Sunday, December 28, 2008

That's a Wrap

Well, I don't think I'm going to reach my goal of 2300 photos before the end of the year. I just now posted photos #2251 and 2252 on my Flickr page. I took a few photos during my abbreviated Christmas trip to Missouri, but not as many as I would have liked. A combination of too little time and too many clouds kept me from snagging as many photos as I had hoped. There is still a slim chance I may reach my goal, but a lot depends on the weather the next couple days.

My tentative plan is to visit Tahlequah & Muskogee Oklahoma and check out a few older bridges over there. Tahlequah is also the capitol of the Cherokee Nation and has a few road signs with the Cherokee alphabet on them, such as this Yield sign:
Cherokee Yield

I still want to go back to Lawton and re-shoot some of the photos I shot over Labor Day weekend, but got eaten by my computer, but that may have to wait until after the first of the year.

So much to see, so little time. At this rate, I'll have to live forever just to catch up on my current wish list.

That said, I'd like to thank each and every one of you for reading my blog and perusing my photos. I
wish all of you a happy 2009!

David/US 71

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Rhetorical Question

As I find myself getting ready for Christmas Revel this weekend, I again find myself asking "am I using the SCA as an excuse to go take photos or are photos an excuse to do SCA? ;)

Tentative plans this trip include clinching US 65 in Louisiana and exploring parts of the Natchez Trace Parkway between Natchez and Utica... time and weather permitting.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Some Thoughts on US 96

US 96 is an anomaly: it violates US Highway number standards by running North-South instead of East-West. Designated in 1939, it begins at US 59 and US 84 near Tenaha, Texas. From there, it passes through Center, San Augustine, Jasper, Silsbee, Buna, Kirbyville and several other communities before intersecting US 69 & US 287 at Lumberton.

From Lumberton, 69, 96 and 287 run through Rosedale and Beaumont before ending together at Texas 87 in Port Arthur. I find myself asking "why?". Why do all three highways run together only to share the same end point? Does Texas receive more highway money for having 3 highways on the same alignment?

Yes, there are other highways that share alignments such as US 71 and US 59 between Mena, AR and Texarkana and the afore mentioned US 59 & US 84 between Tenaha & Timpson, Texas. I have no problem with that. But a 30 mile redundancy to the same terminus seems, well, redundant. Wouldn't it be better to end US 96 at Lumberton and end US 287 at US 69 in Woodville?

C'mon, TXDOT: either give me a logical explanation for the 69/96/287 multiplex or consider my suggestions of ending 96 at Lumberton and 287 at Woodville.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The Old Road

Jeremy Lance of Arkansas Highways sent me a link a couple weeks ago to a collection of Historic Arkansas highway maps. I have, almost literally, been unable to tear myself away from it. While I have traced most of US 71's alignments through the state, I have discovered former & abandoned alignments for many other highways throughout the state.

There are far too many to mention, so I shall touch on just a few. Everything listed here dates back to between 1925 and 1935:

* US 62 west of Fayetteville was originally AR 45 through Farmington & Prairie Grove to near Lincoln, then shifted south through Moffett and Ft Smith before ending at the Oklahoma State Line along what is now AR 96. Between Farmington & Prairie Grove, 45's original alignment followed what is now AR 170.

*AR 99 (now part of AR 59) originally intersected AR 80 (another section of US 62) at a 4-way intersection at Summers. Currently 59 intersects US 62 1 1/2 miles east of Summers then splits off north at Summers.

*In Polk County, US 71 followed what is now County Rd 76 from south of Y City to Mena.

*In Marion County, US 62 used to pass through Pyatt instead of around as it does now.

As I said, there are far too many old alignments to mention. I can only spend about an hour at a time looking at the maps before I have to take a break. It's not enough for me to simply look at a map and say "cool, an old alignment". I actually analyze the information and try to place these roads along what I know exists today, which is no easy task given some of these old roads no longer exist in any form (including as a county road). Some have been obliterated by Interstate highways, some have been swallowed by modern lakes and dams.

But it's fascinating stuff... if you like maps ;)