Historic Roads Ride
Rt 40 Maryland - National Road
Rt 30 Pennsylvania - Lincoln Highway
With my wife out of town visiting family in Wisconsin for a few weeks, and with the house painting finished, I have found some time for a few short overnight rides. This week, I decided to ride out through Maryland eastbound on the Old Rt 40. This 2-land and sometimes divided 4-lane road used to connect northern West Virginia to Washington DC. Back in the 60s, it was an all-day trip. Now, it takes about 4 hours on the interstate - but what fun is that?
My destination was Franklin County, Pennsylvania (just west of Gettysburg) to search for some Historical Markers. For those of you not familiar with my interest in Historical Markers, I organized a group of riders who photographed all 835 Historical Markers in West Virginia from 2009-2012. CLICK HERE In addition to helping us discover our history, our photos and reports assisted the WV Dept of Archives & History to determine which markers needed to be repaired or replaced. It was a great opportunity to ride, discover new areas of West Virginia, and help the State Marker Program. Well, a guy in Pennsylvania saw what we did and started a page on the forum for Pennsylvania Markers, so I feel the need to go "find a few".
In Pennsylvania, Rt 30 (Lincoln Highway) was one of the major east-west roads starting back in the 1800s. On the return trip, I will pick up the road starting at Chambersburg PA and head west to Somerset County, just east of the Pittsburgh area.
With this ride, I can combine all three - ride out Rt 40, search for markers, and return on Rt 30. The weather is looking great the next few days, so let's go!
National Road / Cumberland Turnpike
Rt 40 From Keyser's Ridge east to Hagerstown
The National Road was opened from Cumberland on the Potomac River west and northwest into Pennsylvania,
and beyond to Wheeling WV on the Ohio River in the 1810s.
The turnpikes connecting Cumberland to Baltimore were:
Cumberland Turnpike (Cumberland to Conococheague)
Hagerstown and Conococheague Turnpike (Conococheague to Hagerstown)
Boonsborough Turnpike (Hagerstown to Boonsborough)
Baltimore and Frederick Turnpike (Boonsborough to Baltimore)
At my first rest stop in Maryland. I wanted a state map, but there were none.
Guess I'll have to navigate by the stars.
(And my Gazetteer mapbook)
At Exit 14, I got off I-68 eastbound and jumped north about 200 meters
to get on Old Rt 40 at Keyser's Ridge.
This is how Rt 40 is listed at the intersection signs.
Another common sign along the route.
Western Maryland is a mix of hilly farmland and mountains.
Negro Mountain is also listed on I-68.
Along Rt 40, there were many old buildings like this - probably an old gas station and grocery store.
Made of cast-iron, these obelisk markers were place every one mile and noted the distance
to Cumberland and Wheeling and nearby towns.
All of these markers are present today, though not all are the originals.
Near Grantsville. Beautiful farmland.
East of Grantsville. Very peaceful riding.
You will see quite a few Amish and Mennonite families traveling
by horse and buggy along Rt 30.
As they were approaching, I held up the camera and asked if it was OK
to photograph. The man said "yes" and the family of 7 waved.
They seemed to be pretty happy - as opposed to
other families I usually see while travelling.
The horse probably wished the family would just get a
couple of Burgmans to ride on.
This was a steep hill to pull a wagon and family of 7.
I just missed a great shot - the kids were waving out the back window.
The Hen House restaurant is an old family restaurant.
This is the new building. Great food - Meals $10-$20 each.
And next door is the old building.
Lots of chicken has been cooked on those grilles!
Getting closer to Frostburg heading eastbound.
You can see I-68 off the right ahead. The two roads parallel quite a bit.
One of the bigger mountains on the route.
Don't even think of coming through here during a winter snowstorm.
Welcome to Frostburg - home of Frostburg State University
Coming into downtown Frostburg eastbound.
At the east end of Frostburg is this Veterans' Memorial. Very nice!
Soldier and flag.
Plaque at the Veterans' Memorial.
A little farther east, coming into Cumberland, is the first Toll Gate House.
View eastbound on Rt 40 - LaVale Toll Gate House
One of only 3 surviving toll houses along the National Road.
The other 2 are near Uniontown PA and Addison PA.
