Friday, March 2, 2012

Turnpike Tunnels, PA

Sunday morning was cold but the sun shone bravely. I was up early and the meadow looked beautiful with the trees catching the first rays of the sun. My bag was packed and I was wrapped up warmly as Steve & I were heading up to PA to explore the old abandoned turnpike tunnels with other friends. The drive was so easy from Marshall and we were there withing 1.5 hours drinking Steve's 'nutritious and delicious' coffee that he'd brought along in a flask. The roads were scenic with little traffic and before long we were at the meeting place and tucking into breakfast.
We met up with the others and in a convoy traveled the few miles to the tunnels. There was still some snow in patches and it was freezing cold. I activated my hand warmers as we all got out our camera gear.
Me on the ground taking a shot..
...and the photo I took.
We walked into the great maw of the tunnel admiring the graffiti, the only color in this monotone landscape.
There were icicles hanging down adding to the chill. Some of us decided to walk the length of the tunnel which was about 1.5 miles, this is the Sideling tunnel. There's information on the turnpike here., and this site has a great little video actually shot during the 50's      
We came out the other end and climbed up to check out the ventilation machinery. The huge old fans are still in place, there's one of these rooms at each end of the tunnel. We were getting so cold standing around so decided to start walking back. Halfway into the tunnel some of the others were starting to prepare for some light painting photos so we stopped and put up our tripods again.
The photos above were taken with steel wool set alight. Doing this in a tunnel is best since the sparks bounce off the walls or it can be done outside if the conditions are damp enough. It was fun to watch Lyle and Tom do this and for a while nobody noticed the cold.
These photos are of small lights being swung round. I've just bought some color changing lights and a remote control so am very excited for them to arrive so we can do this at Meadow House. You can see Lyle in the center image but usually with him moving around so fast he isn't picked up by the camera.
Once the steel wool was all used up, we packed and trudged back to the cars with numb feet and fingers. I could barely feel any heat from my hand warmers and thought I was tripping up as I had no feeling in my toes. But the car was soon nice and toasty so Steve and I set off for home but on the way we stopped briefly at this old abandoned house.
We took some photos here and in my images I took a wallpaper shot. I think I'll be collecting old wallpaper patterns, they draw me in and are so rarely seen in modern homes. I remember my grandparents house having something similar but with horses, ladies in long dresses, trees and trellises, the colors were creams, blues and greens.. I wish I had a photo of it now. There were more icicles hanging outside and soon we'd had enough, resolving not to stop again until we saw a bar. A beer was definitely in order.But the road we drove on through Pennsylvania and Maryland took us through very dry country. We stopped at a place called The 19th Hole but realized as we got out the car and saw the boarded up windows and solid door that we'd likely get a lap dance along with our beer so we scuttled back to the car. A little further down the road, we came across a restaurant and after asking whether they knew of somewhere that we could find a beer at, we found ourselves being stared at as though we were demons from Hell and needed some churching up. Again we scuttled and Steve was sure he heard the banjo from Deliverance playing behind us as we shot out through the door. We decided to stay in the car until we were in Virginia and thankfully that didn't take too long, but we realized we'd taken a different road home as nothing looked familiar. As dusk was coming in fast I pulled over to look at Google maps and just by luck pulled up outside The Irish Isle in Middletown.
Before long we were chugging back wonderful beers and wolfing down the best cheesy fries with fish and chips that I'd had in a long time. I heard an English accent and started chatting to a David Smith who's been over here in the U.S. a little longer than me. He was singing in the bar but chatted with us afterwards and told us about a website he's started called which spans several countries and has a wealth of musicians featured. His own band is called My Lucky Fish, the name coming from a little plastic fish he was given by a small girl who told him that she liked his music and wanted to give him the fish for good luck. The actual fish features at the top of the website.
We had a superb evening but set off on the last leg back to Meadow House before we ran out of energy completely. It had been a wonderous day seeing new places with old friends and we'd had many laughs and fun encounters. Sitting in front of a blazing log fire accompanied by Kota and a glass of red wine was a lovely way to wind down.

No comments: