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Panhandle Trail

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Rimerman

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Jun 23 2011 at 10:33pm #

Has anyone ridden the entire way from Walkers Mill to Harmon Creek recently? I am planning a ride to Wheeling, WV next month and am considering the Panhandle Trail for the first leg. I have read the old posts that state it is pretty rough from Joffre to Burgettstown. Is this still the case? I assume the trail is fine from Walkers Mill to Joffre. Also what is the trail condition from Burgettstown to Harmon Creek? Any recent information on the condition of the trail would be much appreciated.


Vannevar

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Jun 24 2011 at 12:29am #

the trail is quite primitive west of burgettstown until the wv border. very primitive. there’s also no shopping/supplies west of burgettstown.


Steven

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Jun 24 2011 at 3:40am #

Regular Pittsburgh City Paper contributor Robert Isenberg biked out to Wheeling in May. He describes the trip in this writeup and this 14-minute video.


Mick

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Jun 24 2011 at 5:13pm #

Robert Isenberg

Taht was a really cool videoo.

Alas! I took the time to watch it so I could see about the planets on the Greater Wheeling trail. (see his pic of neptune.). He says the distances between the planets are scaled porportionally/ Are the diameters also scaled? Do they have all the moons? The occasional speck of an asteroid? A flea-sized yellow flick of a comet?

Inquiring nerds need to know!


Pseudacris

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Jun 24 2011 at 6:38pm #

Nice video. made me want to try that trip.


Steven

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Jun 24 2011 at 6:54pm #

Mick: Good questions!

Robert’s Neptune photo says “PlanetWalk”. I found a Powerpoint file on the web that mentions a Wheeling Planet Walk and says it uses a scale of 1:1 billion, “nano scale”.

With that scale, you’d have to travel 4.5 km (2.8 miles) from the Sun to Neptune, which seems like a plausible scale for a planet walk.

But Neptune at that scale would have a diameter of 5 cm (2 inches). The actual painted circle seems about 20 times that size.

So the positioning of the circles likely matches the planetary orbits, but not the sizes of the circles.

Neptune’s largest moon, Triton, has a diameter of 2700 km to Neptune’s 50,000 km, and is 355,000 km away. So if you drew it at nano scale too, you’d have a dot 0.27 cm in diameter, 35.5 cm away from Neptune’s 5 cm circle. But since they drew Neptune with a different scale, maybe they drew its moons at some other scale too.

The Carnegie Science Center has a nice trail just outside their door. Maybe they should paint some planets too. (But pick a scale and stick to it, if possible.)


rsprake

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Jun 24 2011 at 6:58pm #

Too bad wheeling isn’t a cooler place to go.


caitlin

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Jun 24 2011 at 9:12pm #

ive been talking about doing this with someone!


caitlin

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Jun 24 2011 at 9:19pm #

not sure if this is helpful, but this is someone else’s route to wheeling:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=Panhandle+Trail%2C+Carnegie%2C+PA&daddr=Rt.+50%2C+PA+to%3AHighway+88%2C+West+Virginia+to%3AMoundsville%2C+WV+to%3AMarietta%2C+OH&geocode=FfdbaAIdLTU5-ykxoHGoCVA0iDHoaM4nMsL9QQ%3BFfIwZwId2D83-ykLGvvnKk40iDFv3WnjXTwwgQ%3BFY8gZAIdxbgx-ymnJdLeks81iDEpLZJzZX_83A%3BFeEiYQIdG_Uv-yk5OUGwvuA1iDFOoHu9WZGogQ%3BFThuWQIdBBkl-yktMsQM4cxJiDGV5OSRNSdiPQ&hl=en&mra=ls&dirflg=b&sll=40.114314%2C-80.634327&sspn=0.049361%2C0.056648&ie=UTF8&ll=40.086477%2C-79.447632&spn=3.441733%2C4.938354&t=h&z=8&lci=bike


Mick

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Jun 24 2011 at 9:37pm #

@ steven With that scale, you’d have to travel 4.5 km (2.8 miles) from the Sun to Neptune, which seems like a plausible scale for a planet walk.

But Neptune at that scale would have a diameter of 5 cm (2 inches). The actual painted circle seems about 20 times that size.

In that scale, Earth would be about 500 feet from their Sun – and about half an inch in diameter.

Seems to me that could put a dot in the middle of their circle representing the size of the planet. }:

In their model, the moon would be about 15 inches from earth. It’s orbit would be a nice circle.

Neptune has 13 moons – the one farthest from Neptune would be about 55 yards out and there could 12 other circles

I think we should try to do this with Three rivers fountain as the sun. If 3 rivers is about 50 meters in diameter, that 1:30,000,000.

With 3 rivers as the sun, Earth’s orbit would be about 3.3 miles awy – making for an orbital line on the Jail trail, the Southside trail, The Ohio River trail and other places. Earth would be about 17 inches in diameter.

The moon would be about 42 inches from earth and 4 1/2 inches in diameter.

If three rivers fountain was the Sun, Neptune would be somewhere up on the GAP, near Meyersdale and about 64 inches in diameter. ;)


Steven

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Jun 24 2011 at 10:30pm #

Sounds awesome! So we could put an Earth at multiple positions in its orbit, placing it along several of the trails. And likewise for the other planets. The bigger scale (compared to the Wheeling one) makes all the most important bits big enough to easily see.

