Sunday, February 22, 2009

My First Road Meet

I've told you several times that I accept my love of America's roads, and my interest in taking pictures of signs as being unique. I've also long said that I'll accept your interesting hobbies if you'll accept mine.

In other words, I'll see your Magic the Gathering and raise you an Interstate 95.

Finally, after years of saying that I wanted to attend a meeting of fellow "road enthusiasts" I made it to my first road meet yesterday. It was an easy trip to me - essentially NY 52 to Ludingtonville Road to Interstate 84 to US 6 in Milford, PA. That's it - four basic moves, 76 miles, and just under one hour of driving. I soon stood in the parking lot of the Apple Valley Restaurant meeting my new friends for the first time. That's what it felt like - a very accepting group of men (and one child) all there to talk about roads, work, things, whatever.

It was a perfect driving day. Sunny an chilly, with wide open roads and good tunes.

A quick note about the restaurant. Wonderful. That will do. Basic Americana, with a large variety. I'll go back.

We settled into five cars after lunch for our trip that would stretch as far as Narrowsburg, New York. I would ride with Bob and his son Peter (soon to be eight, which made me think that a certain little boy might one day join me). Our first stop (after a false start in Matamoras, Pa) was at the Tri-States Monument. This is familiar territory, and the last time I was there, a few things were different. All hell broke loose just after. That day, Sean stood on the top of the monument (in which, theoretically, you're in all three states, but that's really honorary). This time, I did the honors.

Word is the real tri-state border is in the Delaware River. Whatever. Works for me.

Next up was the drive from Port Jervis up NY 97 (and it's unnecessary concurrency with NY 42) through the gorgeous Hawks Nest area to Pond Eddy. This is a town that consists of an abandoned motel, restaurant, and not much else. Except for a one-lane bridge to Pond Eddy, Pennsylvania.

So what, you say? Well to a road enthusiast, it's cool to walk a bridge that serves as the only way in and out of a town. What sits across the water are dead end streets. Plus I read that the powers-that-be would like to replace the bridge.

Adam Moss served as our leader/tour guide. As such, he set the agenda. Truth is, I had just driven all of this back in December when I did New York route 52 from end to end. Still I hadn't done it with these people, and not to this detail.

Plus it was much warmer.

Back to our route, we gathered for the traditional group photo on the Pond Eddy Bridge.

Adam Moss, Bob Mortell and Peter Mortell, me, Doug Kerr (kneeling), Dylan Lainhart, HB Elkins, Mike Tantillo, and Oscar Voss. Adam's father is photographer. Since the bridge is maintained by Penn DOT, and I'm not entirely sure which state we're in, I'll credit this to PA. Photo courtesy of Adam Moss.

Incidentally, all of my photos are on my Flickr site. Adam Moss also shot a bunch of photos. They're here. Lastly, Doug Kerr, who was telling me that he has shot roughly 20,000 road photos, has his shots from our meet here. HB Elkins said he will also have some photos up in a few days as well. I'll add more if there's more to say.

Next up was Barryville, NY. This small hamlet connects with Shohola, PA via a bridge but to me, it's the end of NY 55.

Fifty-five. You don't need to be hit over the head to get significance, do you? (For those of you who are new...look at the name of the blog)

We walked the bridge, and I got some more snaps of that...ahem...number.

New York route 55 will hopefully be my next end-to-end trip. It begins here at the PA border (or just a few feet short, depending on your take) and stretches clear across into Connecticut.

We moved on, next stopping very briefly at Minisink Battle Ground Road, which is signed as Sullivan County Route 168. It's very short, and we returned quickly to NY 97 and our next stop - the Roebling Bridge.

Our next stop was in Narrowsburg, significant for a few reasons, including being the termination of an old US route - US 106, which was decommissioned in 1972.

Of significance to me is that Narrowsburg is connected to NY Route 52. It is the western terminus of the state highway that begins near my current front door in the county seat of Putnam County. That was why I wanted to drive 52 from beginning to end - which I did back in December.

I'll get those pictures up eventually.

Anywho, back to our final stop - the Narrowsburg-Darbyville Bridge. This is where we also said goodbye to Doug, HB, and Dylan Lainhart. The rest of us made the trip back to Milford. There we called it a day around 5:30. For me, I finished up with a few more pictures around Milford before daylight was gone. Then I picked up some hot dog rolls at the Wal-Mart in Matamoras and made the drive back to Carmel. I was home by 7:30.

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