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Recommended Drive: Oneonta, NY to Scranton, PA

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by eblue540, Jul 8, 2012.

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    eblue540 Fourth Gen Bimmers

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    OK, so since we still don't have a place on these forums called "Enjoying your BMW on public roads - SAFELY!", I will put this here in the O/T area. We took a very rewarding drive today which I wanted to share with fellow Bimmer drivers. Since I only saw one other BMW the whole trip (hey, Estoril Blue e36 convert – nice to see the top DOWN today!), I think maybe not enough of us know how good some of these “back” roads are for driving. So, as a public service, I offer the following trip report/recommendation to all.

    Suppose you want to drive from the Philadelphia area to, say, the Cooperstown/Oneonta area of upstate NY. You'll probably do what we did on Friday and go up the PA Turnpike Northeast extension to Scranton, then get on I-81 toward Binghampton, NY, then go East on lonely I-88 for about 60 miles and get off at Oneonta. The empty and speed-tempting I-88 will not have assuaged the frustration you’ll have developed as you endured the one-lane only section of I-81 just North of Scranton, where you'll either have lost 45 minutes creeping the 10 mile backup, or you'll do what we did. We jumped off the first exit (exit 197) and make a cross-country detour up PA 347 and returned to the I-81 slab north of the bottleneck. Unfortunately, you'll then get to enjoy dicing with the trucks and RV's to stay awake on the rest this interminably boring trip.

    After a weekend enjoying the pleasures of rural NY State, you’ll realize you don't want anything to do with I-88/I-81 on the return trip. Instead, you will get to make the rural two lane drive we took today to come home. Here's what we did.

    At Oneonta, jump on NY road 28 South out of Oneonta to the stuck-in-50-years-ago town of Walton NY:

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    This segment starts with a brisk climb up a quiet switchback 2-lane. If you are lucky enough to have a clear road, you will be able to open the pipes on your car and begin to feel yourself relaxing as you realize this drive is nothing like the I-81 slog that brought you here. The pavement is good, no truck ruts or patches all the way with mountain vista’s and one Greek revival farm building after another to see all the way to Walton.

    [IMG]

    The second leg is even better for enjoying the dynamics of your car. This leg takes you from Walton to Hancock, NY. This segment of the drive is more open, more turns at the 55 mph posted speed limit and even fewer cars than the sparse traffic of the first leg. You will probably be all by yourself if you do this drive on a Sunday morning as we did. You leave Walton running along the West branch of the Delaware River. You then turn due south down a major valley, running down valley floors, over undulating terrain on smooth pavement until you arrive in Hancock, NY. You can stop for a refreshment in this small town, or carry on across the Delaware, which at this point will mark your return to PA.

    [IMG]

    The third leg gets you from Hancock to Carbondale, PA. This part of the drive will be in flatter terrain. The roads will reflect PA’s insufficient investment in new pavement in spots, as you rattle over some patchy pavement, but it isn’t too bad and is only noticeable due to your recent traverse of glassy smooth NY state roads. You will connect to old US 6, a fabled northern tier Pennsylvania-spanning ribbon of driving fun, written about not that long ago on our own Roundel magazine. From here you can pick up your favorite super slab back to civilization, which is what we did today. The PA Noertheast extension was running well today and got us home to the western Philly burb’s in less than 2 more hours.

    The total trip time from Oneonta departure to Scranton was right on 2 hours – about the same time as the Interstate dogleg would have taken.

    A trip like this is why you bought a BMW for the street: to drive on roads like these. Yeah, but the BMW has no cupholders, not enough room for the antique cigar Indian, too cramped to put my feet on the dash blah, blah blah. If you spent the money to buy and maintain a BMW because to you it drives like no other “regular” car, leave the SUV at home, take your BMW out for a run on roads like these and your will know you did the right thing buying that car!
    MGarrison likes this.
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    MGarrison

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    Nice writeup, Chris!
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    Satch SoSoCalifortified

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    You lost me at "safely."
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    eblue540 Fourth Gen Bimmers

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    OK.

    Lose the "safely". :D

    Still think it'd be a plus to have a forum section for the non-track members among us to share non-track, driving-your-BMW topics. "Off-Topic" just seems so... unfocused.
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    Satch SoSoCalifortified

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    And we are nothing if not focused...HEY! LOOK! A CHICKEN!

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