So today I went on an impromptu road trip. Earl is out of town with Jamie and Scott is out of town doing his thing and it was such a beautiful day I decided that I needed to go drive some back roads. I headed towards the western Catskills. The reason for this direction was simple; I had heard that the last traffic light on NY Route 17, the Quickway and the Southern Tier Expressway which goes from near New York City to the Pa. border near Erie, Pa., had been removed. I wanted to see what they had done to remove the last light, which was at exit 98 (Parksville/Cooley). I confirmed that the light has been removed by way of relocating the roadway to the southern side of the lighted intersection, resulting in a nifty bypass that goes up over the mountain. Exit 98 is now just marked Parksville.
Getting to this intersection was an adventure. As I’ve mentioned before, I enjoy riding over the back roads, especially roads that have been replaced by expressways. New York State has recently marked several “Scenic Byways”, one of them being Scenic Byway Route 20. Route 20 crosses the state at it’s midsection (part of US Route 20 that goes from Boston to the west coast) and I was delighted to see that they had posted “Scenic Byway ALT Route 20”, which follows the original Route 20 before they made parts of it four-lane in the 50s.
I didn’t even know that existed!
Back when I was a kid my dad would take us for Sunday drives and try to get me lost. 95% of the time I knew where we were and could get us home. Today I tried to get myself lost by just randomly turning at roads that were not marked as a dead end. I finally found myself in the isolated village of Walton. From there I made my way down to the aforementioned Route 17, checked out the bypass and then headed westward, following the original alignment of Route 17 (which isn’t really marked that well) all the way to Binghamton. I just started my second tank of gas for the trip and have stopped at Panera for a bite to eat before heading home. I’m still trying to figure out which way I’m going to go to get home, because I know the roads between Binghamton and home pretty well, but I don’t think I want to approach it randomly and find myself in the middle of nowhere at midnight.
One thing about riding the back roads (and some dirt roads in the process) is that the gas mileage in the Jeep is fantastic. Highway driving actually kills the gas mileage of my beloved Rubicon, it’s a good thing that I have such an affinity for the back roads.