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National Boards => Road Enthusiasts Meetings => Topic started by: briantroutman on September 17, 2018, 03:02:43 PM

Title: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: briantroutman on September 17, 2018, 03:02:43 PM
At last week’s Golden Spike meet, Mitch Dakelman mentioned that this coming November will mark 50 years since the Rays/Sideling bypass opened and the old alignment and tunnels were closed. I knew the anniversary was coming but had completely forgotten.

Half a century strikes me as a fairly major milestone to let pass uncommemorated, although I realize that many of us have already visited the old alignment (some of us several times) and have a certain amount of “abandoned Turnpike fatigue”. That factor, coupled with the timing (shortly after Thanksgiving) leads me to suspect that there probably won’t be much interest in a large-scale meet.

But still, it’s been a few years since I last visited, and I'm contemplating making the trek out there myself in late November. I thought I’d mention it here to see if any other people might be interested in going as well. I don’t have any definite plans yet—and whatever I do plan would be dependent on whether anyone else wants to go.

The actual opening date was 26 November 1968, although I’d be more inclined to visit on the 25th for two reasons: One is that the 25th, being a Sunday, would likely be easier to accommodate for scheduling purposes. The other (and more significant) reason is that Monday is the first day of deer hunting season in Pennsylvania.

So—is anyone interested in turning out for a low-key meet?
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: froggie on September 17, 2018, 03:06:33 PM
If I were to go, I'd probably bring my bike.  I doubt I'd be able to pull that distance though, especially if I'm working full-time by then.

The downside of your proposed date is that it's the last day of the Thanksgiving weekend and likely to be a very busy travel day.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: PHLBOS on September 17, 2018, 03:11:30 PM
I will be in Massachusetts during the entire Thanksgiving holiday (Nov. 21-25); so I'm out.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: tckma on September 17, 2018, 03:33:52 PM
As I mentioned to you in the car at Golden Spike, I've actually never been to the abandoned tunnels, despite living only ~2 hours away.  So, I would definitely be interested.  I'd feel more comfortable visiting in the context of a road meet than trying to explore them on my own.

(Oooh, post #500.  I've been upgraded to a US Highway.)
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: akotchi on September 17, 2018, 04:09:34 PM
It would interest me, too, though because my daughter needs to get back to school after Thanksgiving break, that might rule me out.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: CanesFan27 on September 17, 2018, 06:36:10 PM
Yes I certainly would be interested.  I'd also consider reaching out to the new Turnpike Bike2Pike group. 
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: Hot Rod Hootenanny on September 17, 2018, 06:38:19 PM
As much as would love to have the rest of you hold a birthday party meet for me that day, there is 0% chance I can get away from my job that weekend.
(Unless all/any of you can get me different employment before then)
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: Takumi on September 17, 2018, 08:09:45 PM
I doubt I’d be able to make it due to work, but I have some interest.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: PAHighways on September 18, 2018, 09:58:49 AM
I'd be able to make the meet.  It would be interesting to see how the condition of the tunnels and road surface have changed in 14 years.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: qguy on September 18, 2018, 12:53:38 PM
I'd love to, but alas...

I've visited a few times in the past. First time was back in 1992 or so. Definitely worth the drive.

Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: hbelkins on September 18, 2018, 01:00:39 PM
If I were to go, I'd probably bring my bike.  I doubt I'd be able to pull that distance though, especially if I'm working full-time by then.

The downside of your proposed date is that it's the last day of the Thanksgiving weekend and likely to be a very busy travel day.

Especially in Breezewood. Isn't that when the epic backups usually occur?
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: CanesFan27 on September 18, 2018, 02:48:11 PM
If I were to go, I'd probably bring my bike.  I doubt I'd be able to pull that distance though, especially if I'm working full-time by then.

The downside of your proposed date is that it's the last day of the Thanksgiving weekend and likely to be a very busy travel day.

Especially in Breezewood. Isn't that when the epic backups usually occur?

So stay the night, go to sheetz, see the traffic, go to the meet,  you'd get the full experience.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/travel/i-vacationed-at-the-east-coasts-quintessential-rest-stop-its-more-inviting-than-it-looks/2017/08/10/a38ba58c-76d0-11e7-8f39-eeb7d3a2d304_story.html?utm_term=.c6ab7d08700d
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: briantroutman on September 18, 2018, 04:51:32 PM
Breezewood is a nuisance to be sure, but I’ve never experienced “epic” traffic there, even on holiday weekends. Even so, the worst of it could be avoided, either by meeting first in Bedford then taking US 30 to Breezewood (as we did in the 2003 SWPA meet)—or by exiting at Fort Littleton and beginning the tour at the eastern end.

It looks like a number of people are interested and at least a few would be able to attend—possibly more depending on how people’s schedules work out.

I’ve biked the Abandoned Turnpike in the past, and Froggie’s suggestion of biking is an idea that I also had when considering the possibility of a meet. But I suspect it would be problematic since assumably someone doesn’t have a bike, couldn’t bring it, etc. So I’m just throwing this out as a wild idea: Among those intending to come: Would you be interested in riding the old road (at a leisurely pace), and could you bring a bicycle? I could bring a bike for myself and one extra. Perhaps we’d be able to cover everybody the same way we did with hard hats and vests at the I-95 meet.

If we don’t do a bike tour, and also assuming we don’t get vehicular access to the Abandoned Turnpike (which I suppose is a slight possibility), we could still have a pretty good tour by driving to various publicly accessible access points and walking out to the old road. The western portal of Rays Hill, both portals of Sideling Hill, and the former Cove Valley Service Plaza site are all a reasonable walk from nearby parking areas.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: froggie on September 18, 2018, 09:05:32 PM
Quote from: hbelkins
Especially in Breezewood. Isn't that when the epic backups usually occur?

Could always go in the back way.  In point of fact, it's better to bike from the Sideling Hill/east end anyways, as you'd get a net downhill on the return trip and that's the end with the abandoned travel plaza.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: jpi on September 19, 2018, 11:43:36 AM
I would love to go this and even myself and Steph are going to be in the York\ Harrisburg area that whole week however, one of my biggest toy shows of the year falls on Sunday 11/25 in York so we would not be able to attend this, unless something is going on later that evening.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: hbelkins on September 19, 2018, 12:35:00 PM
If I were to go, I'd probably bring my bike.  I doubt I'd be able to pull that distance though, especially if I'm working full-time by then.

The downside of your proposed date is that it's the last day of the Thanksgiving weekend and likely to be a very busy travel day.

Especially in Breezewood. Isn't that when the epic backups usually occur?

So stay the night, go to sheetz, see the traffic, go to the meet,  you'd get the full experience.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/travel/i-vacationed-at-the-east-coasts-quintessential-rest-stop-its-more-inviting-than-it-looks/2017/08/10/a38ba58c-76d0-11e7-8f39-eeb7d3a2d304_story.html?utm_term=.c6ab7d08700d

You know, I did that a few years ago. For the Philly-area meet, the one with the epic fail when it came to sorting out the check, I spent two nights in Breezewood. That was part of an overall larger trip I was doing, so I spent two nights in Breezewood, rode east to the meet and then back, and ate at Sheetz both nights.

