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Posts posted by yttrailman

  1. If you would like to follow the route of the historic 1912-1930 Yellowstone Trail, "A Good Road From Plymouth Rock to Puget Sound" visit www.yellowstonetrail.org for basic information. From LaCrosse you would travel to Minneapolis and then head west on the old highway through South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho. A great route off the Interstates through small towns. In places you can stop ON the road and look at the scenery.


    Some of the route has a guide available. See the web site.


    You can contact us through the web site if you have questions. Do it.


    John Ridge

    Yellowstone Trail Association

  2. I doubt that this is a "cogent comment or insight" but I do have another frustration to share!


    In several, if not many, places, maps, notably the strip maps, show those straight section line roads with right turns when in actuality the road wandered all over the place. Take the area just east of Mobridge, out about three miles, where the "straight" road actually ran along the land contours off as much as at least a 1000 feet to the north. And the YT Association boys have a neat map of the Trail northwest of Mobridge with straight one mile sections that add up to one too few miles to fit the real world. That throws the route in that whole area into doubt.


    While I'm griping, or at least observing the presence of bad data, I am reminded of the many places, today, where one can see a straight road laid out for miles ahead -- and note that every once and a while the survey crew put in an accidental small bend. THAT puts our entire western survey in question.


    Back to constructive work,


    YT Trailman

  3. #1 There has been a fair amount of interest in the National Parks Highway, a sponsored, named route that generally followed much of the YT route. The two organizations competed with each other and their histories are intertwined in some respects.


    #2 The original motivation for including US 20 with the YT forum is probably not applicable now. Also, US 20 follows only small sections of the YT and those primarily only in the far East. There is little "traffic" about US 20, although it could be kept as part of the Forum without being a problem.


    Conclusion: Might we suggest the name of the forum be changed "The Yellowstone Trail and National Parks Highway?" or some such? It is hard to be interested in one and not the other!


    YT Trailman

  4. As we research the Yellowstone Trail we rather naturally find information about the NPH. I was surprised to learn from Dave that the NPH ever considered the YT route through South Dakota as part of the NPH. That motivated me to pull out our NPH file folder and review it. Some miscellaneous findings:


    Early in 1915 (January) J. E. Prindle of Ismay, Montana, (an officer in the YTA) utterly rejected the proposal by the NPH people that the two organizations be amalgamated under the name NPH. The meeting of 1914 in Spokane resulted in the name NPH and the decision to generally follow the Northwest Trail as followed by Westgard. Supposedly the YT representative at the meeting agreed to joining together so, on that basis, the NPH chose the YT South Dakota route, which didn't come to pass because the officers of the YTA vetoed joining together.


    In 1915, the NPH officers were still unsure of the name they would be using, one candidate being Northwest Trail. The Northwest Trail was the route "discovered" by A. L. Westgard as he acted as Pathfinder for the AAA. That pathfinding occurred before any of the "sponsored" named highways, like the YT and Lincoln. But it never attracted the attention of the local folk to make it a national success -- until the NPH used the route.


    The AAA (actually the Inland Automobile Assoc, a AAA affiliate)suggests that Frank Guilbert, the father of the NPH, brought Westgard to Spokane for that early 1912 pathfinding venture. (Intermountain Motorist, Jan 1937 ) However, I personally rather suspect that Guilbert was not the major reason for the pathfinding trip.


    In 1915, the NPH Assoc., working with the National Highways Assoc. prepared a map of the NP Transcontinental Highway (the Northwest Trail and the Red Trail) showing the NPH from Tacoma through Albany where it splits in two, one branch going to Boston, and the other New York City. Westgard was "in charge" of the map as a leader of the Nat. Highways Association.


    The Summer, 1916, NPH tour of the leaders of the organization, followed the North Dakota route of the Northwest Trail, not the YT.


    The many articles about the YT and NPH found in newspapers suggests a great lesson that should be applied to our modern news reading: In areas traversed by both the YT and NPH, the responsibility for the great improvements to local roadways are claimed by both organizations. Reading from only one source gives an entirely wrong understanding. Especially, when neither organization was spending the money to improve the road; the locals were.


