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Roadtrippin’ — Day Three

In a six-part series, Take The Highway takes to the highway on a six day roadtrip through the southeast, mid-Atlantic, and northeastern United States.

Click here to go back to day two.

We took off from Harrisburg early on Saturday morning.  It was raining and chilly, about 48° F.  I needed a jacket since I’d left mine behind back home, so we made a trip to Target before hitting the road.

The terrain of the Harrisburg area is already quite rolling, and becomes mountainous heading north on Interstate 81.

We stopped for gas in the town of Frackville, PA which is in the foothills of the Pocono Mountains.

Little did we know at the time we were less than 10 miles from the infamous small town of Centralia, known for the fire that’s been burning beneath the town since the 1960s.  Adam the Woo, my favorite YouTube personality, visited the near-ghost town in 2014.

Be sure you have no less than a quarter-tank of gasoline leaving Harrisburg north on Interstate 81.  Gas stations are few and far between.  You will burn more fuel than usual on the long inclines.


As we climbed, the temperatures got more and more cool.  The temperature bottomed out at 43° F.  Not cold enough for any snow on the mountaintops, as there was maybe 1,000-foot elevation difference between us and the highest hill we saw.

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#roadtrip Mountain view

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Nestled in the hills are the cities of Wilkes-Barre and Scranton.  Scranton is Pennsylvania’s sixth-largest city.

Less than an hour outside of Scranton, we crossed the state line into New York.

New York State

We had already made a hotel room reservation at the Econo Lodge in Binghamton.  It was convenient to Interstate 81, and just under an hour from Syracuse.  We checked in, and after a little miscommunication on the room, we brought in our luggage, freshened up, and hit the road again.  This time, northbound to Syracuse.

The terrain from Binghamton to Syracuse isn’t mountainous, but is very rolling.  It’s mostly farm country, very rural.  The rain along our trip ended for good along here.

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Upstate scenery #roadtrip

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We met my aunt Connie for lunch at Destiny USA, a large shopping mall.  There is a large parking lot across the street from the mall.  A pedestrian bridge crosses Hiawatha Blvd, and concludes on the 2nd story of the mall.

After meeting my aunt, we went to a Syracuse Crunch hockey game at the War Memorial, a post-WW2 arena in downtown Syracuse.

The War Memorial is flanked by a civic center and a convention center, which make up the Oncenter complex.  Getting around downtown on a game night, and on Syracuse University’s graduation day was easier than we thought it would be.  Parking for the War Memorial was in a garage on the opposite corner from the arena.  We found a spot within 75 feet of the entrance. After the hockey game, we headed back to the hotel in Binghamton and got a good night sleep.

How Was The Hotel?

The Binghamton Econo Lodge wasn’t the best hotel, but the people were nice.  We were inadvertently given a smoking room; the smell of stale cigarette smoke was overwhelming.  It was even strong in the hallway.  We had no problem switching out the room to a non-smoking one.  The desk clerk even apologized and said it was probably the computer system’s fault.  The room looked a little dated.  The indoor corridors were quite dark.  The breakfast bar was disappointing in its selection.  The lobby was under renovation, the beginning of a renovation of the entire hotel.

Why Binghamton?  Syracuse was on the northern tip of this trip, hotels were hard to come by in Syracuse that night, and we’d still be back in Binghamton on the way to day four’s destination.  This gave us close to an hour head start.

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Continue to day four.


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