ADDENDUM: It should be noted that if this meet involved a lot of walking, I'd most likely be out. I was on my feet a lot yesterday and my knee is telling me all about it today.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: cl94 on September 19, 2018, 09:36:08 PM
I'm interested. I need to drive back from Buffalo to Albany that weekend anyway and this could be an excuse to clinch stuff.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: PAHighways on September 20, 2018, 07:46:09 PM
Breezewood is a nuisance to be sure, but I’ve never experienced “epic” traffic there, even on holiday weekends. Even so, the worst of it could be avoided, either by meeting first in Bedford then taking US 30 to Breezewood (as we did in the 2003 SWPA meet)—or by exiting at Fort Littleton and beginning the tour at the eastern end.

Ed's Steakhouse (https://edssteakhouse.com/) in Bedford is a nice place.  I've been there for an Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor meeting, and we were able to get our own dining room.  Then there is always Hoss's, the site for the Breezewood Meet.  If wanting to meet in Breezewood is preferred, there is the Gateway Travel Plaza (the first business in Breezewood) which now has a food court.

I’ve biked the Abandoned Turnpike in the past, and Froggie’s suggestion of biking is an idea that I also had when considering the possibility of a meet. But I suspect it would be problematic since assumably someone doesn’t have a bike, couldn’t bring it, etc. So I’m just throwing this out as a wild idea: Among those intending to come: Would you be interested in riding the old road (at a leisurely pace), and could you bring a bicycle? I could bring a bike for myself and one extra. Perhaps we’d be able to cover everybody the same way we did with hard hats and vests at the I-95 meet.

If we don’t do a bike tour, and also assuming we don’t get vehicular access to the Abandoned Turnpike (which I suppose is a slight possibility), we could still have a pretty good tour by driving to various publicly accessible access points and walking out to the old road. The western portal of Rays Hill, both portals of Sideling Hill, and the former Cove Valley Service Plaza site are all a reasonable walk from nearby parking areas.

I would contact whomever owns the pike nowadays and see if they would allow vehicular access.  I did that with the Southern Alleghenies Conservancy months before I held my meet, but they weren't the most communicative bunch which is why I never attempted another meet.  I never heard one way or the other as to if we were allowed vehicles onto the roadway, so the morning of the meet I was scouting pedestrian access points via parallel roads.  Fortunately one of the attendees was a SAC member and told me we indeed had permission.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: tckma on September 24, 2018, 10:44:44 AM
: Would you be interested in riding the old road (at a leisurely pace), and could you bring a bicycle?

I would need to rent, borrow, or buy a bike and helmet, plus a way to get it there in or on my car.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: cl94 on September 24, 2018, 10:54:54 AM
While I wouldn't really feel comfortable bringing my bike such a long distance (as in driving it there), I do have headlamps. Being as they lit up a cave pretty well, I figure they'd light up a tunnel. In November, it may be better to walk anyway. Weather may or may not be suitable for biking and we won't know until much closer.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: froggie on September 24, 2018, 11:01:18 AM
I've done rides in both mid-November and March before.  While not "summerlike" by any stretch of the imagination, it's still doable.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: briantroutman on September 24, 2018, 06:02:11 PM
Regarding the bicycle idea, I knew it was a long shot suggestion. As fun as biking the Abandoned Turnpike would be for a few of us, it would seriously limit the pool of potential attendees. I just threw the idea out there in the off chance that several people would respond right away along the lines of “yes...great idea...I can bring a bike”, but obviously that didn’t happen.

As Jeff suggested, I’ve gotten in touch with a contact at the Southern Alleghenies Conservancy to see about getting vehicular access to the old roadway. We’ll have to wait and see what options the allow us. But regardless—whether we get vehicular access or not—we can still manage a pretty decent tour. I’ll keep the thread updated when I get new information from SAC.

Regarding the specific date we choose: 26 November is the actual anniversary, but being a Monday and the first day of deer season, I thought it wouldn’t be a good choice for a meet. Considering the timing after Thanksgiving, I assume Sunday would fit better into more people’s schedules than Saturday since it would allow a greater buffer after Thanksgiving. Do you agree—or would Saturday work better for you?
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: cl94 on September 24, 2018, 07:21:53 PM
I don't know about other people, but it's easiest for me to get to this thing on a Saturday if I end up going. Glorious thing called "Monday morning meetings". That being said, if it doesn't line up with my schedule, I may just take the itinerary and do it Saturday or Sunday morning anyway. While I have been a few feet inside Rays Hill, I have never been to the Sideling Hill tunnel nor the plaza.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: Bitmapped on September 25, 2018, 10:57:23 PM
Earlier this summer, I rode my bicycle from US 30 to and through Rays Hill Tunnel. Car access to the road is not possible from the western end - the old US 30 bridge is gone, the hill coming up from US 30 is not vehicle-friendly, and I recall Jersey barriers in the way to block ATVs.

While I understand wanting to do this meet around the 50th anniversary, the weather in Pennsylvania at the end of November can be dicey. When it's dry, the average high is only in the 40s, so not good for bicycling, and it can easily snow. I'd suggest moving things up to October or early November when it's generally still warmer out and a lot less likely to snow.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: Alps on September 25, 2018, 11:36:05 PM
Earlier this summer, I rode my bicycle from US 30 to and through Rays Hill Tunnel. Car access to the road is not possible from the western end - the old US 30 bridge is gone, the hill coming up from US 30 is not vehicle-friendly, and I recall Jersey barriers in the way to block ATVs.

While I understand wanting to do this meet around the 50th anniversary, the weather in Pennsylvania at the end of November can be dicey. When it's dry, the average high is only in the 40s, so not good for bicycling, and it can easily snow. I'd suggest moving things up to October or early November when it's generally still warmer out and a lot less likely to snow.
Car access would have to be from the parking area nearer the east end.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: briantroutman on October 25, 2018, 12:00:47 PM
Finally—one month later—I got to speak with the district manager from the Southern Alleghenies Conservancy. Getting vehicular access to the old road is a possibility, but there are a few caveats that we’ll need to clear if everyone is interested.

In general, SAC is pretty tightfisted with regard to allowing access to the old road. The district manager told me that they just turned down a request from the family of an 80-year-old who worked on the Turnpike as a young man and wanted to see the old tunnels one last time. But she said we’d have a greater chance of getting approval if our event was well organized and documented and we did some groundwork in advance.

Along those lines, I’d have to make a pilot trip to Breezewood next week, survey the intended route, and prepare a report documenting that our planned path is passable. I’d then submit a report to SAC by Thursday of next week (Nov. 1st), and the board of directors would make a final decision the following day. The district manager said we’d also be more likely to get our request approved if we planned to use the fewest possible vehicles—such as a single 15-passenger van.

In addition, I would need to provide SAC with a certificate of liability insurance covering them for up to $1 million in case of any accidents or incidents. I checked with my insurer, and I can buy this much “special event” coverage for $100. The district manager also said that they ask for a donation—either monetary or as in-kind volunteer work—in exchange for access to the old road. I’m not sure what they expect as a minimum donation. ($100? Picking up litter for an afternoon?)

