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I-80: Pennsylvania and Ohio

I-80: Pennsylvania and Ohio
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  • I-80: Pennsylvania and Ohio

    Post #1 - July 31st, 2006, 10:14 am
    Post #1 - July 31st, 2006, 10:14 am Post #1 - July 31st, 2006, 10:14 am
    I didn't see a thread directly connected to travel (east) along I-80, but feel free to combine posts. Perhaps we should have threads that are labeled with Interstates.

    On my drive to Chicago from New York, I came upon three places of note not too far from I-80, although none of them are right off the highway:

    1) Tony's Danville Sandwich Shop at 222 Main Street in Danville, PA. Tony has passed away, but the sandwich shop continues, and does a very creditable cheesesteak in a small town restaurant with long hours.

    2) New Sandusky Fish Company at 235 East Shoreline Drive in Sandusky, OH (419-621-8263) prepares a very enjoyable, very moist fried fish sandwich. I ordered the perch and recommend it. The fries and cole slaw were ordinary.

    3) I stumbled upon Romp's which is a small ice cream/custard stand on the west side of Vermillion, OH on Route Six. Romp's serves many flavor custard/ice creams, but they make only one (don't ask me why): orange ice cream, and I can report that it has the strongest orange flavor that I have had in an ice cream, and is very delicious in a tropical freeze (orange, pineapple, coconut and banana).
  • Post #2 - July 31st, 2006, 11:46 am
    Post #2 - July 31st, 2006, 11:46 am Post #2 - July 31st, 2006, 11:46 am
    GAF wrote:I didn't see a thread directly connected to travel (east) along I-80, but feel free to combine posts. Perhaps we should have threads that are labeled with Interstates.


    That's a pretty good idea. There's actually an I-90 thread (I-90 All the Way to Boston: Help?) (and another about driving to Buffalo which substantially overlaps)

    I've made that drive as far as Cleveland a million times, but since I'm usually making that round trip in a weekend, I rarely feel like I can make a big detour without chewing up too much of the family time which is the motivation for the trip in the first place.

    From the note in your subject, I assume that you're writing off I-80 across Indiana? :wink: I stopped at a Culver's near Elkhart that had some exotic custard flavors:
    Image
    (Forgive the lousy camera-phone image)


    joe
  • Post #3 - February 8th, 2008, 5:03 pm
    Post #3 - February 8th, 2008, 5:03 pm Post #3 - February 8th, 2008, 5:03 pm
    I know the route from Chicago to Philidelphia like the back of my hand, but this coming Monday, I'm headed to NYC and am unfamiliar with the route beyond Youngstown.

    Leaving Chicago around noon, I should hit Cleveland about 7pm EST. I'd love to stop for the evening soon after that. Any recs for good road eats in that part of northeastern OH/Western PA?
  • Post #4 - February 8th, 2008, 5:47 pm
    Post #4 - February 8th, 2008, 5:47 pm Post #4 - February 8th, 2008, 5:47 pm
    One place that we always stop in the area of Sharon, PA is Quaker Steak and Lube's original location. I am not saying that it is the world's best food but the wings and the sandwiches have always been very good.
  • Post #5 - February 8th, 2008, 8:42 pm
    Post #5 - February 8th, 2008, 8:42 pm Post #5 - February 8th, 2008, 8:42 pm
    jlawrence01 wrote:One place that we always stop in the area of Sharon, PA is Quaker Steak and Lube's original location.


    Looks like that's a perfect place to stop around dinnertime. Then, I'll probably jump back on the road and make it to Williamsport before I turn in for the night.
  • Post #6 - February 8th, 2008, 8:59 pm
    Post #6 - February 8th, 2008, 8:59 pm Post #6 - February 8th, 2008, 8:59 pm
    jlawrence01 wrote:One place that we always stop in the area of Sharon, PA is Quaker Steak and Lube's original location. I am not saying that it is the world's best food but the wings and the sandwiches have always been very good.


    I agree heartily. I used to make the Toledo - New Jersey run about every 3 to 4 weeks (many moons ago), and stopped there quite often. Always good, sometimes very good. Had a couple friends who enthuiastically made the run from outside Cleveland to get wings

    And otherwise was mostly just fast food. Though the Ohio Turnpike rest stops have improved a good sight from what they were. Still wouldn't recommend eating at them except in a pinch - but if you're in a pinch, the Max & Erma's outpost along the road in Central OH will do. Only if you're in a pinch, though.

