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Celebrating our two-lane highways of yesteryear…And the joys of driving them today!


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Everything posted by BlueRidgeMike

  1. Hi Kip, Even though we are planning our 4th end-to-end Route 66 trip this summer, I am already trying to figure out how to make time to join your tour in September. Last October we took a weekend trip from North Carolina to have a concrete at Ted Drewe's. Then we walked across the Chain of Rocks Bridge, then drove to Litchfield for dinner at the Ariston Cafe. The only thing that could top that would be to drive a classic car across Chain of Rocks. I really hope we can join you! Mike
  2. Thanks for the information; and the comment about Chicago Heights too. Good to know. My preference would definitely be to NOT give the car to a valet.
  3. Thanks for the info Denny. I looked at your link for the Ohio House Motel and that looks particularly interesting to me, and looks to be only a mile or so away from our Route 66 starting point. When we figure out our timing, if it's available I think we may stay there.
  4. We are in the early planning stages of our next Route 66 trip which will also involve returning on some variant of US80 / Bankhead Highway / Lee Highway / Dixie Overland Highway. I'll figure that out later, but my more immediate concern is the early part of the trip. I think Sharon and I are going to spend a Wednesday night in the Wigwam #2 again in Cave City, KY. Then we will follow the western alignment of the Dixie Highway from there to somewhere close to Chicago on Thursday. My goal is to get to the Adams/Michigan Avenue starting point of Route 66 in Chicago very early - 6am or earlier on Friday so we can be clear of city traffic before it gets intense. I noticed that the Dixie Highway and Lincoln Highway intersect in Chicago Heights. Does anyone know of a good motel near there? It doesn't have to be exactly there; I just don't want a long drive to Chicago in the morning. The other thing is that we will very likely be in my 1937 Ford, so my preference is to avoid spending the night in a "sketchy" neighborhood. Any thoughts? I'll stay in a nice hotel with valet parking if I have to, but give me a nice, clean, historic motel on an historic road any day. Thanks. Mike
  5. Nice picture Denny. I was there the night they did the re-lighting ceremony, or whatever it was called, last October. It was also the final straw which led to me buying a DSLR camera when I couldn't get a decent shot of the neon, no matter how I adjusted the setting on my camera.
  6. Nice article Cort. I have been an automotive marketing researcher for 25 years, and I still don't understand why they do what they do. My pet peeve is the alphanumeric names they give so many cars now. They may mean something to the manufacturer, but with few exceptions they mean little to the consumer. Here are a handful, each from a different manufacturer. How many do you think the average consumer can match to the correct brand name? ZDX S4 M3 CTS 300 M45 MKZ XF ES 350 3 C300 9-3 SX4 CC These model names cross the import / domestic line, but the biggest offenders tend to be luxury vehicles. Oh well, maybe that's why, for the moment at least, my newest car is 40 years old. Mike
  7. Wow, great discoveries. I love the motel sign! Mike
  8. I don't think you're going to make it from Greenville to Niagara Falls in that time frame (it's close to 800 miles) but you have lots of options from there. If you choose to loop around Lake Ontario on the Canadian side you can re-enter the U.S. around the Thousand Islands area of Upstate New York. Or you could pick up US-20 (America's longest road!) in Buffalo and take it to its eastern terminus in Boston. This takes you through the beautiful Finger Lakes region of New York and close to historic Cooperstown, which is worth a day trip in and of itself. There are some very interesting places to visit in Massachusetts too, like Hancock Shaker Village, which sits right on US-20. From Lancaster, if you aren't already pressed for time at that point, you might take US-11 back toward Greenville. It's a very pleasant drive, and you can always jump onto I-81 if you need to pick things up a bit. You can pick up I-26 to get you most of the rest of the way home, or get off in Asheville and follow the historic Dixie Highway route back to Main Street in downtown Greenville. Good luck, and have a great trip. Mike
  9. Very cool. I drove through there just a few weeks ago but never saw it. It will make a good excuse for a day trip on the next nice weekend though.
