I have made it back to Pittsburgh again, let’s night’s snowstorm was much more manageable to drive through, but the weekly exercise of driving hundreds of miles in pounding snow is wearing thin. The commute itself has become a breeze, when there’s no snow or ice to contend with, I just put it on cruise control and enjoy the radio through my phone apps. I’ve broken the trip down into 5 legs, which makes it easy to digest. If you’re coming from Philadelphia, this is how it breaks down:
1. Escape from Philadelphia. It truly feels like you’re escaping, the traffic, the weaving in and out, the behaviors of fellow drivers is certainly more combative. You’re escape is complete once you hit exits for Reading.
2. Blue Mountains & Tunnels. Continuing on 76 West, past Hershey, and Gettysburg, right after passing the Shippensburg exit, you enter a portion of the road which gets pretty curvy (as turnpikes go) and then you drive through 2 long tunnels cutting through mountains. It’s a beautiful portion of the Pennsylvania with the Blue Mountains all over the horizon.
3. Speed Traps & Mobile Homes. This section of the trip takes you to Altoona. There are a couple sections where the road climbs up to magnificent heights, you look out the passenger side window and see towns sprawled out way below you. Then the grade declines and you’re now coasting down the open road on a 4 lane highway with no cars around you, you’re more than halfway there and you’re foot gets a little heavy with the downhill momentum. Halfway down the hill on the right is a giant carved out area for police officers to bust people going beyond the speed limit on a giant open downhill road that’s as straight as an arrow. You push on looking for the beacon of Altoona.
4. Let’s get off 76 West! You’re final leg of the trip on 76 West takes you pass two places I’m anxious to see. The first is Johnstown, PA where the legendary flood occurred. The second is the Flight 93 Memorial. Each time I drive by, I think, I really need to get out here and check this out. I think I’ll bring the kids as both have amazing stories and lessons. You start seeing billboards advertising Pittsburgh, it must be close now. You now look for signs advertising 70 West.
5. The last leg, 70 West. Your last leg might be a little different, but I am traveling to a small apartment in the city’s southern suburbs. My favorite part of this leg (besides it being the last) is crossing the Monongahela River on a big steel bridge. It does not matter what time of day or if the river is filled with ice, you see big boats pushing dozens of barges through it. I still have no idea what they are taking via barge and where they are going, but it seems to be a vital mode of transportation. The last leg is much more climatic if you’re traveling into the heart of the city, because after traveling for hours in barren forest, you poke through one last tunnel and the city is laid out in front of you like a postcard, the bridges, buildings, stadiums, it is framed up so nicely for your enjoyment.
Our current home has 2 showings this week, let’s hope we can make a deal and get this thing sold so I can stop making this commute every weekend!