Queering PA Wilds: Day Six

Awoke around 7:30, grabbed some clothes, and headed down to breakfast. One other couple were in residence so we had a lovely chat.Three days of scrambled eggs, coffee, and more prepared for me without having to wear shoes have been lovely especially given the lack of having to do the dishes. But today it ended when we left Ridgway and Elk County to travel east to Wellsboro in Tioga County.We stopped at The Creative Cup for provisions including a pound of their locally roasted coffee. Then we drove off through Cameron County and into Potter County.Potter County is infamous as a breeding ground for White Supremacy movements as the Washington Post exploredin 2018. Queer friends warned us to tread carefully. Believing them, we made the trek assuming our white privilege would protect us. We had no plans to stop.Then GPS failed us, leading us onto a 3 mile dirt path. When we finally blew out of those woods, we decided to stop at a dairy treat place in Austin because we had to pee.It was unreal. The owners, an older white couple, were friendly but distant with LOTS of silent eye contact as we spoke. The store shelves were almost barren, the building worn out. They let us use the bathroom, but it was deplorable. It was almost like the store was intended to put people off and avert our gaze.As we drove, we discussed the clear differences between Potter and nearby McKean, Elk, and Tioga. Potter had lots of hunting camps, but no visible tourism promotions. As we drove past the town of Ulysses mentioned in the WaPo article, I was relieved our mishap took place elsewhere.We weren’t in danger. We were uncomfortable. We were ‘other’ because we were clearly tourists, but they didn’t know we are queer. And we were white others.I’m still puzzling this out.Wellsboro’s vibrancy was a welcome sight. We arrived very early to our hotel, but were able to check in anyway. We were sort of tricked into lunching at a nearby cafe that was good, but not historic at all. They did serve Starbucks products so I was reunited with my third love.Then I took a nap while Laura wandered. Dinner was scheduled for an evening train ride from Wellsboro to Lake Hammond. The food was good. Servers were great. We had window seats and got great eyefulls of the flora. We could see very early changes in color. It was so much fun and helped shake off the shadows from earlier in the day.Then we decided to watch MSNBC and chill. Saturday, we head to the PA Grand Canyon then down to Altoona to spend a night at a train B&B.


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