    The Culver's of Elkhart, IN (Indiana toll road, Elkhart exit) has always also been a great example of the chain, if you're into that kind of thing.
  • Post #7 - February 8th, 2008, 9:02 pm
    Post #7 - February 8th, 2008, 9:02 pm Post #7 - February 8th, 2008, 9:02 pm
    To add: if you're leaving Monday, watch for ice on I-80 going through the mountains of Central PA - I watched many, many people wipe out along that stretch.

    Depending on your driving style and how long you typically last & on the weather, you might want to turn in for the night in Sharon or Clarion, PA & tackle the rest while refresed & during daylight.
  • Post #8 - February 8th, 2008, 9:43 pm
    Post #8 - February 8th, 2008, 9:43 pm Post #8 - February 8th, 2008, 9:43 pm
    I travel I-80 fairly regularly betwixt PA 28 (c. Clarion) and NYC. I've grown quite fond of the Iron Skillet in the Petro truck stop, exit 215, Milton PA.

    Genuine real ol' fashioned food: liver & onions, meat loaf, biscuits & gravy, etc., done correctly. Waitresses who are young, but older than you are no matter what, call you "hon". Prices are so low as to raise one's eyebrows. Just exactly the right place to pull into off the road.

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #9 - February 9th, 2008, 6:46 am
    Post #9 - February 9th, 2008, 6:46 am Post #9 - February 9th, 2008, 6:46 am
    "Tim" wrote:To add: if you're leaving Monday, watch for ice on I-80 going through the mountains of Central PA ...

    Good thought. I'm checking frequently; seems the bad stuff will have passed by then.
  • Post #10 - February 9th, 2008, 8:57 am
    Post #10 - February 9th, 2008, 8:57 am Post #10 - February 9th, 2008, 8:57 am
    Hi,

    My sister lives in New Jersey just outside of New York. The halfway point of this trip is the western border of Pennsylvania. About 15 miles into Pennsylvania is a Howard Johnson's Motel (with pool) that we will stay at if we are not doing a straight shot. Their (non Howard Johnson) restaurant features a white (clam) pizza, which I have yet to have. I usually arrive there having had dinner or to eat breakfast.

    We follow the weather conditions when preparing to cross the Pennsylvania mountains. If the temperatures are borderline freezing, then your car thermometer can help you estimate if you have wet roads or dark ice to contend with. It has also happened you come fast over a ridge to find traffic slowed just over the ridge; not always a very pleasant surprise. I have left my sister's early to beat out a storm or stayed overnight at Howard Johnson's to wait out a storm. I just try my best not to be in the storm.

    There are other posts on I-80. There is a German restaurant in a Civil War era hotel I have visited at Pennsylvania's halfway point. Not spectacular food, though I saw some diners I might try someday. Others have suggested stopping over in college towns, which I have not tried yet. Sometimes I just give up on I-80 bringing lox, bagels and cream cheese to eat.

    I like the food court qualities of Ohio's oasis. Indiana's seem dedicated to Hardee's, though I usually fill up with fuel before heading into Ohio. I fuel up again before Pennsylvania. My car can go 500 miles before the next fill-up and usually NJ is cheaper (though who knows). Pennsylvania is usually the highest, so I avoid buying fuel there.

    Safe journey.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #11 - February 9th, 2008, 9:32 am
    Post #11 - February 9th, 2008, 9:32 am Post #11 - February 9th, 2008, 9:32 am
    The only thing I really have to add is to echo my agreement with all of the posts above. Some years ago, I would make a Chicago -> CT drive (with dog) and once I was into Pennsylvania, it was slim pickins. In addition to the slippery roads going through the hills of Pennsylvania, be careful of the PA Staties. They're ruthless and will wait hidden at the bottom of a hill to catch speeders, which having lived in a hilly/mountainous region for many years, violates an unwritten code between motorists and cops. For these reasons, it's best to go through PA through the day - it's also exceedingly scenic.

    I agree with Cathy2 that the Ohio turnpike reststops are heads-and-shoulders above anything you'll find in Indiana (or Pennsylvania) AND they have Starbucks, which saves you from gas station coffee. Keep that in mind. They're also well-lit and relatively safe.

