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0707 National Parks Highway - Good Used Cars!

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I have extended my stay in Madison, WI (July 10 - 11, 2010) by a day so that I can post at least a little more of the Great 2010 National Parks Highway Transcontinental Expedition. I also needed to figure out my route home. I think what I will do is take the route the other direction (westbound) and hope to find some old photos that I can use in some of the local museums.


As I have said before, I am going along the old National parks Highway through every town along the way, and photographing the original road where it still exists, and the hotels and garages recommended in the 1917 National Parks Highway Motorists Service Guide. I am fortunate to have strip maps of the route between Glendive, Montana and Chicago. The one below covers the section described below.








Picking up on July 6, 2010:


At Taylor, ND I was looking for the "Taylor Hotel" listed in the guide. I noted a couple working on a building and decided to stop and ask if they knew where the hotel might be....if it still existed.


I seem to get lucky when I ask a question because the woman who I talked with and her husband owned the entire block. Do you see the two bulls eye symbols on the building. Those are the symbols of the Red Trail, the name often used in North Dakota for the National Parks Highway. The women said the original symbols were faded so they had restored them.








The garage was named the Red Trail Garage and is the only recommended garage in town in the guide. Look carefully over the bay door and you can read "GARAGE." The roof of the garage had collapsed a few years before when a fellow working on his airplane inside decided to make more room by removing the roof braces. It didn't collapse immediately but the winter snow load did the job.


The woman had a 1915 panoramic photo of the town which included the Taylor Hotel and the building I was viewing next to the garage, but she said the garage had just burned when the photo was taken, so it must have been rebuilt in time to get in the 1917 guide. The Taylor Hotel no longer exists but the Red Trail Garage is a better find.


One thing about these little North Dakota towns, the people who live in them love them. I didn't talk with a single person who said anything except how much they loved the place they were in. Her husband had lived there all his life, and they had lived in the building in the photo for 17 years.


I drove on through several small tons and along more dirt roads. An old movie theater caught my eye in Hebron then I noticed a whole building featuring old school photos. What a great idea! But I hope they scanned them because they will fade. Most were from the 1980's but one set went back to 1968. Should bring back memories for some of you "youngins!"














I dropped in at the local newspaper office and got a little history. I now know more about Hebron than most people in North Dakota! I photographed another garage featuring the Red Trail symbol, and in this case the symbol for US10 had been added. As I drove around town I spotted two 1914 bridges. Following the National Parks Highway is a sure guide to goodies.








Between Hebron and New Salem the old railroad rout went southeast to near Almont and so did the National Parks Highway. The railroad was later rerouted due east and west and Almont and Sims became isolated. The NPH is a dirt road today that follows the old route to Almont. Despite the isolation of Almont, the bar was busy, and contrast the church at Sims was quiet (opps, rain drop on the lens) Of course Sims is a long way from anyone and anything, so the fact that the church is so well cared for speaks well of someone. The closest habitation was a single farm about a mile away. It must have been a bigger community before the railroad changed course.










I was going to take the old NPH from north of Sims to New Salem, but it was not maintained, and it was raining, so I took the paved newer route. In case you can't read the sign, it says "Minimum Maintenance Road." This is the old National Parks Highway and as it probably looked to the traveler in 1917.










As I looked around New Salem I spotted the Toepke Chev. Co. Used Car lot. I'm trying to imagine what his Sunday newspaper ad reads....."Runs, but needs a little work," or "Needs a paint job, but otherwise in good shape," or .....









Well, I think I will end this installment there.




Keep the Show on the Road!

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More excellent photos and stories, Dave! I love how the owners of the garage repainted the Red Trail markers on their building. And "Minimum Maintenance Road" signs (and their analogues, such as "End State Maintenance" always strike a quick chord of fear into my heart, having nearly been stranded exploring such roads before. I really ought to buy an old Jeep CJ for my road trips.

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Shades of the late 1930's!!!! Amazing what can be done with computers. It has progressed to the point of not knowing what's reality and what isn't.

I've done some Hudson club members cars in b&w for my web site. For some reason they look better that way.




Alex Burr

Memphis, TN

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