    YT Trailman


    PS Is there any chance you might share your strip maps with us on the Forum?

  5. Dave,


    Don't forget that Cle Elum is on the Yellowstone Trail! You might make inquiry about any info at all about early travel in the area. Most any tidbit from before 1930 or so would be useful.


    Also, don't forget to check out Northern Exposure sites in nearby Roslyn.


    John (Yttrailman)


    Your quote:

    Day before yesterday I met a women in Cle Elum, Washington, who had a copy of a letter written by a fellow to his wife describing part of his 1909 trip to a Seattle exposition. The lady was in her mid eighties and so her recollection wasn't perfect.

  6. The question was raised: "Has there been any contact between the Yellowstone Trail guys and the City of Seattle and/or WSDOT?"


    Alice and I have corresponded with John King and Julie M. Koler

    King County Historic Preservation Program

    Office of Business Relations and Economic Development

    701 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2000 [MS-BOA-EX-2000]

    Seattle, WA 98104

    206.296.8689 (phone)


    We informed them about the YT and got info about the Red Brick Road part of the YT.


    They have interest about but no real commitment to the YT.



    King County (Seattle area) has a Historic and Scenic Corridors Project. See http://www.kingcounty.gov/transportation/k...orsProject.aspx


    One of those corridors in the Sunset Hyway, partions of which were the YT. See http://your.kingcounty.gov/kcdot/roads/wcm...ldSunsetHwy.pdf


    But the Red Brick Road area of the YT is not included and contacting the Corridors people would be potentially helpful. Any volunteers?


    John Ridge

    Yellowstone Trail Association


  7. Great work on the YT route in eastern Washington! I am so pleased to see others working at it! I can't spend time on it now (big things afoot in our lives until July) but I couldn't help comparing your maps with my draft maps. Pretty good match! Some notes: 1) I think the YT followed Main to the west out of Davenport, south on Leffel (or Rambo, now I guess) and west on "primitive" Mt View Cemetery Rd. 2) YT entered Almira from the east on Main, exited on Maxwell Rd with several turns, then to US 2 on what Delorme calls X NE Rd. 3) I don't have R NE Rd and 36 NE Rd going into Coulee City. Might be a route earlier than the 1927 Auto Club of Southern Calif info I have that has the YT following US 2 to near Coulee City and following Fordair Rd to the lake. Got to be a story about the name Fordair. Then south on 38 NE or I 8, then west on 36 or Walnut. At an unknown street it returned to US 2 in town. 4) I have the YT heading north from Coulee City into the lake and wiggling west north of US 2 and dropping down to Sulphur Canyon. If this is right, it probably followed what is now 1 Rd NE, but much of it is unmapped now. 5) I missed all the Sulphur Canyon routes you have. Maybe they were before 1917?


    We agree on all the rest. Has anyone tried Pine Canyon road? It was closed when we attempted that part of the old YT. Also, we have have the YT crossing the river on the 9th street bridge in Wenatchee. That was apparently the only bridge available?


    More in July or later.


    John (YT Trailman)

  8. You might note that the National Parks Highway used the route through MN, ND, and MT that Westgard mapped in 1913 and called the Northwest Highway. AAA sponsored him but the AAA never acted in the same sense that the YT Association or the NPH Association did for their routes. It was not a sponsored named highway. Just a named route. I don't remember the exact limits but the part through ND was more often known as the Red Trail. I remember the Red Trail designation showing up on signs when we visited the Medora area a few years ago. I would not be surprised to learn that it had local sponsors in the early times.


    I'll be back with more maps of the YT through WA in July when this Wisconsin guide is finished and our anniversary trip is complete.



  9. Here is the like to my first attempt at a Google Map thing a ma jig. Should be the same as the previous one. This takes me to my map ok. It will look a lot like yours but check the terminus in Seattle. Mine starts at Pioneer Square and goes directly to Madison St. and then to Kirkland.


    Let me know your email address and we can work this out in email. I am sure I have your info but can't find it right now. Jridge@yellowstonetrail.org. I am very anxious to hear about your explorations. I do have some good info from near the Yakima and west area that I'll get to you if we can get this map thing going.