FWIW, I think Earth’s moon would be 42 feet away from the Earth, not 42 inches. Also, the Earth would be 3.1 miles along the trail at this scale, not 3.3, I think.

Of course, all these numbers depend on the actual size of the fountain, now being rebuilt, but I think they’re good approximations.


Rimerman

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Jun 24 2011 at 11:55pm #

Read his article and watched the video. If I understand clearly, he took the Panhandle Trail from McDonald all the way to Harmon Creek. He makes no mention of poor trail conditions (just Boyd Road in WV).

I sent him an email to try to get some more information. I was hoping that a lot more folks have been out that way recently. Some of the past threads have not been kind in regards to the trail.


Steven

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Jun 25 2011 at 5:38am #

Washington County got a grant in January to improve 9 miles of the trail, west of Burgettstown to the state line. But I don’t know if they did any of that work prior to Bob’s ride, or what the status is. There haven’t been any announcements of such work on the Panhandle’s Yahoo group.


Rimerman

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Jul 18 2011 at 1:12pm #

I rode to Wheeling last Wednesday. The condition of the Panhandle Trail from Walkers Mill to Burgettstown is fine. The quality of the trail declines as soon as you cross Dinsmore Ave in Burgettstown. The section from Dinsmore Ave to the WV border (about 7 miles) was rocky in places but clearly passable. Despite the trail condition, I was able to maintain a reasonable pace on this section. You just had to pay extra attention to your line and dodge certain areas. I had no problems riding on it with my 26 x 1.50 road tires. At the WV/PA line, the trail improved significantly. In fact, I would say this section was the nicest of all. I exited the trail in Colliers, WV so I can’t say what it is like the rest of the way to Harmon Creek.

From Colliers, I took the infamous Boyd Rd to the top of the hill and bombed Mahan Lane toward the Ohio River and into Follansbee, WV. Right at the bottom of Mahan is a brand new Sheetz which made for a nice stop. I took Route 2 into Wellsburg where I picked up the Yankee/Brooke Pioneer/Wheeling Trail all the way into Wheeling. Saw the planets, but was too busy getting peppered with gnats to pay much attention.


Kordite

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Jul 19 2011 at 2:59pm #

Looking online at some different scale solar system maps I saw something that had me thinking about “Biking at the Speed of Light.”

Rounding the scale to 1:50million, ride at 13.4 mph would be the speed of light. Earth would be 1.8 miles away. Neptune would be 55 miles away. (someone check my math)


Astrobiker

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Jul 19 2011 at 3:51pm #

Your math is good. The Sun would be 42 feet in radius, the Earth 4.7″, and Neptune 18″.


Steven

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Jul 19 2011 at 7:22pm #

I made a Google map using the scale Mick proposed, where the fountain at Point State Park sets the size of the Sun. The fountain is 195 feet in diameter, best as I can measure it using Google Earth (prior to the current construction). That gives a scale of 24,414,154 to 1.

So 8.2 inch Mercury’s near the end of the parking lot under the 10th Street Bridge, 1.7 foot wide Venus is near the Hot Metal Bridge, 1.8 foot wide Earth is in Hays, 11 inch Mars in Homestead, 20 foot wide Jupiter’s just past West Newton, etc.


ieverhart

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Jul 19 2011 at 8:55pm #

Looking online at some different scale solar system maps I saw something that had me thinking about “Biking at the Speed of Light.”

Rounding the scale to 1:50million, ride at 13.4 mph would be the speed of light. Earth would be 1.8 miles away. Neptune would be 55 miles away. (someone check my math)

I LOVE this idea!

I was just about to ask how big the Point fountain is, but this says it’s 200 feet in diameter: http://www.clpgh.org/exhibit/neighborhoods/point/point_n78.html


StuInMcCandless

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Jul 21 2011 at 7:24pm #

@Steven – Fascinating! Where would Saturn, Neptune & Pluto (&/or the range of the Oort Cloud) be, given that we seem to be heading towards D.C.?


ejwme

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Jul 21 2011 at 7:32pm #

totally cosmic…..


Mick

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Jul 21 2011 at 8:20pm #

I think we need to find out the exact diameter of the fountain – or we could be off by millions of miles.


Steven

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Jul 21 2011 at 9:03pm #

Stu: Saturn is just south of Connellsville, Uranus is just north of the Big Savage Tunnel, and Neptune is by Fort Frederick on the C&O. They’re all on the map I linked to.

I didn’t map Pluto, but Pluto’s orbit ranges from just north of Fort Frederick, to a few miles past where the C&O ends in Washington (with an average distance near Point of Rocks). Pluto ranges from 118 to 196 miles from the fountain, and it’s only 190 miles from the fountain to Washington, in a straight line, even though the winding bike trail is about twice as long.

But that raises an interesting issue. I measured the distances in a straight line. Perhaps it would be better to measure everything in miles along the trail? I think both methods make some sense.

[Edited because I mixed up Uranus and Neptune, and to fix Pluto info.]


Mick

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Jul 22 2011 at 5:26am #

@Steven – I like the straight line measurement. You are not path dependent then. You could place a planet on the GAP and the same planet on the Panhandle. That would get a lot trickier if you don’t use straight lines.


ieverhart

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Jul 22 2011 at 2:02pm #

You could place a planet on the GAP and the same planet on the Panhandle.

This would be great. Also, mapping multiple places on the “orbits” of the various riverfront trails.

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