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

National Parks Highway - On The Road To Baraboo

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As I was mapping the National Parks Highway, I came across an interesting entry in the 1917 Automobile Blue Book for the section between La Crosse and Madison, Wisconsin via Baraboo (of Ringling Bros Circus fame). Has anyone else run into a citation like this one? It is new to me.......clay in the summer and sand in the winter.


"Mostly Poor Rough Road. In most cases on this route there is a sand road for wet weather and a clay road for dry weather. This route has combined these features and made the best possible route, but it is very poor as a whole to Baraboo."


Interesting insight into travel along the National Parks Highway in 1917......and I must remember the phrase "very poor as a whole to Baraboo"......kind of catchy :huh: !




Keep the Show on the Road!

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It probably refers to the fact that during inclement weather they sanded the clay surface. I've raced on wet red clay tracks, back in the day, and I'm gonna tell you it is slippery like you wouldn't believe.



Alex Burr

Memphis, TN

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  • 5 years later...

Hi Dave ... we are planning a NPH tour late this summer to celebrate the NP centennial. Last summer we documented the trip taken by Edsel Ford in 1915 from Detroit to SF by way of mostly the National Old Trails Road. The trip was completed in a 1915 Ford Model T just as it was in 1915. We would like to complete the trail of Frank Guilbert or at least part of it (we don't have the 30+ days necessary for proper documentation of the entire route from Chicago. We plan to depart at Yellowstone with terminus in Tacoma. I can be reached at 240-401-4956 or mgessler@historicvehicle.com. Hope to hear from you. Thank you for all the work uncovering this historic route. Best, Mark

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