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Archive for the 'Rail Trails' Category

West Side Trail

Friday, April 17th, 2009

I found another bike path, the West Side Trail. It starts a little ways from the Forty Fort end of the Levee Trail and heads northeast, following the Susquehanna River. The roads between the two trails were a little high-traffic for my taste — I wish there was a better way to get from one trail to the other. Maybe there is; I will see if I can find an alternate route.


View West Side Trail 04/09/2009 in a larger map

The trail is pleasant enough, it’s smooth and flat and has some nice views of the river, some mountains, and the small, private Wilkes-Barre Wyoming Valley Airport.

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Arriving at the West Side Trail

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Eighth Street Bridge

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Susquehanna River

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Wilkes-Barre Wyoming Valley Airport

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Mountains

The trail runs for about 2.5 miles before joining up with the sidewalk along US Route 11/Wyoming Avenue (know locally as “The Avenue”). Now, The Avenue is a busy four-lane road. I have seen plenty of people riding their bikes there, but I wouldn’t want to do that. It’s a very busy road, and I encounter a lot of idiotic motorists when I drive there.

At the intersection is the Wyoming Monument, which commemorates the Battle of Wyoming, which took place back in 1778. According to Wikipedia, “More than three hundred Patriots were killed in a battle followed by a massacre, in which the Iroquois raiders hunted and killed fleeing Patriots before torturing to death thirty to forty who had surrendered.” It was more than a little weird to be riding along and suddenly come across an obelisk and a couple of canons. And weirder still to imagine a massacre occurring in what is now a park.

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Battle of Wyoming Monument

I rode on the sidewalk for about a block or two and then got on Susquehanna Avenue. This is a pleasant, low-traffic road through mostly residential areas. I found an interesting-looking side trail/dirt road and followed it. I followed it down by the river, where I could see a small island. There were side roads branching off of it, but I did not take the time to explore those.

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Pond

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Grasses

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A makeshift snowboard, now abandoned

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Susquehanna River

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The Trucker, with fields and mountains in the background

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Power lines

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Cattails

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The Trucker again

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Small island

The rest of the ride was on roads, most of which were not too memorable.

I’m glad I found the West Side Trail, and Susquehanna Avenue. These could both be useful as parts of a longer ride. I wish the roads between the Levee Trail and the West Side Trail were safer.

In general, it can be a little frustrating trying to find routes through town. In some places, there are large areas with no through streets aside from the major thoroughfares. The West Side Trail and Susquehanna Avenue give me a good east-west route, but I have to go a bit out of the way to get to them.

Snowy night ride

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

It was snowing pretty well Tuesday night, and I couldn’t resist riding. I think Sarah was a little surprised, because as we were driving across the valley, it really kind of sucked. Once we got back home, I couldn’t resist the temptation to ride. Somehow it’s fun to ride in, but makes driving a pain. I set out on my newly-discovered direct, trafficless route to the Levee Trail, so I could avoid stupid drivers. That turned out to be unnecessary because the few roads I did ride on had very few cars on them.

I almost took my old mountain bike, which in the past has been my winter bike, but then I realized that I hadn’t ridden the Trucker in snow yet and took it to see how it’d fare.

The roads were a little slick from the wet snow, but not icy. I really had no problems with traction.

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Dark road

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Some Christmas lights

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Warehouse

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A huge puddle, and the limo I noticed previously

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Church (this also gives you a good idea of my headlight beam)

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Riding on the Levee Trail

I tried a few different modes on my camera before I figured out which one worked best in these conditions. I had the best luck with Night mode, with the flash set to Slow Sync. This fires the flash, but also keeps the shutter open longer to fill in the background. Having the flash fire is nice to illuminate the snowflakes.

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Riding

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Abstract

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Another action shot

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Market Street Bridge

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Pond

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Intersection of Bennett and Wyoming

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Back home

The Trucker handled very well — better than I would’ve expected, in fact. The only problem I had was that my fenders got clogged with snow. It didn’t prevent me from riding, but I could hear it rubbing, and it was mildly annoying. I don’t remember having this problem with the fenders on my old mountain bike, although they have extra clearance, and this snow was particularly wet and sticky.

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Front fender,  clogged with snow

Hitting 3,000 miles, and discovering more of the levee trail

Friday, December 12th, 2008

Yesterday, I finally hit 3,000 miles of riding for the year. Last year I hit the big 3K in October, so I’m behind, compared to last year. But of course I have had a number of major life changes this year. I am just thrilled that I made it to 3,000. Now, I’ve ridden 6,592 miles since I started keeping track last February.

The other day, I discovered a whole new section of the Levee Trail system. In the past, I’ve stopped at a “no trespassing” sign, but I rode past it and while I thought the trail ended at K-Mart, it continues past that for a while, and then connects with a strange, apparently unnamed road that connects to a road close to where I live. This means there’s a closer access point to the trail that avoids a lot of traffic. Needless to say, I was pleased to make this discovery. The section I explored was paved; there were also some gravel and dirt trails branching off from the main trail that I have yet to explore.

The scenery is quite varied, with some sections feeling nearly rural, and some residential, industrial and retail areas. First, here’s the map.


View Larger Map

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Church

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Market Street

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Getting on the levee trail

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Another view

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Riiiiiight.

It’s strange, the “NO TRESPASSING” sign is right by the railroad tracks. There is an identical sign on the other side, but the trail is open on both sides. I guess they just don’t want you crossing the tracks?

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Railroad tracks

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A water tank of some kind

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Kmart — the trail also goes by some other stores. It could be useful for actually getting around.

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Riding toward the mountains

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Some (probably abandoned) fuel tanks

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Locks

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Another view of one of the tanks

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Z&B Body Shop

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Unmarked road. This section feels almost rural.

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Signs of industry

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Dirt road. If I’d been on my mountain bike, or it hadn’t been so muddy, I would’ve checked it out more

Even though I was close to home, I turned around and rode back the way I came. I wanted to explore some more and ride a few more miles.

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Small gravel trail paralleling the road

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The trail let out behind a business

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Another church

I just noticed a limo in the above photo. What the heck was a limo doing in the seedy underbelly of Edwardsville?

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Industrial buildings and distant mountains

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An abandoned restaurant, or something

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Tanks again

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These things cool. Notice the staircases don’t go all the way down anymore

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Alley

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Abandoned Amoco center. Peak oil? Localized economic woes?

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Abandoned Amoco

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Strange walkway

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Messing with perspective

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Gravel road/trail

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Dirt trail. This will be fun to explore, at some point. It was a muddy mess.

There seem to be a lot of offshoot trails. This will be fun to explore, and maybe I’ll map out the entire trail system.

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