I’m willing to jump through the hurdles mentioned if we still have a fair number of people interested. Among those interested, would you consider chipping in to split whatever costs are associated with getting access? Assuming the out-of-pocket costs are around $200 and we get ten attendees, that would be roughly $20 per person. Is that reasonable?
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: froggie on October 25, 2018, 01:37:11 PM
^ I'm presuming they frown upon people who bike the old road and the tunnels on their own.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: Alps on October 25, 2018, 02:13:28 PM
^ I'm presuming they frown upon people who bike the old road and the tunnels on their own.
Officially, don't do that. Unofficially, try not to be seen.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: briantroutman on October 25, 2018, 03:18:49 PM
^ I think every article I’ve ever read about the Abandoned Turnpike in the SAC era includes a line along the lines of “...officially, the road is closed to the public, but...”

Obviously the one aspect of our meet which brings us under the scrutiny of the SAC board and subjects us to the liability insurance requirements is getting access to drive motor vehicles on the roadway. A SAC key holder will need to drive out on the day of the meet and open gates for us, and of course they won’t do that without all of the necessary clearances.

Being able to drive through would allow for an easier, more comfortable, and more comprehensive meet (and perhaps allow some people to attend who otherwise couldn’t make the necessary one-mile treks from the parking areas to the tunnel portals), but clearly it will also add some cost and red tape as well.

I’d be just as happy to do a more casual park-and-walk itinerary, but I’m also willing to comply with SAC’s requirements if there is enough interest. So I’m turning it back to all of you: What do you prefer?
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: tckma on October 25, 2018, 04:50:04 PM
I don't care either way; I DEFINITELY need the exercise, and the road is closed to the public anyway, so for me, I think walking it would be better.

On the other hand, I know if I want my wife to attend, we absolutely CANNOT have any part of the meet be on foot or on bike.  In fact, I don't know if she'd even do a 15 passenger van because she'd want to bring our dogs along (again, I think THAT would be better if we walk!).

I'd go to this either way.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: cl94 on October 25, 2018, 07:03:47 PM
No preference here. I have no problem walking - allows us to see more of the "goodies" along the road.

Regardless, there's a better-than-average chance I'd be able to make a semi-formal meet. Being the weekend after Thanksgiving, I'm already on the road.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: epzik8 on October 25, 2018, 08:30:03 PM
Sure it’s reasonable.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: PAHighways on October 25, 2018, 10:30:26 PM
Either decision is fine with me.  Hopefully we don't get hit with an early season snow storm beforehand.

In addition, I would need to provide SAC with a certificate of liability insurance covering them for up to $1 million in case of any accidents or incidents. I checked with my insurer, and I can buy this much “special event” coverage for $100. The district manager also said that they ask for a donation—either monetary or as in-kind volunteer work—in exchange for access to the old road. I’m not sure what they expect as a minimum donation. ($100? Picking up litter for an afternoon?)

Sheesh, I am glad I didn't have to go through all of this back in 2004.  The LHHC gave grants to SAC for the Pike, but I am guessing I can't say I gave at the office :D.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: briantroutman on October 26, 2018, 08:55:00 AM
Thanks for the responses. I’ll plan to make a pilot trip to Breezewood next week, survey the road conditions, and prepare a plan for SAC. That way, the drive-through option is still possibly open to us, and we can decide later whether we want to utilize it or not. I won’t have to buy the insurance or make a donation until we decide to go exercise that option.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: kevinb1994 on October 26, 2018, 03:36:33 PM
My sister will be visiting from New Jersey Thanksgiving weekend, so we’re out.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: cl94 on October 26, 2018, 03:49:46 PM
Thanks for the responses. I’ll plan to make a pilot trip to Breezewood next week, survey the road conditions, and prepare a plan for SAC. That way, the drive-through option is still possibly open to us, and we can decide later whether we want to utilize it or not. I won’t have to buy the insurance or make a donation until we decide to go exercise that option.

Sweet. I'm almost certainly in regardless of how it is done/which day that weekend it happens. Whichever works best for others (though the more I think about it, the more I think a Sunday meet may work better for a handful of reasons). I have headlamps/other tunnel exploration equipment I can easily bring.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: briantroutman on October 30, 2018, 09:22:52 PM
I just completed a 21-mile bicycle circuit of the entire SAC-owned roadway this afternoon (pulling my daughter in a bike trailer to boot). I identified a clear, vehicle-worthy path for us to follow from end to end (and back)...assuming we get permission to take vehicles onto the roadway. I took dozens of photos and will compile a detailed itinerary and event plan for SAC’s board to review during their meeting on Friday.

In the meantime, let’s all tentatively plan that this meet will happen on Sunday, 25 November 2018. My guess is that it’s likely that they’ll greenlight our plan, but even if not, I have an alternate itinerary ready for park-and-walk meet.

(https://c2.staticflickr.com/2/1952/31769234168_85b29c15c4_z.jpg)
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: jpi on October 31, 2018, 08:42:14 AM
As I mentioned before, I will be busy with one of my biggest toy shows of the year in York, PA that same day from the morning up until 4pm but depending on what the itinerary is maybe I can catch up with you all later in the evening.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: briantroutman on October 31, 2018, 09:03:05 AM
Sure, Jason—as with the I-95 meet, where various attendees had to either leave early or arrive late, I’d love to have you come for whatever portion of the day you’re able.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: briantroutman on November 03, 2018, 03:24:24 PM
I sent a rather detailed proposal to my SAC contact on Thursday, and I was hoping I’d get a quick response since their board meeting was yesterday, but Friday came to a close without any news from my contact there. I’m still reasonably confident that they’ll give us approval for vehicular access, but as mentioned, I plan to move forward either way—with or without vehicular access to the Abandoned Turnpike.

I’ll create an event sign-up page (just like Golden Spike meet in September)—I’ll be sending a final count of planned attendees over to SAC before the event.

As mentioned earlier, my SAC contact said that the organization would like to receive either a monetary donation or an “in-kind” donation (i.e. volunteerism) in exchange for allowing the event to take place. In my proposal, one of the possible in-kind donations I suggested is that we would pick up litter along the route during our tour. There isn’t a ton of litter along the route, and most of it is concentrated at the tunnel portals—empty beverage bottles and cans, spent spray paint cans (surprise, surprise), etc. I imagine most of you would prefer this little bit of work to chipping in an additional $20 or so for a monetary gift, plus it would be doing some good for the property as well. But if no one likes this idea and SAC decides to exercise the litter clean-up option, I could just show up a few hours early and do it myself prior to the meet.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: briantroutman on November 05, 2018, 03:37:23 PM
Just got news from my SAC contact that our meet proposal has been approved! An official R.S.V.P. form will be posted here later today.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: briantroutman on November 06, 2018, 11:07:18 AM
The event sign-up page is online now: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/rayssideling-bypass-50th-anniversary-meet-tickets-52258770389

If you’re interested in attending, please R.S.V.P. as soon as possible so that we can make adjustments (as needed) to accommodate the number of people who plan to attend.

The tentative itinerary and all pertinent details are fairly well covered on the event page, but if you have any questions, feel free to either post to this thread or send me an email (mail@briantroutman.com).

I look forward to seeing you all there!
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: briantroutman on November 07, 2018, 03:19:19 PM
I’ve gotten a few sign-ups so far, but I just wanted to post again in case anyone casually following the thread may have missed: The event sign-up page (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/rayssideling-bypass-50th-anniversary-meet-tickets-52258770389) is online now.

