Touring Cyclists Find No Room at the Inn
By David Keeler
Call it a sign of the times in Bradford County.
When German cyclists Raimer Fock and his wife, Ingrid—on a trek from Chicago to New York—tried to find lodging in the Towanda area, they were told there were no rooms available.
“We couldn’t believe what we were hearing,” Raimer said Tuesday afternoon. Raimer and Ingrid are residents of Burghagel, a city in Germany’s Bavaria region.
Prior to the Northern Tier’s natural gas boom, it was a simple matter for tourists to find lodging in the Endless Mountains. Now it’s virtually an impossibility.
Monday night the Focks slept in their tent near Towanda after they couldn’t find a motel room. “We carry it for emergencies,” Raimer said. “Now it’s soaked.”
When they stopped Tuesday at Towanda’s Weigh Station Café to find out if someone knew where they might get a room, Karen Parkhurst put out the word and after a number of phone calls, Wyalusing resident Bill Snyder agreed to transport Ingrid and Raimer and their Santana tandem bicycle to the Tunkhannock area where they hoped to find a room. (He ended up taking them to Clarks Summit.) Their bicycle, incidentally, is identical to the one Camptown residents Fred and Val Hill pedaled across New Zealand in a trip documented in the Sept. 1 issue of the Rocket Courier.
Raimer and Ingrid got soaked riding their bike from Towanda to Wyalusing Tuesday afternoon in the pouring rain and met Bill Snyder at the Rocket-Courier office. It was still pouring when Bill and Raimer loaded the bicycle into Bill’s pickup truck. “If we have to go beyond Tunkhannock to find them a room,” I’ll be happy to do it,” Snyder said.
Raimer said in Germany when major construction projects threaten to create a shortage at area hotels, the construction companies bring in units similar to mobile homes to provide temporary housing. “They should do that here as well,” he said. “Where do people traveling through this area spend the night?”
Not being able to find lodging here isn’t the only problem Raimer and Ingrid have encountered. They’re having trouble at banks getting travelers check’s cashed. “This may be the most unbelievable thing of all,” Raimer said. “I can’t wait to tell my friends back in Germany that we couldn’t get an American Express Travelers Check cashed in America.” Snyder said he would accompany them to Wyalusing’s Peoples State Bank and hopefully that would help with getting a travelers check cashed.
So the Focks’ tour through lovely rural Pennsylvania has been less than enjoyable. Last summer when they cycled from Los Angeles to Chicago, they had no trouble finding lodging. “We will present a report and slide show in our city when we return and our bad experience here will be part of it,” Raimer said, adding that had it not been for helpful people like Bill Snyder and Karen Parkhurst, the experience might have been far worse.
Unfortunately, Raimer and Ingrid left the Endless Mountains region with such negative feelings that they likely never got to enjoy the region’s natural beauty. Raimer summed up their experience in one brief sentence: “I can’t wait to get to New York City.”