Sunday, November 04, 2007

Roadgeekin' in the Alleghenies

Alrighty, we are cooking on high-speed Internet in rural West Virginia. I got my mother-in-law's cable modem set up, hooked up a wireless router, and now we are on a faster connection than I have back in Colorado. So let's take a look at the first batch of roadgeekin' photos. Bear in mind, these are not the quality I would be proud of for any photo contest. They are taken with my little "point and shoot" digital, through a dark windshield, and with a sun low in the sky; all while driving down the highway. But all that aside, I think I did pretty good with these. As always, click on the photos for the large versions.

Let's get started as we leave Pittsburgh International Airport. These signs are a dark gray color with arrows on green stick-on panels. A bit unusual. Also, you see on the sign to the right, a reference to "Moon Beaver". No, it's not talking about any kind of moon refers to two little towns, Moon, PA and Beaver, PA.

Once we get off the airport property and onto PA 60, we see the signs look more traditional. Pennsylvania is installing some road signs in Clearview font, but these are not them. But you will notice that the exit tabs have rounded cornered borders. Looks a little strange to my eye.

PA 60 Business route goes into Moon Township at Exit 3.

PA 60 is a fairly short highway between the Airport and two Interstates, I-279 and I-79. These unusual orange directional signs are in a construction zone along PA 60 eastbound. We will be taking the right lane to get onto I-79 South toward West Virginia.

Once on I-79, the first city indicated as a destination is Washington. If you are not a local, you might think this means Washington, DC, which is about 230 miles away, but you'd be wrong. It is Washington, PA, a town where I-79 duplexes with I-70 for a few miles.

Here is a reassurance shield mounted on two wooden posts. I almost missed this one, since the shutter lag on the little camera is significant, unlike my DSLR. However, the live view on the small camera's screen makes it more suitable for shots while driving.

Apparently, Pennsylvania used to number exits consecutively, rather than based upon the mile marker number. This was changed, and the state has little signs indicating the old exit number below the main sign. Here we see that current Exit 45 used to be numbered as Exit 10.

Here is a sign anticipating the merge with I-70, which will duplex with I-79 as we go through the town of Washington. If I was so inclined, I could take 70 West from here and go back to Denver. I think I'll pass on that for now, although that road is very familiar to me. I have made that drive many times in the past.

Here we are approaching the merge with I-70 one mile ahead. I-70 West to Wheeling, Columbus, St. Louis, Kansas City and Denver. East will take you down the Pennsylvania Turnpike though New Stanton, PA and the Maryland cities of Hancock, Hagerstown, and Baltimore. I-79 South will split back off in a few miles and head south toward Morgantown, Clarksburg, and Charleston.

And speaking of how I-79 splits off, here is where it happens, just east of Washington. We'll be exiting to the right.

As noted in my previous posts, we see here that West Virginia is "Open for Business" as we leave the Keystone State and enter the soon again to be Wild, Wonderful West Virginia.

Morgantown is home to the University of West Virginia. Here is the main exit off I-79 to WV 7 that takes you to the campus. The funny thing is, the two interstates in this town run along the edges, and you wouldn't know there was a town nearby if you were just driving by. It appears to be far out in the country as you drive down either I-79 or I-68.

On the southwest side of Morgantown, we come to one end of one of America's shortest Interstate routes...I-68. It runs from its western terminus here at I-79, east through Cumberland, Maryland, over Sideling Hill and joins I-70 at Hancock, Maryland. It is promoted as a free alternative to the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

And just a few hundred feet down the road from the last picture is the actual split. I-68 begins at this exit, while I-79 continues south with the next major towns being Fairmont and Clarksburg.

More photos to come as I take them.

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