Some of the toll rates.
More toll rates.
I thought slow cars were annoying - try dodging cattle and sheep!
Another view of the Toll Gate House.
Coming into Cumberland on Rt 40 - the LaVale area.
Welcome to Cumberland.
The official starting point of the National Pike.
From here to Baltimore, there were privately-funded turnpikes that joined it here.
The official "Mile 0" marker - like the ALCAN Highway in Canada.
National Pike marker with Washington's Headquarters in the background.
Nice mural on the wall in downtown Cumberland.
One tourist photo before leaving.
Heading east of Cumberland, Rt 40 again parallels I-68 quite a bit.
Flintstone MD (yes, really).
There were a lot of "interactions" between Native Americans and the white man.
The National Pike switches back and forth between the names Rt 40 and Rt 144.
Don't worry, we will see Rt 144 again soon.
From farmlands to twisty mountain passes, there is a nice variety of riding.
One of the old landmarks on Rt 40 was (and still is) the Town Hill Hotel.
Very nice place to stay from the looks of it!
Just across the road from the Town Hill Hotel is this popular overlook.
On a clear day, they say you can see 3 states: Pennsylvania, Maryland, and West Virginia.
Without a map, it was hard to tell if that's right.
Here is a cheesy attempt at a panoramic photo of the overlook.
A little more information on a plaque at the overlook.
Map of the National Pike (aka National Road)
It would be fun to ride the entire route to Vandalia IL.
We lived not far from there from 2003-2008.
The age-old question from the back seat.
From the overlook, through a zoom lens, you can see the cut made through Sideling Hill for I-68.
It is nearly 15 miles from where I am standing.
We will be traveling through there shortly.
Rt 40 and Rt 144 disappear briefly as they were covered up by the Interstate.
Luckily it's only for a few miles.
Just before the Sideling Hill cut for I-68, Rt 40 cuts off to the right.
This is a small road that runs under the Interstate and goes near the cut.
Very interesting geological formation.
I-68 travelers can walk up the hill from the rest stop on the other side of the cut.
Another "end" of Rt 40. Again, don't worry - it will be back soon.
Now we're back on Rt 144 for a bit.
Lots of historical markers describing the heyday of travel on the National Road.
(See next photo for house)
Old Mr. Flint's Home described in previous photo.
Too many bushes for a clear photo.
National Pike Toll House. (Old Bank Road)
Located in Clear Spring MD, just west of Hagerstown MD.
Remember - the govt paid for the road from Cumberland MD to Wheeling WV.
East of Cumberland, these were privately built roads with their own toll houses.
Front view of toll house.
Informative plaque. Built in 1822.
Toll rates. Horse and rider was 4 cents.
They even had restroom facilities for the travelers.
The town of Clear Spring MD.
Reminds me of what "hometowns" looked like back when I was a kid in the '60s.
Nearing the point where I turn off the Cumberland Turnpike and head north into PA.
The Cumberland Turnpike (aka Baltimore-Cumberland Turnpike) was privately
financed by individuals who would benefit from having easy transportation
from Baltimore to the Ohio River. It connected with the government-built National Road
in Cumberland MD.
Beautiful riding just west of Hagerstown MD.
Marker for and interesting bridge just west of Hagerstown MD.
View of the Wilson Bridge from the new Rt 40 bridge.
Trust me, the new bridge is nowhere near as impressive.
Wilson Bridge - across Conococheague Creek
It was shortly after this point where I turned north to head into
Franklin County, Pennsylvania to look for some Historical Markers.
For more information:
National Road - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Road
Rt 30 - Lincoln Highway
Chambersburg PA to Somerset County PA
U.S. Route 30 (US 30) is an east–west main route of the system of the US, with the highway traveling across the northern tier of the country. It is the third longest U.S. route, after U.S. Route 20 and U.S. Route 6. The western end of the highway is at Astoria, Oregon; the eastern end is in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Despite long stretches of parallel and concurrent Interstate Highways, it has managed to avoid the decommissioning that has happened to other long haul routes such as U.S. Route 66.
Much of the historic Lincoln Highway, the first road across America (from New York City to San Francisco), became part of US 30; it is still known by that name in many areas.
