Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from June, 2017

Illinois Beach State Park

While in the Chicago area last week - I had some time to go to Illinois Beach State Park.  Located just south of the Wisconsin State Line, Illinois Beach State Park sits along Lake Michigan.  The park is located about an hour north of Chicago, but amazingly you can see the Chicago skyline from the park!


There are a lot of various recreational and lodging opportunities at Illinois Beach State Park.  Swimming and boating in Lake Michigan are obvious activities, but there also over seven miles of hiking trails along with bike trails and nature preserves.  The park is split into two different sections, North and South, as it is divided by the Zion Nuclear Power Plant.  Camping is a popular activity but there is also a 92 room resort and conference center on site.

I was only at Illinois Beach for about 45 minutes.  Just enough time to just really enjoy the views of Lake Michigan.  If I am back in the area and have more time, I hope to hike a few of the nature trails and enjoy the park m…

2017 sees new interest and new promise for the Pike2Bike Trail

There's new energy in the campaign to convert the 8.5 mile stretch of the abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike into a multi-use bike trail.  These recent developments has spurned renewed interest in the project with local governments, businesses and the Governor's office in Harrisburg.

In a reply to my recent blog entry on the seemingly stagnant efforts to convert the 8.5 miles of abandoned turnpike to a bike trail, Bedford County Planning Director, Donald Schwartz, shared with me some new and updated information on the status of the plan.  Earlier this year, the engineering firm, Navarro & Wright, was awarded the bid to update the master plan.  Once the work is completed and the plan is revised; the still unresolved issue of ownership of the trail remains.  Schwartz sees that it is still likely that a joint operation between Fulton and Bedford Counties will be overseeing the trail.

The ownership of the trail is key as that will allow the Pike2Bike Trail to go forward in desig…

US Route 50 over Echo Summit

After traversing Lake Tahoe via Emerald Bay on California State Route 89 I approached the junction with US 50 in South Lake Tahoe.  My final crossing of the Sierras was westbound on US 50 over Echo Summit.



From Lake Tahoe Boulevard US 50 West/CA 89 South multiplex south past Lake Tahoe Airport and pass through an agriculture checkpoint.  CA 89 splits away southbound through Luther Pass while US 50 continues towards Echo Summit.






At the Upper Truckee River the guide sign states that Placerville is 54 miles to the west on US 50.  Originally US 50/CA 89 would have turned left ahead in the photo on Upper Truckee Road.  CA 89 continued south on Upper Truckee Road through Luther Pass while US 50 used Lincoln Highway on the Meyers Grade to cross the crest of the Sierras on Johnson Pass.  I'll detail the alignment shift of US 50 to the modern routing over Echo Summit towards the end of this blog.


US 50 begins to quickly make the climb towards Echo Summit.  About halfway up the climb to Ech…

Old US Route 40 on Donner Pass Road

While completing California State Route 89 between Lassen Volcanic National Park and US Route I took a detour in Truckee up the infamous Donner Pass Road.


Generally I don't dispense with the history of a roadway before the route photos but the history of Donner Pass is steeped within California lore and western migration.  The first recorded Wagon Crossing of Donner Pass was back in 1844.  The infamous Donner Party saga occurred in the winter of 1846-47 in which only 48 of the 87 party members survived.  Although the Donner Party incident is largely attributed to poor planning and ill conceived Hastings Cutoff it largely led to the infamous reputation of Donner Pass.

The first true road over the Sierra Nevada Range via the Donner Pass was known as the Dutch Flat & Donner Lake Road.  The Dutch Flat & Donner Lake Wagon Road was completed by 1864 to assist with construction of the Central Pacific build the First Trans-Continental Railroad over Donner Pass.  The website belo…