  10. To Sit Properly,


    I'm impressed with your work! I was not aware that we can draw and then share maps on Google Maps. So I had to try it. I very quickly drew a map of the YT from Seattle to north of Ellensburg using my sketch maps and notes. While we spent a long time working out the route with BBs, old maps, guides and all that stuff, we have not followed through by creating a detailed map. Nor have we checked out many ambiguities. But for what it is worth take a look at http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?source=s_d&...p;msa=2&z=4


    If it is of use to you, let me know and I will try to complete the Google map through the rest of Washington. Unfortunately I don't have time to discuss a whole lot about the conflicts and unknowns - at least until July. (We are getting the Wis YT Guide ready to print and then taking a month off for a trip to the UK).


    Go to it! Waiting to hear from you. I need to know if all this works. When is your trip?


    John Ridge (yttrailman)






    I'll be taking a two-day quick trip across Washington traveling as much as possible upon the old Yellowstone Trail. Unlike other old roads that I've traveled (Route 66, etc), there's no guide book to tell me to "turn left at crappy dirt road and hope for the best." So I had to gather some common sense, maps, hearsay, luck and prayers and map it out myself.


    I think I done good. But certainly not perfect. Not by a long shot.


    Here are links to how I'll be driving it with a little explanation along the way. Again, much of this is speculation. I could be wrong on a good many things. If I am and you have another idea, please correct me. I'm not anything close to an expert on this, I'm just having fun. These are my *driving* directions. I'm trying to drive upon every available section of the YT. Obviously, with some sections that's not possible.


    Each link will go to a map on GoogleMaps.



    Seattle to Fall City (early alignment according to 1924 Blue Book and others)

    *YT used 4th Ave, south to Jackson, but you can no longer go that way - used 2nd instead.

    *YT used 19th Ave north from Jackson, but it's now a park. Used 18th and Yessler to bypass back to 19th.

    *YT crossed Lake Washington via a Ferry from Madison Ave to Kirkwood Way (at Marina Park, Kirkwood). You can see how I detoured.

    *I'm pretty sure I'm wrong from Kirkland to Redmond. Help!


    Seattle to Fall City (later alignment - post 1925ish)

    *This is mostly based upon Hobb's 1926 map/guide. There's very little to go on, so much of this is speculation. The only road I know for sure is Rainier Ave.

    Any help would be helpful.



    There was an even earlier alignment through Seattle, but the routing from the 1916 Blue Book makes no sense when compared with modern Seattle.




    Fall City to east of Cle Elum

    *I'm pretty sure that YT follows WA 202 from FC to I90 (except River RD > Park ST > Boalch Ave in and out of Snoqualmie)

    *Since much of the YT after Exit 34 of I90 is buried under the interstate, I've marked places where I believe there to be old sections of the road. Most of these are side-trips and not "through" roads.

    *I have a TON of questions about old segments along the I90 corridor.

    --from East Exit 38 to Exit 42 - was Homestead Valley RD part of the YT?

    --from Exit 42 to 47 - was Tinkham RD part of the YT?

    --from Exit 54 to 70 - are ALL of the YT segments really buried?

    *Exit 70 is a bit confusing. You exit, cross I90, left on Sparks, left on NFD 4828 (crossing I90 again) and right on the frontage RD. There's an old bridge and I'm betting the frontage road was Old YT. You then retrace your route, but instead of getting back on I90, you cross it and continue on Lake Easton RD to Easton, reentering I90 at exit 71 (though not before following Railroad Street till it dead ends.

    *Exit 74 and Nelson Siding Road make no sense to me. I've driven it before and it had that old road feel, but I have no idea if it was YT. I'm taking it because it's better than I90. Any ideas here?

    *Hobb's shows YT doing a little zig-zag through Cle Elum, but I can't figure out where. My suspicion is shown on my map. I think I believe that Ranger Station Road was YT.