  10. Hi Cort, As far as highways go I would definitely add the Dixie Highway and US-80. My all-time favorite car is the yellow 1932 Ford 5W Coupe from American Graffiti. The black 1955 Chevy from the same movie (and also Two Lane Blacktop), plus the white 1957 Thunderbird and White 1958 Chevy. Another great car is the Dodge Challenger from Vanishing Point.
  11. Nice write up of the trip in your blog Denny. I particularly like the pics of the brick road section and that you had an opportunity to drive it this time. We spent some time in the Hendersonville, NC library yesterday, trying to go through some old maps and historic descriptions of the area but we didn't learn too much. There was a nice history of the Old Buncombe Turnpike, which ran from Hot springs, NC down into South Carolina, and was essentially the same route the Dixie Highway later followed, but no mention of the Dixie was made. The librarian told me that there are boxes of unsorted materials that include maps and area histories that he has yet to go through. Maybe he'll find something of interest. In the meantime I am keeping my eyes open on ebay for relevant Green Book and Blue Book tour guides of that area.
  12. Not really. I used Google to search US-1 at the county border and the only thing I saw was the monument that shows up on the Wikipedia page for the Dixie Highway. I was unaware of the County Line Road/Dixie Way, so I hope you are able to find something there. Yesterday we drove to Greenville, SC and got a picture of the monument there. I am trying to get a better sense of the route from the NC state line to downtown Greenville. You can still see snippets of the old road running parallel to US-25 in several places, and Old US-25 and Buncombe Road split off of the newer highway in a few places. I'm guessing that these may be remnants of the Dixie Highway, but I'm not sure. I'm also guessing that the highway originally went the direction of US-276 where it crosses US-25, but again, it's just a guess. I am on the lookout for one of the early ALA Automobile Green Books to help me pin down the route more exactly. Mike
  13. No, we had quite a bit of ground to cover, and as it was we didn't get home until about 10:00pm Monday night. Next time we'll take it a bit more leisurely.
  14. Sounds like a great trip Cort. Day 1 - I know you probably have diet restrictions but if it were me, my first day would end at Ted Drewe's in St. Louis with a Big Apple Concrete. Day 6 - Greenville, SC is getting pretty close to my house. Maybe we could arrange to meet there for lunch. Day 14 - Make sure you have your jacket packed for Traverse City! Mike
  15. As a group I think we can find out a lot more about these roads than we can individually, so I absolutely hope you are able to get down there and check it out. Who knows, maybe by then we'll have a lead on another one.
  16. Nothing that wasn't redundant with the application, so it probably came from the same place. I did notice that the application says that Western Kentucky University is a repository with a lot of info on the Horse Shoe. There was also an oral history interview done with the owner and the caretaker of the place in 1992 I believe. Not sure whether that interview is also housed at the university or not, but I'll bet there is a lot of good information in it. Definitely not January! I'm guessing we'll make our trip sometime in June or July. It's difficult for me to plan trips too far in advance. I usually just try to go when there are lulls in the business, and I don't often know when that is more than about a month ahead of time. We didn't stop nearly as often as I would have liked. I have been dealing with a toothache that is apparently going to require a root canal. So the long-winded answer is, not this time.
  17. I agree on all counts! The one other thing I really like to find is a great neon sign. I'll take that over heat any day.