The event page will likely be posted to the AARoads Facebook feed as well as the PAHighways feeds in the next few days, and because of the possibility that we may need to limit sign-ups based on tour vehicle capacity, I wanted anyone here on the forums to get the first chance to register.

Also, I just had a nice phone conversation with John Carlin, who will be volunteering his time to open access gates for us and provide assistance if any debris clearing is necessary. He’s the manager of the Quality Inn Breezewood (https://www.choicehotels.com/pennsylvania/breezewood/quality-inn-hotels/pa003), and if any of you are planning an overnight stay before or after the meet, I’d encourage you to consider staying there.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: hbelkins on November 07, 2018, 06:43:20 PM
I’ve gotten a few sign-ups so far, but I just wanted to post again in case anyone casually following the thread may have missed: The event sign-up page (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/rayssideling-bypass-50th-anniversary-meet-tickets-52258770389) is online now.

The event page will likely be posted to the AARoads Facebook feed as well as the PAHighways feeds in the next few days, and because of the possibility that we may need to limit sign-ups based on tour vehicle capacity, I wanted anyone here on the forums to get the first chance to register.

Also, I just had a nice phone conversation with John Carlin, who will be volunteering his time to open access gates for us and provide assistance if any debris clearing is necessary. He’s the manager of the Quality Inn Breezewood (https://www.choicehotels.com/pennsylvania/breezewood/quality-inn-hotels/pa003), and if any of you are planning an overnight stay before or after the meet, I’d encourage you to consider staying there.

I stayed at that Quality Inn eight years ago, when I used Breezewood as the base for my trip to the SEPA meet (part of a longer road trip) that was infamous for the venue somehow forgetting about the room reservation for us, and then the huge delay in separating the check. It's a nice facility, and not far from a Sheetz. Plus you can walk down to the big truck stop that has a bunch of restaurants, and from what I understand, is undergoing a massive renovation. I'd recommend it for anyone planning to stay there. I found it to be a very nice place. It's an old-fashioned motor lodge with exterior corridors, but the rooms were very nice and clean.

Of course, I expect that most attendees will be of the mindset that they don't want to spend any money whatsoever in Breezewood.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: cpzilliacus on November 08, 2018, 12:35:53 PM
Of course, I expect that most attendees will be of the mindset that they don't want to spend any money whatsoever in Breezewood.

Who might that be?  ;-)
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversar
Post by: briantroutman on November 08, 2018, 01:31:19 PM
After about three days of being online, a little more than half of the available spaces for this event have been reserved.  We’re limited to 15 because of SAC’s requirement to use a tour van. If interest is absolutely overwhelming, we might look into adding a second van, but I doubt that will be the case.

So if you haven’t yet registered and plan to attend, please do so before the available spaces are claimed.

Of course, I expect that most attendees will be of the mindset that they don't want to spend any money whatsoever in Breezewood.

I thought about mentioning something along those lines (“Understandably, some of you won’t want to spend any money in Breeezewood...”) but assumed that it went without saying.

Regardless, I think it’s worth mentioning: This Quality Inn has been owned by the same family for 50+ years. The original owners (descendants of whom still live in the area) were farmers who had their farmland split and rendered essentially useless by the construction of the Turnpike in 1940. They managed to adapt and survive despite the loss of their original livelihood, which I think is commendable, and they’re not connected with the family that runs the sprawling Gateway complex.

And as H.B.’s report seems to confirm, reviews of this Quality Inn are overwhelmingly positive.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: cl94 on November 08, 2018, 02:17:38 PM
As much as I would love to make it to this, I was recently informed that I need to be in Albany the next morning for meetings. :-|  Therefore, I am out. Hope everyone has a good time.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: Beltway on November 08, 2018, 03:56:53 PM
We’re limited to 15 because of SAC’s requirement to use a tour van. If interest is absolutely overwhelming, we might look into adding a second van, but I doubt that will be the case.

Exactly in what manner will a tour van be provided?

In addition, I would need to provide SAC with a certificate of liability insurance covering them for up to $1 million in case of any accidents or incidents. I checked with my insurer, and I can buy this much “special event” coverage for $100.

That sounds too much to me like contracting for a liability waiver (aka exculpatory clause) with the owners.  While they are fairly common for (supposedly) high risk activities, I usually refuse to do business with a company that requires that.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: briantroutman on November 08, 2018, 04:44:57 PM
Exactly in what manner will a tour van be provided?

I’m renting a 15-passenger van (likely a Ford Transit) from Enterprise, and the tour van will be the single vehicle authorized to enter the Abandoned Turnpike. This was one of the terms discussed with SAC in order to get permission for the event.

As mentioned, if interest was overwhelming, we might look into getting a second van, but that would complicate logistics significantly, and honestly, I think 15 is a realistic number of attendees to expect.

I usually refuse to do business with a company that requires that.

Well—regardless of SAC’s motivations in stipulating this requirement, I’m not going to scrap the meet because of it.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: tckma on November 09, 2018, 09:54:36 AM
Brian, what time are you planning on starting the meetup?

I ask because my wife and I are going to visit my in-laws in the Hartford area for Thanksgiving, and we check out of the hotel Sunday morning.  I'm trying to figure out the logistics -- when I'd need to leave CT in order to be there on time, if my wife wants to come with, if we're taking both cars to CT so I can drive to Breezewood and she can drive home with the dogs... that sort of thing.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: briantroutman on November 09, 2018, 10:33:02 AM
Brian, what time are you planning on starting the meetup?

There’s an itinerary posted on the event page (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/rayssideling-bypass-50th-anniversary-meet-tickets-52258770389), but I suppose it would be a good idea to post it here in the thread, too.

Since the days are short in late November, we’ll be covering a fair amount of ground, and I agreed with SAC we’d conclude our tour by sunset, the start time is rather early. To accommodate the typical pre-meet meal, I plan to start in Bedford at 10:30 a.m.

I realize that this early start time may prove problematic for attendees who will be coming in from a considerable distance, so there are a number opportunities where you can join the meet in progress at a later time—as late as 1 p.m.—and still make the tour.


I’ll be getting in touch with everyone who has registered to find out where they plan to join (so we can plan accordingly). I’ll provide more detailed instructions and directions for anyone who plans later in the tour. Of course I’d like to encourage everyone to be with us beginning at brunch in Bedford, but I understand that some may need to join us later.

Thanks—and I look forward to seeing you there!
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: hbelkins on November 09, 2018, 12:50:50 PM
I fear that by the time all the variables that would have to align for me to attend would sort themselves out, all the available seating will be gone. Family plans, weather, finances, the ability to get Monday and Tuesday off work ... all won't be resolved until much closer to the meet.

FWIW, this is the first meet I can remember with a hard limit on attendance.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: Beltway on November 09, 2018, 12:56:47 PM
I might actually attend if not for the fact it is on Sunday.  Some folks attend church on Sunday..
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: akotchi on November 09, 2018, 01:12:56 PM
I am now in for this one.  I will plan to join for brunch in Bedford.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: briantroutman on November 09, 2018, 02:14:40 PM
I fear that by the time all the variables that would have to align for me to attend would sort themselves out, all the available seating will be gone.

