PA 666 – is one of only a few roads in the United States that carry the ‘666’ designation, better known as the “mark of the beast” as noted in The Apostle John’s Revelation in the Bible. In this book, John prophesied that Satan (The Beast) would return to earth and claim to be God. In John’s vision of the future as described in Revelation – he noted thatThe Beast:
” …forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name. This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man’s number. His number is 666“ (Rev. 13:16-18).
So – for thousands of years, this number combination has been understandeably avoided and it carries a deep rooted stigma greater than even the unlucky number 13. It should be noted that Pennsylvania does have a ‘system’ for numbering it’s roads – which explains the number assignment. Pa highways are also generally given a meaningful name, as well as a number. It is somewhat ironic that this particular highway that bears the unmistakable ‘mark of the beast’ would be named The David Zeisburger Highway.
Zeisburger, a native of Moravia, was a Christian Missionary who passed through the region in the 1760s . He was the first white man to travel through the primeval forests of this region as he shared The Gospel, and befriended Delaware Indians in the area . Zeisberger, a prolific writer and excellent translator of Indian languages, was widely regarded as the greatest of all missionaries to the Delaware Indians. While his relationships with the Indians grew stronger – his relations with British authorities eventually became strained regarding the rights of Native people. During the Revolutionary War ( 1781) he was arrested and held at Fort Detroit. While he was imprisoned, about 100 of his Native Christian converts in Ohio were murdered by Pennsylvania militiamen, an event known as the Gnadenhutten Massacre. After Zeisberger was released, violent conflicts with other Native tribes and the expansion of white settlement forced many Moravian Christian settlements to relocate to present-day Michigan and Ontario. A large group of Munsee moved there in 1782, but Zeisberger later returned to live the rest of his life among the Native converts remaining near the village of Goshen (in present Goshen Township, Tuscarawas County, Ohio). Zeisberger spent a period of 62 years, excepting a few short intervals, as a missionary among the Indians. He died on the 17th of November, 1808 at Goshen on the river Muskingum, State of Ohio at the age of 87 years.
As for the road itself – I must say that the only thing it that is truly evil about the 34 miles of Pa 666 would be its horrific condition! As you can see from the picture essay below – the tarmac on this road is riddled with ‘the mark’ of disrepair and neglect as it has clearly been ‘possessed’ by the ravages of time and weather. It appears though (based on the ubiquitous construction barrels that often line both sides of the road) that PennDot is preparing to ‘heal’ this road from its possession by the elements.
This road has been described by other riders as providing twists, curves and elevation changes. I found it to be quite tame actually – there are only a few corners that I would label as ‘tight’ as it gently winds its way along through the forest as it hugs the banks of the Tionesta Creek. It’s never boring because it is full of (mostly gentile) curves and it surrounds you with the spectacular scenery of the heart of the Allegheny National Forest almost from beginning to end. I recommend it if you find yourself in the area. You can read more opinions for other riders here.
The following pictures give you a glimpse of what PA 666 is like when ridden from East to West.
Pa 666 is in a real sweet spot for great motorcycle roads and destinations as noted in my previously posted Allegheny Plateau – Northern Tour which includes other recommended places to go and things to see, such as the Kinzua Bridge collapse, the Austin Dam disaster, the Kinzua Dam, and the Stevenson Dam. There is just a whole lot of dam stuff in the area to see! Another place you might want to check-out if you find yourself spending time in the region near Pa 666 is the Pithole Ghost city. Lastly, the Cooks Forest area, just South of Pa 666 on Pa 36 is an ideal spot for camping, hiking,fishing, rafting, and canoeing along the Clarion river – an area that is similar to the Ohiopyle Park, much further South.
As always – your comments are welcome !
Blog author Brad Morgan of Carlisle operates a SERVPRO business in the Harrisburg metropolitan area. The link to his business website is the only compensation he receives for producing/maintaining this blog: