U.S. Route 220

 

Waverly NY to Rockingham NC

 

 

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U.S. Route 220 is a north/south route extending 680 miles from Waverly NY (just above the PA state line) to Rockingham NC.  The route number was assigned in 1926 as part of the establishment of the U.S. Highway system. Originally starting in Cumberland MD and extending north, it was gradually extended south to the current terminus in Rockingham NC by 1941.

 

Many sections of the original road have been replaced with 4-lane bypasses and combined with Interstates, especially in Pennsylvania.  There are many sections of the old road still in use, often labeled as "Business Rt 220" or "Alternate Rt 220".  In addition, there are some sections of the original narrow road that spur off the current road.  These can be found by watching closely for small "Old Route 220" signs. 

 

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PART 1 - WAVERLY NY to CUMBERLAND MD

02-03 August 2016

 

 

 

Day 1 - Getting from Morgantown WV to Waverly NY

 

 

With two days to ride, I decided to do the first section of Rt 220 from the northern tip (Waverly NY) down to Cumberland MD. I will continue south from there at a later date.

 

The first day was spent riding to Waverly NY from Morgantown WV, a distance of about 325 miles.  I found a rustic cabin rental (with A/C!) about 75 miles south of Waverly. My plan is to drop off my stuff at the cabin in the early afternoon, then head north to start the first 75 miles of this adventure.

 

 

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Neatly loaded and ready to go.

My trusty 2007 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 is rearing to go.

 

 

 

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Heading out I-68 from Morgantown WV to Cumberland MD.

Heavy morning fog makes sunrise quite eerie.

 

Normally I avoid the interstates because they are not as interesting as 2-lane roads.

Today, though, my goal is to cover over 400 miles, so I want to get a head start.

 

There will not be many photos as we head north since I am taking the new 4-lane sections of Rt 220.

Coming back southbound, we will take the old Rt 220 and have plenty of time for photos.

 

 

 

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Just east of Cumberland MD, the current Rt 220 goes north into PA.

Up ahead about 2 or 3 miles, Bedford Road turns to the left.

That was the original Rt 220 before they put in this 4-lane access to the interstate.

We will turn onto that road on our way back, and go through Cumberland.

 

 

 

 

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Just a few miles north, Rt 220 crosses into PA. This marker at the border gives some history of the road.

 

 

 

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Welcome to PA.

 

 

 

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View on Rt 220 northbound entering PA.

 

 

 

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Panorama photo of Rt 220 just north of the MD state line - near Centerville.

 

 

 

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At Bedford, I am taking the 4-lane bypass since we will go through town on our way south.

 

 

 

 

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Just north of Bedford PA, I took a little section of the 2-lane Rt 220.

Here is a nice overlook just north of Bedford.

 

 

 

 

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Then it was back on the interstate since I still had over 250 more miles to cover today.

 

 

 

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I-99/Rt 220 scene near Altoona PA. 

 

 

 

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I-80 / Rt 220 section near Lamar PA.

 

Soon, I was approaching the cabin in Montgomery PA, just south of Williamsport.

I wanted to drop my stuff off (to lighten the load a bit) then head north to Waverly NY.

 

 

 

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Coming up Rt 15 into the Williamsport PA area, 

with a nice view of the West Branch Susquehanna River.

 

 

 

 

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Since it was about 1:00, I decided to stop for lunch.

After I ordered my food, I came back to my table and looked out to see this.

I had been sitting at that exact spot waiting for the stop light just minutes earlier. Yikes!

 

 

 

 

 

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After lunch, it was 5 miles down the road to Riverside Campground.

I had rented a small rustic cabin, but when I went to open it up, someone's stuff was still in there.

So, the owner "upgraded " me to the regular cabin.  Not bad for $30.

Plus - it had A/C (nice since it was humid and 90 degrees).

 

 

 

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Rustic means bring your own linens, so I brought my sleeping bag.

 

 

 

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The ladder to the sleeping loft makes a nice drying rack.

It was so hot and humid that I soaked my shirt in water and put it on wet for the ride north.

Under my mesh jacket, it was like free A/C for about 2 hours.

 

 

 

 

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I almost started this ride on Monday, but wanted to get caught up with work first.

Lucky I did - there was a big storm that came through Monday night and uprooted dozens of trees in the neighborhood.

 

 

Now it was time to ride north about 75 miles to Waverly NY, the northern tip of Rt 220.

 

 

 

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Rt 220 is back to 2-lanes now.  Very scenic area just north-east of Williamsport.

Several historical markers tell the history of this area. Lots of Native Americans lived here at one time.

 

 

 

 

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Close-up of the marker in the previous photo.

 

 

 

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I reached Sayre NY (on the border with Waverly NY) which is where the original Rt 220 started.

It is now labeled Rt 199.

The road was cut off when a new east-west bypass was put in.

The original starting point was very close to this coal tipple.

 

 

 

 

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Just a few blocks west, the current Rt 220 ends about 100 meters north of the PA/NY state line.

