Saturday, July 2, 2011

Off The Beaten Path

We were late getting on the road for day three of our cross country adventure, so we did not have any clear idea of how far we would get, and did not have a campground in mind. On the last trip we found that the State Welcome Centres were usually a good source of information, and one was announced as we crossed the border into Pennsylvania. A study of the state campground directory gave us many options, but we were tired so chose a couple of close ones.

Pennsylvania Rural Road
The instructions all indicated they were close to route 611, so we headed in that direction. Route 611 turned out to be a rather minor state road – certainly not a “highway”. It was narrow and very twisty. In the first couple of miles we twisted back over and under the Interstate we came in on three times, and the road wound in and around many picturesque Pennsylvanian communities with beautiful country homes. The road was narrow enough that I asked everyone else to be on the look-out for the campgrounds so I could concentrate on keeping the trailer between the yellow rumble strips in the centre of the road and the stone walls or mountain sides on the other. The constant “No Passing” signs gave a clear indication of the condition of the road. I pulled over at one point to allow traffic to pass me, although the 35 MPH speed limit was not hard to maintain.
Campground Road

Just when I was starting to enjoy this scenic route the GPS announced I had to “Turn in 800 meters” onto “Sleepy Hollow Rd” or something similar, and the road narrowed. It was now “two lane blacktop” with no lines, no ditches and no extra room. I slowed and pulled over so the tree branches were brushing the trailer on the side when the pickup truck came towards me, and I did the same when a few other local cars wanted to share the road with me. I was a bit taken back however when the 18 wheeler tractor trailer suddenly appeared bearing down on me, but we both slowed and pushed onto the sides which allowed us to pass, A quick look in the mirror showed the road littered with leaves and small tree branches ripped from local vegetation as we passed.

The “Detour” was unexpected, but the “Bridge Out” sign showed it was necessary, and the road narrowed again, and we added another four minutes to our expected arrival time as calculated by the GPS. The two narrow bridges we crossed on the detour gave some indication why the other bridge was out, being rebuilt.
Beaver Valley Campground

Finally back on the “main road” we were asked to turn twice more onto even narrower roads. On one of the narrowest, a little one lane road with pavement crumbling away into the lush vegetation on either side, the sign announcing a “One Lane Bridge” was a shock. Did someone actually consider this a “two lane” road, and if it was, how narrow was the bridge going to be? Fortunately we made it across the bridge, and the road led to a much better road and on into a very pleasant campground, The Beaver Valley Family Campground, where we spent a relaxing night.

When the girl at the check in office asked how we got to the campground, and was told that our GPS got us here, she handed us a nice little printout showing us how to get easily back on the main roads, “Here, use this when you leave,” she announced with a smile, “No GPS can find the best way around rural Pennsylvania, you need local advice.”

No comments:

Post a Comment