INSULATORS

          Some twenty-five years ago my career often found me on the road.  Taking a break from driving, a few miles east of Wellsville, NY, Allegheny County, (just north of central Pennsylvania) I walked along an old rickety railroad track capturing some images, …and trying to capture a potential souvenir hidden in the brush, still attached to a long ago fallen telegraph pole. 


Thanks for viewing, zoom in for a closer look, and comments are always welcome. M 🙂

Pine Barrens, Lost Railroad and Civil War

A few weeks ago,  I explored a small but typical part of an abandoned single track railroad constructed in the early 1860’s. It transverses the New Jersey Pine Barrens, an immense area of 1.1 million acres of sandy soil characterised  by oak and pine trees, cranberry bogs, blueberry cultivation and underlying aquifers. When new, these now forgotten rails carried some 17,000 troops to America’s Civil War.

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Images captured with an I-phone 5s, a few steps off Savoy Blvd., Woodmansie, NJ

Alien to the peace and tranquility of this warm afternoon, I could almost feel the undeniable apprehension of regiments of soldiers riding these very tracks towards the inevitable battles to the south, 155 years ago.  

As usual, click on the image for a closer look, and thanks for viewing. Comments are always welcome. M 🙂

 

The Longest Footbridge in the World

(Below is a re-post, originally published here on  November 17th 2013 only to be lost in cyberspace 2 months later.) 

Recently, a friend and I walked across the 1.28-mile (2.06 km) Poughkeepsie (NY) Bridge; built in 1889 as the first railroad crossing over the Hudson River south of Albany. A magnificent and immensely important structure for its time, its use was abandoned almost 40 years ago. Through “adaptive re-use” it was re-opened to the public in 2009 as a historic state park, now attracting 750,000 visitors a year.

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As seen in this Google view, the “Walkway on the Hudson State Historic Park,” is a mile or so north of the “Mid-Hudson” automobile suspension bridge, connecting the town of Highlands with the city of Poughkeepsie since 1930.

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The bridge is about 65 miles north of New York City. (Map from Wikipedia)

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Railroad tracks have been replaced by a wide, pleasant pedestrian walkway, accommodating people, children, babies, cats, dogs, bikes …….

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Built and re-strengthened as the weight of the freight trains increased, the structure is another testament to 18th century engineering. However… underneath, it certainly shows it’s legacy.

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The scenery from its deck is awesome, especially in the fall.

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The view to the North

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As seen from the eastern end, the spectacular Hudson is winding north, with the Catskill Mountains in the distance.

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Historic plaques, information boards, and even smart-phone connectivity to points of interest via apps, are available across the span.

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Please click or finger stretch the images for full resolution, and comments are always welcomed. Thanks

Original Comments:

From Maggie: “Lovely photos that make me want to plan a weekend jaunt. I think this would be just as perfect as the trees peek spring green, not just peak in the fall. You captured the autumns colors at their apex.”

M: “Thanks Maggie. We hit it right as besides the folliage, it was just a nice day. Wind and cold can be brutal up there. M”

From Sherri: “Wow, amazing views M! Beautiful autumn colours but so high up, I think I would not like that part as I don’t like heights one bit! Very interesting post about this longest footbridge in the world!

I know this is so late but I wanted to let you know that I’ve nominated you for the Dragon’s Loyalty Award, here is the link: http://sherrimatthewsblog.com/2013/11/13/first-frost-melts-in-the-heat-of-dragons-loyalty-award/

I haven’t been on my laptop for a few days so it’s taken me a while to get round to everyone, sorry about that! Don’t worry if you ‘do’ awards but I just wanted to thank you for being so supportive of my blog and reading my posts. It means a great deal to me.