Maybe...but maybe not. Reservations came in a flurry at first and then leveled off quickly with four seats still open. I imagine a few are on the fence and waiting to commit. Then, too, there’s always the possibility that someone will cancel prior to the event date, opening up a seat. I’ll contact everyone about a week prior to make sure they’re still planning to attend. If you’re still interested and the variables align, check back with me. If a seat is still open, it’s yours.

FWIW, this is the first meet I can remember with a hard limit on attendance.

Yeah, it’s an unusual situation dictated by the transportation arrangements I agreed to with SAC. As mentioned, we could probably arrange a second van, but everyone’s split costs would go up significantly if that second van wasn’t close to full.

I might actually attend if not for the fact it is on Sunday.  Some folks attend church on Sunday..

I understand; scheduling is a perennial challenge. Saturday would have excluded some people who are still visiting family on an extended Thanksgiving trip. I know at least one person who wanted to attend but can’t, not because of religious services because he works on Sunday. And Monday (the actual anniversary date) was inadvisable due to many people’s work weeks beginning and also it being the first day of deer hunting season in PA.

I am now in for this one.  I will plan to join for brunch in Bedford.

Terrific—I look forward to seeing you there!
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: Laura on November 09, 2018, 07:50:10 PM
Just signed up Mr. and Mrs. MD Roads for the meet, so that’s two more slots!!!


iPhone
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: oscar on November 09, 2018, 09:53:20 PM
Please sign me up, if there are any slots left. I'd likely be joining the tour in Bedford (join opportunity #1).

I'd been concerned about fighting my way back home through returning-from-holiday traffic. But I could overnight in Bedford to avoid the crowds.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: briantroutman on November 09, 2018, 10:25:01 PM
Just signed up Mr. and Mrs. MD Roads for the meet, so that’s two more slots!!!

Fantastic! Look forward to seeing you both there.


Sign me up, if there are any slots left open. I'd likely be joining the tour in Bedford (join opportunity #1).

Great, Oscar! I entered your info into the registration form, so you should have separately received an email from EventBrite confirming your reservation.

Looks like we will have more than a few alumni of the 2004 Breezewood meet on hand!
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: cpzilliacus on November 09, 2018, 11:18:14 PM
Sign me up please.  I think you may have one slot left.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: briantroutman on November 09, 2018, 11:45:44 PM
Got it, C.P.—glad to have you with us! You should receive a separate confirmation from EventBrite.

I may have miscounted earlier—there’s still one open slot left. And as mentioned earlier, there’s always the possibility of a last-minute cancellation. So anyone who’s still interested, let me know if you try to register later and the form says “sold out”; it’s possible that a slot has or will open up.

I’ll be sending out an email over the weekend to everyone who’s registered with some additional details on the plans.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: tckma on November 12, 2018, 07:51:15 AM
I've signed up two people.  I'm definitely coming.  Question marks at this time are whether my wife will be joining me, and at what point I/we will join the group.

IIRC, Enterprise (as well as all other rental car companies as far as I'm aware) doesn't allow dogs in their rental cars, so that means I'm likely going to be coming by myself.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: briantroutman on November 12, 2018, 02:54:21 PM
I've signed up two people.  I'm definitely coming.  Question marks at this time are whether my wife will be joining me, and at what point I/we will join the group.

IIRC, Enterprise (as well as all other rental car companies as far as I'm aware) doesn't allow dogs in their rental cars, so that means I'm likely going to be coming by myself.

I’d have to check the specific terms of the rental agreement, but based on the company’s website, anyway, it looks like Enterprise does allow pets (with some restrictions) (https://www.enterprise.com/en/help/faqs/car-rental-pet-friendly-policy.html). They do mention the pet being crated, but provided that the van is returned reasonably clean and in good condition, how would Enterprise know it wasn’t? The cheaper trim level of the Ford Transit Wagon has vinyl flooring which would be easy to sweep or vacuum if needed.

Personally, I’m fine with you bringing dogs—I don’t know if anyone on the tour is particularly dog-phobic or dog-allergic. If anyone does have an issue with it, please post to the thread or contact me (or I could email the attendees to ask).

One possible issue associated with bringing dogs would be space. From the photos I’ve seen of the Ford Transit Wagon, the 15 seats inside are basically shoulder-to-shoulder with just a narrow aisle snaking between the second and fifth rows. The fifth row is almost against the rear of the van with maybe a foot of space for cargo. So depending on how large these dogs are, whether they’re claustrophobic or content to sit on your laps, it may or may not be a fun time for them.

(https://c2.staticflickr.com/2/1916/44936473995_4e033d8f70_o.jpg)

Then also, if you are planing to join us either at the diner beforehand or for dinner afterward, there’s the issue of the dogs not being able to come into a restaurant. But if you’re driving from as far as CT, joining for breakfast/lunch might not be in the cards anyway. Have you given any thought to where and when you plan to join the group?
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: tckma on November 13, 2018, 02:12:36 PM
I've signed up two people.  I'm definitely coming.  Question marks at this time are whether my wife will be joining me, and at what point I/we will join the group.

IIRC, Enterprise (as well as all other rental car companies as far as I'm aware) doesn't allow dogs in their rental cars, so that means I'm likely going to be coming by myself.

I’d have to check the specific terms of the rental agreement, but based on the company’s website, anyway, it looks like Enterprise does allow pets (with some restrictions) (https://www.enterprise.com/en/help/faqs/car-rental-pet-friendly-policy.html). They do mention the pet being crated, but provided that the van is returned reasonably clean and in good condition, how would Enterprise know it wasn’t? The cheaper trim level of the Ford Transit Wagon has vinyl flooring which would be easy to sweep or vacuum if needed.

Personally, I’m fine with you bringing dogs—I don’t know if anyone on the tour is particularly dog-phobic or dog-allergic. If anyone does have an issue with it, please post to the thread or contact me (or I could email the attendees to ask).

--cut for brevity--


I'm surprised that Enterprise has changed its tune since the last time I checked -- or maybe it varies from state to state.  I tend to rent in Maryland when my car is at the shop or has been in an accident or something.  Other states, I'm on a business trip by myself and don't care enough to read into the agreement with that much detail.

Given the "floor plan" of that van, I'm not sure our dogs would be well-behaved enough.  Even if the other attendees like dogs, it's likely that ours would jump all around all over them and demand attention -- not a good plan.  I'm pretty stern about "don't climb on or otherwise bother the driver" when I'm driving, to the point that they generally don't with me -- my wife, not so much -- she'll even full on let them climb on her lap in the drive-thru.  So with user=briantroutman or anyone else driving, I couldn't guarantee they would act in a safe manner.  Plus they have a tendency to bark A LOT when first meeting new people... you can tell it's out of excitement due to the vigorously wagging tails, but it DOES sound kind of violent at times, and more often than not I've found people are scared about it and apprehensive, even if they profess to like dogs.  The greetings eventually calm down / quiet down but that can take 10-20 minutes.  Heck, even when **I** come home, it takes at least 5 minutes before I can say hello to my wife and have her hear me.

