Conneaut Knoebels Ride

I took a few days before a family trip to Knoebels to ride across PA and hit my other favorite little amusement park, Conneaut Lake. Got an early start on Thursday and was on the road about 8:15am. The theme of the morning get-to-the-good-stuff part of the ride would turn out to be trucks, truck, and even more trucks. If it wasn't slow pickup trucks it was belching tractor trailers, but none were as much fun as the dump truck on 41 showering me with mulch. Stopped at the Gap WaWa to gas up and clean up.

897 was fun as always, except when one side of my new smoked visor popped off on one side. Got off route a little bit after that until Gold Mine Road which was in terrific shape and a fun, if short, ride. A few miles later I'm at what I was expecting to be the highlight of the day, PA 125, but I was disappointed to see signs for "Fresh Oil" right at the start. Sure enough, the lower section of 125 was in terrible shape. Best part were all the super-fresh hot slimy tar snakes that they were laying down a few miles further up the road. Fortunately the upper section closer to Shamokin was in great shape.


Heading up 41, this train inched across the road, stopped, then inched backwards.

Let the fun begin


PA 897

Some great banked curves on 897

My favorite section of PA 897

Gold Mine Road has some serious elevation changes

PA 125 can be the best road in northeast PA. Today, not so much.

Fisheye view of one of the hairpins on PA 125

PA 125

It was a little past lunchtime when I finished up 125, and being so close to Knoebels - and Cesari's Pizza (consistently voted Best Park Pizza) - that I figured my trip could make room for a short stop. Grabbed a couple slices and a front seat ride on the Phoenix before heading to points west.

My favorite park

I've got the golden ticket...

Heading up my favorite roller coaster in the world

Country roads up to a short blast on I-80, then 880 up through Ravensburg State Park to Jersey Shore to pick up 220, then a nice ride along the river on 120. Can't pass by a look from Hyner View - I swear one day I will get up there when the weather is clear and the sun is in the right direction for a good photo! Continued west on my favorite part of 120, a thin slice of road that runs between the rocks and the river. Nothing technical, just a scenic curvy ride.

120 led me to the highlight of the day - Wyckoff Run Road. Done it many times on STN Burger Runs, and it never disappoints. Zero traffic made it extra fun this time. I wish there were more (or any?) places to pull over and get some photos on Wyckoff, but there really isn't a place I felt safe enough. I forgot how long and desolate the Quehanna highway is from Wyckoff down to Clearfield and I-80. Not wanting to tak I-80 to my hotel in Dubois, I make a southerly loop on 879 and 219 - plus a little GPS-suggested crazy little gravel road. The old Days Inn in Clearfield, home base for many a Burger Run, is now a Red Roof Inn.

Cool country road connecting 487 and 42

120 on the way to Hyner

Hyner View Rd - always a favorite

The added elevation provided some escape from the heat of the day

The view

My favorite section of 120

The massive Shawville generating station was recently converted from coal-fired to running on natural gas

GPS decided to take me off 219 and onto this through-the-woods connector to save me probably around 30 seconds off my route

377 miles for the day. Tomorrow will be more relaxed, lots of time to cover not a lot of ground.

Friday - Dubois to Meadville

Overcast most of the day, some clounds, some sun, a few sprinkles - and a whole lot cooler than yesterday. Started on 219 south, and a road I wanted to take west from there was closed so ended up staying on it for a lot longer than planned. Finding gas was proving more difficult than expected and I finally came across a noname country store with pumps some 10 miles into reserve. No great roads were found south of I-80 today - 219 was pleasant enough, then 580, 403, 119 and 36 back up to I-80.

PA 219

North of I-80 I connected with PA 968 which was tedious as it wound past houses and farms with crappy pavement and 90-degree bends. 968 turned into 949, and that was a whole lot more fun. After Ridgway it was 948 to 66 to 36 to Titusville where I picked up PA 27, the highlight of the day. That was a curvy, empty, well-paved bit of goodness all the way to Meadville. Checked in to the hotel, got a crazy room upgrade for a Holiday Inn Express, and unloaded the bike some so I had room in the cases to store my gear while at my main destination for the evening, Conneaut Lake Park.