I stayed with some new friends (Jeff & Karen) in Chambersburg last night. The ADVRider forum I participate in has a section for Host Families that share their home with fellow riders out exploring the country. They were gracious enough to extend an invitation to stay with them. Although they offered a bed or couch inside, they had a beautiful screened-in gazebo in their spacious back yard. Overnight temperatures were going to be in the 50s and no rain, so it was perfect outdoor weather. I set up my sleeping bag in the gazebo and had a great night's sleep.
The wonderful "campground" (Jeff and Karen's backyard)
(L-R) Jeff, Karen, and Dr Greg (riding from New Mexico to New York)
Read Dr Greg's Ride Report - CLICK HERE
Karen made a great dinner with BBQ sandwiches, cheese/crackers, cookies, and more.
To say Jeff and Karen have a long history of riding and collecting
anything to do with bikes would be an understatement.
Their garage is like a museum. Three nice bikes, too.
Bedtime. Cool, dry, and bug-free.
When I awoke in the morning, I spent several minutes enjoying the view above me.
In the morning, we had our good-byes and I headed out to look for some Historical Markers I didn't have time to get the night before. After some zigging and zagging around Franklin and Loudin Counties, I headed west on Rt 30 towards Somerset County and the Flight 93 Memorial.
It's time to ride!
After finding one nearby historical marker, I was ready for breakfast.
I knew McDonalds was having 2 Egg-McMuffins for $3! Mmmm.
To make it even better - one of the peel-off prizes was a free
Premium Wrap, so lunch today was free. Two meals for $3!
The mallards and ducks were in the creek just 20 feet away having their breakfast too.
Rt 30 goes right through the heart of Downtown Chambersburg PA.
This fountain and traffic circle is the junction of Rt 30 and Rt 11.
Better view of the traffic circle.
I hope the car/truck drivers took their faces out of their cell phones
long enough to read this on their way by.
Every time I looked over at the car next to me at a stop light today,
the driver had his/her face stuck in a phone texting or talking. Idiots!!
Heading out Rt 30 westbound from Chambersburg.
I see mountains up ahead, so I must be going the right direction.
Signs for Rt 30.
Continuing on Rt 30 westbound out of Chambersburg.
Toll House #2 in St. Thomas, just west of Chambersburg.
Better view of the Toll House.
(Why am I suddenly craving chocolate chip cookies?)
Across the highway, workers were putting a roof on this barn.
Nice cool day for it - only in the 50s this morning.
Continuing west on Rt 30 past St. Thomas. Lots of farmland!
Beautiful view southwest near Ft Loudon.
The mountains add a nice background.
Nearing Ft Loudon on Rt 30.
Sign for the old fort.
About a 1/4 mile south of the highway lies the old fort.
Nobody was here (only 7:30am) so I had the place to myself.
One of the fort's corners. I guess the soldiers would fire from here.
Back on Rt 30, there was a small sign for "Old Rt 30" to the right.
This old section of road went right through the town of Ft Loudon.
Lots of old stone houses. Nice.
Ft Loudon (the town)
From Ft Loudon, I took a detour south about 5 miles to Cove Gap.
This is where President James Buchanan was born.
These horses were interested in the bike.
These girls came running towards me (really!) as soon as I stopped.
You miss these things driving by in a car.
At Cove Gap was one of the markers I was looking for.
I was at the Mercersburg Academy the night before,
but didn't know his house was there. Too bad.
About a half mile from the marker is a small park with this monument to Buchanan.
It is about 25 feet high. Use the "bench" as reference.
Back on Rt 30 heading west towards McConnellsburg.
At the McConnellsville exit, I took another detour north to find a few markers.
This is the site of Fort Littleton.
Plaque and stone.
Next stop was downtown McConnellsburg.
This is the court house.
Next to the court house is this nice Veterans' Memorial.
Continuing on Rt 30 west near Harrisonville.
Some nice twisty sections of road.
Rt 30 westbound near Harrisonville.
Getting more hills and mountains. Good thing - I was getting homesick.
Near Breezewood, Rt 30 passes over the PA Turnpike.
They don't know what they're missing!
Some sections of Rt 30 are divided 4-lane and relatively straight.
One of the joys of getting off the Interstates is seeing fun things like this.