I don't think bringing the pups along is a great idea.  I did that for my first road meet -- the Corridor H meet (and CPZ mentioned it to me at Golden Spike, so I guess it's how people know me).  But that was because I was going to go myself and have my wife stay home with the dogs, but then her grandfather passed away and she had to abruptly get a RU$H passport (she hadn't applied for one since getting US citizenship) and fly overseas to go to the funeral.  It was bring the dogs along or don't go at all.  I enjoyed that meetup but I really wish I could have eaten at the Cracker Barrel or wherever it was, to get to know people.  Even going into the Sheetz locations worried me since it was about 8913478913298491804 degrees out that weekend, so I had to leave the car running with the air conditioning cranked full blast... the only time I wasn't nervous about that was when I parked next to a WV State Trooper in the parking lot -- but he or she left before I got back to the car.  Also, since I only have one key for that car, I had to leave the dogs unlocked.  West Virginia, not so worrying.  Philadelphia / Harrisburg / Breezewood area... I'd be more nervous I'd return to the parking lot to find my car missing.

I need to talk to my wife... which I think she's coming up to my hotel tonight but if not I'll have to discuss it over the phone.  If it was just me, I'd be fine leaving CT at the butt-crack of dawn to get to Breezewood by 10 AM... but it may not be just me.  I think she'll decline because of the dogs needing to be watched and my not thinking it's a good idea to bring them with us, but I at least want to offer her the opportunity.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: tckma on November 13, 2018, 02:35:35 PM
Google Maps says 6 hours and 12 minutes from my in-laws' house to the diner.  On the Sunday after Thanksgiving, I'm not sure that's a correct assessment.  10:30's looking like an unlikely arrival time, even if I'm driving alone.  I've got to think about logistics here.  I'm sure I'll come up with something.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: briantroutman on November 13, 2018, 03:16:26 PM
Quick update: Still one seat remains available if anyone’s interested but hasn’t yet reserved a space. Another space might open up if tckma’s wife doesn’t come with him.

10:30's looking like an unlikely arrival time, even if I'm driving alone.

OK—just keep me posted.

As mentioned, there are opportunities to join the group up to 1 p.m. at Cove Valley and still make the Abandoned Turnpike portion of the tour. But if you can manage it, I’d encourage you to plan on joining us at opportunity #3: Quality Inn Breezewood at 12:30 p.m. Breezewood is much easier to find and possibly just as quick to reach as Cove Valley, plus you’ll have easy parking at the Quality Inn lot.

I’d make the same recommendation to everyone else: I hope you’ll be able to meet us for breakfast/lunch at the Bedford Diner (that would be best), and if you can’t be there that early, the next best option would be to meet us at the diner after breakfast. Meeting us in Breezewood would be the next best option: You’ll miss out on the stop at the original Breezewood Interchange trumpet, but you’ll still be with us for the stop at the Lincoln Highway overlook and won’t have to contend with finding Cove Valley.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: hbelkins on November 14, 2018, 02:39:02 PM
Quick update: Still one seat remains available if anyone’s interested but hasn’t yet reserved a space. Another space might open up if tckma’s wife doesn’t come with him.

I'm not going to claim it, in case I would have to cancel. I'll just take my chances in case I end up able to come and someone bails. If not, then that's money not spent on the trip.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: jpi on November 15, 2018, 10:11:48 AM
As mentioned before I am out for this one since I will be busy with a toy show in York but depending on when and where an optional dinner is I may pop in then, the show wraps up at 3 and will be 4 to 4:30 when I get my van packed up and ready to head out, roughly 90 minute to 2 hour drive to the Bedford area from York.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: briantroutman on November 15, 2018, 03:50:35 PM
Late last night, I got an RSVP for the 15th seat. But that said, it’s quite possible that I’ll get a cancellation or two between now and the 25th. So if you’re still on the sidelines but interested in coming, post to the thread or send me an email (mail@briantroutman.com). Since he already expressed an interest here in the thread, I’ll consider H.B. to be first on the waitlist in case a seat opens up and he’s able to come. Then after that, I’ll take any other standbys in the order they express interest.

Despite today’s unusual early winter storm, the long range weather forecast looks reasonable. Daytime highs should be above freezing from tomorrow through the event, so any snow which falls today will be long gone by the meet. Temperatures on the 25th itself are expected to be close to average (low-mid 40s), and there’s currently about a 40% chance of some showers at some point that day. So as previously mentioned, plan to dress warmly, and you may also want to consider wearing some rain-resistant gear. Unless the forecast calls for torrential downpours or accumulating snow (neither of which is likely), we’ll hold the meet as scheduled. Keep in mind that we’ll be in the shelter of a heated van for most of the tour.

Also—semi-related item—does anyone here know or have contact information for Corey Dukes? He was at Jeff Kitsko’s 2004 SWPA meet in Breezewood and took a group photo which had been posted on the now-offline delmarvahighways.com. I only have a very low-resolution copy of it and would like to get a larger image.

As mentioned before I am out for this one since I will be busy with a toy show in York but depending on when and where an optional dinner is I may pop in then, the show wraps up at 3 and will be 4 to 4:30 when I get my van packed up and ready to head out, roughly 90 minute to 2 hour drive to the Bedford area from York.

Sure, Jason—I’d be happy to have you join us for dinner if you can make it. I have your phone number from past meets and can text or call you when we’re finishing up the tour and discussing dinner options.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: Alps on November 15, 2018, 04:18:24 PM
Also—semi-related item—does anyone here know or have contact information for Corey Dukes? He was at Jeff Kitsko’s 2004 SWPA meet in Breezewood and took a group photo which had been posted on the now-offline delmarvahighways.com. I only have a very low-resolution copy of it and would like to get a larger image.

On it.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: bossjock77 on November 15, 2018, 04:36:19 PM
Wow... surprised to see my name pop up.  :-)

If you message me with an email address, I can send you a copy of the photo.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: briantroutman on November 15, 2018, 04:59:55 PM
^ Thanks! Just sent you a message.

And thanks, Steve, for putting us in touch!
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: tckma on November 16, 2018, 02:21:56 PM
I need to cancel given familial obligations; that's two seats opening up.  The date is odd - right after Thanksgiving - any other Sunday likely would have worked better.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: briantroutman on November 18, 2018, 11:31:22 AM
We’re now just a week away, and all of the pieces are coming together nicely. I purchased the required liability insurance policy and forwarded the coverage documentation to SAC. On Friday, I spoke with the local Enterprise office directly and confirmed that our 15-passenger van will be ready for me to pick up Saturday.

The forecast temperatures for next Sunday have been trending slightly upward and are now expected to be in the upper 40s. There’s still a chance of showers, but it doesn’t appear that we’ll be getting heavy or continuous rain. With the exception of Thanksgiving Day itself, daytime highs are expected to be well above freezing from now through the meet, so whatever lingering snow is still on the ground from last week should be long gone by the time we get there.

tckma’s cancellation means that two seats are still open. If anyone else is still interested in coming, please go to the event page (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/rayssideling-bypass-50th-anniversary-meet-tickets-52258770389) and sign up.

I need to cancel given familial obligations; that's two seats opening up.

Sorry that you won’t be able to join us. Nevertheless, thanks for letting me know in advance so that someone else has an opportunity.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: briantroutman on November 20, 2018, 02:00:40 PM
^ Hi H.B. Just responded to your message. Hope you’re able to make it!

