Recommended reading

💻 It’s a little-known fact that I-70 is discontinuous. When you reach Breezewood, Pennsylvania, you have to exit onto US 30 for about a quarter mile before taking a ramp back onto I-70. I drove it once, and it was strange and disorienting! Adam Prince tells why it’s so, and tells of the rise and fall of a traveler’s oasis that formed along this short stretch of road. Read Breezewood – The Rise and Decline of a Highway Rest Stop

Neighborhood in great light
Canon PowerShot S95, 2020

📷 Hamish Gill reviews the Pentax MZ-5, a plastic 35mm autofocus SLR that somehow manages to be better than the sum of its cheap parts. Read Pentax MZ-5 Review – Cheap Thrills with an AF SLR Film Camera

📷 The 35mm film cartridge didn’t come along until 1934, but there were 35mm cameras before that. One of them was the 1927 Ansco Memo, and you had to load bulk film into its proprietary cartridge. It was also, surprisingly, a box camera! But it did good work. Mike Eckman has the review. Read Ansco Memo

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18 responses to “Recommended reading”

  1. J P Avatar

    Breezewood, PA is a vivid childhood memory. When traveling east with my father to visit his family, his method was to leave Indiana after work on Friday evening and make it as far as Breezewood where we would stay the night in one of the bazillion motel rooms there. In the morning there would be a sit-down breakfast somewhere and a fill-up and we were back on the Turnpike heading for Philly. I don’t think I have been there since maybe the early 90s and had no idea that it had declined so badly.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Sounds kind of pleasant, actually.

  2. basil berchekas jr Avatar
    basil berchekas jr

    I’ve used that interchange at Breezewood to drive east from Indianapolis to Washington DC and back, and it IS disorienting, to say the least! I found it easier to use I-48 (I think that was the designation) from Washington PA through Sideling Hill at Cumberland MD (Hello, Cumberland, Indiana!) on to DC…that’s just my take on it, Jim. I’ve read good articles from Adam Prince on facebook…

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Ah yes, when going to DC it makes all kinds of sense to take I-68. And then you get to see that amazing road cut!

  3. Andy Umbo Avatar
    Andy Umbo

    As far as I’m concerned, good riddance to Breezewood! I had to go through that mess a few times when I lived in Washington DC to get home to Milwaukee; you could be stuck for hours! After two times, I took a deep look at a ton of maps, and planned a circuitous route, that ended up being faster because of zero traffic jams! Then I just started flying.

    Breezewood didn’t hit me as some throw-back to the odd configuration of the highway system, it hit me as another “small-town-Boss-Hogg” vestige of hill-jack America, as far as I’m concerned, no different than the reputation of Georgia gas stations off the interstate to Florida, puncturing tires and radiators to mess with the Yankees. They had the money and mandate to fix that mess 20 or more years ago, they just wouldn’t so they could line their pockets.

    I made it a point to NEVER stop there and spend money on anything, not even gas! No matter how long it took me to get through!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Well, it appears to be dying a natural death now, at least.

  4. basil berchekas jr Avatar
    basil berchekas jr

    Yes, Sir! The route I misnamed was I-68 that I took through Sideling Hill which was awesome! Before that, heading east, I stopped at the Maryland interstate welcome center at Frostburg and picked up a Maryland Transportation Map from their very courteous staff. Come to think of it, I-68 WOULD be the appropriate interstate designation since the lowest east-west even number starts south and increases north, so I-68 WOULD be just south of and parallel to I-70!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      That cut in Sideling Hill is just amazing!

  5. adventurepdx Avatar

    That Breezewood article reminded me of the time I passed through Wallace, Idaho about ten years ago. Until 1991, Wallace was “the last stoplight” on I-90. The highway department had plans to basically level their historic brick downtown to finish the freeway. The town resisted. They smartly put every single building in their downtown on the National Register of Historic Places to stop them. So the highway department had to build I-90 on an elevated viaduct around the outskirts of downtown.

    Wallace is a pretty fascinating place, tied to the mining and timber history of the Idaho Panhandle. It also had a bordello active until 1988 (now preserved as a museum) and has declared itself as The Center Of The Universe:

    I passed through Wallace on a bike tour in 2011. There’s a nice bike trail, the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes, that runs through the area. It’s on a former Union Pacific rail line. Part of the reason it became a rail-trail is for environmental remediation: the thick asphalt of the trail is to help contain the tailings from a century of mining.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Fascinating. I’d heard of that Interstate stoplight but didn’t know it had been bypassed finally. Good for that town for protecting its downtown!

  6. Jerome Avatar

    I lived in Washington, DC for quite a few years with family in Ohio. Breezewood was the bane of my existence for years. I dreaded Thanksgiving because of that abomination. Starting in the late 1980s, I started using I-40/68 in Maryland, and have not gone back since.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Yeah, IIRC it wasn’t until the late 80s that the last of I-68 was opened. A happy day for through travelers from the west!

  7. basil berchekas jr Avatar
    basil berchekas jr

    The Idaho incident is a salient reason WHY these “regulations” protecting the environment, historic sites, and so forth need to be maintained, not weakened. An excellent example.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      They are pesky to highway departments, to be sure, but they do go a long way toward saving things that are worth saving.

  8. basil berchekas jr Avatar
    basil berchekas jr

    True on both counts.

  9. basil berchekas jr Avatar
    basil berchekas jr

    Yes! Sideling Hill’s cut is amazing, especially the way they accomplished it.

  10. tbm3fan Avatar

    You still have toll roads back east? I remember them from the early 60s. I’m sure glad I didn’t come of driving age back east but instead San Diego. While now in the Bay Area, and we have traffic which you can mitigate if time flexible, the interstates don’t have to deal with any of the nonsense in this story.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Oh sure we do. Indiana’s is across the far northern part of the state and it connects to toll roads in IL and OH and states beyond.

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