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Thread: Four Days 'Round PA

  1. #1
    BeemerBoy terham's Avatar
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    Four Days 'Round PA

    I had a couple of vacation days floating around so hatched a plan for a Four Corners (ish) tour of PA. I was at the National this summer in Bloomsburg, but for those who hadnÔÇÖt heard, it was pretty darn hot, and I never explored the area like I wanted. I spent most of the time drinking lemonade in the shade, though I had a great time in Bloomsburg. IÔÇÖve wanted to get back to that area and ride the roads I missed this summer. My home base is SE PA so I planned on camping at RickettÔÇÖs Glen SP , Cook Forest SP and Ohiopyle SP to complete the other three corners, more or less, of PA. HereÔÇÖs my story.
    Day 1
    I left this past Friday and the forecast called for rain on Friday and maybe Friday night, but then it looked like dry weather. The forecast was a little off. I packed the S since itÔÇÖs an awesome bike and has heated grips and an outlet for my heated jacket.



    I planned to stop at HermyÔÇÖs BMW on my way north to have my MOA mileage form signed so I could mail it and ensure my position well down the list of PA finishers. IÔÇÖm actually hoping to get lucky and be ÔÇ£average maleÔÇØ. I left about 9:30 and took great joy, when at the end of my street, I turned right rather than left, as I do every day going to work. So far so good.
    I got on the interstate to make better time, and as it looked a little threatening I stopped at the Allentown service plaza to put on my rain suit. I was to practically live in it for the next 3 days. Thank God for Frogg Toggs.



    I exited the interstate and headed west.





    Whenever IÔÇÖm in the area of HermyÔÇÖs, I like to ride up and over Hawk Mountain on Hawk Mountain Rd. Today was no exception.



    As I stopped briefly at HermyÔÇÖs, it started to rain a little. As soon as I left, it started raining so hard I thought about heading back to HermyÔÇÖs but was sure the rain would stop any minute.



    I ended up spotting a pavilion where I could pull the bike under cover and try to dry out.



    After about an hour I headed out again. I wandered up towards Hazelton and then found my way over to Mahanoy City where I picked up PA 339, a great way to get to Bloomsburg.



    IÔÇÖd been in and out of rain showers, but partway to Bloomsburg, the sun actually came out.





    Soon after this picture on PA 339, I noticed the sky was getting pretty dark and soon thereafter the skies opened up. This is the next picture I took.



    I went by the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds and was amazed to see it compared to this past summer. ItÔÇÖs still a muddy mess and the houses bordering the Fairgrounds were heavily damaged from the flooding they experienced. I was sorry to see that.
    I picked up PA 487 to get to RickettÔÇÖs Glen, but the heavy rain continued with the skies still dark. The thought of setting up camp in the rain was not appealing and, as much as I hate to admit it, I ended up turning back and getting a hotel in Buckhorn. When I pulled off my overmitts, it was like pouring water out of a boot. It was my low point standing in the hotel lobby watching people mop where I stood and putting out ÔÇ£Caution, Wet FloorÔÇØ signs. My only request was a room with towels. Needless to say, day 1 didnÔÇÖt go as planned.
    Terence
    R75/5 R100RS K100RS R1100S

  2. #2
    Earache
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    Good report so far.
    I rode from Connecticut through PA and on to Indy on October 14th and 15th.
    Less than ideal riding weather as you have pointed out

    On the way to CT the previous weekend, I rode 487, et al, south from Bloomsburg to Allentown... in the dark. Didn't get to see much. Would love to do it again in the light of day.

  3. #3
    BeemerBoy terham's Avatar
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    Day 2.
    Water put through a coffee maker is hot enough for my usual camp breakfast of instant oatmeal. It felt like camping while I ate my oatmeal , though watching ESPN seemed a little odd.
    Sunrise over my ÔÇ£campsiteÔÇØ.



    As I finished packing, the skies to the west looked a little dark and I was heading west for the day.



    Oh well, I decided to put on my rainsuit to start and was glad I did.
    It started raining as I left the hotel and I headed north on PA 487 along Fishing Creek. ThereÔÇÖs still a lot of flood damage evident. It stopped raining briefly.



    When I got to PA 118 on my way to RickettÔÇÖs Glen ÔÇô I was going to get there even if I was a day late ÔÇô there was a detour.



    ItÔÇÖs probably better that I turned back yesterday, as this mightÔÇÖve been too much to deal with.

    I took PA 118 west to 239 to 42.







    PA 42 out of Muncy Valley is great, even in the wet. I stopped in Eagles Mere and Laporte to see the Sullivan County courthouse.



    The road I originally planned to take to get to Forksville was detoured due to a bridge out. I ended up getting PA 87 near Dushore to Forksville. Lots of dump trunks and water tankers on the roads with the fracking going on in the area, but the roads are still nice to ride. I gassed up in Forksville and stopped at the Forksville General Store.