    *It's my little theory that the YT never used WA 10. And if you want to get REALLY technical, it never used WA 970. Though you have to do a little driving on 970, it's only because the original road no longer exists. You can see what I mean at the eastern terminus of this section of my mapping.


    From here, the YT divided. Taking modern US 97 South took you on the older alignment. Taking US 97 North took you on the newer alignment.

    I'll be taking the older alignment east and the newer alignment west, on my return trip.




    East of Cle Elum to Zillah

    *In Ellensburg, it's very clear that YT came into town on Dry Creek RD/15th, which curved right to meet Main. That curve can't be done now, so a short detour of Water & 14th Street to Main is necessary.

    *The routing of everything after Ellensburg is 100% pure speculation. I really have no idea. I'm just guessing. If anyone has any details, help me out.

    *I've got a big hunch that US 12 through Sawyer and Flint wasn't the YT, but I'm not sure where it was.

    *Going into Zillah, I'm pretty sure YT did the right angle thing. I love that.



    Zillah to Walla Walla

    *After Granger, I'm not sure why I think YT was on Outlook RD and not Gap RD. Maybe it was both, maybe it was neither. Any ideas?

    *The Routing south of Sunnyside is a totally mystery to me. I "know" that YT used the Grandview Pavement RD, but not sure how it got there. Thankfully after Grandview, there's a road called Old Inland Empire Hwy. I'm hoping that's YT as well.

    *The routing through West Richland and Richland feels a bit wrong. But I don't know what else it could be.

    *Though unmarked on my map (Google wouldn't let me add another destination), opposite Dodd RD after Burbank seems to be an old section of road. It's just a small stretch and was probably either where the bridge crossed or where the water rose after being dammed somewhere.

    *I've also got some confusion about the roads west of Reese. Which was YT?

    *The routing through Walla Walla is pure speculation.



    Walla Walla to Colfax

    *Between Delaney and Dodge, I think YT was just north of US 12. I doubt most of it is drivable.

    *Before Central Ferry, the YT used to cross at a ferry just upstream (north). I think it should be accessible via Hastings Hill RD. I'm sort of confused about this and I'm doubting I'll figure it out anytime soon.

    *In Wilcox, I'll turn south onto Wilcox RD and follow it and Penawawa RD as far as I can, hopefully to the river where the ferry crossed to Hastings Hill RD. I'll then return the way I came. I'll take a right on Musgrave RD, which I (for some reason) believe to be YT after they cut off the Penawawa ferry.

    *There is some speculation (by me) that Wilcox was cut off at some point. If that's so, then I bet they used Colfax Airport RD to go into Colfax. Dave has mentioned that there are old road graters along this road. I'm not really convinced that the airport road was ever YT, but I'll check out the graters anyway!





    Ok, I'm worn out for tonight. I'll be mappin' and justifyin' more tomorrow.


    Any tips, hints, suggestions would be great!


  11. John and Alice Ridge here. We are pleased to be the "esteemed friends" of 'Keep the Show on the Road!' We are, moreover, delighted about the re-formation of the National Parks Highway Association and would be privileged were we to be considered to be early members of the Association.


    We have acquired a fair bit of information about the NPH and its founder, Frank Guilbert, as we researched the Yellowstone Trail. Frank was a great character worthy of further research. There are many stories related to him and his Great Big (White?) Baked Potato worth writing about. His relationship to the Yellowstone Trail is such a story; he rather proposed a great joining of forces with the YT with one condition: the name YT would be dropped and NPH adopted by the combined group. Neither group seems to have even mentioned each other after that.


    Their routes are so intertwined and their histories so related that it would seem that the YT discussion group might well be expanded to include the NPH. Unlike Guilbert, I think the forum title should include NPH in its name along with US 20 and the YT! If you find this to be of interest perhaps you could take the initiative to contact Becky Repp or whomever would be appropriate.


