Avoiding the 495

We had a fairly easy ride from north of PIttsburgh to the Chesapeake Bay area to attend Mitch and Kathy’s MAMMARY Run. (By the way, that’s Mid-Atlantic, Myersville, Maryland, Annual Run, Yup.) We made good time eastbound along the Pennsylvania Turnpike to the crazy interchange-community of Breezewood, PA.

Apparently, the Breezewood government decided that the interstate couldn’t build an interchange in their locale, so the turnpike travelers must exit and ride 0.5 mile through a few stop lights before they can resume their four-lane limited-access route on I-70 south towards Hagerstown and the Washington DC area. That 0.5 mile stretch is a veritable gauntlet of gas stations, fast-food joints, truck stops and travel centers. All of these establishments are designed to pry money out of the travelers’ wallets. We stopped for gas, looked at the line at the Subway sub shop, looked at the group of kids running off a bus that just pulled into the parking lot, and rode down the street a few yards to eat at a Taco Bell instead. Soon enough, we had dined (if you can call it that, it was a Taco Bell), hydrated, and motored back out on the road.

Last year we foolishly chose to reach the Chesapeake Bay by going around Washington DC on I-495. This turned out to be an exceedingly bad call. This year, we headed around the south side of Baltimore on I-70 and MD32. This worked extremely well. We rode along with nearly no stop-and-go traffic, while passing over the main conduits between Baltimore and Washington DC, all of which were total parking lots of traffic. When we finally merged with US50/US301, the traffic looked horrible (probably stacked up heading across the Bay Bridge), but we ducked out an exit just before the merge and found MD2 south to Mitch and Kathy’s.

The remainder of a calm evening was slightly disrupted when we received word that Sam and Gail had gone down on Big Bird (their canary yellow Gold Wing) a few miles up the road. It turns out that they were OK, but taken to the hospital for a check up anyway. They did eventually get released and their daughter drove them out to Mitch and Kathy’s to pick up Bandit (their dog, who was unharmed in the wreck). Instead of going home, they ended up staying the night because they felt fine.

Overall, it was a pleasant evening and we all consumed a few attitude-adjusting beverages and good food, and swapped a few lies, and lit up the night sky with plenty of hearty laughter.

The following was the route for the day:

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