Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Get Your Kicks on Route 6

I've pretty much decided on Route 6 for the majority of my solo ride towards New Hampshire. While doing research on which roads I'd like to take, I came across this snippet on Wikipedia:

Since it was pieced together from other routes, US 6 does not serve a major transcontinental corridor, as other highways like U.S. Route 40 do. George R. Stewart, author of U.S. 40: Cross Section of the United States of America, initially considered US 6, but realized that "Route 6 runs uncertainly from nowhere to nowhere, scarcely to be followed from one end to the other, except by some devoted eccentric." In the famous "beat" novel On the Road by Jack Kerouac, protagonist Sal Paradise actually considers hitchhiking on US 6 to Nevada, but is told by a driver that "there's no traffic passes through 6" and that he'd be better off going via Pittsburgh (the Pennsylvania Turnpike). (Emphasis mine.)

If that doesn't describe a great motorcycle road, I don't know what does. I've ridden portions of 6 in both Indiana and Pennsylvania, and I surely now fall into that category of "devoted eccentric."


Linus said...

ummm...have I told you lately that your eccentricities make me smile?

Andy said...

I don't think you've ever told me that until very recently, actually. :-)

Jonadab said...

Wait, so, in a quest for quiet and scenic, you're going through Lorain, Lakewood, Cleveland proper, and Cleveland Heights?

Our definitions of quiet and scenic must differ.

Andy said...

Jonadab, a person from Ohio! I'd covet your input as to a better route...

Jonadab said...

The counties that border Lake Erie are heavily urban. If it were me, I would say you want to stay south of Akron, if possible.

How about the old Lincoln Highway (known in some places as "old 30")?

Or you could start out on 6 then venture south before you get to the lake, preferably before Fremont, definitely before Sandusky.

What about 250 from Norwalk, then catch 18? Medina's a little big, though, sort of a Cleveland suburb almost, and you'd probably want to avoid Akron...


224 had a lot of semi trucks last I checked...

Anything you do (that avoids the greater Cleveland urban area) is going to be a bit out of the way, particularly if you intend to get back up to 6 in Pennsylvania. You'll end up trying to go almost due north in Eastern Ohio or Western PA.

If you do go through Cleveland, you've got your choice between lots of stoplights on 6 versus more distance traffic and ramps on 2 or 80 or 90.

I'll think about it some more and maybe say something more after work tonight.

Andy said...

Isn't the coastline of Lake Erie supposed to be some sort of Scenic Byway, or somesuch? That's what it looks like on my maps...

I see 2/90 through Cleveland as a necessary evil to get to see the rest.

I've done 30. I don't intend to do it again. You could fall asleep on that road, and nothing would happen.

Jonadab said...

> Isn't the coastline of
> Lake Erie supposed to
> be some sort of Scenic
> Byway, or somesuch?

If so, I'm not aware of it, though I admit I haven't driven it myself. Don't take my word for it: much of Route 6 has Google Streetview coverage, so you can take a gander at it.

> 2/90 through Cleveland
> as a necessary evil to
> get to see the rest.

Okay, I can understand that. Use Streetview to take a glimpse at a couple of the other sections (Lakewood, Cleveland Heights, Lyndhurst) and see what you think, then decide.

Before I saw your latest comment, I went ahead and worked up three other options for your consideration, so I may as well go ahead and post them here.

These all go from Butler, IN to Columbus PA. (I chose these endpoints because they're on Route 6, so you can drop this into the middle of your existing route plans.)

For comparison purposes, your Option A, Route 6 all the way, is about 308 miles, and Google estimates the time at 7:12.

Also for comparison purposes, Option B, Google's default suggestion, which centers around I-90, is 315 miles but clocks in at a time estimate of only 5:26, due to being on the interstate for most of the distance. Boring, but fast.

Option C, my personal favorite, goes through Norwalk, Burbank, and Doylestown, then cuts through some of Akron's southern suburbs before heading back north. 340 miles, 8:24. Only adds an hour and twelve minutes versus route 6, and stays away from most of the dense urban areas.

Option D is similar to C but shaves off some time by staying on route 224 through Akron. 336 miles, 7:19, barely any longer than route 6, and Akron isn't nearly as bad as Cleveland. This is the shortest route I would seriously consider.