Have a great day :-)”

M: “Thanks for the comment Sherri, and also for the nomination. By choice I don’t follow thru with the process, but that doesn’t diminish my sincere appreciation. Your writing is an inspiration, not only for its quality, but content. It’s a pleasure to follow your passion. ”

Sherri: “Ahh, many thanks M, that’s so kind. I knew you didn’t do awards, it’s fine, but I couldn’t not nominate you as I do so much enjoy reading your blog too :-)”

I Hear the Train a comin’….. Images of the White Pass and Yukon Railway

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Around this time of year, a few years back, we had the pleasure to ride this narrow gauge railroad, tracing the path of the Great Klondike Gold Rush of 1897. From the Sea Level town of Skagway, Alaska, to nearly 3000 ft (915 m,) this unique experience features  tunnels, “steep grades and cliff hanging turns,” followed by serene meadows; clear, icy lakes; and the snow streaked peaks of Canada’s Yukon Territory.

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To get there from the lower 40 US States, you either have to drive a thousand miles or so along the ALCAN Highway, and then the Klondike Highway; or take one of these awesome vehicles. In our case it was the latter, The Princess Sapphire! – Awesome indeed! 

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 As usual, click on the images for higher resolution. And… Thanks for viewing!  

A Word A Week Challenge: Waiting

TRAIN STATION

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A January morning about 5:15 AM, several years back, waiting alone for the eastbound Lakeshore Limited in Buffalo N.Y. and my last employer-funded return home. A long satisfying career entailing countless flights and long road-trips was drawing to a gratifying close, and on this one last segment, I chose to take the train. Truly an occasion of unbridled contentment and satisfaction, my days ahead would be savored slowly with reflection and appreciation starting today, on the rails… making my way home, via Albany, and the scenic Hudson River Line.

Note: Thanks for participation incentive from Milka Pejovic’s post found here, based on “A Word A Week Challenge:” found here.

The Great American Road-Trip – Last Two Days, 10 and 11

Moments, in words and photos, of our 7704 mile (12,398 km,) 11 day trip across the USA and back in a 1965 MGB roadster.

This series began here

Short on Time? Just visit the photos. “Click” for higher resolution

Thanks!        Likes and Comments are the lifeblood of our work, and always appreciated

Approximate return route from San Francisco to New Jersey

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DAY 10:

Tuesday, Aug. 22nd, 1967      956 miles (1,539 km)    ~16 driving hours 

 Western Kansas to Ohio

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Sometime in the middle of the night, Tom moved out of our luxury duplex apartment (car!) to the spaciousness of the grass, but apparently had some issues with insects, as close examination of the photo shows a can of RAID nearby.

60 miles west of Hays, Kansas. Rest area on Interstate 70.   Another fine nights sleep, at roadside America

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I continued sleeping while Tom started us moving at about 8:45 AM CDT, our primary objective now was simply getting home. Our secondary objective was a much overdue shower, which might explain why Tom left me in the car overnight, and why we were grumpy. About two hours later we dropped down about 20 miles to Kanapolis State Park, with wonderful facilities including showers, and snacks on the edge of it’s lake. We spent about an hour there, before winding our way back up to Interstate 70 in Salina, myself behind the wheel.

 Kanapolis State Park, Kansas       Ice cream cones, $.15; Malts and shakes, $.30; Sundaes, $.20 to $.30

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The weather was nice; the top down, and Kansas was uneventful. The turnpike from Topeka to Kansas City was $1.10, fairly expensive. Tom would take the wheel again after I drove about 220 miles and by twilight we were crossing the Mississippi River in St. Louis, Missouri on the Rt. 66/Rt. 40 bridge where we had a nice view of the new Gateway-to-the-West Arch, and Busch Stadium II; the latter lit up for a Cardinals game.

 Crossing the Mississippi, the new St. Louis Gateway Arch, and Busch Memorial Stadium II, under the lights.

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An incident happened right after the bridge. An over rambunctious group of drunk kids in a wreck of a car came along side (at 65 mph,) yelled obscenities, and threw a bottle at us. It missed, but for a long several minutes they were harassing us, Tom understandably mad as hell, even AFTER they sped away. It was an interesting way to break the tedium of driving! It also was similar, but very different from the malt shake incident in Las Vegas! 

