As indicated yesterday I was out on “special assignment.” This is a little different than just road tripping, and it usually means I went somewhere to do some investigating. My destination this time was a location I’ve visited before: the Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike, just east of Breezewood, PA, and a place I blogged about almost two years ago in my post On The Road to Nowhere. That time I went alone, but this time I was with a friend.
I’ve wanted to return here for a while, but my determination returned when I discovered my newest friend, Holly–a women who works in the same division as me and who is new to the Harrisburg area–wanted to see this place she’d never heard of until I’d spoken. So . . . road trip? Of course. We left The Burg about seven AM and zoomed westward to Breezewood, where breakfast was the first order of the day–
That last was a running joke we had all during our expedition, that somewhere along the line a serial killer was gonna jump us and leave our bodies on the turnpike. And, truly, we were the only ones there at first: when we finally arrived at our first stop, we were the only ones around for miles.
It was quiet save for the sound of bugs and birds, and if you don’t believe me–well, this time I did something I hadn’t the last time: I shot video. I put on my Hodgepodge Groupie tee shirt and brought my big tripod–I figured a way to bungie it to my backpack so it wouldn’t slide around–and it was time to get on camera and let you see what we were seeing:
As you can hear, it was quiet. And you can also tell, I hope, that we were having a bit of morbid fun. I should also point out that I incorrectly said that Laurel Hill Tunnel is being used by Bobby Rahil Racing: it’s actually used by Chip Ganassi Racing. My mistake.
After this it was back in the car and up to the west portal of Sideling Hill tunnel. If you wondered what it used to look like, here it was during construction:
And how it looked when it was in use in the 1950s:
Today, however, it’s a far different deal, given that it’s been left to the environment and elements for almost forty years.
Here I shot another video, and it’s a bit more creepy, because of things like dripping water, echo, and no one else being around for miles. No, really: we were the only ones in the area, and would be for at least another half-hour.
As you can see, and hear, we were staying upbeat, and we were actually joking about a lot. It was also a lot cooler in the shade where we were standing: by this time, about ten AM, it was already 90 F/32 C outside.
And all that kidding around about going inside the tunnel–yep, we did go inside. And not just like fifty feet or so: we went inside–deep under the mountain.
Eventually we reached a point far enough inside that it was totally creepy dark and dry–and still completely alone. And this is where I shot the last video. And if you don’t like dark spaces, or you get claustrophobic imagining being inside a mountain with tons of rock surrounding you, do not watch this next video. It wasn’t bad for us, but then, we were there in the first place, so how could it be bad?
As indicated at the end of the video, people finally started showing: it was two couples on bikes riding in from the west. As they biked past the comments on how they wondered why we were moving so slow. Well, because we’re on foot? Yeah, something like that.
Before we left the deep interior of Sideling Hill–if you didn’t watch the video, we walked about fifteen hundred feet, or about four hundred fifty meters inside–we caught a couple of selfies:
And we did a group shot once we were back in the sunlight–
And Holly does her happy dance as we return to the car:
I should point out that we tried to make our way over to Ray’s Hill Tunnel, but the only area with close access also seemed to be protected but paranoid hillbillies who may or may not have been up to nefarious things, and the feeling was we should just get the hell out and come back to the other tunnel when it was cooler and we could stand a mile and a half walk.
On the way back to The Burg we stopped at Sideling Hill service plaza and changed into more comfortable clothes–aka skirts and jumpers–and sped back home to grab lunch before we began hangry–hungry and angry. There we dined on pretty fine Italian food, and grabbed another picture together because why not?
There we are: another successful adventure, and one shared with another person who said she enjoyed herself immensely.
Now . . . what can I do next?