C & I are back from our mini-break to New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Friday we went up to Mount Pocono, PA, via Centralia. For those who don’t know, Centralia is pretty much a ghost town now. Back in 1962, somebody thought it’d be a really great idea to clean out the town dump for a Memorial Day clean up campaign by setting fire to all the trash. Apparently this was common back then. Trouble was that one end of the dump had an opening to the anthracite coal which lies under the town, the mining of which was the town’s main economic engine.
Anthracite burns hot and long and gives off poisonous gases, like carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and many sulfur compounds. As the fire raged, it slowly moved under residents’ houses, filling their basements with dangerous gas and causing them nausea, loss of consciousness and one man to collapse and require hospitalization. At one point half the houses had monitors installed to detect sudden, potentially lethal spikes in the amount of poison, or equally deadly drops in the level of oxygen. Various arms and branches of the government pointed various fingers at each other and as my dad would say futz around trying to fix things.
The ‘final solution’ was for the federal government to buy out the entire borough lock stock and gassy barrel, knock all the houses and businesses down and let the fire burn itself out, over a hundred years or so. Most took the offer and left, but a few are still there, in ever dwindling numbers, in their little narrow row houses, all alone on streets that were once filled with others but are now just empty grassy open space, a ghost town with an orderly grid of streets, but no houses, with a town hall but no town, a fire company, but no way to put out its most dangerous fire. You can read more about Centralia on an excellent site with lots of photos here and a site with more of a local residents’ focus here. C & I scampered about the impact zone where the ground is steaming and smoking, and watched some university students doing research. The steam billowing out of the ground is really relaxing, although the sulfur smell is not so nice. Click on the pic for a view of the impact zone from halfway up the hill.
Note that there is danger in visiting Centralia so if you decide to go, be careful, stay out of low lying areas where gas could accumulate and don’t go alone.
Saturday we meandered through the Delaware Water Gap park and recreation area and made our way down to Lambertville, NJ/New Hope, PA, spent the night, did a bit of fruitless shopping in Lambertville, had a great brunch at the Lambertville Station, and came home via downtown Philadelphia. The pictures are from the Delaware Water Gap; it’s very pretty but I guess I get spoiled by the nearby Skyline Drive and expect multiple pull-offs and viewing areas. Philadelphia looked nice and is apparently eager to attract gay tourists; we may go back there, but no time soon-we’ve got to take advantage of spring which is coming to do a lot of work in the front and back gardens. I really like Bucks County, PA though; we always find something good to see or buy or eat there.
Speaking of Travel
There is/was a show in Israel called “Travel in Mexico” where our Yehuda Levi and Yael Bar Zohar, a female model, well, travel in Mexico and, well, look good together. Here’s some stills, and a video from it. Sorry to say, we’re getting ready to say goodbye to Mr. Levi (we’re already saying goodbye to Felipe, the miniobsession – normally when I pronounce that I next stumble across great stuff to share on our obsession guy, so don’t despair, Levy fans!)…
And finally this lovely warm view, sadly with the meddling woman…