    Allow us to comment on two of your notes about the NPH. I think your date of the beginning of the NPH (1916-1917) is not generous enough and, likewise, your eastern terminus is probably too pessimistic! I have in front of me (quickly located in its advanced storage location -- under the guest room bed) a map of the National Parks Transcontinental Highway "proposed" by the NPH Association and advocated by the National Highways Association published in 1915. It shows the route of the NPH from Chicago to Boston (with a lateral to NYC.) I have also seen maps, (probably Rand McNally but I would need to search them out) showing the NPH across the East. A quick search in our file cabinet found no proof that the NPH Assoc formally extended past Chicago. The NPH followed the route of the YT for most of the way with the exception of Indiana and some of Ohio. And, of course, they were much the same route to the West except between Milwaukee and Terry, Montana. It was in 1915 that Guilbert made his kind offer to take over the YT at the same time as he was formalizing the NPH Assoc.






    Spring and Summer road trips beckon. Last year it was the now "famous" Hypotenuse Trail, America’s newest and longest Transcontinental auto route, Miami (Key West) to the Puget Sound, off the interstates. Road travel as it was meant to be!


    This year it will be the reestablishment of the National Parks Highway Association (NPHA) and reblazing the NATIONAL PARKS HIGHWAY (NPH),…. to reclaim the historical glory that is the Northwest. But you say it has been done…..true, but not in this century.


    The National Parks Highway shown brightly in the first quarter of the last century, but apparently lost its original luster with the coming of the numbered highways of the late 1920’s. It competed with the Yellowstone Trail for travelers, and overlapped it in places. Had John and Alice Ridge, our esteemed friends and Yellowstone Trail forum monitors chosen it instead of the Yellowstone Trail as their focus, it would today have regained its former standing among road fans. But instead it has languished, barely recognized and nearly forgotten.


    Perhaps the National Parks Highway doesn’t loom large in your memory. It may be confused with the grand National Park to Park Trail. The National Park Highway (1916-17) predates the National Park to Park Trail (1920) by three or four years and was a transcontinental route. The symbols for both are shown below on a 1923 Rand McNally Auto Trails map.






    It’s western terminus was Tacoma (Mt Rainier NP) and its eastern was Chicago. I will post a detailed route here and on NationalParksHighway.org as soon as I get the site up and running.


    Eric (AKA Sit Properly), one of our new members, shares some guilt or credit for this effort. As a recent Washington State resident, he has shown an interest in the Yellowstone Trail and other historic roads, and at the same time gently chided Washingtonians for our inattention to our history. This has aroused my state pride, and I have initiated this effort to begin to reclaim our birthright.


    Recognizing that there will be a rush to get on board, I have claimed the domains NationalParksHighway.org and NationalParksHighway.com. Soon (weeks, not days) the Association will establish a website to proclaim the glories of the NPH.


    I guess it is appropriate to comment, in case it isn’t evident, that like the Hypotenuse Trail Association, the National Parks Highway Association is pretty informal. Like that old western social club E Clampus Vitus, perhaps it will evolve into something more, but for now consider it whatever we want to make it. If you are interested in being a part of the reblazing of the National Parks Highway, or just want to play along, post your interest here.




    Keep the Show on the Road


  12. I am filled with guilt that I have not responded to your note about the YT, the Durr Rd, and many other items of interest to me. We have undertaken a lot of work in reference to the YT in Washington and most of the results are in filing cabinets and computer files, awaiting the writing of our "Guide to the YT in Washington." We may get to it before we kick the bucket, but right now we are working on the Wisconsin edition and I don't dare get distracted.


    We can note that we have reasonably well established that the Durr Rd was never part of the YT. The Wenas Rd was. The YT was rerouted from its southern route (Walla Walla) to the northern route (Waterville) in 1925. The Canyon Rd was built before 1925 but we have no factual knowledge about whether the YT was rerouted on the Canyon Road from its building until 1925. We doubt it.


    I have notes that carefully route the YT through Washington in detail. They are not in a form that even can be copied. I will try to put together a Washington map of the Trail "soon." After July at least. Do you use DeLorme Topo or DeLorme Streets Atlas on your computer? Actually, now that Google Earth is around I should use it if I can figure our how to record a route.


    Good luck on generating some interest about the NPH, also!


    Automobile Blue Books, by the way, are the indispensable tools for tracing the old routes and Google Earth is a Great help.


