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Hypotenuse Trail Countdown

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The Hypotenuse Trail, America’s youngest auto trail, is displayed below. The black line is the greatest distance across the United States (lower 48!) in a straight line….the true hypotenuse. I guess the mapping program gives it a curve to correct for the earth’s curvature. As you see, the Hypotenuse Trail is true to its name.

 

The chief trail blazer (me) will set out on Tuesday for Florida via the big bird, drive to the furthest outpost of American civilization at Key West, then turn around and begin the journey American is following with bated breath.

 

If possible, and I’m confident it is, there will be no part of the Hypotenuse on an interstate. It may be necessary to travel on the dread “”I highways to find a motel, but faithful to the task, I shall return….to the Hypotenuse where I left it to continue the journey.

 

With the special car rental deal (they wanted to move cars out of Florida), I have 14 days to make the trip. But I called the rental car folks and apparently the convertible does not turn to a pumpkin at midnight. However it does become an expensive coach.

 

The route was designed to enjoy as much of America outside the cities as possible. I am trying to catch a glimpse here and there of 1930’s – 1940’s America, in the days when the WPA American Guide book series was written. I have spiced up the journey with segments of the Dixie Highway, Lincoln Highway, Pikes Peak Ocean to Ocean, and the Oregon Trail.

 

And I have a small personal mission. My father had a wonderful deep singing voice, and one of the songs he did was Old Man River. He often said he wished that he had seen the river first hand. I have a scratchy recording of him singing the song at a service club show in the late 1940’s, and when I get to the Mississippi, I’m going to let his voice waft out across the water.

 

I know everyone recognizes that The Hypotenuse Trail is only in the imagination, but what good would a road trip be without a little imagination?

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

 

ARHypotenuse.jpg

 

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"the earth is curved"

"there is civilization in Key West"

"they are too many convertibles in Florida..."

"...and not enough in Seattle"

 

Despite these clearly outlandish claims, I wish you loads of success in this venture. In particular, I hope you find a magic spot to let Dad serenade the Mighty Mississippi. I wish I knew the area well enough to suggest a spot but I don't. I do know that the river will probably be at or near flood stage when you're there so it may come to you rather than you having to seek it out. Maybe just let the music blast as you cross at Helena.

 

It looks like you've got the route pretty well defined. That map looks like DeLorme and, although I know you said you were working with their topo maps, I'm wondering if you've got something going in Street Atlas. If so, and you'd care to make a dmt or other file available, maybe some of us could follow along.

 

Also, be sure to get a picture of yourself with whichever, sow's ear or silk purse, you decide to travel with. Either would surely make a good photo to use in the autographed glossies you'll undoubtedly be called on to hand out once the trip is complete.

 

Bon voyage.

 

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If you go thru Helena, which isn't such a bad idea, pretty much on your route and no interstates - perhaps we can work out some way to meet up.

 

Best place for a rendesvous would be the old railroad station/museum on the south end of Cherry Street (corner of Missouri and Cherry Street.

 

Something to think about.

 

Hudsonly,

Alex Burr

Memphis, TN

NEChester_nec@yahoo.com (Drop the NEC)

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If you go thru Helena, which isn't such a bad idea, pretty much on your route and no interstates - perhaps we can work out some way to meet up.

 

Best place for a rendesvous would be the old railroad station/museum on the south end of Cherry Street (corner of Missouri and Cherry Street.

 

Something to think about.

 

Hudsonly,

Alex Burr

Memphis, TN

NEChester_nec@yahoo.com (Drop the NEC)

 

Alex

 

I’d like to buy a fellow American Roadie a cup of coffee….but I can’t set any specific time or even place right now. I’m hoping to connect with an old buddy in Mississippi, but I haven’t got a firm fix on the details.

 

I’ll be in touch via e-mail or personal message in transit and if a meet up works, let’s do it. If not, I’ll use your weather and road reports to steer clear of the Mississippi floods!

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

 

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Alex

 

I’d like to buy a fellow American Roadie a cup of coffee….but I can’t set any specific time or even place right now. I’m hoping to connect with an old buddy in Mississippi, but I haven’t got a firm fix on the details.

 

I’ll be in touch via e-mail or personal message in transit and if a meet up works, let’s do it. If not, I’ll use your weather and road reports to steer clear of the Mississippi floods!