The "End 220" sign marks the end of the road northbound.

 

 

 

 

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Close-up of the sign.

 

 

 

 

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Just across the intersection is the Waverly NY sign.

 

 

 

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Turning southbound, I'm now at the starting point.

That is the first Rt 220 sign on the actual highway southbound.

Just beyond the stoplights ahead is the NY/PA state line.

 

 

 

 

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Rt 220 southbound - Welcome to Pennsylvania.  (Sayre PA)

It is 4-lane for just a few miles.

 

 

 

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Another rider on Rt 220 south, near Athens PA.

 

 

 

 

 

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Near Milan and Ulster is this stone marker I noticed on the way up.

This time, I want to stop and read it. (see next photo)

 

 

 

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Close-up of the plaque in the previous photo.

 

 

 

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Continuing south on Rt 220 near Milan and Ulster PA.

 

 

 

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Another farm scene near Milan and Ulster PA.

 

 

 

 

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Another historical marker tells of more Native American history in the area.

(see next photo)

 

 

 

 

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Close-up of marker in previous photo.

 

 

 

 

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Just a few miles south of the last historical marker is another one.

 

 

 

 

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Close-up of the marker in the previous photo.

 

 

 

 

 

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Just below Towanda in the town of Monroeton, I saw this sign.

My retirement career is ready to go! 

 

 

 

 

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Lots of old white churches along the way.

 

 

 

 

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Peaceful scene along Rt 220 near New Albany PA.

 

 

 

 

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Peaceful farmland scenery in all directions.

 

 

 

 

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There were some nice contrasting sections with forest and curves.

 

 

 

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Interesting mailbox (??)

This is the kind of stuff you miss on the interstates.

 

 

 

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I spotted this interesting house built over the stream in Dushore.

Kind of reminds me of Florence, Italy and the bridge there.

 

 

 

 

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Between Laporte and Sonestown, this section of the original Rt 220 branches off the current road

and joins it again a few miles south. Time for a detour.

 

 

 

 

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Sign at the entrance to the spur.

 

 

 

 

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Once a thriving north-south highway, this section of Rt 220 sits quietly waiting for the next visitor.

 

 

 

 

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So quiet.  I was taking photos for about 20 minutes and did not see one car on this section.

 

 

 

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Just up the road, these cats were happy to see no traffic.

Fifty years ago, there would have been an endless stream of cars through here.

 

 

 

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Nearing the southern end of the Old Rt 220 spur.

 

 

 

 

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Back on the current Rt 220. This sign marks the southern entrance to the spur.

 

 

 

 

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Getting closer to Williamsport PA.  Near Muncy Valley.

 

 

 

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I got back to the cabin about 8pm. Perfect timing.

When I checked in, the owner gave me a token for a free beer at the campground tavern.

After riding all afternoon in 90-degree temps, a cold one sounded pretty good.

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2 - Williamsport PA to Cumberland MD

 

After a good night's sleep (and a refreshing cold shower!) it was time to continue my journey south.

I would start by riding up into Williamsport.

 

 

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Scenic overlook of Williamsport NY on Rt 15.

 

 

 

 

 

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Historical Marker tells some of the history of Williamsport.

 

 

 

 

 

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Another nearby marker tells about the logging industry in the area.

 

 

 

 

 

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In downtown Williamsport, I got back on Rt 220 as it passes through town.

 

 

 

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Just south of Williamsport, Rt 220 continues as a divided 4-lane for a while.

 

 

 

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South of Williamsport - even though it's divided 4-lane, the scenery is nice.

 

 

 

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More mountain scenery in the distance.  (south of Jersey Shore PA)

 

 

 

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More farm scenery.  Standing in the same spot, I turned to the right for the next photo.

 

 

 

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I believe this is Pine Creek, just south of Jersey Shore.

Nice view from the bridge.

 

 

 

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One of the best scenic stops on the entire ride.

Nittany Valley near Mackeyville PA on Rt 220/Frank D. O'Reilly Highway.

(See next photo for panorama)

 

 

 

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Even this panorama cannot express the beauty of the scene.

 

Just a few moments later, I was putting my camera away and getting on the bike when I heard a car pull up behind me.

I turned and it was two State Troopers with their lights on stopping to see if I was OK. That was nice.

I wish I had thought to ask to take a photo before they left. Oh well.

 

 

 

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Just a few miles down the road, Rt 220 is combined with I-80 for about 20 miles.

 

 

 

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Back on the I-80.  Not for long, though.

 

 

 

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At Milesburg, I got on "Alternate 220" instead of following the current Rt 220 combined with I-99.

This follows much of the original road's path.

 

 

 

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Alternate Rt 220 starts out as a divided 4-lane but goes back to 2-lane soon.

 

 

 

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See - back to 2-lanes again.  More farmland scenery near Unionville.

 

 

 

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This old barn has seen a lot of traffic pass by over the years.

