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

Us 42 Trip

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Finished driving US 42 yesterday (and am now in Alabama half way through US 43). I'm still a long way from putting together photos, but will say that it was a really nice drive. Started in downtown Cleveland, and actually found street parking on Euclid a block and a half from Public Square so got to get out and take some pictures. The drive was a bit slow in the Cleveland and Cincinnati areas, but still enjoyable. Those and Louisville are the only major cities though with most of the rest of the route being relatively old narrow two-lane through the farms and small towns of Ohio and hills of Kentucky. Very scenic, especially the Kentucky section once it drops down to two lanes. Kind of interesting in that I don't think there was any section that actually multiplexed with an Interstate.


Found a couple of interesting things along the way.


On the way out of Cleveland a few of the potholes in US 42 revealed the old red brick underneath, so it's definitely still there, just hidden away.


When US 42 gets to US 40 near Lafayette, where the two meet at a "modern" interchange photographed by George Stewart, it looked like they are replacing the US 42 bridge over US 40 so we were detoured onto US 40 for a short stretch to the intersection in the center of Lafayette (in front of the Red Brick Tavern also photographed by Stewart) where we made a left to get back to 42. Just before the end of the detour I noticed that the road we were detoured on was "Old US 42", so kind of neat that it had been resurrected as US 42 (for a short time anyway) after more than 50 years.


Red Brick Tavern


Along with all of the usual small town Americana, I got a quick picture (while stopped for a traffic light) of this old service station I found kind of interesting.


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When I saw the Red Brick Tavern in a topic called "US 42 Trip" I thought you must have gotten lost. :) Then I read about the detour and it all made sense. I've driven all of 42 and drive parts of the south half fairly often so I'm looking forward to your view of it.

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I followed the Red Brick thumbnail to its Webshots home and noted your comment on Stewart saying the large sign "'blighted' the architecture". That prompted me to take a look at Stewart's 1953 shot and that prompted me to look at Vale's 1983 shot and that prompted me to look at Russell Poole's 2005? shot. All three have signs and all three are different. I then went through some of my own pictures and found one from March 2006 with two signs on the ground leaning against the building. There were none hanging. My photo is here. The sign in front is the one in Poole's photo. His book, America's Road, was published in early 2006 so I'm guessing most photos are from 2005 or 2004. The sign behind it could be the one in Vale's picture. Its shape appears to be the same but, if it is the same sign, it has been repainted. The remnants of "Old English" style lettering is visible in my 2006 photo while the 1983 picture shows some pretty basic block letters. The sign that Stewart called "enormous and blatantly modern" looks like it might have neon on it and is certainly the coolest of the three since it is now blatantly retro. I wonder if it is hidden inside the tavern or an out building.


The old building in South Charleston is a Pure Oil station from 1937. It is now the Blue Point Cafe which I believe is a coffee shop sort of place.


The painted lettering on the end of the build says "...of Yesteryear". The place was built in 1837! Yep, exactly one century separates the two posted buildings. But that, I'm sure, is pure coincidence. :rolleyes:

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Exactly 100 years apart, that is interesting (or a "Pure" coincidence).


We finished US 43 also now. 43 is all improved 4 lane in TN, so good for getting from A to B, but not terribly interesting for a country drive (although the old road may still exist nearby - it didn't seem like it was just a simple twinning of the old road). The northernmost part of AL was a bit crowded, and the southernmost part was mostly just 4-lane, but the majority of the state was very pretty two-lane, winding through the hills and small towns. 43 now ends well north of Mobile, although you can see downtown in the distance. We still followed some of the older road into downtown, and really liked the city. (Back when we did US 31 we only went to Spanish Fort and then over to Pensacola so never saw downtown.) I have a feeling a ride on US 90 and/or 98 in the area would be very nice.


Overall a good week of driving the 2-lanes. Both routes were relatively short but interesting drives. (Only low point was getting in an accident in Cincinnati. That'll teach me for getting in the Interstate.) It'll probably take me a month or so to get pictures up, but I'll post once I have them.

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