Day 1: NY-NJ-PA-OH
Friday, July 3rd, 2009
The first day started very early, before dawn, at 5AM, aiming to leave New York City behind us before the usual morning traffic. For the very first day we had planned a very long drive - about 600 miles (1000 kilometers) - through four states: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Ohio. The goal was to get as far West as possible from home in a single day (12 hour drive).
We crossed the Hudson River before breakfast, took highway 78 through New Jersey to Harrisburg, PA and then took the Pennsylvania Turnpike (highway 76) through the Appalachian mountains. Around lunch time we arrived in Bedford, PA. For no other particular reason other than the fact that it was located halfway through our drive, we had planned to stop there to grab a bite.
After a healthy lunch at a nice café we walked a little bit around main street, where I stumbled upon a beautiful little barber shop. Now, if you know me well, you already know that I have a special interest for barbers and their shops, so I had to peek inside the store and I was pleasantly surprised by the warmth of the owner, Don Corley, and his customer.
We chatted a little bit about where I am from and about the journey I had begun just a few hours earlier, then the man sitting in the chair told me about when he lived in Italy, in the north-east, and then they even allowed me to take a couple of pictures of them.
Shortly after lunch the sky turned dark, a clear invite for me to take a short detour off the highway driving through the fields of southwest Pennsylvania, between Somerset and Donegal, by Laurel Hill State Park.
Whenever I see that the conditions are favorable to take pictures (interesting light, dramatic weather and beautiful landscape), I enjoy taking short detours - especially since the GPS makes going back to the planned route absolutely effortless.
While I was shooting some pictures it started raining lightly and, shortly after, the rain became more intense - which convinced me to drive back to the highway and to continue our drive towards Columbus, OH.
Right before getting back onto I-70, heading towards Columbus, OH, we stopped at a gas station. While standing outside the gas station smoking a cigarette, I noticed how the light was making a huge Mc Donald's sign above me stand out over the stormy sky in the background, which reminded me of the Floating Logos series by freelance photographer and acclaimed artist Matt Siber.