Interstate 70 was not complete through most of Illinois, and US 40 was relatively slow. At one point in the night, my straw hat blew out of the car and was instantly run over by a large truck! Sympathetically, Tom went back, and we stuffed the remains in the trunk. I’m afraid that was the highlight for the roughly 350-mile nighttime drive across Illinois and Indiana. I do recall hearing a Chicago radio station, and the mention of “Cousin Brucie” the popular WABC-AM DJ from New York City. But for the most part, I was asleep as Tom did over 500 miles (804 km) before stopping 3 miles beyond the Indiana state line, in Ohio. It was about 2 AM EDT.

 

DAY 11:

Wednesday, Aug. 23rd, 1967   676 miles (1,088 km) ~12.5 hours  

Western Ohio to Home

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The highway rest area just inside Ohio was the best we had seen. Spacious, clean cut grass, beautiful. There is no picture, because we didn’t care! It was 7:00 AM; we were 700 something miles from home, and to us, akin to a hop, skip and jump. Rt. 40 and Interstate 70 traded places across the state, we gassed up in Springfield, 12.9 gallons, costing $4.80, and would do it again a couple of hours later in Pennsylvania.

Looking back at the Wheeling Tunnel, just east of the Ohio River

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About 150 miles further, now on the Pennsylvania Turnpike we drove through Rays Hill Tunnel, one of several along the highway.

Rays Hill Tunnel, Pennsylvania Turnpike near Breesewood

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 Historical Note: A year after we were here, Rays Hill Tunnel along with nearby Sideling Tunnel, was abandoned (1968) when a new 4 lane by-pass was opened. When this original section of the turnpike opened in 1940, it utilized several railroad tunnels bored in the early 1880’s through the ancient Appalachian Mountains in southern Pennsylvania. Ultimately its purpose, the South Pennsylvania Railroad, was never completed and the tunnels remained unused for 55 years. But for 28 more years they served as the new Super Highway’s right of way until its narrow two lanes proved inadequate for traffic volume. Of note in our 1967 picture above is the original stainless steel lettering. Today (2013) the tunnels are a biking and hiking treasure, maintained by the Southern Alleghenies Conservancy. (Credit to Wikipedia)

 Current (2013) map showing abandoned tunnels of the Pennsylvania Turnpike

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The final stretch of our adventure, from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, we took Rt. 22 into New Jersey, to the Garden State Parkway, and arrived home in Bergenfield at 7:25 PM, after 676 miles (1088 km) today, and a total of 7704 miles (12,398 km) to complete our incredibly memorable trip of a lifetime. 

 Seconds after stepping out of the MGB – one final picture, dirt and all

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Some Statistics

Miles on odometer:           7704 (12,398 km) +  roughly 50 additional  miles on family miles tour in Los Angeles.

Most in one day:                 1118 miles (1799 km) 21 hours.

Total time:                          ~10 days, 19 hours

Total driving time:            183/2 = roughly 90 hours each

Average Gas cost:             $.409 per gallon

Highest:                               $.449  (Grand Canyon/Yosemite); $.439,  Flagstaff Arizona

Lowest:                                $.309 (LA); $.319 (Western Pennsylvania)

Gas and oil used:               289 US Gal., $117.80. 13 US Qts. Oil, Av. $.568  per quart

Average mpg                       26.8

All expenses:                       Food, room, purchases, entertainment, tolls,  film, etc.: (~$150 each.) 

Performance of car:          Exceptional. No issues except Pikes Peak; no  needed repairs; engaging to drive; and  surprisingly comfortable.

 

Thanks for your many likes, and comments and taking time to make  this project successful.

“Likes” and “Comments” are always appreciated.

Marty

Nuts and Bolts – 19th Century Railroad Bridge, and MEN

About 4 miles (~6.5 km) NW from Port Jervis, NY, between Sparrowbush, NY and Millrift, Pa., is a 165 year old “deck truss” style steel railroad bridge built to extend the NY and Erie Railroad; a project chartered in 1832, to connect Piermont, NY (Hudson River) to Dunkirk, NY, (Lake Erie.) This rusty, erector set – like artifact continues to carry freight trains across the Delaware River today, along well maintained rails.

On a recent visit, we were intrigued with the massive nuts and bolts used to tie the steel together. What particularly interested me was the thought of….how large the open-ended Craftsman wrench must have been and, really now, how large was that guy that built it in 1848?  Seriously!

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