    I took 87 all the way to Montoursville. That was a great road with little traffic, but the Loyalsock Creek certainly did a lot of damage along this road. At one point the road was muddy gravel which was slow going. (This is called foreshadowing. )

    PA 554 out of Williamsport was great fun.



    To be continued...
    Terence
    R75/5 R100RS K100RS R1100S

  4. #4
    Novice Adventurer Newstar's Avatar
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    Great report, so far! I'll wait to see if you made it to Ohiopyle. If so, we missed you by a week. (rode through there last Sunday on our way to WV.)

  5. #5
    BeemerBoy terham's Avatar
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    I'll probably finish this tonight - I hate when work gets in the way. Not to spoil the story, but I did make Ohiopyle. I'd love to get back there.
    Terence
    R75/5 R100RS K100RS R1100S

  6. #6
    Registered User dancogan's Avatar
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    Used to live in SW PA and work in Pittsburgh. I love your photos. You really captured some of the charm of PA's back roads.
    Dan

  7. #7
    Cage Rattler wezul's Avatar
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    'Atta boy Terence!

  8. #8
    Novice Adventurer Newstar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by terham View Post
    I'll probably finish this tonight - I hate when work gets in the way. Not to spoil the story, but I did make Ohiopyle. I'd love to get back there.
    Matt grew up in that area. Great riding around there. Let us know if you want to head out that way.

  9. #9
    I Used to Be Someone sheridesabeemer's Avatar
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    nice ride report
    Gail Hatch
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  10. #10
    BeemerBoy terham's Avatar
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    Day 2, cont'd.

    I picked up PA 44 and headed west. It was noticeably windy now, and I was getting pushed around when running through open areas. I even had to slow down a little. I was now in scenic open valleys with lots of farms. In Jersey Shore the road turned north and I had a great ride following PA 44. Above Haneyville, I came to a detour where a tree had fallen across the road due to the soaked ground and high winds. I was informed the detour was down a dirt, now mud, road, and was told to be very careful. I declined that option, and once I confirmed that Hyner Mtn Rd was paved, I backtracked and took that road over to PA 120 at Hyner. I was in this area a few years ago and didn't have time to take this road, but was very glad that serendipity "forced" me down this road.

    PA 120 is one of my favorite roads. It follows a creek and is twisting with fast sweepers and generally has little traffic and ample passing areas. It started to rain but I didnÔÇÖt care. As I approached Renovo, I could see emergency flashing lights and a detour (third one of the day) and started to think I'd never get to camp. The detour was down a dirt, now mud, road next to the railroad tracks. It looked like there was a Fall Festival on the only road through town. The detour route had turned into a slick, pothole-filled (now puddle-filled) mess and the pucker factor increased. Thank god for my extensive off-road skills. I know a good track for the next GS Giant. This picture doesn't do it justice, but knobbies would've helped.



    It started to rain again and the road got worse ÔÇô cars had dug up the mud so it was squishy and slick. Back on terra firma, I had had enough fishtailing and preferred hightailing it out of Renovo. Oh well, this is what makes for good stories (after the fact).

    The road from Renovo to Emporium was a joy ÔÇô wet, but a joy.





    Ya think?



    I gassed up in Emporium and explored the town a little, including the Cameron County courthouse.



    I continued on PA 120, which was now a straighter road, but still fun, through St Mary's and into Ridgway and, lo and behold, another county courthouse ÔÇô Elk County.




    I turned south on PA 949. This was another lightly traveled road with lots of curves through the woods. I ended at PA 36 and headed to my camp for the night and pulled in around 5.



    The rain had stopped though it was still quite windy. I set up in a loop for tents and no one else was there. OK by me.



    Dinner tonight was fajitas ÔÇô pretty tasty after a long day on the road.



    After a little sipping whisky, I turned in early.
    Terence
    R75/5 R100RS K100RS R1100S

  11. #11
    BeemerBoy terham's Avatar
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    Day 3.
    It was cool in the morning, but not cold, probably in the upper 40s. I fixed my standard camp breakfast of oatmeal and dried fruit.



    I packed up and left around 9:30, leaving no trace.



    The sun had peeked out for a brief spell in the morning but it was mostly cloudy so I started the day without my rainsuit. My destination for the day was south to Ohiopyle, and since it wasn't that far, I poked around the SP first.



    Rather than heading south, I headed north to Marienville and if I hadn't just eaten, I would've stopped here.



    I hear they have grate fude. Maybe the Dinor family owns the place??

    It started to sprinkle a little so I put on my rainsuit, but didn't seal everything up completely. In no time it started to rain harder so I stopped to properly put on my rainsuit and overmitts. I picked a nice spot to stop.



    At PA 948 I turned north.



    This was a great road (I'm starting to repeat myself) with really good color in the trees. I picked up Satan's highway headed west.



    All together now ÔÇô "a really great road with good color." PA 666 eventually becomes a narrow, twisting road along a creek.



