Sunday, April 5, 2009

But the GPS Called It a Highway!

Last weekend when I took off on the bike to try to revisit a road I'd taken in the past but ended up running a different road to its terminus before heading back, I was intrigued by a dirt road turning quickly out of sight and running parallel to both the Susquehanna River and a set of railroad tracks. I checked Map Source, the map software that came with my Garmin unit when I got back here to the desk, and confirmed my suspicions. Somehow that little patch of dirt road should lead to "Highway 3005" which runs alongside the river and leads all the way north to a bridge that crosses the Susquehanna to Route 92 with which I'm quite familiar. I'm wary of running the BV on gravel so the next day I took off in the car to see how far I'd need to run over the dirt road before I could connect with the highway. I figured I'd do the trailblazing with the Neon and then come back with the scooter when I knew where I'd be going.

By this view from Google Maps, there's Highway 3005 to the right of the river.

I arrived back at the mouth of the dirt road once more, scratching my head and wondering why the municipal powers that be wouldn't have bothered to make the access road to the highway a little more pleasant to travel. I suspected it was one of those squabbles between the town council and the state in which neither wanted to claim the responsibility of maintaining a small stretch for whatever reason. I got onto the dirt road and bounced around the bend to discover this sight before me...

Surely the highway would have to start just beyond that next turn I believed. After all, the dirt road itself wouldn't be labeled as a highway on a reputable map, right? Besides, it was too late to turn around now, even if I was starting to get a little suspicious, because there was nowhere to turn the car around and neither was there enough room for another car if one should come at me from the opposite direction.

A mile later and I was still looking at a bumpy, single lane, dirt road but by then I started getting the willies imagining a pickup truck coming at me from the opposite direction complete with shotguns in the rack behind the driver's head and a passenger as frightening looking as the driver. I could see myself coming nose to nose with said pickup, getting out of the car with both good old boys getting out of the truck, and in the back of my mind I could almost hear the banjo starting up. "Well, where do you think you're going?" would be all one of them would have to say before I'd scramble back to the car, lock the door, and then discover that I have no cell service. I kept driving, about 17 mph by the GPS record fearing that I'd break an axle on one of the ruts if I went any faster.

The road widened a little, but not before the whole scene got nightmarishly surreal with tires perched on old telegraph poles not unlike some big, black carrion feeders that might go for one's eyes first without waiting for one to be respectably deceased. Either somebody hauled a ladder down there to create the disturbing view or the tires were tossed up there repeatedly before coming to rest on their respective crossbeams. Either way, I don't think I'd want to have met up with whomever did the decorating.

Although it had felt like I'd spent about an hour and traveled 20 miles along that dirt path referred to as "Highway 3005," by the GPS track the gravely, bumpy, rutted part was only three miles long before pavement began with no rhyme nor reason accounting for why, from that point on, it was a maintained road.

I don't suppose I'll be making any hard and fast travel plans with the scooter over roads not traveled with the car first. If I do, I'll be sure to leave an electronic trail of crumbs, at least, so I can sheepishly arrive back where I started by retracing my route.

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