We weren’t planning on looking for any benchmarks today; it just happened! We were both in the mood for Vince the Pizza Prince’s pizza, but because the Prince’s castle has taken up its drawbridge for the last time, we were forced to eat at the somewhat less-than-luxurious Scranton location. (I can’t complain; it’s in an “authentic Italian neighborhood” according to the sign in the window!) With most of the room taken up by the pizza ovens, counter and beverage coolers, there’s room for about one and a half tables. We squeezed into one (or was it the half-table?) and waited quite a long time for the teeny-boppers behind the counter to assemble, bake and deliver our pizza. It was quite delicious, as we’ve come to expect from Vince’s special recipe and ingredients. My only complaint is that the pie was light on the pepper; but this was something we could add ourselves, and did.
After filling up on pizza, we took a drive southeast on Route 307, past the overlook and Lake Scranton, toward our first set of coordinates. When we arrived at the concrete bridge, we were hopeful: the bridge looked to be old and did not appear to have any damaged or replaced sections. Search as we might, however, we were unable to find the USGS mark on either of the western wingwalls! We crossed the highway and located an old, unstamped PDH mark on the southeast wingwall of the bridge, beneath one of the typical-style PDH bridge plaques. The plaque indicates that the bridge dates from 1939, three years before the USGS mark was supposed to have been placed. There is no indication that any part of the bridge was damaged or upgraded, yet the mark is nowhere to be found. There is simply no trace of it. At least we did find this unexpected PDH mark and had something to show for all our trouble.
Next up was another USGS mark, the next in the series. This one was easy to find, but unfortunately is in very poor condition. It’s set into a cut stone that was once part of an old masonry culvert over a small creek. But the stone has been moved out of place and is now leaning at an angle, half on the ground and partially touching the stone beneath. The disk itself is in fine condition, but with its setting so disturbed it is useless. We had to wonder how this damage occurred.
We then turned right onto O’Hara Road, made the loop south to Route 690 (making two futile benchmark scouting attempts in the process), and followed 690 into Moscow. Rich wasn’t too interested tonight in seeing the two benchmarks near the Moscow station, so we simply stayed in the car and took the back way home.