Pennsylvania Stats!

Through PennsylvaniaI made it across Pennsylvania! It was something I thought about for over a year and now I’m done with it. It was quite a challenge, but with a lot of help, I finally figured it out. PA was a state of contrasts. Generally everyone we met was helpful and good to us and interested in what we were doing. However, it is the first state where we were refused water (GoGo Gas station right inside the line from WV), and a place to spend the night (Frackville post of the PA State Police). Mostly it was a great experience. SR 45 from Altoona to Mifflinberg is a great highway to walk or drive. It was a three-week period that is now behind me and I’m glad I don’t have to walk back through the state going the other direction.

Here are the stats on my walk through Pennsylvania:

  • Miles Walked: 340
  • Average Miles per Day: 17
  • Total Miles Walked: 3,103
  • % of Walk Completed: 97%
  • Days Walked: 20
  • Days Off: 3
  • Money Found: $9.44
  • Average Money Found per Day: $0.47
  • Average Money Found per Mile: $0.03
  • Counties Walked Through: 14 (Washington, Allegheny, Westmoreland, Indiana, Cambria, Blair, Mifflin, Centre, Union, Northumberland, Columbia, Schuylkill, Lehigh and Northhampton)
  • State Highways: 9
  • US Highways: 2
  • County Roads: 6
  • Major Bridges Crossed: 2.5 (Monongahela, Susquehanna, half of Delaware)
  • Most Unusual Find: Fire extinguisher (one of those big clunky kinds you see hanging on walls of old buildings)

Day 204: One More Day in PA

dscf4508As the title suggests, I believe tomorrow I will end the day in another state – New Jersey. I believe we are that close and if I miss it, it won’t be by much. We had a good day of walking today and are currently in Bath, PA. I have found another short cut on my map and will check it out with locals tomorrow morning. If it is a viable route, it should save me another couple of miles. It is very similar to the Snake Road shortcut out of Mount Carmel that I took last Sunday morning.

Not a lot happened today. It was a bitter cold day with a biting wind and I wore my toboggan and hood on my sweatshirt almost all day. The ‘money found’ took a bit of a hit today, but what do you expect? Today all those round spots on the road were chewing gum or washers, where yesterday they were coins. There was a lot of loose corn on the road today too and that didn’t help. Now I know what you’re thinking and yes I know the difference between a kernel of corn and a penny – the corn is worth more.

Barn Cut Thru for RoadI didn’t take too many pictures today (too cold), but the one showing the barn with the white truck is interesting. The driver of the truck said the road was put through in 1937 and when they did, they tore down half of the barn. As far as he knew, the barn had never been hit, but I find that hard to believe. That corner was in pretty good shape though, but it would not surprise me if it has been rebuilt a time or two.  The other picture was taken last night where we spent our dinner break.

Tomorrow it on toward Easton and then the Delaware River. We are going to try to get to Hwy 57 in NJ. The route we are taking in NJ is Hwy 57 up to where it connects with US 46. We take US 46 all the way to the GW Bridge. Simple, and it keeps me from walking through Newark.

Miles Covered: 18
Total Miles: 3,089.25
Money Found: $0.47
Total Found: $86.06

Day 203: Mountains are Behind Me (I think!)

Last of the MountainsToday might just have been an important day, but I won’t know for sure until tomorrow, and then maybe not until I get into NJ. I think I walked up and over my last mountain on the whole walk. Now if that’s true, wouldn’t that be a hoot? I vividly remember coming out of the Rockies just north of Ft. Collins and looking back at the jagged peaks behind me, then looking in front of me at the flat prairie ahead. This was not quite as awe striking, but it ranks right up there as far as accomplishments go. I took a picture of the mountain, and the second picture is the hill which I had walked to take the picture of the mountain (got that?). The third picture is a neat little paved road that Valda took – no significance, just neat.

PA Hill to Take Mountain PicWe are currently in Pleasant Corners, PA, a small town on Route 309 just about 35-40 miles west of the NJ state line at Easton, PA. We are hoping to be in NJ on Thursday evening, but who knows. I tried to figure my schedule last week and got off the first day and then it compounded daily as I didn’t hit 18 miles. So, I’ll get to Jersey when I get to Jersey. We plan to walk Wednesday and Thursday this week and take Friday and Saturday off, but that isn’t etched in stone either. A lot depends on the next two days.

dscf4504Today started off cold, but sunny and quickly went downhill from there. Within about fifteen minutes of taking off, it started raining and did so for the next 2 hours. Not a hard rain, but a cold sprinkle. It was very uncomfortable, but I need to get somewhere and I don’t have the luxury of sitting it out. We managed to get in 17.5 miles today and that wasn’t too bad considering the day. Tomorrow we head toward a small town named Egypt and then Bath. I don’t think we will make Bath, but we should get really close.