 

 

 

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"Houston, we have a problem."

A spelling problem, it would seem.

 

 

 

 

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Passing through many towns too small to even be named.

 

 

 

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This historical marker was about ready to fall over.

(see next photo)

 

 

 

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Close-up of marker in the previous photo.

 

 

 

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Hey, can't say we didn't warn you! 

There was another kind of trap, too. I almost pulled over into a deep hole hidden by weeds.

 

 

 

 

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Quiet Port Matilda.  No speeding motorcycle troublemakers today.

 

 

 

 

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From Port Matilda, the road continues south labeled as Bald Eagle Valley Road.

I don't know why it is not labeled Rt 220 for this section.

Look closely, and you can see the current Rt 220 combined with I-99 way up on the hill to the left.

 

 

 

 

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Another view along Bald Eagle Valley Road, just north of Tyrone PA.

The current Rt 220 / I-99 is visible again in the background.

 

 

 

 

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Just north of Altoona, there were signs that Business Rt 220 was closed for bridge construction.

I had to get on I-99 south for about 5 miles before getting off on the downtown Altoona exit.

 

 

 

 

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I stopped in the old downtown section of Altoona to check my maps and drink some water.

 

 

 

 

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South of Altoona, Rt 220 is highly commercialized.

 

 

 

 

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Every store and every restaurant you would ever need is on this 3-mile strip.

 

 

 

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Again, these are the things you miss on the interstate.

I wonder if the statue would fit in my travel trunk? What would the neighbors think?

 

 

 

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South of Altoona near Claysburg. Another small, quiet farming town.

 

 

 

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More farms and tall corn south of Altoona.

 

 

 

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Coming into Bedford PA, I passed this beautiful old church.

St. Paul's Reformed Church

 

 

 

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On the north side of Bedford, coming into town on Business Rt 220.

My wife and I have stopped here when we were at the Bedford County Fair.

Great food - Friendly staff - Clean!

 

 

 

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Southbound on Business Rt 220 coming into downtown Bedford. 

Lots of interesting shops. Good place to walk around.

 

 

 

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South of Bedford is Bedford Springs Resort. 

 

Founded in 1806 - a 300-acre historical district designated as a National Historic Landmark.

Used by President James Buchanan as his summer home.

Used as site for summer sessions of US Supreme Court 1857-1861.

Used by Navy in WWII for radio training school.

Used to detain Japanese diplomats captured in Berlin, Germany in WWII.

 

 

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Nearby Miller's house.

 

 

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Just south of Bedford Springs, Business Rt 220 re-joins the main Rt 220.

We will continue south.

 

 

 

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Ready to continue south on the main Rt 220 just below Bedford PA.

 

 

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Near Patience and Burning Bush, more farmland scenery.

 

 

 

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And more farmland scenery. I never get tired of this! 

 

 

 

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Everyone shares the road.

 

 

 

 

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I spotted this historical marker near Centerville. (see next photo)

 

 

 

 

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Historical Marker from previous photo tells of local history.

 

 

 

 

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Funny sign at a vegetable farm/roadside stand.

 

 

 

 

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Back at the Maryland state line. 

View north back into Pennsylvania where we passed by yesterday.

 

 

 

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Rt 220 enters its 3rd state southbound - Welcome to Maryland.

 

 

 

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This is the short section of Rt 220 that goes south to meet I-68.

Just ahead, we will turn onto Bedford Road to follow the original route through Cumberland MD.

 

 

 

 

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Bedford Road follows the original path of Rt 220 through Cumberland MD.

This is westbound just a few miles east of downtown.

 

 

 

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Just a mile or two east of downtown, Rt 220 splits.

We will follow Bedford St inbound, while the outbound traffic is on Frederick St.

 

 

 

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When I was a kid, we used to come to Cumberland to visit my Grandfather's sister (Great Aunt?) Ruth.

I still remember all the brick houses in the area.

 

 

 

 

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More brick houses along Bedford Street (original Rt 220) coming westbound into downtown Cumberland.

 

 

 

 

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I stopped to check my directions before going over the bridge to the left and into downtown Cumberland.

 

 

 

 

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Coming into downtown Cumberland MD.

 

 

 

 

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Turning left onto Mechanic Street, I will follow the original Rt 220 through town.

 

 

 

 

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After crossing Wills Creek, I turned onto Greene Street.

Here is located the start of the historic National Road (Rt 40).

 

I did a ride report with photos on Rt 40 and Rt 30 a few years ago: Click Here

 

 

 

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Monument for the start of the National Road.

 

 

 

 

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Informative plaque for the National Road.

 

 

 

 

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From there, I continued south-west on Greene Street trying to follow the original path of Rt 220.

 

 

 

 

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Greene Street goes through many older neighborhoods.

 

 

 

 

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Just over the hill up ahead to the left is the junction with I-68.

That is where we will pick up on the next ride.

 

Thanks for joining me. Hope you enjoyed the photos and stories.

 

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