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

Michael Ballard

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Michael Ballard last won the day on May 26 2020

Michael Ballard had the most liked content!

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About Michael Ballard

  • Rank
    Weekend Traveler
  • Birthday 08/22/1978

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  • Website URL
    https://www.socalregion.com

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    San Diego, CA
  • Interests
    Mostly US highways, focusing on California. I have online tours of US 6, US 99, and the Ridge Route from Los Angeles to Famoso (US 6 from Los Angeles to the NV / UT state line) on my website - https://socalregion.com . Founder of the Historic Highway 99 Association of California - https://historic99.org . I am also the President of the Ridge Route Preservation Organization - http://ridgeroute.org.

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  1. Michael Ballard

    Calexico Signs

    On March 24, 2021, we finally posted new signs in Calexico, California. The original Historic Route signs, posted about 1995, were badly faded and in need of a refresh. In cooperation with the City of Calexico, we replaced the old signs with new larger signs. We plan to replace all the signs in Calexico in the near future. This was our first project as well and a big break for the Historic Highway 99 Association of California. https://historic99.org/calexico-signs-posted/
  2. One of my favorite stops on old US 80 in San Diego County passed a huge milestone last weekend. The Wisteria Candy Cottage, which really has the best fudge and chocolates in the County, turned 100 years old. They've been hand making chocolates since before US 80 even existed. Not many businesses survived along the road since it was bypassed about 1972. This one remains and can get quite busy. http://wisteriacandycottage.com/ Like Schatt's Bakery in Bishop on US 395, this is a "must stop".
  3. Thursday, February 18, was a big day for the Association. Our first project, 04IMP21001 – the Calexico sign replacement project, is going forward. I have been in contact with the Public Works Manager for the city regarding our proposal. Yesterday, they accepted and asked us to proceed with the sign order. On Friday, February 19, I ordered two 24×36 Historic Route 99 signs for the City of Calexico. We are all really excited about this, even though it is “just a replacement”. This is a big thing for us. The city could well have said no but they didn’t. We saw this as an opportunity to help present a better image for the highway and their city. Having faded signs, to the point you don’t really know what they read, isn’t helpful to anyone. Having a nice new sign helps and shows that people care about it. We’d like to put up new signs in new places, but those projects do take a lot longer. We will be successful in those over time. At this point, we are anticipating this project to be complete in the next month. The signs take, on average, about two weeks to make and deliver. Once we get them, we will coordinate with the City for delivery and placement. Optimally, we’d like to have a small ceremony with photos taken. As this is our first project, it is something we’d like to memorialize. We will keep everyone updated as the timeline gets more firm. One thing is certain, this will be done before summer heat sets in! We wish to thank all those that have supported us and this project. We couldn’t have done it without you! We’d also like to extend a special thanks to the City of Calexico and their Public Works Manager, Liliana Falomir, who has been very helpful to us in this venture. Starting March 1, 2021, we are finally starting memberships! All memberships this started this month will be effective March 1, 2021. We are still waiting for our 501(c)3 status to come through, but it should be sometime in March. Your contributions will allow us to continue projects like ours in Calexico, to help promote the highway as well as the towns and businesses along it, and preserve what is left of former US Highway 99. We are moving forward!
  4. Michael Ballard

    Historic Highway 99 Association of California

    We now have a PO BOX and are setting up some projects across the state. Hoping to hear back from Calexico soon, but am expecting delays due to the holidays and such. 2021 will be the Year of US 99 if we can help it!
  5. Michael Ballard

    Historic Highway 99 Association of California

    The Historic Highway 99 Association of California is now official! Our incorporation paperwork cleared this morning, 12/8/2020, and we are now a California Non-Profit Public Benefit Corporation. Really excited about getting things going!
  6. Michael Ballard

    Still alive? Been A While!

    I'll make sure there is a link to the forum on my website. Might help get some traffic this way.
  7. Michael Ballard

    Still alive? Been A While!

    The forums have indeed slowed. Not quite sure why. They have been a great resource of information. I know I've been busy with the new Historic Highway 99 Association of California. Looking forward to the days when we can be more active with the public. So much to do!
  8. Greetings all, I am currently working to create a new organization for the benefit of US 99, at least in California if not Washington and Oregon. More details will follow, but so far it is likely to be called the Historic Highway 99 Association of California. I am currently working on the paperwork for the various aspects of the organization. Our website, https://historic99.org , is a work in progress but is functional. If you are interested in helping with any of this, please let us know!
  9. One of the things I've been pondering is how to get the public more aware of not only the historic Ridge Route, but the Ridge Route Preservation Organization itself. An idea I came up with is to get Historic Route US 99 signs posted in Castaic, along that section of the Ridge Route. Optimally, this signage would also be posted along Castaic Road (1933-1951) and at the northern end from State 138. I know it will be a long process but I am willing to put the time in. If anyone has any suggestions or advice in this regard, I'd love to hear it!
  10. Michael Ballard

    Original Pacific Highway Identified

    That section of Jackson Highway was one of the highlights of that day of my 2009 bicycle tour.
  11. Michael Ballard

    Us 99 News?

    Fires are "in season" again. US 99 in Southern California has been getting hit as well. So far, one has more directly impacted the road near Gorman along Gorman Post Road. The current one, known as the Lake Fire, could go west directly toward the Ridge Route if the winds shift. Onshore winds have blown it more toward the desert, almost to the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve. I had hoped to head up to the Ridge Route on August 22, but that will likely be delayed. Hopefully it doesn't burn to the road as there are some flammable items up there that date to the era when the Ridge Route was the main highway.
  12. Michael Ballard

    Mystery City On The Yellowstone Trail Rediscovered

    Very cool finds! Makes me want to get a detector and go over parts of the Ridge Route.
  13. Michael Ballard

    The Origin of Ford Jokes

    The test for cars, such as those, at the time was to take it over Newhall Pass. Prior to 1910, you would have gone through Beale's Cut with 18% grades on either side. Fun times!
  14. Michael Ballard

    Fort Vancouver to Fort Steilacoom Military Road

    Very nice work! Your site was quite helpful on my 2009 bicycle tour of US 99 through Washington state.
  15. For those not familiar, the Ridge Route was realigned quite a bit in the mid-1920's. In the process, many sections of wooden railing and concrete curbing were lost. Still, the road did need it. One of the more "famous" realignments was known as the "Callahan Line Change" where multiple reversing curves were replaced in a somewhat dramatic fashion with one long curve. As it happens, this section was yet again realigned when I-5 was built, almost completely obliterating any trace of it. Almost, that is. https://socalregion.com/highways/ridge_route/rrt003/
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