Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

All Tolled, Turnpike's a Wild Ride

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

All Tolled, Turnpike's a Wild Ride

Article excerpt

This is the time of year when many of us take to the roads, like ducks to shooting galleries, to haul kids to college or coolers to the barbecue. And I am getting the feeling -- I could be wrong about this -- that there are some people out there who don't like the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

The turnpike is a treasure. It's not some ordinary highway, like boring old Interstate 80 or Interstate 79. Most interstates are bland, featureless conduits designed to whisk you from Point A to Point B without anything to slow you down.

The turnpike isn't a highway. It's an adventure! How far can you get at an amusement park for 5.9 cents? On the turnpike, you can go a whole mile. And on a holiday weekend, you can get hours of entertainment in one 6-cent mile.

Built as a canal in 1752 by blind surveyor Sideling R. Hill (visit his service plaza for a fine selection of beef jerky and sunglasses), the turnpike was America's First Superhighway. A young George Washington was charged the maximum toll for losing his ticket on the way home from the French and Indian War, Quakers ran a horse- wash near the busy Valley Forge interchange and Jeremiah Dixon, on his road trip west with Charles Mason, had too much ale and threw one shoe out of the carriage. It can still be seen today.

During the Civil War, Confederate saboteurs with pickaxes tore up large sections of the roadway and erected barriers to disrupt traffic, until they went broke and began robbing travelers. This historic era has been re-enacted every summer since; the show travels along the length of the turnpike and is just one of many attractions and activities included with the price of admission!

There are games the whole family can play, such as "What's That Smell?" "Guess the New Exit Number" and "Ticket Hunt." But nothing passes a sunny day like the exciting new game "Lights On! Lights Off!"

You know that new state law requiring drivers to turn on their headlights in construction zones? When you see the orange sign saying "CONSTRUCTION BETWEEN INTERCHANGES 39 AND 358, EXPECT DELAYS," you can expect fun!

Passengers will be on the edge of their seats watching for the next WORK AREA sign, trying to be the first to yell, "Lights on! …

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