I’ve mentioned in the past that I am a big road geek. I’ve always been fascinated by maps and roads, especially the interstate system. I’ve recently started studying to become a real traffic engineer, making my life long interest into my “final” career.
When I started out on my long trip yesterday, I had intended to drive down into Virginia and spend some time in *Pulaski, Va., since I had grown up near *Pulaski, N.Y. and I had always been curious as to what Pulaski, Va. was like. Due to traffic conditions and whatnot, I wouldn’t really have made it down there in time to do anything but drive through, wave a bit and then head back home along Interstate 81, with my expected arrival to be Sunday night around 8 p.m.
I must be getting old.
So when I got up this morning, I decided that I would take a different route and drive the entire length of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Earl and I have traveled on various portions of the “Nation’s First Superhighway”, especially the eastern end since his family lives just off the last exit of the turnpike, but I had never driven all the way to the western end where it crosses into Ohio and becomes the Ohio Turnpike. As a road geek and aspiring traffic engineer, I’ve always been quite fascinated by this road because a good share of it’s original design from the late 1930s is still in place and in use today.
So I drove from Carlisle, Pa. to the Ohio line (and beyond) along the Pennsylvania Turnpike today. And while it’s “just a road” to most, it’s a creation of civil engineering beauty to me. It’s very fun to drive in that there’s a lot of scenery, especially this time of year with the autumn colors painting the mountains, plus there’s curves and hills and straightaways and everything that makes driving the RSX on this roadway fun. Plus it has tunnels!
One of the things I especially like about the Turnpike is that it was built, for the most part, along an old railroad bed. So unlike it’s northern counterpart, the New York State Thruway, it passes close to civilization rather that far away from it. There’s things to see along the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
I was in road geek heaven today. The Pennsylvania Turnpike is officially my “favorite road”.
Here’s a very detailed history of the roadway, courtesy of fellow road geek Jeff Kitsko.
Here’s my blog entry from last year (complete with photos), from when I visited an abandoned portion of the original Turnpike (including an abandoned tunnel) near Breezewood, Pa.
And here’s the official site of The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.
* The “ski” in Pulaski, Va. is like pronounced like a ski slope, and the “ski” in Pulaski, N.Y. is pronounced like the clear blue sky. Pulaski, N.Y. is the only one that does the odd pronounciation.