Well as my luck goes, I destroyed my shoulder right as summer was coming into full swing. Couldn’t ride the bike or do anything active. Before I got stir crazy waiting to heal, Joel Barnett pitched the idea of going down to his home and shooting some guns and just having a good ole fashion country weekend. With nothing to lose (well except an eye, but I’ll get to that later), we loaded up our vehicles and headed on down to Pennsylvania.
As soon as we show up, Joel nonchalantly mentioned that “this house used to be a Funeral Home“. Whoa. I immediately inquired further. Come to find out the living room is where they displayed the casket (pure irony), although the remodel did a very good job of taking away that creepy feeling. The front of the house has 3 different doors. Joel mentioned that the towns people were superstitious and believed that the body couldn’t be taken out the same door it entered through. The idea behind that was to keep the spirit in the house and not let it wander around haunting the crap out of people. We did not see any ghost the night we stayed.
The next morning over breakfast, I glance out the window and have the second jaw-dropping moment of my trip. The MegaRamp of water slides is built out of wood right next door to his house! Holy Smokes. The pictures do not do this thing justice. Joel’s father is a pastor and the church is located right next door where they have Vacation Bible School every summer. On the last night they have water night, which was perfect timing for us, since everything was set up and ready to rock. Joel and Mario put on a show for a while before heading off to shoot some guns.
The nice part about visiting rural areas that us city slickers don’t get to [legally] enjoy is guns. Joel did not let us down, unleashing a barrage of shotguns, as well as a .45 Caliber handgun, nicknamed “The Judge”. Joel took aim at Turkey, and buried two heavy slugs but it failed to budge. You’ll get him next time, bud.
Under the watchful eye on Joel’s neighbor Ken, we set up several targets to take aim at, as well as a few clay pigeons to enhance our shooting experience. Ken took a liking to Theresa, and pulled out a special 357 scoped-out handgun for her which he confided had “no recoil”. She was not prepared, and took the scope of the gun straight to the eye and broke her sunglasses. Fortunately, she laughed it off and was only left with one hell of a shiner.
Facts about West Auburn, Pennsylvania (via a quick improv interview with Joel)
Travel time from Syracuse? About an hour and 45 minutes
Random fact about your town? We have the best blueberry patch around; Blueberry Haven
Is there anywhere to ride near you? Nope. The closest skateparks were East Coast Terminal [R.I.P.] (40 min) and Rocky’s (45min). I always had front yard ramps and that was the place to be!
Local watering hole? The Hayloft
Local pizza shop? Our kitchen. My family makes some awesome pizza!
Crazy story about your town/area? We get people taking the corner too wide all the time and hitting trees and telephone poles. There are more 4-wheelers and dirt-bikes that go by my house than regular cars.
Any cool or neat stuff I missed about your home/family/town? We have an old schoolhouse that is pretty cool. On the hill across from my house, there are a bunch of small caves and we always built forts in them and just explored. I don’t know, the whole area is just awesome. We don’t have cell service, so you feel disconnected from the world. I love that feeling. We have a dialed apple orchard up the road that kills it with their cider. I can’t wait for fall!
We wrapped up the trip with some fabulous Chicken Dinners from Luke’s Place, Joel’s Brothers awesome restaurant. A HUGE thanks to the Barnett’s for all the hospitality. Not a bad way to spend a day or two in the middle of nowhere! I’m almost healed up and hopefully will have a few more big trips to post up on here before the end of summer.