Thursday, April 9, 2020

Graffiti Highway

Centralia, PA, USA
Last March J and I went to New York City for my spring break. I always want to plan extravagant road trips with lots of cool stops, but then I get overwhelmed in the planning of it. I don't even know how I stumbled upon it, but I saw that there was an abandoned highway on the way to NYC. It was slightly out of our way, but we planned it in our stop because we knew it wouldn't take up hours of our time. It was also good that we did this on our way to NYC because I feel like at the end of every trip I take I just want to get home, but on the way to a place you have so much excitement and want to do all the things. I also got the flu on my last day in New York so even the slightest movement in the car on the way home was awful, and I definitely wouldn't have wanted to take any detours.
What is graffiti highway? One of my favorite movies is October Sky (that soundtrack is amazing), so I am drawn to the idea of mining towns and the soundtrack I dream plays constantly in them. So, naturally I was drawn to graffiti highway because it is in the middle of one of those mining towns. Back in 1961 a mistake in trying to burn the trash at the city dump led to the mines catching on fire. The fire was never put out because of the complexity of the mines, and by the 1980s, fissures were forming causing noxious gas to escape and leading to the evacuation of the town. Route 61 was rerouted leading to the graffiti highway we know today. The fire actually continues to burn underground, and apparently you can see smoke coming out of these fissures.
We actually had a hard time finding the "entrance" to the road, and so we didn't spend much time because we were afraid we were parked legally. There must have been a different entrance because people were driving their cars down it and I assume that is where you could see the smoke. We weren't lucky enough to see any of that. We did see a lot of interesting artwork, and Javier found spray paint cans he used to add to the ever-evolving work or art.
It was surprising seeing how many people were there walking about the abandoned highway. I always wanted to go back and explore more of the abandoned town and take another walk down this road. Unfortunately, I must be vibing something because when I went to look back on the road I found that just a few days ago the owner of the property decided to cover the highway under truck loads of dirt. This truly breaks my heart because it was a unique open space, unlike a building where there is higher probability of getting hurt. Apparently there were liabilities here too, and the owner was tired of people showing up from New Jersey and New York when they should be in self-isolation. Also people were causing fires and ruining the town. It's always those few people who have to ruin it for everyone.
In all seriousness though, please stay safe and healthy during this covid-19 pandemic, not only for your health but for everyone else around you.

Post a Comment

© Tiny Sputniks. Design by Fearne.