    Have fun.
  • Post #12 - February 9th, 2008, 9:46 am
    Post #12 - February 9th, 2008, 9:46 am Post #12 - February 9th, 2008, 9:46 am
    Cathy2 wrote:Sometimes I just give up on I-80 bringing lox, bagels and cream cheese to eat.

    We've made the drive from Chicago to Philadelphia nearly 60 times in the last twenty years. At Youngstown, we split off on 76, angling down across the mountains into Philly. The food is pretty good along 76 but, from what I hear, 80 is pretty much a wasteland. If I were coming through earlier, I'd definitely stop at Fry Bros. Turkey Ranch Restaurant, north of Williamsport in Trout Run. Operating since the thirties, it's somthing of an area landmark, ala White Fence Farm. Unfortunately, they close at 7:30pm on Monday.
    Cathy2 wrote:Safe journey.

    Thanks, Cathy.

    Fry Brothers Turkey Ranch Restaurant
    19919 State Route 15
    Trout Run, PA 17771
    570-998-9400
  • Post #13 - February 9th, 2008, 1:02 pm
    Post #13 - February 9th, 2008, 1:02 pm Post #13 - February 9th, 2008, 1:02 pm
    aschie30 wrote:I agree with Cathy2 that the Ohio turnpike reststops are heads-and-shoulders above anything you'll find in Indiana (or Pennsylvania) AND they have Starbucks, which saves you from gas station coffee. Keep that in mind. They're also well-lit and relatively safe.



    I have to admit that I have not been driving back to Cleveland or Cincinnati recently (thank you Southwest).

    The newly recreated reststops along the Ohio Turnpike are fantastic in selection and variety. And unlike most, they actually stay open a lot of hours.

    If you encounter an OLD one that has not been redone - and one like that may not exist, avoid it like the plague.
  • Post #14 - February 13th, 2008, 10:19 pm
    Post #14 - February 13th, 2008, 10:19 pm Post #14 - February 13th, 2008, 10:19 pm
    Just a quick update. I pulled off I-80 at Hubbard Ohio and, on the recommendation of a post elsewhere on the internet, stopped into the Emerald Diner. It's a real 1939 manufactured diner, moved from New England, in pristine condition. There, I had a burger, home fries and a root beer. Oh, and a piece of homemade apple pie. A great place, just ok food. Well, can't have it all, I guess.
    Made it into central PA, and stopped for the night at a REAL HOTEL:
    Image
    Formerly the Lycoming Hotel in Williamsport, PA, it's now the Genetti. Even smells like a real hotel-- old carpet and steamed linens. Wonderful. The lobby features pics of famous people who have stayed there over the years, like Eleanor Roosevelt, Benny Goodman and Bobby Kennedy.
  • Post #15 - December 17th, 2009, 1:53 pm
    Post #15 - December 17th, 2009, 1:53 pm Post #15 - December 17th, 2009, 1:53 pm
    Hi,

    I'm going to be crossing I-80 into New Jersey at least twice this winter. I have already warned those going with me, the trip is scheduled around weather conditions. We may leave a bit earlier than planned to avoid crossing Pennsylvania in a snow storm.

    I can see from re-reading this thread, I have more options than before to check out. If there are any new places to suggest, or advise of closings, please advise.

    Thanks!

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #16 - December 23rd, 2009, 9:54 am
    Post #16 - December 23rd, 2009, 9:54 am Post #16 - December 23rd, 2009, 9:54 am
    Cathy....the Budget Host Gold Eagle Inn in Brookville, PA is a great little oasis. Very cute, independent old motel sitting up on a hill (very clean and cozy) with the Gold Eagle restarant on premesis. Really nice prime rib, and old world atmosphere....I think the restaurant was actually constructed back in the 50s or 60s out of lumber from parts of old turn of the century barns.

    Nice bar area too...dark and woody.....nice half way stop on the way to NJ....have a few cocktails and climb the outside stairs back up to your cozy room...
  • Post #17 - January 3rd, 2010, 11:36 am
    Post #17 - January 3rd, 2010, 11:36 am Post #17 - January 3rd, 2010, 11:36 am
    Hi,

    I80 in Pennsylvania has a reputation for closing down for accidents. Our trip home from the east coast, we finally encountered a road closing due to a truck "splitting in half." I compliment the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PDOT) for providing early warning of the shutdown. I knew as early as 60 miles away I80 was closed at exit 42. It provided enough time to get something to eat, check fuel, visit a rest area or find an alternate route. The only minor surprise was how far back the road backed up.

