Getting up before dawn, Luke and I completed an hour or so more of Interstate driving before heading off to the southwest, heading past the southern end of the Finger Lakes region. We stopped for breakfast at a pleasant local diner (Lights Coffee Shop) in Elmira, New York, where we had a great little breakfast that arrived in an amazingly short time. The day had dawned cool but beautifully crisp and clear, just as predicted.
South towards Pennsylvania
South towards Pennsylvania
Heading south out of Elmira, we soon crossed into Northern Pennsylvania, making our way to the first of the 'twisty' roads I had marked on my composite map of the southeast. Now, this road was ranked fairly lowly on my scale of twistiness, but it was exciting nevertheless to get to the first of the roads I had planned out (which was, by the way, PA-549).
As it turned out, PA-549 wasn't that twisty, although it pleasantly meandered through very pretty Pennsylvania farm country, had excellent pavement, and low traffic. The day was nice, the top was down, and the scenery was great. More than good enough for the time being!
Driving through scenic farm country
We meandered through farmlands and little towns, soaking in the ambiance of this scenic bit of rural Pennsylvania. We angled our way west for a bit, heading for the wooded ravines of the area near the 'Grand Canyon of the East'. Here, we caught PA-144, a north-south route that does some mild winding through wooded glens and across plateaus of north-central Pennsylvania. It runs through the Sproul State Forest and in places is known as the Elk Scenic Drive.
A little hillier, a little twistier
Even though the road did have some halfway-decent twisties, when it did so, the speed limits were lowered such that you couldn't really have much fun on them without exceeding the limit by a fair bit. This road also had a fair bit of traffic when we drove it, including a biker-filled Renovo, PA, where they were obviously having some sort of biker rally / parade / party. The going was slow through there. The Elk Scenic Drive portion of PA-144 was indeed pleasant, but I wouldn't put it at the top of my list in terms of the twisty road experience. Certainly the scenery was most pleasant, with beautiful fall colors, a few scenic overlooks, and pristine-looking forests of various types.
Twisty Road Info:
If you'd like ratings, ranking, and more detailed information about PA-549 and PA-144, click here (for PA-549)
and here (for PA-144)
After finishing PA-144, we decided it might be wise to lay off the back roads and make some time heading south to the Virginias. To that end, we took some major routes, including a stretch of Interstate-99. We crossed into Maryland mid-afternoon, and shortly therafter, entered northeastern West Virginia. Finally -- one of the states containing the 'real good stuff'!
Although it was getting late in the day, we were salivating for a taste of 'real' twisties -- the kind we'd experienced before on our extended out-west road trips. So, we consulted my annotated maps and charted a course to the nearer of the 'red routes' (which was my color-coded designation for 'extremely good twisty'). Finally, an hour or so before sunset, we arrived at the short stretch of WV-93 that I had marked in dotted-red on my map. And, lo and behold, it was most excellent!
The beginning of the good stuff
The highway, which had been meandering along in a long, ridge-bordered valley, suddenly turned and began climbing one of the valley sides. In wide, beautifully paved tight sweeps, it climbed higher and higher, back and forth, to the edge of a plateau. The turns were tight -- signed at 25mph, but the speed limit was 55 mph the whole way through. The only problem was that this section was over far too quickly: we were soon at the top, and emerged onto the plateau, where the twisties vanished. But what a beautiful little intro!
Ready for more
We quickly pieced together a route that got us to the town we wanted to stay at for the night, while at the same time hitting a few more twisties. We wanted a few more 'hits' before hitting the sack!
Northern WV windfarm
We cruised down a bit of US-219 (also marked on may map as a twisty, and parts of even this bit were quite good) to a short stretch of WV-73 that I had high hopes for. It looked quite twisty on the map. As it turned out, it sure was twisty. It was also not much more than a paved horse-track, and it wound, very tightly, through some very undeveloped rural farm country. It was so narrow that it had no center stripe, and I had to honk around the many blind turns in order to warn oncoming vehicles of our approach. The pavement was a somewhat rough and slightly gravelly in places, too. Very twisty, but not really a place to push it. As twilight fell, we carefully finished the road, then headed west on US-33 towards Elkins, WV -- our planned stopover for the night.
Like a backroad in Europe
We had planned at staying at the Econolodge in Buckhannon that evening. Nope - it was full, as was every other spot in town. Seems like fall weekends in West Virginia are popular times for vacationing. So, onward we went along US-33 into the night, stopping at of the motels we could find. Harding, Buckhannon, then finally Weston, where we finally found a spot at a Super 8 motel. We were a little further west than we had wanted, but were still well-positioned for one of the longer twisty routes on my map. A quick meal at a chinese buffet just outside the motel, and we were off to a good night's sleep. Tomorrow would be a heavy-duty twisty-road day!
Interactive Trackmap & Photo Points - Day 2 - Click link below to expand
Route Data - Day 2 - Syracuse to Westin
* : +/- 75 feet
Total Elevation Gain:
Total Elevation Loss:
* : +/- 75 feet