Another good day in the ‘money found’ department. Valda found a laundromat in a small town and now I have some clean clothes. That’s always nice. I think we are under ten days walking. Let’s hope so.

Miles Covered: 17.5
Total Miles: 3,071.25
Money Found: $2.30
Total Found: $85.59

Day 202: Heading Down Hometown Hill

dscf4480We got to Hometown, PA this afternoon and I had a choice to make. Head northeast on Hwy 54 and eventually have to deal with a 6 mile stretch of limited access highway, or turn south on Hwy 309 and have a four lane (so I was told) to walk on. I chose the four lane and immediately started down an 8% grade for about a mile or so. Now this type of walking isn’t as easy as it sounds. Every joint in the knees hurts, you’ve got to really watch your step (don’t want to stumble out into the traffic, or roll down the hill), and you have to watch starting to go so fast that people will confuse you with one of those runners. I got through the downhill and entered the rather large town of Tamaqua, a town that desperately needs bypass surgery. The highway splits into two one-way streets and they aren’t any bigger than a minute. Here are all these big rigs snaking their way through the narrow streets in this town where the houses are built about 5′ from the street curb. Crazy. But, we got through that and finally made our way out of town on the south side and picked up the four lane again.

dscf4476Now, I started walking after dinner and it was about 5:30. The sun hadn’t set but it was behind the large mountain to our west, so it was getting pretty dark. I walked about a mile and was just about to call it a day when I stumbled on a 12′ wide shoulder. I couldn’t believe it. I got all the way over to my left and walked another thirty minutes and ended up with 18 for the day. I could have walked till midnight.

The ‘money found’ improved today also. For some reason (economy maybe?) I lately haven’t been able to find as much money on the road as I thought I would. Today was different. As Valda said, we had a banner day: good weather, 18 miles, and a bunch of roadside change. I hope tomorrow is just like today, I should be about three more days in PA and then I’m going to cross the Delaware like old George did a couple of hundred years ago. Think someone will paint a picture of me?

The bottom picture shows another typical ‘coal town’.  The top picture shows one of those mountains of coal I blogged about yesterday.  Makes you wonder what kind of nourishment the trees get from the coal.

Miles Covered: 18
Total Miles: 3053.75
Money Found: $1.81
Total Found: $83.29

Day 201: Coal Country, PA

Day Off in PAWe’ve stopped for the night about 2 miles east of Frackville and are heading toward Hwy 54 just east of Mahanoy City. We will then head toward Hometown and points east. This morning I started out in Mt. Carmel and took a windy mountain road named Snake Road. The only life on that road this morning besides myself was a bunch of wild turkeys. They were all over the place. Valda tried to get a picture of them, but they wouldn’t strike the pose. When I got over the mountain, I arrived at Ashland and looked back at a sign that said Mt. Carmel was 6 miles, on Hwy 61. The mountain road was only 3 miles and thus saved me 3 miles of walking. I like that. 😀

New Jersey is in sight, and we may have another route change. I’ll keep you posted.

Miles Covered: 13.5
Total Miles: 3,035.75
Money Found: $0.01
Total Found: $81.48

Day 200: Day Off

Val Hammersley Enjoying Day OffWe spent today at the Locust Lake State Park near Mahanoy City and I want to thank Jamey, Deb, and camp host Mike for their generous help in making our stay pleasurable. Also, thanks again to Jamey for her donation to Gateway and kind words in a blog comment. We won’t forget it and it was much appreciated!Visit By Old Friends

 

 

We were visited by long time friends, Cammie and son Chris who live about 30 miles north of the park. We hadn’t seen them since 1983. The top picture shows Valda enjoying her day off.

Day 199: Coal Country

Coal Town PAFor the last two or three days, I’ve been walking through coal country here in eastern Pennsylvania. As you walk along, sometimes you can see whole mountains being stripped of the black coal it holds. There are small pieces of coal all over the roads, probably having fallen off some of those dump trucks I see all over the place. Most of the towns I walk through are old ‘coal company towns’ with the highway being the main street and row houses lining the street on both sides from one end of the town to the other. The houses used to be ‘company housing’ for the miners and have evolved to what they are today. Sometimes whole blocks are individual homes or business that are all joined together giving it the appearance of one long building. The towns are usually situated on hills and those hills probably hold more coal.

Miles Covered: 13
Total Miles: 3,022.25
Money Found: $0.40
Total Found: $81.47