Friday, July 3rd, 2009.
The first day started very early, before dawn, at 5AM, aiming to leave New York City behind us before the usual morning traffic. For the very first day, we had planned a very long drive - about 600 miles (1000 kilometers) - through four states: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Ohio. The goal was to get as far West as possible from home in a single day (12 hour drive).
We crossed the Hudson River before breakfast, took highway 78 through New Jersey to Harrisburg, PA and then took the Pennsylvania Turnpike (highway 76) through the Appalachian mountains. Around lunch time we arrived in Bedford, PA. For no other particular reason other than the fact that it was located halfway through our drive, we had planned to stop here to grab a bite.
After a healthy and light lunch at a nice café we walked a little bit around main street and I stumbled upon this beautiful little barber shop. Now, if you know me well, you already know that I have a special interest for barbers and their shops, so I peeked inside the store and was surprised by the warmth of the owner, Don Corley, and his customer. We chat a little bit about where I was from and the journey I had begun just a few hours earlier, then the man sitting in the chair told me about when he lived in Italy, in the north-east, and then they even allowed me to take a couple of pictures of them.
Shortly after lunch the sky turned darker and that was a clear invite to me to take a short detour off the highway driving in the fields of southwest Pennsylvania, between Somerset and Donegal, by Laurel Hill State Park. In general, whenever I see that the conditions are favorable to take pictures (interesting light, dramatic weather and beautiful landscape), I enjoy taking short detours - especially nowadays that the GPS makes going back to the planned route absolutely effortless. While I was taking some pictures it was already raining lightly and shortly after it started raining heavily - which convinced me to drive back to the highway and continue to Columbus, OH.
Right before getting back onto I-70, heading towards Columbus, OH, we stopped at a gas station. We were standing outside the station and, while I was smoking a cigarette, I noticed how the light was making a huge Mc Donald's sign above me stand out over the stormy sky in the background, which immediately reminded me of the Floating Logos series by freelance photographer and acclaimed artist Matt Siber that I had the pleasure to discover few months earlier.