Saturday, November 11, 2006

80th Anniversary of US Highway System

November 11, 2006 marks the 80th Anniversary of the US Highway system. The US Highway system was created by the American Association of State Highway Officials to provide a uniform numbering system between states and replacing a hodgepodge of naming & numbering systems between states,  such as The Jefferson Trail (also known as Missouri Route 1 and Arkansas Route A-4 in before eventually becoming US 71). The uniform numbering made it easier to travel from state to state and not get lost. One of the most famous US Highways is Route 66 which once ran from Chicago to Los Angeles before being decommissioned in 1985.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Feeling Better

I got the splint off and am now wearing a bandage around my ankle. I'm supposed to get me something called a 3D Walking Boot, but they are hard to find. I had a couple questions, so I called the doc today, but he never returned my call. So I guess I'll try again tomorrow. This doesn't make me very happy that he won't return my calls, but maybe he never got the message.

Although the splint is off, but the ankle is still swollen so I have some more nifty pain pills. For now, I don't need surgery on the ankle and as long as I'm careful, I won't. For now, I'm grateful to be rid of the itchy splint and that I (probably) won't need surgery. Maybe after I get the boot, I can attempt to get back to something resembling a "normal" life.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

So much for that

It's been 3 days since I hurt my ankle. It's doing much much better now. The swelling is down and it doesn't hurt much. Maybe I'll get this stupid splint off tomorrow. One way or another, I'll have to as the elastic bandage is falling off. I guess the guy at the hospital was in too big of a hurry. I'm hoping I won't need a cast, but maybe just an "ace bandage"... this things is itching something fierce that I can barely stand it. I don't think I'd be able to handle a full cast without going nuts over the itching. I elevate my ankle, take a pain pill AND ibuprofen and it helps, but not by a lot. So I'm nervous about seeing the doctor tomorrow. I don't want another cast or splint or anything like that.

Friday, November 03, 2006

I'll Take Stupid Roadgeek Stunts for $200

I spent much of Thursday afternoon toodling around the highways & byways of West Central Arkansas & East Central Oklahoma. Being in a new town gives me new roadgeeking opportunities.

I headed out of Ft Smith on US 271, which turned into AR 253 and eventually becomes AR 45. Once upon a time, it was ALL Hwy 45, but that's a tale for another day. There is some major construction on AR 45 just south of the Bonanza community: a new alignment is being constructed through the adjoining hillside to eliminate a couple sharp curves and steep grades. Looks like at least one new bridge will be constructed as well.

At AR 252, I turned east and headed for Huntington. At Huntington, there is a new bridge being constructed over a creek on 252 just west of US 71. The new bridge is about 1/4 south of the old bridge which has a 5 ton Weight Limit.

From Huntington, I drove through Mansfield on AR 96 to AR 378. 378 ended at back at 71 near Elm Park, so I drove 71 to Waldron then west on AR 80. 80 ended at AR 28 near Hon so I went west on 28 into Oklahoma where the road becomes OK 128. There is about a 4 mile stretch of construction on 128 just east of Heavener. Several old bridges are being replaced and a couple curves are being smoothed out. I stopped for a pic of one of the old bridges, but there was too much construction traffic for me to get a good shot.

At Heavener, I pointed myself north on US 59 towards Poteau. Between Poteau & Howe, is an old truss bridge over the Poteau River on "Old Hwy 59". I missed the turn-off so I turned around and went back. I got a couple decent pics of the bridge approaches from road level, then climbed down the embankment to get some side views. Mind you, I've been doing this for several years and had even done it at Huntington a couple hours previous. Unfortunately, I lost my footing this time and got my right ankle caught in a tree root... *crack*. I now have a fractured ankle and torn ligament. Total ER bill: $200. I did manage to crawl up the embankment then hobble back to the van and drive to the hospital back in Ft Smith (a distance of approx 40 miles). . I didn't really feel a lot of pain until after I took my shoe off and the swelling took over. Now I have some nice pain pills to keep me company. :(

I suppose I'm fortunate in that I was able to make it back to civilization under my own power without having to call 911. Still, even with the pain pills, my ankle still hurts though not as much.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Promises, Promises

Yes, I know I've been promsing more updates but I haven't found the time. Now that I've finally moved and settled into my new apartment, maybe I can start updating on a more regular basis.