Also—for anyone else interested—there are still two seats open, so if H.B. does make it for the tour, we’ll still have one open seat. Get in touch with me if you’re interested.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: kevinb1994 on November 20, 2018, 03:07:28 PM
^ Hi H.B. Just responded to your message. Hope you’re able to make it!

Also—for anyone else interested—there are still two seats open, so if H.B. does make it for the tour, we’ll still have one open seat. Get in touch with me if you’re interested.

H.B. says that he can’t make it, so there’s still two open seats left for the tour.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: hbelkins on November 21, 2018, 01:58:03 PM
Actually, I'm giving this another look. But don't let that stop anyone else from gobbling up the two remaining seats.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: briantroutman on November 22, 2018, 10:16:16 AM
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

The weather forecast for Sunday has been gradually improving; now it’s expected to be cloudy in the morning with some peeks of sun in the afternoon. The anticipated high temperature has nudged upward to 50°. There’s still a slight chance of a shower at some point (20%), but we should have fairly decent conditions overall.

If you haven’t yet indicated at which stop you plan to join the group, please let me know as soon as possible—preferably before Sunday. If you’re still unsure—or if you find yourself running late—you can send me a text message or call on the morning of the meet, but please give me some kind of indication by 10:30 a.m on Sunday. My phone number is in the email I sent on the 11th, and you can email (mail@briantroutman.com) me if you don’t have it. I will acknowledge/respond to all text messages promptly, so look for a response from me as confirmation that I got your message.

As a reminder, the four join opportunities are:

#1 - 10:30 a.m. - Breakfast/lunch (Bedford Diner - 4292 U.S. 220 Business, Bedford, PA)
#2 - 11:30 a.m. - After breakfast/lunch (Bedford Diner - 4292 U.S. 220 Business, Bedford, PA)
#3 - 12:30 p.m. - Breezewood (Quality Inn - 16621 Lincoln Highway, Breezewood, PA)
#4 - 1:00 p.m. - Cove Valley Service Plaza parking lot (3300 Pump Station Road, Waterfall, PA)

(plus #5 - after-meet dinner, location and time TBD)

I’m looking forward to seeing you all there! Safe travels on your way to the meet.

Actually, I'm giving this another look. But don't let that stop anyone else from gobbling up the two remaining seats.

If it works out—great. Those seats are still open.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: hbelkins on November 22, 2018, 12:12:18 PM
Looks like it's going to work out after all. I got my spot reserved on EventBrite and emailed you with my phone numbers.

I'll most likely be joining you either when you depart Bedford or when you stop at the Quality Inn in Breezewood. Since I plan to stay somewhere a couple of hours out on Saturday (probably the Clarksburg/Fairmont/Morgantown area), I doubt I'll be stirring early enough on Sunday morning to make it for brunch. I want to be off the road before dark, so it's doubtful I'd make it all the way to Bedford or Breezewood Saturday night.

If I have to cancel, I'll let you know, but for now, looks like I'm in.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: jpi on November 22, 2018, 12:13:05 PM
Still keep me posted on the optional dinner option since it could be around 5:30pm somewhere I could still meet up with you all for that ;-)
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: briantroutman on November 22, 2018, 01:18:57 PM
Looks like it's going to work out after all.

Great—looking forward to it!

Still keep me posted on the optional dinner option since it could be around 5:30pm somewhere I could still meet up with you all for that ;-)

No problem! As mentioned, I can text you when we’re wrapping up the Turnpike portion of the tour and discussing dinner options.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: briantroutman on November 23, 2018, 12:38:58 PM
Quick update: I got two sign-ups yesterday, but a cancellation also came in (an elderly couple not on the forums—I think they heard about the event through Jeff Kitsko’s social channels). So we still have two open seats if anyone else is interested in coming. Head over to the event page (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/rayssideling-bypass-50th-anniversary-meet-tickets-52258770389) if you’re interested.

The weather forecast continues to be favorable: Expected high temp has nudged up to 51°, and the chance for showers has dropped to 10%.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: hbelkins on November 23, 2018, 08:45:17 PM
They're giving a less-than-pleasant forecast for tomorrow for the higher elevations of western Maryland. I've pretty much decided to come all the way to Pennsylvania tomorrow (still not sure where I'll overnight, but the goal is to spend two nights in the same room vs. having to check out Sunday morning and then check in Sunday evening in a different place.) So I'm in hopes that the sleet/freezing rain that's been predicted for tomorrow along I-68 will be moved out by the time I'm in that area.

Also trying to figure out where to fill up with gas to avoid Taxsylvania's high prices. Looks like it's running around $2.69 in Cumberland. It's a dime cheaper in some spots along I-79, but my goal would be to not have to get gas again until I'm back in West Virginia on Monday morning. That tank will have to get me to Bedford/Breezewood on Saturday, then on Monday west to Somerset and then south on US 219 back into West Virginia.

Unless I decide to take US 219 north to Somerset on my way there to get that out of the way, then that would give me some latitude for deviation in my route back home. (Possibly US 220 south from Cumberland to check out the extension of WV 93/elimination of WV 972, then over to US 219 to check out Corridor H construction south of Parsons.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: akotchi on November 26, 2018, 09:47:33 AM
A fantastic meet yesterday!  A big thanks to Brian Troutman for setting this one up, especially with the arrangements with SAC.  Everything, including the weather, seemed to go smoothly.

Thanks also to Russell Love for the history lessons regarding the former railroad rights-of-way in the same corridor.

Two questions . . .
At the first field stop (at the old trumpet), did anyone get any shots of the divergence of the abandoned alignment from the existing ramp?  I did not see it until back in the van, and it was too dark by the time I got back there.

Also, did anyone get a shot of any original broken lane lines (pavement markings) along the abandoned alignment?  I saw them from the van but did not think of asking Brian to stop to get a shot.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: briantroutman on November 26, 2018, 03:24:38 PM
First of all, I’d like to thank everyone who turned out and made yesterday’s meet such a success! As it turned out, Sunday was the ideal day to hold the meet, too: We had sun and moderate temperatures—in sharp contrast to the heavy, soaking rains the day before and after.

I’ll be getting the group photo from Oscar later in the day, and when I do, I’ll post it and all of the other photos and documents I showed yesterday to a shared folder on Google Drive. This package will include PDFs of the 2006 and updated 2018 editions of the bike trail master plan. Look for a link to be posted to the thread (and sent out by email) later today.

A number of people both on the forums and elsewhere expressed interest in coming but weren’t able to take time away from work or family engagements, so I may look into the possibility of setting up a repeat of the tour in the spring—after the snow is gone but before foliage and brush obscure the roadway. If you’re interested, let me know so I can keep you updated.

At the first field stop (at the old trumpet), did anyone get any shots of the divergence of the abandoned alignment from the existing ramp? ... Also, did anyone get a shot of any original broken lane lines (pavement markings) along the abandoned alignment?