    In Whig Hill, I turned south to Tionesta. I was getting tired of the rain and thought maybe south would be better. Around noon I got back to where I had started the day and headed down to Clarion on PA 66. The road was slow going with traffic and I could see a little bit of slightly lighter skies to the south when the road went over hill tops. Wanting to make better time and get to sunnier skies, I jumped on I-80 eastbound at Clarion so I could enjoy the spray and buffeting from all the trucks. I couldnÔÇÖt get to the Brookville exit fast enough. Brookville was a nice surprise with an interesting downtown, where I stopped for a snack.



    There's even the Jefferson County courthouse.



    Maybe my next trip will be for all the county courthouses in PA ÔÇô I already have four in the bag.

    The rain was lessening as I headed down PA 36. This was a nice curvy road with ups and downs and open valleys. Since Groundhog Day is one of my favorite movies, Punxsutawny was my destination.



    After poking around town, I took PA 210 south. Another lightly traveled, scenic road with straightaways for making time.



    I skirted Indiana on PA 286 and 217 and continued south. This road ended at PA 30 which I took east to Ligonier. For a four lane highway, this was a great section of road. Fort Ligonier Days were going on, so there was a bit of traffic in Ligonier. I headed south on PA 711 and quickly got into the Laurel Highlands. The sun had come out and I enjoyed the ride south.



    I ended up cutting over to PA 381 and followed that on my way to Ohiopyle.









    I got to the state park around 6.



    A lot of the campsites are closed for the season, so I didnÔÇÖt get a particularly attractive site. Beef stew for dinner.



    I sat under a star-filled sky enjoying a little sipping whisky and turned in. I had been in my tent a short time when it started to rain. And it rained hard. And it rained all night. I was dreading breaking camp in the rain but by morning, everything was soaked, but the rain had stopped.
    Terence
    R75/5 R100RS K100RS R1100S

  12. #12
    BeemerBoy terham's Avatar
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    Day 4. Part 1.
    I was happy to see my bike hadn't fallen over during the night, but I had put a plate under the kickstand the night before.

    A quick breakfast and I was packed and ready to go by 8:30.





    I explored the park and the town of Ohiopyle a little before heading out.











    I love state parks on a Monday ÔÇô no one around. The evening before, Ohiopyle was full of people and the parking lot was crowded. Not a soul this morning.





    I took Sugarloaf Rd out of the park.



    There was a nice, uncrowded overlook.

    Terence
    R75/5 R100RS K100RS R1100S

  13. #13
    BeemerBoy terham's Avatar
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    Day 4. Part 2.
    At PA 281 I turned south to Rt 40 and turned east.







    I was on my way to Mt Davis, the highest point in PA.



    I was happy to enter the highest parking lot in PA and only have a short level walk to the observation tower.



    When you got above tree line, the wind was incredibly strong. You can see wind turbines on the ridges around there, and I know why.

    I continued heading east through scenic farming areas.





    Since I like cemeteries, I stopped at Berlin's for a walk through.



    My next destination was Shanksville and the Flight 93 memorial. Along the way I found a covered bridge down an unpaved road, but my off-road skills by now were much improved on this trip. At least the road was dry.





    The new Flight 93 memorial has just recently opened and they've done a really nice job with it. It's not overdone, and to me, makes you reflect on what happened, which is very powerful.





    I picked up PA 30 and headed east, with the idea of getting to Gettysburg. I ended up in Bedford at 2 and realized if I went straight home on the turnpike, I was three hours away. Gettysburg would have to wait for another time. I had a late lunch at Sheetz, home of gourmet, freshly (?) prepared fare. It comes conveniently wrapped in cellophane and has a label slapped on it so you know what you're eating.



    I hooked up the GPS and bluetooth for music and got on the turnpike and headed east with the idea to get east of the Susquehanna River. There aren't a lot of options for crossing the Susquehanna, and the turnpike is as good as any. Once over the river two hours later, I stopped at a scenic turnpike overlook to plot my strategy.



    It was such a nice day, with blue skies and warmish temps, and it was a waste to stay on the turnpike. I exited at Morgantown and took PA 23 east to PA 345 through French Creek SP and stopped at Hopewell Furnace. I really like this area of Chester County.







    A quick stop at Daniel Boone's homestead and then I picked up PA 562 through the Oley Valley area.





    IÔÇÖm almost home at this point. I pulled up to my house about 6:15 after a little over 1100 miles in four days. In spite of the rain, I had a great time and discovered some more great roads in PA. Now about those PA county courthouses...
    Terence
    R75/5 R100RS K100RS R1100S

  14. #14
    TravelsWithBarley.com
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    Fantastic ride report!
    '07 R1200GS for solo rides
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  15. #15
    Rally Rat
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    Nice job, Terrance! You need to remember to smile in your self portraits, people might think you weren't enjoying the rain!

    Last time I was on Rt 666 it was hellishly potholed. How was the pavement? I've done most of the roads you were on at one time or another, has me thinking about charting some rides back that way for spring........

    Again, thanks for sharing your ride and taking the time to get such great pictures.

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