Another sign telling me I'm on the right road.
View of Rt 30 near Bedford.
Nice town of Schellsburg. I stopped here for this Historical Marker.
Interesting history on these markers. Every state has them.
Take time and stop to read them.
Just west of Schellsburg, this marker caught my attention.
View from the highway past the cemetery to the church.
I walked around looking at old graves (many died in the mid 1800s).
Close-up view of the church.
View inside the church.
Ouch! Can you imagine sitting in these for a couple of hours!
Notice how short the seating part is from front to back.
Continuing west on Rt 30 west of Schellsburg.
Hello, fellow rider.
Zooming in for a little better look at the road ahead.
Wow! Beautiful murals painted on this barn.
(West of Schellsburg)
Front of barn.
Looking east past the barn - where I just came from.
Nearing Somerset County.
Motorcyclists love to see these signs!
FLIGHT 93 MEMORIAL
The following section is the Flight 93 Memorial located just east of Stoystown.
I have not placed my bike in any photo because I think the focus should be on
The crew and passengers' actions that fateful day in 2001.
I have kept comments to a minimum as most signs and plaques are self-explaining.
Entrance off Rt 30.
Sign by entrance.
View of surrounding area on the 3 mile road to the crash site.
Current visitor center while the larger one is being built.
This wall and walkway lead to the crash site about 200 meters away.
Along the wall, there are areas to leave gifts of remembrance.
At the end of the walkway is this white stone wall.
The crew and passengers' names are listed one by one on each stone tablet.
The wall follows the final seconds of Flight 93's path into the ground.
Standing on the far right and looking back in this direction leads to .......
(continued from previous photo)
.... this gate looking down about 100 meters to the crash site.
Through the opening in the gate, you can see the final flight path
and the large stone used to mark the impact location.
On a hillside nearby, construction is in progress for the new Visitor Center.
This was my 3rd trip to the Flight 93 Memorial, and it is still very moving.
Continuing on Rt 30
After leaving the Flight 93 Memorial, I continued west on Rt 30 for just a few miles
before turning south on Rt 219 to head back to West Virginia.
Just before turning off Rt 30, I passed this nice Lincoln Highway barn.
Great photo op!
Looks like they took the Ten-Millionth Ford and ran it coast to coast on Rt 30!
After turning south on Rt 219, I passed under this incredible train bridge.
It is probably close to a mile long and over 100 feet high.
Close-up of train bridge on Rt 219 north of Somerset.
Another view of the train bridge.
Shortly after this, I was back on Rt 40 (National Road) westbound.
Shortly after entering Pennsylvania, I came upon the second Toll Gate House
located in Addison PA.
The following is from exploreroute40 website
far after crossing the Mason-Dixon Line, the National Road reaches Addison,
Pa., which is home to the Petersburg Toll House, the first of an original six
such buildings in Pennsylvania. Built in 1835, the toll house and its five
other brethren were constructed in response to the federal government handing
the road over to the individual states, thus allowing for the National Road
to be tolled. The first tolls in Pennsylvania were
collected that same year, continuing until 1906. The Petersburg Toll House
was so-named simply because at the time, Addison was called Petersburg
(sometimes spelled Petersburgh). Today, the
building has also been called the Addison Toll House, so either name
references the same building.
Approaching Addison PA Toll Gate House westbound
Another view of Addison PA Toll Gate House
This guy was watching for approaching travelers.
His view of the National Road coming from Cumberland MD
Historical Marker on the current Rt 40
The current Rt 40 westbound is to the right.
The spur road to the left (south) is the original National Road.
The Toll Gate House is to the left about 300 meters.
After a brief section of Old Rt 30 through the western tip of Maryland,
I was back in Pennsylvania just above the West Virginia border.
I took the back roads down through Markleysburg PA and
Bruceton Mills. This is the border at Rt 26.
I love this stone marker at the WV/PA border on Rt 26.
Soon I was home and ready for a good meal and shower.
It was a fun 2-day ride, making new friends,
exploring some new areas and re-discovering
ones I haven't seen since I was a child.
I hope you enjoyed riding along with me the past 2 days.
See you on the next ride!
For more information:
Lincoln Highway: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lincoln_Highway