I brought my camera but didn’t pull it out even once yesterday. Perhaps it’s a result of having been there so many times—plus being more preoccupied with keeping the tour on track. I do have a few photos from a previous trip that may be what you are looking for. There’s this shot (https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4876/45338816824_a6bdf95113_o.jpg) of the old Breezewood off-ramp diverging from the current lanes into Breezewood, then further down, I have this photo (https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4836/45338816604_f4b44d896e_o.jpg) of the old Turnpike mainline as it splits off and this shot (https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4871/45151795735_2c5efefd40_o.jpg) looking beyond the gate at the PTC-owned Abandoned Turnpike mainline behind the former Ramada. Note the line of concrete barriers stacked side-by-side at the left of the photo—they are sitting on the old westbound off-ramp to Breezewood.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: kevinb1994 on November 26, 2018, 03:40:00 PM
First of all, I’d like to thank everyone who turned out and made yesterday’s meet such a success! As it turned out, Sunday was the ideal day to hold the meet, too: We had sun and moderate temperatures—in sharp contrast to the heavy, soaking rains the day before and after.

I’ll be getting the group photo from Oscar later in the day, and when I do, I’ll post it and all of the other photos and documents I showed yesterday to a shared folder on Google Drive. This package will include PDFs of the 2006 and updated 2018 editions of the bike trail master plan. Look for a link to be posted to the thread (and sent out by email) later today.

A number of people both on the forums and elsewhere expressed interest in coming but weren’t able to take time away from work or family engagements, so I may look into the possibility of setting up a repeat of the tour in the spring—after the snow is gone but before foliage and brush obscure the roadway. If you’re interested, let me know so I can keep you updated.

At the first field stop (at the old trumpet), did anyone get any shots of the divergence of the abandoned alignment from the existing ramp? ... Also, did anyone get a shot of any original broken lane lines (pavement markings) along the abandoned alignment?

I brought my camera but didn’t pull it out even once yesterday. Perhaps it’s a result of having been there so many times—plus being more preoccupied with keeping the tour on track. I do have a few photos from a previous trip that may be what you are looking for. There’s this shot (https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4876/45338816824_a6bdf95113_o.jpg) of the old Breezewood off-ramp diverging from the current lanes into Breezewood, then further down, I have this photo (https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4836/45338816604_f4b44d896e_o.jpg) of the old Turnpike mainline as it splits off and this shot (https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4871/45151795735_2c5efefd40_o.jpg) looking beyond the gate at the PTC-owned Abandoned Turnpike mainline behind the former Ramada. Note the line of concrete barriers stacked side-by-side at the left of the photo—they are sitting on the old westbound off-ramp to Breezewood.
We’d be interested in attending provided that the weather cooperates and there isn’t any scheduling conflicts.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: froggie on November 26, 2018, 03:50:24 PM
Regarding akotchi's question, I may have some older photos of what he's looking for from the last time I biked it.  I'll have to look.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: akotchi on November 26, 2018, 05:11:41 PM
Thank you to both.

StreetView is from June of this year, so that is helping to fill in along the current I-70 ramp . . .

I would love to do this tour again -- then I would get the stuff I missed!
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: hbelkins on November 26, 2018, 07:03:09 PM
Yes, I echo the thanks for setting this up. It was certainly an interesting adventure.

Hopefully you can post the meet photo here as well. Looking forward to the Google Drive link.

I'll post my trip recap in the "Road Trips" board.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: PAHighways on November 26, 2018, 09:00:19 PM
I too will add my thanks and tip my cap to Brian on another excellent meet.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: briantroutman on November 28, 2018, 01:07:18 PM
^^ Thanks for the support. I’m glad that you all had an enjoyable time!

Sorry for the delay in getting everything posted. I’ve uploaded the photos I showed during the meet as well as the 1968 Highway Builder article, 1970 Breezewood topo map, bike trail master plans, high-res group photo and some other extras to the shared Google Drive folder at the link below. This is an “unlisted” link, meaning that any of you will be able to view and download the contents without needing to sign in. I’ll leave it online for about a month, but around the first of January, I’ll take it down to clear the space. Let me know if you have any difficulty accessing the files.

Here’s the link: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1n9jLJCiM9EOwNkQtALX9H2Gg6g14Aapo?usp=sharing

Thanks again to Oscar for having the foresight to bring a tripod and for taking the group photo! A high-res version is available in the shared folder above or at this link (https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4909/44274766130_9df9b6c687_o.jpg).

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4909/44274766130_09596137a6_c.jpg)

(L to R): C.P. Zilliacus, Brian Troutman, Al Kotchi, Mike Reed, Mike Pruett, Laura Bianca-Pruett (and future Pruett), Bill Allen, Russell Love, Jeff Kitsko, H.B. Elkins, Oscar Voss
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: hbelkins on January 07, 2019, 11:39:24 AM
I'm finally getting around to posting my photos from the meet, as well as the trip there and back.

Look on my Flickr feed (same user name as here) or on the Millennium Highway Facebook page.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: akotchi on April 02, 2019, 02:16:34 PM
Bumped because this is probably the best place for this . . .

Saw on msn.com today that the abandoned Pa Turnpike section in Breezewood has been deemed the "best summer road trip destination" in Pennsylvania.  Interesting . . .

https://www.msn.com/en-us/travel/tripideas/the-best-summer-road-trip-destination-in-every-state/ss-BBUrva7?li=BBnbklE#image=39
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: Beltway on April 02, 2019, 03:21:13 PM
Bumped because this is probably the best place for this . . .
Saw on msn.com today that the abandoned Pa Turnpike section in Breezewood has been deemed the "best summer road trip destination" in Pennsylvania.  Interesting . . .

Isn't it officially closed to the public?
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: Alps on April 02, 2019, 03:42:02 PM
Bumped because this is probably the best place for this . . .

Saw on msn.com today that the abandoned Pa Turnpike section in Breezewood has been deemed the "best summer road trip destination" in Pennsylvania.  Interesting . . .

https://www.msn.com/en-us/travel/tripideas/the-best-summer-road-trip-destination-in-every-state/ss-BBUrva7?li=BBnbklE#image=39
Yeah, Pennsylvania sucks.
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: Beltway on April 02, 2019, 04:46:42 PM
Bumped because this is probably the best place for this . . .
Saw on msn.com today that the abandoned Pa Turnpike section in Breezewood has been deemed the "best summer road trip destination" in Pennsylvania.  Interesting . . .
https://www.msn.com/en-us/travel/tripideas/the-best-summer-road-trip-destination-in-every-state/ss-BBUrva7?li=BBnbklE#image=39
Yeah, Pennsylvania sucks.

Was the article even being serious?  How about something like Lancaster County or many various points along the Susquehanna River?
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: akotchi on April 02, 2019, 05:21:07 PM
^ The article, from Popular Mechanics, is nothing more than a slide show of 50 (or 51) photos of the "best" destination from each state.  Looking at some of the other entries, I would have thought it were serious . . .

Considering I am originally from Lancaster County, I would be biased in agreeing with you on your alternate choices . . .
Title: Re: PA Turnpike - Rays/Sideling Bypass 50th Anniversary
Post by: cpzilliacus on April 30, 2019, 01:16:27 PM
^ The article, from Popular Mechanics, is nothing more than a slide show of 50 (or 51) photos of the "best" destination from each state.  Looking at some of the other entries, I would have thought it were serious . . .

Considering I am originally from Lancaster County, I would be biased in agreeing with you on your alternate choices . . .

Well, Lancaster County does have the Goat Path!  :-)