PA 949

PA 27, Titusville to Meadville

Found this guy wedged in my chin vent of my helmet


If you ever find yourself in western PA with some time to kill, stop by Conneaut Lake Park for a bit. It a 100+ year old amusement park that has fallen on hard times in the last several decades and is always on the verge of bankruptcy. While the park has certainly seen better days, it still retains the charm of an old-time park. It's also home to the Blue Streak wooden roller coaster, an ACE Roller Coaster Landmark. The Blue Streak could certainly use some TLC, but it always delivers a fun, it at times brutal, ride.

I paid my $10 for a ride-all-day wristband and set about riding the Blue Streak for a few hours. Eventually weather started moving in and I had to make a beeline back to the hotel, spending a few minutes in rain before getting ahead of the system. 5 minutes after parking at the hotel the skies opened up and it rained steadily for the rest of the night and overnight. I was not looking forward to an all-day rain ride across PA tomorrow.


The Blue Streak

What a beautiful ride

Deeply wooded for most of its run

No place I'd rather be

Oh, that's not looking too good

I think it's time to scoot

Angry Skies

Shelter under the hotel portico

I think this must be the Presidential Suite of the Holiday Inn Express


Saturday - Meadville to Bloomsburg

Yesterday the weather forecast for today was biblical - pounding rain all day, severe thunderstorms, gusty winds, etc. So you can imagine how happy I was to look outside to just gray skies and no rain. Packed up quick and hit the road early to make hay while the sun (almost) shines. The plan today was to meet up wtih Dave for lunch in Coudersport, then connect with the family in Bloomsburg for an evening in Knoebels. Backtracked on yesterday's wonderful 27 to Titusville, and continued on 27 until it connected with 6 near Pittsfield Twp. Split off on 59 which was a fantastic road that took me over Kinzua Dam. Surprise road of the day. 359, 219, 346 and 446 took me to 155, where the road was closed and I had to make a 20-minute detour to get back on track on 6. Stayed on 6 all the way to Coudersport, which was getting torn up with construction.

That looks WAY better than expected

Somewhere on 27 the sun even came out


Had a good lunch at Fezz's diner and handed off my old Nikon D300 setup to Dave for an upcoming epic trip he's going on. 15 minutes of 'press this, turn that' guidance in the parking lot and the skies started really looking evil. Dave had no plans for the day so he joined me for a ride down 44. We didn't get any rain, but the roads were wet and any vehicles in front us kept us doused in spray. 44 would have been fantastic in the dry, such a great long isolated bit of twistiness!


Look at that sky - time to get moving!

On my advice Dave peeled of at 414 to head back north and I continued through Jersey Shore and 880 back to I-80, passing Smoker (Shane) along the way. Got some rain on the interstate, but it was a short quick blast to Bloomsburg so I didn't mind too much.

The next couple days would be spent with family, then on Monday afternoon I'll be meandering back home on some favorite familiar roads.


Dave and I on 44

Always cracks me up

I had planned for a better route today, including 414 and 287, but the weather was not going to cooperate

Monday - Bloomsburg to Home

Enjoyed a great morning at Knoebels before taking off for a relaxed ride back home. Not much to write up - 487/61/73 and some unnamed roads down through French Creek State Park, then Marsh Creek State Park. Refuel/recharge at the Boot Rd Wawa, through the "little bit of the Alps in PA" tunnel on Valley Creek Rd, down Creek Rd, over Smiths Bridge, and then the usual suspects back into NJ and home. Final stop at tasty Creamy Valley Custard in Woodstown was a great capper to the trip.

French Creek State Park

Little slice of the Alps in PA

Smiths Bridge

Some of the better riding in that litle corner of Delaware


Just over 1100 miles total, a great few days on the road