  18. So our weekend jaunt is finished, and even with the rain we had a great time. In addition to covering old ground, we drove the rest of the Tennessee portion of the eastern alignment of the Dixie Highway from Newport to London, KY. I saw a great old overgrown drive-in in Newport that I'll go back to visit sometime soon. Lots of other interesting architecture too. From London we headed west along Hwy 80 and 90, ultimately ending up at the Wigwam Village #2 in Cave City. Our last time through here was in the summer and we were disappointed to find out that the Wigwam was full that night because a tourist bus was taking up all of the rooms. Determined not to let that happen again I made a reservation. Turns out I needn't have worried. We were the only ones there. Literally. The office was even closed and they left the key in the mailbox for us. Tepee #13. We got in the room and there were two small electric heaters going full blast, and it was about 50 degrees. We hoped that the owners had just put the heaters in our room before we got there; then we laughed hysterically and decided to go have dinner. To hedge our bet a little bit we closed off the bathroom door in order to make the space needing heat a little bit smaller. When we got back from a nice meal the room was a balmy 65 degrees or so, which was fine. The bathroom, on the other hand, was probably 40 degrees and the floor was foot-numbingly cold. I brushed my teeth quickly and made a mental note to skip my morning shower. The night was peaceful, uneventful, and we slept well. Would we go back? Ummm, yes...in the summer, and probably not before staying at the third Wigwam motel in Holbrook, AZ (San Berdoo, CA is already checked off). The room was old and HVAC challenged, but it was clean. I can put up with a lot but I can't abide by dirty. So in the end it was an enjoyable adventure. We got up early and packed the car and hit the highway. We didn't get very far before I saw this incredible falling down motor court, so I had to stop and take lots of pictures. It has gone by a few different name variations, but on its application for National Historic Register status it is called by its original name, Horse Shoe Camp. The camp is located 9 miles north of Bowling Green, KY on US-31. It started as a tavern in the early 1930s, added gas pumps and lots of cottages, and was a very popular and very busy place until 1965 when I-65 started diverting customers away. The owners stayed in business until the 1980s when they closed. Anyway, even in its decrepit, run-down state it is absolutely beautiful. And long after the roofs completely collapse the stone walls will still be standing as a silent reminder to what once was. We moved on and drove through Bowling Green and toward Russellville. US-68 is mostly a 4-lane pseudo-expressway along there, but if you look carefully it isn't hard to find much of the original route that crosses back and forth under the super slab. One cut off and quiet section of the former US-68 / Dixie Highway is where the Shaker Village is located in South Union. It has been maybe 35 years since I was last there, when US-68 ran right by the fence separating the village from the road and cars whizzed by at 60mph. I drove several miles without seeing a single vehicle, and I stopped in the middle of the road to take several pictures of the idyllic village. I can tell you I wouldn't have done that in 1977! Onward to Russellville, then Nashville, then southeast. We made it to Chattanooga by late afternoon and enjoyed the sites of Market Street (Dixie Highway) and other aspects of this reborn city. What a great place! Sharon's daughter attends college there so we had a late lunch with her before heading up the connector to Knoxville. By the time we got there it was starting to get late and we were still a long way from home. Since we had just driven this section of the Dixie the day before we decided to cheat and take I-40 home so we could get to bed before midnight. On the way home we talked about our plans to take another end-to-end trip on Route 66 this summer. How to get to Chicago has always been the question before. This time it's a no-brainer. Go to US-31W in Cave City and hang a right this time. Ciao, Mike
  19. Funny, when we lived in Michigan we would visit the Smoky Mountains 2-3 times a year. Now that I live two hours away I think I have spent maybe four nights there in the last 10 years. Living in the mountains makes it less appealing to go to other mountains, but it's still fun to drive from my house along the Blue Ridge Parkway to Cherokee. Where do you live in Michigan? I lived in Metro Det...

  20. Great writeup of your short trip to the Franklin monument Denny. I don't know Mike but I had come across his very detailed driving directions through Ohio on the Dixie Highway. I printed them out prior to our trip to Michigan, then promptly forgot them. I managed to get shots of the last two of the seven monuments in North Carolina on Saturday. And it's hard to say for sure, but if the signs are located correctly the monument at the NC/TN border is actually in Tennessee. If it isn't exactly on the border it's within a few feet either way. That leaves Greenville (maybe next weekend), Franklin (maybe in the spring when we can get together) and Bradfordville, FL (who knows?). There might be at least one more, though it will take a bit of investigation. The librarian for the United Daughters of the Confederacy sent me an article from the January 2011 issue of UDC that references the re-dedication of the Bradfordville monument. In the article written by a member of the Tallahassee, FL chapter of the UDC, she mentions that, "At one time a Dixie Highway marker was located on the Brevard-Volusia County Line, however, that marker is unconfirmed as still in place." So it's time to confirm it I guess! Mike
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