Visit to Rays Hill Tunnel, Pennsylvania


Sunday, I visited the abandoned Rays Hill Tunnel at the western entrance, near Breezewood PA,  on a section of the Pennsylvania Turnpike rerouted over two mountains between Breezewood and Fort Littleton.


You can park just east of the Quality Inn, at the Tannery Road lot off US 30, on the north side.  You climb up a little hill, and it is about 8500 feet to the tunnel, about 25 minutes to walk.

The graffiti is striking and vulgar.  There is a work room that looks like a chamber of horrors,


Donald Trump would ask, why doesn’t the Pennsylvania Turnpike fix this up, charge admission and make money off this land as a park open to the public, especially bicycles (which use the trails “illegally” now).







Video from Piscataway area of lower Potomac River


Here are a few video clips from a “field trip” to lower Prince Georges County and Charles County, MD, along the Potomac, on Thursday, May 26, 2016.


The first four clips are at Piscataway Park, managed by the National Park Service, including the Colonial Farm

Clip 1: Edgar the Turtle

2: Pigs feeding

3 Bird songs

4 “Free Fish”

5 Piscataway Slope repair done



(Published: Saturday, May 28, 2016, 11:45 PM)


Baseball game video exercise


Here are a few clips from the Nats-Mets game last night at Nationals Park.  These are “video exercises” only, with no actual game play footage.

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Clip 6

Here’s something more professional via MLB (yup, there’s advertising first to pay for it) — from Wednesday’s game.

(Published Wednesday, May 25, 2016 at 10 PM EDT)

Some chess tournament video (Chess 4 Charity event)


I’ll add here some clips from the Chess for Charity tournament at the Our Lady of Good Counsel school in Vienna Virginia.  My games scores are on yesterday’s post on my DADT blog.

This is not my greatest day of filmmaking.  Outside, it was dreary and drizzly (the previous tournament there had been crisp and sunny).  But an indoor chess sporting event cannot be rained out. At the same time, the Nationals were beating the Marlins in Miami.

I kept the camera restrained so as not to disturb players, but a chess tournament really is quite cinematic when in a large hotel room. It’s amazing how jumbled most middle game positions look.  Maybe a Bond film will try it.

Clip 1

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Clip 3

I finished 2-1.  White won all three games.  The last game turned into a “slugfest” in the late innings;  both bullpens failed;  both sides had deadly mate threats, and initiative was all that mattered; material meant nothing.


(Published: Monday, May 23, 2016 at 11:45 PM EDT)

Clips of QA from Cato Institute forum on ISIS


On Wednesday, May 18, I attended an event at the Cato Institute in Washington DC, “Is ISIS Economically and Socially Stable?  Speakers included Howard J. Schatz and Jacob Shapiro.  This does sound like an understated title for a foreign policy forum.

I have a writeup on Blogger here   but I wanted to share a few brief clips (max length 95 seconds) of the Question and Answer section. I’ll embed the two most important.

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Clip 4

Clip 5

Clip 6 makes the libertarian case that if a radical or violent or authoritarian movement fails suddenly or catastrophically on its own (like the Soviet Union) then others will be deterred from trying the same experiment in the future

Clip 7 answers my own question about homeland security.

Clip 8

Clip 9

Clip 10

(Published: Friday, May 20, 2016 at 11:30 AM EDT)

Films of the Shenandoah (“Brown Mountain” or “Rocky Mount”) fire areas


On Monday, May 16, 2016 I visited the burned are in Shenandoah National Park, 12 miles south of the US 33- south entrance (between Remington and Harrisonburg, VA), near the Brown Mountain Overlook at Milepost 77, looking West.


It’s important to note that this not the same as “Brown Mountain NC”, site of the famous lights (which actually occur at several places in Virginia and North Carolina — high school chemistry explanations — covered here Nov. 4, 2015).  The fire has also been called the “Rocky Mount Fire”, no connection to the Rocky Mountains in western US and Canada.


Vegetation was already starting to grow back.  But the visual effect was striking.


I saw very little fire damage on the south side of Skyline Drive.

Wildfires may occur in the East.  The Virginia fires don’t seem to have jeopardized homes.






Here’s a video on “What Caused the Fort McMurray Fire?” in northern Alberta?

And I can’t resist sharing this slide show of Expeditions by (22-year old nuclear physicist) Taylor Wilson, maybe the raw material for a documentary film. in Nevada, New Mexico and northwestern Arkansas. The “SCI” in the website name seems to refer to a level of security clearance.

The next-to-last story in my “Do Ask Do Tell III” book is called “Expedition“.

(Posted: Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 12 noon EDT)



Visit to Sideling Hill abandoned tunnel from Pennsylvania Turnpike


On Saturday, I visited the east entrance of the Sideling Hill Tunnel on an abandoned section of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  I was able to find the parking lot off Pump Station Road. There is a mailbox suggesting private property, but there is a lot about 400 feet into the woods, on top of the abandoned turnpike itself, blacktop, then cut off with concrete barriers so that no one can drive on it.



It takes about 20 minutes to walk to the tunnel (off to the west), about one mile, around two curves.


There are a few private mobile residences on the ridge above it, to the south, along with cats who live there and may greet visitors.

You can get to the entrance on paved road. Take 522 N toward Fort Littleton, turn off just to the south of US 30 on PA 475 toward Hustontown, then take Hess Road, paved, about three more miles to Pump Station road.  The parking lot is in a wooded area less than a mile south of this intersection.

I see that I had written about an earlier trip on April 19, 2015 on the other WP blpg, link.

Here are a few clips I made.




There’s an odd graffiti mark that suggests the name of “Rado Suhl”, after whom an Army buddy at Fort Eustis had named himself back in 1969.


Some scenes from John Hillcoat’s apocalyptic thriller “The Road” (2009), based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy, were filmed around the tunnel entrance (maybe the west side), review link here.

(Published: Sunday, May 1, 2016, 11:45 PM EDT)