    Best Wishes,



  13. I think Dave has directed you to the probable answer(s). -- Of course, local roads may have names for reasons known only locally. But as I refer to older plat maps I ofter find the mail routes specified and over time those route names can become the official road name. Star routes are common and are defined as: "Star route - a mail route, usually rural, served by a private contractor. The routes pre-dated RFD (Rural Free Delivery). The postmaster general was allowed by Congress to form contracts with private delivery services without specifying the mode used for the deliveries. To identify these routes, an asterisk was placed on the Post Office Department records. Consequently, they became known as 'star routes'. "


    I was not aware of Blue Star Routes but I found two good good references: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Star_Memorial_Highway and especially http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/infrastructure/blue01.htm


    J Ridge




  14. While planning your SD trip you might check a not-to-easy-to-find page on the Travel SD site: www.travelsd.com/travelprofessionals/grouptour/itineraries/highway12.asp It is just a "teaser" but might help a bit to plan the Yellowstone Trail part of your trip in SD.


    Also, if you do not have the Mobridge (SD) Tribune guide to the Yellowstone Trail pick one up in a business along the route. Or write to the Tribune for a free copy -- I think. Or e-mail me. That guide gives detailed and accurate (well, nearly accurate) maps of the old route together with some history and travel notes.


    Searching out the old road leading to the 1924 highway bridge is fun. On the West side of the river it is just on the south side of the sitting bull monument. Then there are traces of the old route as it goes north of present US 12 bridge.


    Let us know how it goes.


    John Ridge -- Yellowstone Trail Association





    South Dakota is one state we have yet to visit, but one that intrigues me. Chad has heightened the interest with his terrific photos, so I think I will take advantage of his expertise. Sheila and I would like to make a trip into SD next year, so maybe Chad and others will offer us a bit of advice.


    Rule one is we want to stay on two lane roads. I want to extend my knowledge of the Yellowstone Trail through South Dakota, and explore the lesser known Custer Battlefield Highway.


    Sheila is big on “recognized” places like Mt Rushmore, so we will include it. I prefer the vintage small towns and crossroads settlements, the less “restored” the better.


    So, any thoughts to get me started planning?


    Keep the Show on the Road!




  15. Mike:


    That is a great observation. How did you learn about the house? Driving the Trail again?


    I had to search around the Internet, my Delorme computer map, and Google Earth to find the address. Did it: 5046 South Greenwood Ave, Chicago, IL. It is one vacant lot from E. Hyde Park Blvd, the Yellowstone Trail. I assume that Greenwood is closed too? Coordinates: 41.802750,-87.599533. A picture and controversy is at http://www.zillowblog.com/barack-obamas-ch...-house/2008/09/ Another http://sedulia.blogs.com/photos/everywhere...amas_house.html


    We will have to send Obama some info about the YT and a request that he get the National Park Service to study and promote it like they did the Lincoln Highway.


    John Ridge

    Yellowstone Trail Association



    Apparently our new President-elect's Chicago, IL house is along (or very near to, as I don't offhand know its exact address) the Yellowstone Trail and as a result, a several blocks long section of its routing on Hyde Park BD just north of the Museum of Science and Industry is now *CLOSED* until further notice. Those wishing to follow the YT through the city are advised to use Lake Shore Drive and Pershing Rd/Oakwood BD or 47 St to avoid the area.


    'Tis a shame, too, as Drexel and Hyde Park Boulevards in the Hyde Park-Kenwood area is a *SWEET* urban drive!




  16. First, I'm all for a cooperative old route mapping effort. :) I don't mean to be negative at all, but I know what effort it takes and I know how difficult productive cooperative action is! But some of the ideas presented here appear realistic, assuming the technical stuff can be found, understood, and agreed on. Like tracing routes on Delorme.


    About the time it takes to map a given segment: I would like to divide the problem into three Steps. First is determining the route, second is setting up to produce shareable maps, and third is the actual production of distributable maps.


