Popular Post Parsnip Totin Jack Posted October 23, 2017 Popular Post Share #1 Posted October 23, 2017 Early Sunday morning I pack the car and drive two hours north to Breezewood PA. I have a good idea where the abandoned turnpike trail is and quickly find it. But I didn't. I found the parking lot, a gravel postage stamp on the side of the road. A little country road leads off to the left and a dirt trail goes up a hill. The dirt trail looked like a driveway to a remote residence so I chose the country road. After a half mile I realize that's not the way so I go back to the car and load up. Maybe the start place is further up the road. I drive around and have no luck. I drive up the main road but see no sign of an abandoned turnpike. At the top of Sideling Hill, which is where I wound up, is a PA state park. I pull in there and park. All the roads are gravel and a sign says, "Scenic Area" and "Fire Tower". Both sound interesting and it's a nice morning so I head up the gravel road. At the fork, I took it. I went the Fire Tower route just to check it out. There was no fire tower, just cell towers and other communication/listening devices. So thinking happy thoughts I rode back to the fork. There are lot of trails in this park. Looks like a good place to schralp (for me, not the DH, not challenging enuf). Riding the gravel was fun, I pulled over for a pickup hauling firewood on a trailer as he was bigger and I gave the right of way. At the scenic area, it was lovely. Panoramic views of the valley and mountains. The edge was a treacherous cliff. As I was alone, by myself, I didn't get too close. Rode back to the car to drive back to the postage stamp parking area and explore the dirt trail. When I got back a couple my age were prepping hybrids so I figured I was in the right place. Set up my ride and started up the trail. The lady yelled something so I stopped and asked her, "what?" She said, are you really going to ride up that? Well, yeah, that's how you get there right? She said she was going to walk it up. I told her that was fine with me. She ended the conversation saying that I was going to wish I had a suspension on my bike, the turnpike is rough. I rode up the hill and found the turnpike. It was smooth in places and rough in others. Pretty rough. I wouldn't do it on a road bike, but the AWOL was fine. It was cool riding the old turnpike, imagining the cars, trucks and buses that used to travel this route. Now the pavement is cracked and peeling with vegetation slowly reclaiming the land. There is a lot of graffiti too. The PA residents have a fondness for the penis, the male member is well represented here. I wonder why that is. There are two tunnels that bore through mountains, a short one and a long one. You really need a light for both as its very dark in them. The four lanes of highway, two east and two west, narrow to one lane is each direction thru the tunnels. Probably why the had to abandon this route. The abandoned trail stretches about ten miles. Someone at the start told me it was 8.5 end to end but I did the end to end and finished with 21.4. I chose not to explore the offices and ventilation areas above the tunnel as @Longjohn recommended. I didn't want to leave my bike behind and I had more miles to ride elsewhere. The end result was it was cool and worth the 100 mile drive to ride it. I'll post the Maryland rail trail story in a separate post. 3 3 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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