Day 2: April 11, 2009
Tub Time in Alliance
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I followed US-6 all the way to I-79 to find a motel last night. Fortunately, although I slept west of the expressway, I drove a little beyond while searching and spotted some artistic recycling on a grand scale. This morning, I returned for photos. There are actually two neighboring projects at the west edge of Meadville: "Read Between the Signs" and "Sign and Flowers". Both are the result of Allegheny College's Center for Economic and Environmental Development and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Learn more about the projects, including a panorama of the nearly quarter mile long "Read Between the Signs" here.

I also spotted this last night but knew I'd be backtracking so saved picture taking for today. Artistic recycling seems to really catching on in these parts.

This is the reason for the backtrack. It's the Pymatuning Reservoir spillway "Where the Ducks Walk on the Fish". The concentration -- and size -- of the carp was impressive when I first arrived but it would soon increase. The first group of bread tossers appeared just as I was about to leave. More fish arrived from somewhere and there's little doubt that an adventuresome duck (there were none today) could have crossed the spillway and have barely gotten its feet wet. People carrying arm loads of bread continued arriving even as I left. has lots to tell about this attraction here.

I returned to US-6, followed it once again towards Meadville, then turned south on US-19. In Mercer, I picked up US-62 and headed back to Ohio. The Avenue of Flags in Hermitage, Pennsylvania, started in 1979 with a flag being raised each of the 444 days that Americans were held hostage in Iran. The memorial seems to have grown over the years. Unfortunately the associated website has not kept pace.

I stopped for lunch at the original Quaker Steak & Lube in Sharon, Pennsylvania. Seeing nothing new on the walls or ceiling, I didn't take a single picture inside. To compensate, here's front, back, and drive through "pick up wingo" exterior shots.

Although it wasn't the entire purpose of this trip, it was, as mentioned in the prelude, somewhat organized around a Patrick Sweany performance in Alliance, Ohio. It was to be in a place called Jupiter Studios. I knew nothing of the place and neither did Patrick when I spoke with him last Sunday. I pictured a recording studio. Nope. It's an art studio sort of place run by a non-profit organization working on revitalizing downtown Alliance. Turns out there was an opening act and an optional ribs dinner. I regretted that I was still digesting my not-all-that-impressive turkey burger and skipped the good looking ribs. A comfortable crowd filled the tables (some with chess sets or other games/puzzles) between the portraits of Frank Zappa and Frankenstein's Monster.

A group called Fester Presley was well into a hot blues set when I got there. They were billed as a trio but (You don't have to be a mathematician to play the blues.) there were five people on stage. I'm guessing that the keyboard and harmonica aren't part of the official trio. Damian Knapp fronts the group on guitar and, while the whole group was good, Damian is very good. He used to work out of Columbus and will soon be working out of Cleveland. Watch for him.

This is the reason I'm here. It's Patrick and Mark (a.k.a., "Hot Tub") Sweany. Mark is Patrick's dad and I've wanted to see him play ever since I first learned of the duo's occasional appearances. It didn't take long to get people dancing and have one of the Sweanys shedding garments. Patrick was his usual great self and Papa Sweany definitely puts the "hot" back in "tub". What a treat. Delightful music from a pair of pros.

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