route 6 in PA is the TriStates Monument in Port Jervis, NY., just across the Delaware River.  Drive through Laurel Grove Cemetery (I know this sounds weird) to the end of the peninsula.  You'll be under the I-84 bridge over the Delaware, standing on the exact point where PA, NY, and NJ meet.  Bring your lunch and sit awhile.

 

As it happens, I live about 2 miles from Route 6 on its way from Providence, RI to Cape Cod, MA.  I've been to the eastern-most and western-most points on the highway, and lots of places in between.  

 

The official history of Roue 6:  https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/infrastructure/us6.cfm

 

Susquehanna river-PA 2019.jpg

1941 Studebaker at Silver Birches 2019).JPG

Edited by Gary_Ash (see edit history)
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I was literally just on Route 6 in Milford and Port Jervis today. It's what prompted my post in fact. I had no idea there was something car related to check out. I saw signs for a train museum but didn't have the time to look for it so a return trip is planned. The PA/NY border is less than an hour from home, so it's an easy ride. 

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I'd forgotten that we had stayed at the Erie Hotel (built 1890) in Port Jervis a few years ago, ate dinner there.  We saw the open-air train museum and the old round table.  Train fans would like this.

 

Erie Hotel- Port Jervis.JPG

Port jervis round table engine.JPG

Port Jervis round table.jpg

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Route 6, at least in Pennsylvania, was called the

"Roosevelt Highway" after Theodore Roosevelt.

Because population growth in northern Penna. is

minimal, even negative, very little has changed there

over the decades.  You'll see nice small towns, such as

Smethport mentioned, and some older motels.  There

are even some motels with individual cottages, 

left over from the 1930's and 1940's.

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"Route 6" a new pilot TV show about two guys in a Studillac.

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When traveling to my daughters in Conn from PA I will take a break from I-84 and go through Milford. Our favorite spot is the Village Diner on the east, out side of Milford. In the shadow of I-84 parallel to 6.

 When we drove our 1937 Buick to South Bend IN. in 2013 I tried to stay on Rt 20 through Ohio and into IN..  Lovely road and was a pleasant drive with little traffic.  Corn on one side and soybeans on the other..... The problem was that just about every gas station had been moved up to the interstate exits. Just about every town we went through had empty, closed gas stations (most were Tattoo or Nail parlors). When we did find a station my gas gage had lied to me as it had shown 1/4 tank for quite a while. There I had put 17galons in an 18 gallon tank.  Whew.. that was close.

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Old route 6 was the primary way to traverse Iowa from my old home town of Davenport thru Des Moines and on to Council bluffs then west thru Omaha

I -80 pretty much parallels old US 6, but it is still in pretty good shape for local traffic. Just watch out for the tractors as you come over the hills.

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22 hours ago, TerryB said:

The PA section is noted for its quirky roadside attractions and its scenery.  I think it gets overshadowed, in PA anyway, by Route 30 which goes through more populated sections of the state.

 

If you do Rt 6  be sure to to stop at the Wellsboro diner. A step back in time. Avoid RT 30 East of York. Heavy tourist traffic and faux Amish tourist traps...........Bob

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I second what TerryB said about Wellsboro, although I don’t see his original post.  All of that lovely town is a trip back in time, with a vintage diner, grand old hotel, original classic movie theater, and genuine survivor department store.  And all that is along just ONE quaint small-town block!

 

When my classic bus is running reliably and ready to travel, running the length of PA on Route 6 is at the top of my to-do list.

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It was Bhigdog who mentioned Wellsboro and is absolutely correct as I too have dined there several times.  As a former motorcycle touring rider I find off the beaten path as the lure of exploration to many great places.  

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2 hours ago, Bhigdog said:

 

If you do Rt 6  be sure to to stop at the Wellsboro diner. A step back in time. Avoid RT 30 East of York. Heavy tourist traffic and faux Amish tourist traps...........Bob

 

We've enjoyed the Wellsboro Diner several times, and look forward to stopping there again in 2020 as we head to the AACA Reliability Tour

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Wellsboro is not only a nice place to visit, it's a GREAT place to live.  I am less than a quarter mile off Route 6 and about a mile and a half from the Wellsboro Diner.  Be sure to wave as you go by.

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1 hour ago, DennyC said:

Wellsboro is not only a nice place to visit, it's a GREAT place to live.  

 

Some of our members in California or British Columbia

who rue the high cost of living there should check into

housing prices along Pennsylvania's Route 6.

And car storage prices too---

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7 hours ago, John_S_in_Penna said:

 

 

Some of our members in California or British Columbia

who rue the high cost of living there should check into

housing prices along Pennsylvania's Route 6.

And car storage prices too---

 

Err....ahh...John, please don,t let our cat out of the bag.....bob

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Yes!  Wellsboro Diner and the town in general is a great place to be sure to visit and spend a little time when you tour Route 6.  Every year when we return from Hershey to here in Western New York, we stop at the Wellsboro Diner on Sunday for a late breakfast.  Its amazing to set at the counter and watch the cook and servers do their jobs with efficiency and good humor.  Short-order cooking is hard work and the way they do it to feed the legions that stop there is great to watch.  The food is always good and well-prepared, not fancy, just good and reasonably priced.  Plus, enjoying it in a diner built by the Judkins Body Company a big plus!

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Hwy 6 through Nevada gets to be a lonely place between towns. Open country, great views for miles and little if any traffic out side of town.

road 2.JPG

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On our way to the 2019 Vintage Tour in Kingston, Ontario, and evaluating a possible route for the 2020 AACA Reliability Tour, we stopped at the Wellsboro Diner for a delightful lunch. An unexpected, and much appreciated side benefit was, that as we prepared to depart, we learned that someone had discretely already picked up our tab. Of course we were surprised and will continue to "pay-it-forward", and wished to be able to thank the "kindness of strangers".

 

This is a great location, and look forward to our next visit, certainly during the upcoming 2020 Reliability Tour, but hopefully at other times, as well.

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