|Ride Time||6:30 w/o stops|
|Endpoints||Broadway in Jim Thorpe, Broadway in Jim Thorpe|
|Submitted By||Greg Nebbia|
Info on NER GPX Files Content
This is a 204 mile route that starts and finishes in the beautiful Victorian town of Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, and winds its way through PA 125 (Gold Mine Road) and the region’s Coal Country.
Jim Thorpe is nicknamed Switzerland of America, due to its picturesque scenery in the heart of the mountains and its architecture. It is an adventure lover’s paradise, with hiking, bicycling, and whitewater rafting hugely popular with residents and visitors. The Inn at Jim Thorpe is the perfect base for your activities. (Although Jim Thorpe’s remains are buried here, the famous Native American athlete never visited the area.)
From Jim Thorpe yow will enjoy a great ride up to Eckley Miners’ Village Museum, with plenty of tight 10 mph (and one 5 mph!) switchbacks as you climb. It is fascinating to ride down Main Street and see the homes the immigrant miners lived in, some still occupied even today by descendants of the miners. The large Gothic Revival-style house at the western end was built for mine owner Richard Sharpe. The wooden coal breaker and company store built for the 1970 Sean Connery movie The Molly Maguires still stand.
As you continue along the route you’ll run the thrilling roller coaster ride of PA 125 / Gold Mine Road. The farmland scenery is spectacular, and the technical sections of the road will keep you on your toes. There is one stretch that you can actually catch significant air if your pace is brisk enough. So I’ve heard.
The road straightens out after PA 125, and you’ll ride through several economically-depressed towns of in the heart of Pennsylvania’s Coal Country, and one very active coal company (watch for their trucks). You may enjoy a stop at the Pioneer Mining Tunnel as you ride through Ashland, for a tour inside an authentic coal mine.
Centralia is very close to here, but I didn’t add a way-point because the company that now owns the property has covered up the Graffiti Highway to dissuade people from trespassing there.
Speaking of mining and the Molly Maguires, you may want to stop in Mahanoy City for a look at the eerie memorial depicting an anonymous hooded man about to be hanged. Located at the corner of W. Centre & Catawissa Streets (next to the fire station), the block walls surrounding the sculpture simulate a prison yard and contain plaques describing a bit of the Molly Maguire’s history. After this you’ll have an easy run back into Jim Thorpe.
For lunch, the Slopeside Pub & Grill at Blue Mountain Resort offers outdoor dining with amazing views on their huge patio, complete with a fire and heaters for chilly days. You may also eat inside the restaurant. As you start to make your way out from the resort be sure to stop at the overlook for a beautiful view. Some days you may see the Blue Mountain Flying Club launching their hang gliders from this cliff. As you wind back down the other side of the mountain you can enjoy a lighter lunch (or ice cream!) at the Blue Mountain Drive-In & Family Restaurant. If you’re not yet hungry, there are plenty of other options along the route.
Like everywhere these days, traffic can be be a hassle, especially on weekends and afternoons; I highly recommend doing this route early on weekdays. I added a way-point for an Exxon gas station roughly in the middle of the route, but you’ll pass plenty of others along the way. The The Mason Jar Family Diner sits just behind the gas station. I’ve never eaten there, but it looks like a nice place. There is also a pizza joint on the same property.
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