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

 

Ok, I can make Helena from here in about, oh, 1:45 and a 2 hours - depending on how long it takes me to get out of Memphis.

 

Hudsonly,

Alex B

 

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May I suggest the following route Key West to Helena -

 

U S 1 Key West to Waycorss, GA (traffic may be a problem on some parts);

 

U S 82 Waycross, GA > Greenwood, MS - I used this route on the way to Columbus, MS, from Jacksonville, many times - admittedly 50 years ago. I would suspect it has been upgraded and should be a decent road to travel today.

 

U S 49E Greenwood to Clarksdale - the route Denny and I took the end of Dec - good road, light traffic

 

U S 61 north to Lula - turn west on U S 45 to Helena.

 

Alternative Florida West Coast:

U S 1 Key West to Miami

U S 27 Miami to High Springs

U S 41 High Springs to Tifton, GA - pickup U S 82 west in Tifton

 

Hudsonly,

Alex Burr

Memphis, TN

 

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May I suggest the following route Key West to Helena -

 

U S 1 Key West to Waycorss, GA (traffic may be a problem on some parts);

 

U S 82 Waycross, GA > Greenwood, MS - I used this route on the way to Columbus, MS, from Jacksonville, many times - admittedly 50 years ago. I would suspect it has been upgraded and should be a decent road to travel today.

 

U S 49E Greenwood to Clarksdale - the route Denny and I took the end of Dec - good road, light traffic

 

U S 61 north to Lula - turn west on U S 45 to Helena.

 

Alternative Florida West Coast:

U S 1 Key West to Miami

U S 27 Miami to High Springs

U S 41 High Springs to Tifton, GA - pickup U S 82 west in Tifton

 

Hudsonly,

Alex Burr

Memphis, TN

 

Alex,

 

Those sound like two more great routes. I want to see the gulf coast, and stay closer to the hypotenuse, so Waycross is for another trip! And I want to hit the Mississippi further south.

 

Your suggestions emphasize the fact that this country is filled with interesting routes. If you love road trips, as I know you do, there is always a great one out there. And if you don’t have the time to do them all, then you can do them from your easy chair….here.

 

Looking forward to seeing you!

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

 

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Here's my class project. I would have to get graded an "incomplete" on this for obvious reasons. I know absolutely nothing about what may or may not be along the route, as I may have intersected some of these routes on journeys past, but have never cruised any of it as I have it here. It could be the dullest of dull routes that ever existed, but then again, so many auto trails fit into that description.

 

The Eastern Terminus:

 

Key West, FL to Miami, FL: US 1

Miami, FL to Tampa, FL: US 41

Tampa, FL to Dunedin, FL: SR 580

Dunedin, FL, to Anclotez, FL : BR-US 19

Anclotez, FL to Tallahassee, FL : US 19

Tallahassee, FL to Albany, GA: US 27

Albany, GA to Columbus, MS: US 82

Columbus, MS to Tupelo, MS: US 45

Tupelo, MS to Memphis, TN: Old US 78

Memphis, TN to W. Memphis AR: I-40/US 70

W. Memphis, AR to Gilmore, AR: SR-77 (Old US 63??)

Gilmore, AR to Cabool, MO: US 63

Cabool, MO to Sprinfield, MO: US 60

Springfield, MO to Clinton, MO: SR 13

Clinton, MO to Harrisonville, MO: SR 7

Harrisonville, MO to Kansas City, MO: US 71

 

This is where I got stuck! Too many good routes west at or near KC. Like many route makers back in the day had done, I too routed mine based on the occasional personal connection: Family in KC! B)

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W. Memphis, AR to Gilmore, AR: SR-77 (Old US 63??)

 

Arkansas State Route 77 is, I'm convinced, old U S 61. This is based on old tour guide books and that the street, in Left, uh, West Memphis is Missouri Street.

 

It was probably a dual alignment for 63 from Turell into West Memphis and also 64 from Marion into W. Memphis. I havn't dug all that out yet.

CORRECTION:[b/] Dug thru a 1941 AAA Tour Book, Western Edition. This shows U S 64 coming into West Memphis via AR 147 to Lehi, then east on 70 into Memphis and then east across TN.

 

Hudsonly,

Alex Burr

Memphis, TNcorrection

Edited by Alex Burr - hester_nec

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