    Dave's report of mapping the PPOO across Kansas appears to fall into Step 1. My experience with the Yellowstone Trail would support his conclusions for stretches of the YT along what is now US 212 in Minnesota, for example. Those same conclusions would be extraordinarily optimistic for the YT between Mobridge, SD and McLaughlin, SD. That was an ill-mapped Indian reservation with the YT following a wagon trail with no built roads. And then the map produced by the YT Association had a mile missing at some unknown place and a "generalized" line near the Missouri river. And the Missouri was damned to flood out miles of the old route, so existing roads were relocated. An no sign of the original route now remains is some areas. It wasn't until we spent time at the National Archives that we found a useful map to rather accurately locate the route and determine the remaining existing roads it followed for part of the way.


    But Step 1 is a reasonably doable step, and I will volunteer to prepare the route of the YT from "Plymouth Rock to Puget Sound" simply because I have reasonable information already ready. If, that is, Steps 2 & 3 are such as to make it a reasonable task.


    Part 2 is worth brain-storming about. I like the idea of marking the route on a Delome map and saving it is some distributable form. Even better would be Google Earth. Google has a much better attitude about supporting efforts of individuals. Part 2 must be set up to be a piece of cake. Publishing the route in print format with driving instructions, comments and historical notes is something else. Alice and I will work on that (as we have been) state by state for the YT as we can for publishing. Might even finish some of it. Another matter that needs to be considered. Either Delorme or Goodle Earth allow the recording of enough detail to be accurate and useful. Printing out copies to use "on the road" is another matter. Three miles to the inch is often sufficient. By many little areas need greater detail. Printing out any length of route can be very consuming of paper and ink. And neither Delorme nor Google appear to have a way of printing out "blowups" of limited areas. Just food for thought.


    Part 3, the actual production, is what I was reflecting on in my previous note. The actual drawing in a form that could be used for either display on the web or in printed format -- after the exact route is known -- takes the 8-16 hours per about 40 miles. And then, of course, a better way of doing it becomes apparent and you do it all over. :angry:


    Anyone have more good ideas/specifics for Part 2??


    Dave: are you aware of the PPOO book researched by Harold Meeks and published after he died? That might have the PPOO route nailed down.


    John R.





    First, there have been some excellent perspectives and insights shared on this subject thus far. Let’s keep ‘em coming.


    Last night I decided to try out mapping the PPOO across Kansas. I had at my side a 1926 PPOO guide and a 1921 Automobile Blue Book (the 1926 ABB didn’t show the PPOO in Kansas).


    I was able to quickly map perhaps 80% of the route with considerable confidence. (I admit Kansas may not be the best example because of the relatively undeveloped area surrounding the PPOO, and its straight roads…thus it is easy to interpolate a route.)


    It is my humble view that with such tools as I used, you could map perhaps 70- 80% of a route in a state in a short time (say 5 to 10 hours). Staying with this very unscientific sample of one, I think we could produce a 75% -80% mapping of the PPOO across the United States in perhaps 100 hours of effort.


    I also believe that the next 10% would take another 100 hours and the last increment perhaps many times that long, and some on the ground observations. My point is that a complete mapping would be an enormous undertaking (just ask John), even if it was based on a single year, but a partial mapping can be done rather quickly.


    All I produced was a line highlight along the sections of the route that were evident from the sources I was using. It was fun. Sadly this morning I closed the application without saving the file!!! But no loss, as it will be very easy to redo.


    What I have (or had) is very interesting to me, and I think it might be to any traveler. The PPOO went through lots of small Kansas towns no longer on the modern highway. It sort of jogged back and forth to reach each town. No great surprises there, but taking even a sample of the “jogs” would add to a vacation trip. You don’t have to travel every last alignment to taste the old road.


    That is what I see as one important value of mapping old routes. You don’t have to do what I do and crawl under fences to walk an isolated alignment! Just travel any segment, or travel several segments of the old oad, as you follow the modern road the rest of the time.


    I happened to do this in Kansas when I was doing the Hypotenuse Trail, and it led me down some fascinating stretches of the PPOO, and through some small towns along Main Street I would have never seen on the modern highway.