Option E is a longer option than C, going around Canton on the south. 377 miles, 9:07.

The details are too long to fit in the 4096-character limit, so I'll post them separately.

Jonadab said...

Details for Option C:
Take 6 E to Fremont, then get on 20 E or SE to Norwalk, 250 SE to 224 E to Lodi, then take 83 S into Burbank and take a left on West Salem Road. (First light, IIRC. Looks like it doesn't go out of town, but it does.) Take this road east to Doylestown; along the way its name changes to Burbank Street, then to Sterling Street, then to Doylestown Road. (OBTW, you go through Rittman. My mom and I took this road to the Jentes wedding a couple years back.) When you get to Doylestown, take 585 northeast and east across the south side of Barberton (an Akron suburb). The name of the road becomes Wooster Rd W then Hudson Run Rd then Snyder Ave. Take 619 (aka Turkeyfoot Lake Rd) south and east through the Portage Lakes area and on through East Liberty, Uniontown, and approach Hartville (more Akron suburbs; trust me, they're more scenic than Akron or anything north of it). On the near side of Hartville, take 43 north to Suffield, then turn east on 224. When you get to Randolph, turn north on 44 toward Ravena. When you get close to Ravena (after passing I-76), find route 5, which will take you north and east past Warren to the Pennsylvania border, where it becomes 58 and goes to Jamestown. There you turn north on 322, which junctions with route 6 near Conneaut Lake.

Details for Option D: Follow the Option C route until you get to 224, then stay on 224 east until you get to Randolph, then turn north on 44 and follow the Option C route the rest of the way.

Details for Option E:
Take 6 east Fremont and 20 to Norwalk and get on 250 as before, but stay on 250 E until you go through Wilmot and get near to Beach City. Take 212 (Dolphin Street) through Beach City and on through Bolivar until you cross I-77, then look for a little road called Kerns Drive going off to the left (east). Take that, and Old Trail Rd, which is Twp Hwy 405, aka Dover Zoar Rd. Look for Sandyville Rd going off to the North, and take it into Sandyville. Turn right on Cross Roads NE, which becomes 183 when it crosses 800. (If you don't like all these little po-doinky roads, you can take 212 south through Zoarville and get on 800 there and probably not lose very much time.) Once you get on 183, take it east until you get to Minerva, where it runs concurrent with 30 for a short ways. Take 30E from Minerva to Kensington, then 9 North to Salem. At Salem get on 14 East, then at a little place called Unity you can get on 170 northbound. In Petersburg get on 108 East to Mt. Jackson. Stay on 108 until you get to the entrance to 60 (the PA Turnpike). Take that north (I think just one exit's worth of toll road, then it becomes regular highway). Take 60N (crossing 224 and 422) to the Mitchell Road exit (Twp Hwy 561). Get off there and take Glen Rd (aka RR3 aka Railroad 3) northeast to 158. Take 158 N through New Wilmington and on, crossing 80, and into Mercer. From Mercer take 19 north until you come to Route 6 near the Port Meadville Airport.

Jonadab said...

I'm almost hoping you do take route 6, so I can hear your impressions of it (positive or otherwise) afterward.

Jonadab said...

Regarding falling asleep and nothing happening: if you're looking for a lot of twists and turns to shake you up, you're looking in the wrong state. Northern Indiana has a lot of lakes to circumnavigate, and Pennsylvania has the mountains, but the major danger in Ohio is traffic. ODOT doesn't put route numbers on roads that twist and turn.

Jonadab said...

Okay, I asked my dad, and he seems to think there might be something to your scenic byway notion of Route 6.

Mind you, his *first* reaction was like mine (and my mom's, when I mentioned it to her, and my coworkers, when I mentioned it to them): "Oh, no, he doesn't want to drive THERE." I'm not fooling around when I tell you that the part of the state along the lake is urban, and it's a grittier, uglier kind of urban environment than other large cities like Columbus or Cinci.

But when I specifically asked about your impression that the lakeshore might be some kind of a scenic byway, he said yeah, it actually kind of is. Except for he parts that aren't (like, say, the warehouse districts). But apparently there is some scenery up there to see too, OSIAT. I wouldn't have guessed.

I still say look at Google Streetview before you decide, though.

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