Susquehanna River from PA 147
Day 48 Berwick to Harrisburg PA
I slept in till 7:30 and left the motel about 8:15 to ride a short distance before stopping for breakfast at a truck stop. I stopped just before I reached a crew working on the shoulder and they worked past me while I ate breakfast. Riding on 11 was OK although the new shoulder wasn't marked yet, but the lane was very wide. At the intersection with I-80, things were a bit confusing, but that will be resolved when they finish marking the road. After that intersection there is a very long 'strip' all the way to Bloomsburg. I swear most of this didn't exist two years ago. Bloomsburg itself is a neat old town, but that strip is boring. I ride to see new things and, since every strip in this country seems to look just like every other strip, strips offer me nothing worth seeing.
As I rode I definitely could feel the tiredness that results from several days with lots of climbing. Moreover, I had a five to ten mph headwind slowing me down and making my tired legs do extra work. I stopped in Danville at Dunkin Donuts to get some bagels and a large tea. Good bagels and Danville is a neat and friendly town. The last time I was in that Dunkin Donuts, I 'listened' to a converstation (which I couldn't understand) in American Sign Language. This time I just read the local paper and watched the folks in the place.
After Bloomberg US 11 no longer had new pavement and after Danville the new pavement returned. New pavement came and went several times on the way to Northumberland where I left 11. The old shoulder was usually rideable, but bumpy and the unrideable sections (potholes and even overgrown with grass) were at place where the traffic had two lanes, so it was no big deal to ride in the outer lane.
US 11 crossing the river
At Northumberland I crossed the river to PA 147. It is a pretty river, but the Corp of Engineers has 'flood proofed' the South side with a wall that totally blocks the view. They also put in a large 'inflatable' damn just below Sudbury. I can only wonder at an inflatable damn that is at least half a mile across.
When I got to Sudbury I headed downtown looking for something other than fast food to eat. I ate a very good Chinese buffet. My body was telling me it needed more green stuff in its diet. I had all the green stuff I could find at this buffet and a whole plate of fruit for dessert.
I was not looking forward to doing 147 with tired legs, and I did consider stopping in Sudbury for a half rest day. That would have put me back in sync with my last ride through here where I stopped at Shamokin Dam, across the river from Sudbury, because of rain and ended up spending a rain/rest day there the next day. I decided I could make 147 today and that I'd get an easier day the next day in southern Penn. There is the threat of rain tonight and I think I'll be better off getting further south.
PA 147 runs on the east side of the Susquehanna while 11 combines with 15 to run down the other side. The 11/15 combo is very interstate like and not a good route for bicycling. 47 is a nice road with too many trucks and not enough shoulder in places, but a pretty good ride never the less. It starts by following the railroad along the river, but quickly heads up into the hills, comes back down for a while, heads back up, etc. There is a lot of pretty steep climbing and descending, especially in the northern part and at the southern end. 47 goes through a number of neat villages including Herndon and later, Dalmatia. There is a big hill going south out of Dalmatia - the biggest single hill on 147 - with nice views of the river just past the top. My view wasn't as good as last time because of haze. It was hot (low 90s), very humid, quite hazy, and I still had headwinds. At least the sky had clouded over so I didn't have the sun beating down on me as I climbed those many hills.
147's quality came and went as I rode south. There were times when I simply had to get off the road because it had no shoulder and big trucks were coming from both directions. There were other times when it had an excellent wide and smooth shoulder. I stopped in Millersberg (the big town on 147) for a second lunch (and some needed rest) at the Wooden Nickle. Good food , well served. The road had been as bad as it gets for the last six miles into Millerburg, but was better afterwards.
When I got through Halifax (quite a bit of climbing here and lots of traffic - it was getting to be rush hour) I left 147 to continue on 225. The last time I had come trough, 225 was under construction, so I rode 147 (fine, if a bit hilly) to 22 at Clarks Ferry and then 22 to 322 to town. 22 and 322 were not fun - interstate like riding with heavy traffic and very dirty shoulders. 225 looked to be very hilly, but it avoided all but the last half a mile of 322. Note that 322 seems to be limited access, but it also the only way to get into Harrisburg on this side of the river.
View from the top of 225
225 was more hilly than I expected. Were talking a mile and a half of 10% or better grade on the main hill. It was worse than climbing the hill from the Blue Ridge parkway to the Mt Mitchell State Park. This is after several smaller, but still big, hills. I needed my 17 inch gear on the main hill. Even with it, it was a rough climb on my loaded bike. I did get cheered at least a dozen times on the way up. There was a lot of traffic coming from Harrisburg over that hill (all cars - truck are not allowed) and a moderate amount of traffic going the other way. There was a usually rideable shoulder, but sometimes it was too narrow and other times, especially right near the top, it had rocks and other debris in it. A few cars came too close for comfort, but mostly at pretty slow speeds.
App Trail at top of 225
I stopped several times to drink water on the way up and once simply to catch my breath. I stopped at the top to cool down and take some pictures. This is the second place in Pennsylvania where I've ridden a road that crossed the Appalachian Trial. The other time, north of Nazareth PA, was also at the top of a big climb, but the climb today was a lot steeper and had a whole lot more traffic on it.
When I got down and into Dauphin, I discovered that the section of 322 I needed to ride was under construction. I'm glad I only had to ride it till the next exit where I could get off on to the very pleasant River Road. I stopped a mile or two later at the first motel I came too, an overpriced Super 8 (well it is on the river..) and asked for a room. I ended up paying an extra five bucks for a room on the first floor. I wasn't about to lug my bike up to the second floor after riding 225! My room is next to a room occupied by a noisy family and the sound insulation is poor- but they are pleasant family noises - so it will be another ear plug night. I think it will also be an ibupropen night. Way too much climbing, but doing 225 was kind of a kick!