    At the last rest area, I collected a trucker's road map with a phone number on road conditions. It advised the alternate routing for east and west bound travellers, which my GPS confirmed. Unless I was prepared to go much further north or south, they suggested the best route available for the immediate area.

    We just passed exit 53 when we encountered the accident related back-up. We began an almost three hour crawl, which involved leaving at exit 45 and re-entering I80 at 35. Fortunately, at mile marker 31 there was a rest stop. Everyone was using the facilities with people lined up at the vending machines. We knew there was a Waffle House at the Ohio border and waited to eat there.

    Waffle House was a warm oasis from the tedium of a lengthy traffic crawl. At a glance, I thought it was closed when I saw no cars. I saw some movement, a sign of life and beelined to the door. I later learned Waffle House is a dedicated 24-hour operation with no locks on the front door. There is no what-if excuse for locking up and going away, it is always open.

    We amused the staff with our exuberant joy at dining at Waffle House. I explained where we lived, there were no Waffle Houses and this was a treat. Meanwhile, we're ordering biscuits and gravy, pecan waffles, triple order hash browns extra crisp with two slices of cheese, onions with a side of chili, two eggs sunnyside up, toast, two sausage patties, coffee and sweet tea. We couldn't finish it all and took it home for breakfast the next day. They gave us our drinks in to-go cups without charging us.

    If I had only known of Waffle House at exits 226 and 234 on the eastern edge of Ohio when we headed east. I would have skipped the food concessions on the Ohio tollway. Ohio's eastern edge, not controlled by the Ohio tollway authority, Ohio Department of Transportation has a pdf covering the gas, hotel and food options for exits 223-235. At exit 229 is an Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips, which I have always wanted to try. I found via my GPS there are quite a few Arthur Treacher's in Pennsylvania. I had plenty of time to check it out due to prolonged traffic stops.

    Cathy2 wrote:The halfway point of this trip is the western border of Pennsylvania. About 15 miles into Pennsylvania is a Howard Johnson's Motel (with pool) that we will stay at if we are not doing a straight shot.

    This motel at the Mercer exit 15 is no longer a Howard Johnson's. It is now a Comfort Inn.

    I saw the Gold Eagle exit, which is a about 55 miles into Pennsylvania. I planned to stop by to at least check the menu, though I didn't make it this time.

    For those who track gas prices: cheapest price was in the early to middle sections of the Indiana Tollroad. The last few on Indiana's eastern edge had prices 30 cents higher per gallon. Ohio was maybe a dime higher than Indiana's cheapest and at least 20 cents cheaper than Indiana's highest. Bought fuel just before PA in the stretch of Ohio not controlled by the tollway, because PA tends to be high, too.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #18 - April 9th, 2019, 11:36 am
    Post #18 - April 9th, 2019, 11:36 am Post #18 - April 9th, 2019, 11:36 am
    Hi,

    It's been a long while, since I deadheaded to NJ/NY via I-80. I made the trip there and back over the last week.

    On the way out, I drove 787 miles in 13 hours and 15 minutes. This does not allow a lot of time for stopping for comfortable meals. It was a race against my need to settle down and sleep. Leaving at 10:45 am in the morning did not allow too much wiggle room.

    Our first stop was at an Indiana oasis. While the food options have improved over Hardees-only, I made a bad initial choice: Sbarro's baked ziti consisting of overcooked noodles and a tasteless tomato-cream sauce (my guess). Grudgingly finished it.

    The no man's land between the Indiana and Ohio tollways has but one exit. There is only a Subway with a very excellent ratio of door to restroom path: just about at the door. Ordered a six-inch tuna salad sandwich with onions and tomatoes chopped to order, plus olives and shredded lettuce. On one-side of bread they squeezed on a Ceasar dressing and the other side an onion vinaigrette. Cut into quarters, it was an easy sandwich for Mom to eat while I drove.

    Note for the future: there is a large truck stop under construction at this Ohio no man's land on the western border. This location may be more lively in the future.

    The last stop was the Ohio no man's land between the end of the Ohio toll road and the Pennsylvania border. Yes, it was Waffle House to the rescue for the only sit down meal of a hashbrown bowl with scrambled eggs and sausage. Next door was cheap fuel, which I adore.