For those who missed the memo, I have finally moved to Ft Smith. I've spent the last 25+ years in Fayetteville and I decided I needed a change. Shhhh... don't tell anyone, though. Everyone in the SCA thinks I've been living in Winslow (long story). It's a lot different down here... more relaxed in a way. I'm still learning my way around town... sort of. I know where almost everything is since I've visited a lot over the years (many of my SCA friends are down here), but it's a matter of finding the best way around. I-540 is probably the fastest way from south to north, but I have to drive either a mile south or 2 miles east to catch it. Yet, going through town takes forever.

But now that I'm here, I can explore areas I've not been through before such as east central Oklahoma or AR Highway 45 south of Ft Smith. So watch for assorted new travelogues &/or commentary coming soon (I hope). I also hope to start posting my motel reviews as well, if I can figure out which box my notes are in.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

US 412 Construction- NW Arkansas

This past Monday, I took a trip along US 412 from Springdale to Alpena to investigate several construction projects along the highway. The largest project is in Washington County from near Nob Hill (where the present 4 Lane section ends) to the Madison County Line, where the roadis being widened to 4 lanes. The new lanes criss-cross the old lanes in 2-3 places and are built up more to eliminate several large dips in the old road. From Nob Hill to the junction of AR 303 North, the Westbound lanes (a combination of new construction and existing lanes) are open to two-way traffic. The Eastbound lanes are currently under construction or re-construction. At Spring Valley, there is a sort of dogleg intersection for Southbound AR Hwy 303. There is an access point from the Westbound lanes to the (future) Eastbound lanes of 412, then east several hundred feet to Hwy 303. The Eastbound lanes here are part of the old road and dip down to intersect 303. Near as I can tell, AHTD plans to realign AR 303 slightly to connect with 412 just east of the current intersection...or so it appears at this time. A map of the area (pre-construction) can be found here (I'll go back later and try to diagram the changes).

The other project I investigated was a series of hill lanes being constructed along US 412 in Madison and Carroll Counties. The first one begins just east of AR Hwy 127 and runs approx 1 mile. A second begins approx 2 miles west of Marble, running approx 1 mile to near Onion Creek . A third section begins at the intersection of US 412 and AR Hwy 21 north and proceeds east approx 1 mile, while a fourth section begins 14 miles east of the Madison-Carroll County Line and also proceeds east for approx 1 mile.

VMS's along US 412 near AR 127 warned that flagging will begin this week along the first segment. The second section has had the right of way secured and preliminary work has begun (clearing trees, mostly). Along the third segment AHTD is still moving fences out of the newly acquired right of way while the fourth segment has areas marked for construction, but no work has begun.

My return trip was along US Highway 62 from Alpena to Fayetteville with some major construction east of Berryville and west of Eureka Springs. I'll post information about those projects in a future posting.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

SAC River Bridge

The Springfield (MO) News-Leader reports that demolition has begun on the SAC River Bridge west of Ash Grove Missouri on US 160.

Although the bridge (built in 1926) has been showing its age lately (it's on a blind curve and was never built to handle 2000+ vehicles a day), it's a shame to see yet another piece of history disappear only to be replaced by a UCEB (Ugly Concrete Eyesore Bridge).

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Gas Pains

I was in Bentonville (AR) today running errands and noticed the price of gas was $2.249 for Regular Unleaded at a Shell station and a Phillips 66 station. Two miles down the road, a Citgo was charging $2.379 and another Phillips 66 was charging $2.319. Why the big difference in just a couple miles? I find it difficult to believe that a station charging $2.249 is actually losing money and am more inclined to believe the other stations were gouging. If you've read the news, you know Exxon-Mobil reported record profits in 2005. Isn't gas high enough without big oil reaming the customer?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Photos Removed

The unauthorized use of my photos by the blogger Bransonisevil has been rectified. My photos were removed from his site after he was told he did NOT have permission to use them. I don't mind sharing my photos as long as someone asks first.

Stolen Photos

A blogger by the name of Bransonisevil has "borrowed" some of my photos without permission. They are photos of the Lake Taneycomo bridge at Branson, Missouri that originally appeared on James Baughn's Midwestplaces web site. This individual has obviously ignored the copyright notice on the site and taken copies of the photos for his own twisted purpose: that being to post a fake news item about the collapse of the bridge. I have requested that this individual remove my photos and other related information, but thusfar has not done so. Thus is said blogger in violation of copyright laws. If he does not remove the photos, perhaps he will be kind enough to pay me for their use?

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Long Time Gone

I've been meaning to post for a long time now, but never can seem to find the time. Hopefully, that will change soon and I can get back to what I intended to do: commentary on the "road less taken" . So please check again to see what's new.