    So my “audience” is not a road junkie like me who stops to photograph a pipe coming out of the ground where an old service station stood long ago. I would like to give my friends who have never heard of the Midland Trail, or the Pikes Peak Ocean to Ocean, or the National Old Trails…yada yada a map they can use to add interest to their modern road journey.


    Does our newest poster…Sierra Fox…. know that Westgard Pass and old US 395 are part of the famed Midland Trail? I bet he would know if he had one of our maps! And imagine his joy :rolleyes: when he realizes he is traveling in the tire tracks of the pathfinders! :huh:


    Enough musing for this morning….


    Keep the Show on the Road!




  17. I am reading with interest the comments about a cooperative creation of modern maps of the old trails/highways. As some of you know, my wife and I have been working for several years to research and write about the Yellowstone Trail, the "Good Road from Plymouth Rock to Puget Sound," 1912-1930. A major task for me has been to determine and then map the exact route of the YT across the Nation in reference to modern routes. It is a fascinating task. A good share of the results can be found at www.yellowstonetrail.org, although the maps might be hard to find and print out as they are county by county and we have hundreds of corrections and additions to make.


    I first determined the old route through the use of old maps (especially the old AAA strip maps) and Blue Books and the like and YT Association maps and articles in newspapers and anything else that we could find. For what it is worth, here is the process I then used to create to create the maps. For most of them, I drew the old routes on my computer-based Delorme maps, decided on a scale (a frustrating task because it is always too large or too small in any one area), copied the maps to the clipboard, opened them in Corel PhotoPaint (same as Adobe PhotoShop), resampled them to yield 4 miles to the inch, and saved the result to a jpg file. Each one was then imported into CorelDraw (a vector drawing program) on a "layer". I then traced the major roads, towns, streets, lakes, rivers, etc on higher layers. Then I drew the YT route and added road/street names on the next layer. Most of the maps you will find on the web site show the YT as the top layer as a yellow line bounded by black. Newer ones show the YT as a wide grey "shadow" under the modern roads. (I'll discuss that if anyone wants to, but the reason takes too much writing for now.) Then the Delorme map area is "turned off" never to be seen again. This avoids all copyright and royalty questions. The problem is that each county takes eight to sixteen hours of intense work. They print out nicely and can be changed to jpg files or anything else for a web site or for printing.


    You can understand that the idea of some sort of collaborative effort is extremely appealing to me, but for the life of me I have no idea how to accomplish it. It just takes quiet individual slave labor. And decision-making. And creativity. And more labor. I would be happy to explore other approaches such as using Google Earth to communicate the route to interested people. But my primary goal is to publish detailed route maps of the YT TOGETHER WITH its history and stories, simply because too few people know about the YT and would not be interested in following the route without some knowledge about what it was like in 1920.


    Note that the Mobridge (SD) Tribune has published a guide to the YT(using our detailed maps) in the Dakotas and part of Minnesota as a give-a-way. Also, we (the Ridges) are working with American Road to produce a similar tourist give-a-way for Wisconsin. It will have those modern maps of the old route. The developing economic situation my kill the idea, though. Regardless, some sort of Wisconsin Guide with the kind of maps you are looking for will appear on our web site within a year.


    Keep up the ideas and we will see what we can do.


    Money? Well our own efforts for the YT are aimed at finding a way to having our research and publishing expenses reimbursed through sales or whatever. We have no expectation of making money. And cooperative efforts for the common good are acceptable! Now what?


    John Ridge


  18. Well, we (John and Alice Ridge) have not "solved" the mystery of the Yellowstone Trail Association's choice of the southern route in Washington. But we do know that Blewett Pass on the northern route was hardly an auto road in 1915, so we have assumed that the Walla Walla route was chosen because it was a significantly better road. And the central route went through unpopulated areas and had an interesting ferry across the Columbia -- one that was known for breaking its cables and floating down river -- with cars and people. There must be some good stories about that.


    I just made a rough estimate of the actual difference in distance and found it to be a bout 120, not 200. Truth is hard to find.


    The YT was moved north in 1925 at the request of cities along the northern route and over the objections of several old-time members of the Association.


    Always looking for better info about such things. Keep us in mind.


    John R.

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