    On the return trip, we once again hit Waffle House for waffles, hashbrowns, fried eggs, grits and bacon.

    Our last stop was the very best of our drive, which upset 'the lady in the box' aka GPS. Instead of taking the Skyway back, we diverted to I-94 to exit at Grant Ave in Gary, Indiana. The canary yellow trailer is the siren call to many a Balkan long haul truck driver criss crossing this country and my family.

    A visit to Balkan Grill—Gary Truck Stop with Top-Notch E European Food was what kept me going all day. It was the first time for my Dad, who already had eaten their food from many hand deliveries by me.

    As much as I love the food, I knew my Dad would love the clientele: all those Eastern European long haul truck drivers. He could discuss the Balkan war with those who knew what he was talking about. My Dad even learned about a Serb who was a friend of President Wilson, but never knew the connection before.

    I ordered the food, handed him the receipt and sat in the car with Mom to wait. We could see his hand in the trailer's window making gestures. I knew he was in full war-story revelry aka having the time of his life.

    After 20 minutes, he finally made it back to the car. Mom and I decided to eat when we got home. Dad plowed into his meal of Rostiljske Kobasice, spicy beef and pork sausages stuffed into lamb casings. I ordered another for me, because I knew I don't like sharing this meal. My Mom later enjoyed her pljeskavica, a cheese stuffed seasoned ground meat.

    For years, we would exit and return to Chicago with a visit to Jim's Original for a Polish. I have a feeling, my Dad may want to include at least one visit to Balkan Grill, an oasis for my family and all those long haul drivers.

    Regards,
    Cathy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #19 - April 9th, 2019, 10:20 pm
    Post #19 - April 9th, 2019, 10:20 pm Post #19 - April 9th, 2019, 10:20 pm
    Off of most exists in Pennsylvania there will be a Sheetz or Wawa gas station. Both serve freshly-prepared frozen food 24-hours a day, a collection of your usual fast-food fare. They also have a small selection of fresher healthier foods like salads and some baked goods. The quality is about on par with the upper percentiles of fast food chains.

    It's more for the experience than the food. For some reason in Pennsylvania these full-menu 24-hour gas stations have embedded themselves in the local culture and it's nice to at least have a point of reference as to why.
  • Post #20 - April 10th, 2019, 9:21 am
    Post #20 - April 10th, 2019, 9:21 am Post #20 - April 10th, 2019, 9:21 am
    Chuu wrote:Off of most exists in Pennsylvania there will be a Sheetz or Wawa gas station. Both serve freshly-prepared frozen food 24-hours a day, a collection of your usual fast-food fare. They also have a small selection of fresher healthier foods like salads and some baked goods. The quality is about on par with the upper percentiles of fast food chains.

    It's more for the experience than the food. For some reason in Pennsylvania these full-menu 24-hour gas stations have embedded themselves in the local culture and it's nice to at least have a point of reference as to why.

    Thanks for the tip, because I usually stop in Pennsylvania for a pit stop only.

    For this adventure, I brought a diesel engine car with a 500+ mile range. Highest prices for diesel was in Pennsylvania. Indiana was no bargain, though the western half of Ohio turnpike was 25 cents cheaper than Indiana and eastern edge of Ohio was 15 cents cheaper. Best pricing overall was Speedway in the no man's land between Ohio turnpike and Pennsylvania border.

    There are a few Sapp's Brothers Truck stops in Pennsylvania, which may or may not feature Japanese toilets. Sapp's in western Illinois definitely does have the Japanese toilets, which have bidet-type features.

    NJ near my destination had good fuel prices and feature I can never get over: someone fills the car for you. I should know better by now, but it is always a surprise.

    Regards,
    Cathy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #21 - April 10th, 2019, 10:42 am
    Post #21 - April 10th, 2019, 10:42 am Post #21 - April 10th, 2019, 10:42 am
    I drove I-80 to Toledo before turning north to Detroit and back a couple of times in the four weeks. The rest stops at the eastern end of Indiana and the western end of Ohio are fairly new and clean. I had Popeye's at one visit that hit the spot. I even tried a guilty pleasure - Taco Bell Fire tortilla chips that were actually pretty good with an unusual texture in each bite. I need to get some more :wink: . Toledo is as far as I've driven east on 80 so far.

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