Watkins Glen, NY to Harrisburg, PA

July 23, 2023 We left the campground at 8:45 on Highway 14 through town. The streets were empty on this sunny Sunday morning. We had exactly 200 miles to go today. We really love the Finger Lakes area. I discovered more roadside and easily accessible waterfalls in this area that we haven’t seen yet, so those will be on my list of “must-sees” for our next visit. Lighthouses and waterfalls are my thing! Traffic was very light on I-86. In Corning, we picked up I-99/15 south and would follow Highway 15 most of the way to our final destination. The skies were somewhat hazy in the distance, but we could still see the mountain features in the area.

Traffic continued to be light on I-99/15 as we mode our way south into Pennsylvania.

We crossed the border to Pennsylvania before 10:00. The terrain was hilly and forested with open expanses of grasslands and farms. The highway took us into the mountains and from above we could see the Tioga and Hammond Reservoirs.

The Tioga and Hammond Lakes consist of 2 separate dams–one on the Tioga River and the other on Crooked Creek. The lakes formed by both dams are joined by a gated connecting channel.

Another Fleetwood motorhome passed us and the Jeep it was pulling was totally covered in mud. The whole windshield was solid mud. I wonder where he got that? You can’t see it in the picture very well, but the Jeep was caked in mud.

Seven bikers carrying camping gear passed us on their way to somewhere. They had someone in a support truck following them to carry the extra gear.

The highway wound us through the mountains and cut through the hillside in many areas.

We then descended to the valley where the highway follows the Susquehanna River.

We entered the city of Williamsport and crossed over the Susquehanna River.

Then we crossed over the West Branch of the Susquehanna River on a very long bridge.

There was some boat traffic on the river today.

Highway 15 followed the path of the river through the valley and we caught occasional glimpses of the river through the trees along the shoreline.

The highway crossed the river 3 times on a very scenic drive.

At one point, I caught a glimpse of what looked like the Statue of Liberty standing on a mound in the middle of the river. Upon looking at my picture more closely, I could see it was the Statue of Liberty, so I had to look up the significance of that and the Susquehanna River. Here is what I found. It makes for an interesting story.

In 1986, a Statue of Liberty replica appeared on a piling in the middle of the Susquehanna River, off of Route 322. Traffic on the highway stalled from people who pulled over, slowed down, or stopped altogether to peer at the strange new landmark. Thus began the story of this Pennsylvania mystery. Located in the Dauphin Narrows stretch of the Susquehanna River, stands a mini Statue of Liberty that is a 25-foot tall replica of the original. Technically it is a replica of a replica. The current statue is the second little Lady Liberty to hold her torch high above the old railway piling in the middle of the river.  The first was 18-feet tall and made of plywood and venetian blinds. It was erected in 1986 as a patriotic prank to commemorate the centennial of the original Statue of Liberty. No one knew who made it or how it got there, and no one would come forward to take the credit/blame. This first replica was blown off her pedestal and destroyed in 1992, a surprisingly long run considering its construction materials. However, in the six years since she first appeared, the people of Dauphin Township had grown rather fond of her. Money was raised to erect a heavier, sturdier 25-foot version of the statue, this time constructed from metal. This one was put in place in 1997 by a helicopter and lashed to the piling. It still stands today.  It wasn’t until years later in 2011 that local lawyer, Gene Stilp, finally owned up to not only orchestrating the making of the statue, but also taking the daring trip into the dangerous river to climb the piling and help erect the statue. Little did he know his prank would become a permanent monument for the people of Harrisburg, PA. (It’s amazing what you can find on the Internet.)

We passed so many campers going in the other direction today. We figured many were weekend campers returning home to start the workweek. We haven’t seen that many campers in one day in any other state we’ve traveled through on this trip. We arrived in at our destination for the next 4 nights at Harrisburg East Campground at 12:30.

While Bob checked in at the Office, I started to unhook the wires and cables from the Jeep.

We were assigned site #505, a pull-through site in the open, so Bob could get satellite reception. We hooked up to water and electricity and got the AC going.

It had gotten quite warm by now and was pushing 90. We hung out inside until the shade came around and we were able to sit outside for a bit and enjoy a cocktail before dinner. More campers pulled into the campground and filled up the empty sites down the way from us. Today’s drive was long with a lot of up and down, through the mountains and valleys, and along the Susquehanna River, but it was very scenic and traffic was very light on this Sunday. We plan to check out the area in the next few days that we are here.

1 thought on “Watkins Glen, NY to Harrisburg, PA”

  1. My daughter and her family live across the river in Mechanicsburg, PA. They bought another house and are getting ready to move to Pittsburgh.

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