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Old 02-13-2004, 11:31 AM   #1
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Pennsylvania Turnpike

It has been many years since I have driven the turnpike. I'm in the process of planning a late spring trip.

Does anyone know whether there is suitable parking and whether it is allowed to grab a few hours sleep at the service areas on the Pennsylvania Turnpike? I should be in the western section, somewhere in the Somerset to new Stanton area by nightfall.

Another option would be a truck stop with RV parking or a Wal-Mart. I'm open to Wal-Marts that are close enough to the Turnpike that allow overnights.
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Old 02-13-2004, 12:01 PM   #2
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Another option

Found a Wal-mart close to the Turnpike at Belle-Vernon. Does anyone here know whether that Wal-Mart permits overnights?
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Old 02-13-2004, 12:21 PM   #3
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The New Stanton rest stop is not very large.
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Old 02-13-2004, 12:40 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Navigator
The New Stanton rest stop is not very large.
I thought that may be the case since it doesn't show up on the map program like some of the others do. There is one further east that looks fairly large, but I should be well past that one heading west.
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Old 02-13-2004, 12:47 PM   #5
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I checked my 2004 Rver's Friend and it lists the following Plazas/Truck Stops as RV friendly (meaning allows overnight parking):

South Somerset Plaza #7076 (Sunoco)
I-70-76 Mile Marker 112 EB
Medium parking lot with room for up to 79 trucks

South Somerset Plaze #7077 (Sunoco)
I-70-76 Mile Marker 112 WB
Large parking lot with room for up to 149 trucks

Jim's Auto/Truck Stop (Texaco)
I-76 Exit 110
Medium parking lot with room for up to 79 trucks

There is also a Walmart off of exit 110 but it is listed as being over 1 mile from the Turnpike. I do not know if it allows overnight parking.
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Old 02-13-2004, 01:12 PM   #6
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John -

I haven't been on the western end of the turnpike since this past summer, but at that time there were significant amounts of destruction going on (some places call it construction, but on the PA turnpike that's definately not the case!). A couple of the rest stops were either completely or partially closed at that time, and they don't move very fast in completing those jobs, so I suspect things haven't improved much over the winter. I'd probably check with the AAA shortly before departing to find out the up-to-date status, or call the PA State Police for info..

For your personal pleasure of driving the turnpike, while taking your life into your hands, the turnpike commission has recently announced a 40% increase in tolls (they've got to support all that bureaucracy you know). It's the worst roadway in America IMHO.
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Old 02-13-2004, 01:15 PM   #7
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Thanks, Michelle. I have a Rver's Friend ordered, but it hasn't arrived yet. Looks like Somerset may be a good option.

My dad was an electrician who did a lot of emergency work at various pipeline pumping stations. When I was in high school, I would often go with him to emergency calls and drive the 1-ton truck home on the turnpike while he slept. Back in those days, one-ton trucks had manual non-synchronized transmissions and I would struggle to shift without clashing gears and waking him up.
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Old 02-13-2004, 01:27 PM   #8
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I have also considered going out I-80. A lot newer road, a lot less mountainous, and only 36 miles further to my destination. Unfortunately, I'm starting at Middletown, down river from Harrisburg, and I-80 means going through right Harrisburg and then all the way US22 and 322 up past State College to get to I-80. Those roads are scenic, but I was born and raised along US22; it wasn't a great road then and it wouldn't be fun to tow a trailer up that stretch. Lots of narrow roads and little towns.

I went to high school in Harrisburg. It was a nice little city of less than 100,000 then. Last time I was back, I didn't even recognize the place; freeways going every which way. Not a place I want to drive through solo.
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Old 02-13-2004, 01:47 PM   #9
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John -

I live just outside Lancaster, so I know Middletown pretty well, especially going to and from the airport there dozens upon dozens of times over the years.

I don't know how long it's been since you've been to Harrisburg, but although there is lots of road construction all around Harrisburg now, if you get on Rt 322 just north of Harrisburg, it's mostly 4-lane hwy all the way north of Lewistown now.

Going up Rt 322 to I80 vs a difference of 36 miles on the turnpike is a no-brainer IMO - I'd take it instead of the turnpike anytime (and I have, goning that way to Erie PA, Dayton, OH, and points farther west 5 times in the past 6 months).

Also, you wouldn't want to go all the way to State College on 322 but would get on Rt. 144 at Potter's Mills, then go
just east of Bellefonte to I-80.

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Old 02-13-2004, 01:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by flyfisher
It's the worst roadway in America IMHO.
After a two-week motorcycle vacation my wife and I took two years ago through Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York, we came to the conclusion that the state of Pennsylvania has the WORST highways we've ever ridden on. At first we figured it must be the freeze/thaw of the winter that caused all the problems. But, how come all the surrounding states have such smooth roads in comparison? Glad we didn't have the RV with us at the time ... it was hard enough keeping the Harley out of all the potholes.
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Old 02-13-2004, 02:00 PM   #11
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DreamStream -

hahahaha -- Only because laughing is easier than crying, and you're right on target with your observation.

The only thing I'd have to add to your observation is that while PA takes the 1st place award for having the worst roads, Florida takes first place for having the worst drivers (well, at least that's what I always thought anyway, UNTIL I saw all those licence plates were from PA, NJ, CT, NY, etc. etc. etc!) -- Plus, I've lived in both Florida and Pennsylvania, and just drove I-95 from Florida 2 weeks ago.

John
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Old 02-13-2004, 02:05 PM   #12
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Steve,
PA is bad, but upstate NY after the spring thaw brings a whole new meaning to "roughing it".
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Old 02-13-2004, 02:12 PM   #13
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flyfisher ... You're absolutely right about I-95 ... take it at your own risk. About 20 miles on I-95 should be the quickest way for me to get to work. However, I will not drive it in the rain and about 3 days out of 5 I have to avoid it because of an accident. It's quite an experience to be driving a calm 62 mph in the center lane (about 7 mph over the construction speed limit) and have two crazies criss-cross in front of you nearly clipping your fenders from both lanes at what must be near 90!
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Old 02-13-2004, 02:57 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by flyfisher
John -

I don't know how long it's been since you've been to Harrisburg, but although there is lots of road construction all around Harrisburg now, if you get on Rt 322 just north of Harrisburg, it's mostly 4-lane hwy all the way north of Lewistown now.

Going up Rt 322 to I80 vs a difference of 36 miles on the turnpike is a no-brainer IMO - I'd take it instead of the turnpike anytime (and I have, goning that way to Erie PA, Dayton, OH, and points farther west 5 times in the past 6 months).

Also, you wouldn't want to go all the way to State College on 322 but would get on Rt. 144 at Potter's Mills, then go
just east of Bellefonte to I-80.

John
Last time I went from Dauphin (my home town) up to I-80, I took just the route you described and I would again. I said "up past State College" as a sort of simplification of that route. My mother was still living, so it must hav been about 1985. I was driving my Mercedes then and didn't worry much about narrow roads, etc. I'm sure that the route has changed a lot since then based on your description.

Since I am headed for the Dayton area, I'll start plotting a route that way.
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