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

Dixie Highway Riding Dutchman 2008

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Absolutely intriguing to try and ride the Dixie Highway eastern and western itineraries with basically only the old 1923 map as guide. (Google gets you to that map easily - as well as to a site which lists current road numbers).

 

Starting out in Bloomington Indiana and riding solo on an old 1980 Yamaha motorcycle all the way to Key West - and back of course. Western section southbound, eastern section northbound. May - June.

 

Taking it easy and trying to retrace & experience some of what it would have been 65 years ago. The old towns, the countryside, the people, perfect diners and home cooking places, an amazing variety of how English can be pronounced.......

 

Some sections ruined forever by sprawling business developments with repetitive chains of national stores and traffic lights.

Others - fortunately most of it - great riding on quiet 2-lane roads. Even finding a few old - now out-of-use - dirt or brick sections.

 

Most amazing I found to see almost no references to the North-South mother road - very unlike what I came across on its East-West sister Route 66 last year (see my message on the Route 66 forum on this amricanroadmagazine site).

 

Nevertheless, riding the Dixie Highway is like riding through American history. Even though people living along the Dixie Highway barely seem to be aware of the historic territory they are on.....

 

What adventures await you on Dixie Highway today: read the saga on: http://www.yamaha-triples.org/forums/forum-view.asp?fid=60

 

The pictorial saga is in the making.

 

Harold de Bock, Hilversum, The Netherlands.

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Harold,

 

I'm sorry I didn't catch you sooner! I have the 1916 maps and turn by turn directions for the Dixie Highway. They are about 65 pages long. Where are you now, and how might I help?

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

 

Absolutely intriguing to try and ride the Dixie Highway eastern and western itineraries with basically only the old 1923 map as guide. (Google gets you to that map easily - as well as to a site which lists current road numbers).

 

Starting out in Bloomington Indiana and riding solo on an old 1980 Yamaha motorcycle all the way to Key West - and back of course. Western section southbound, eastern section northbound. May - June.

 

Taking it easy and trying to retrace & experience some of what it would have been 65 years ago. The old towns, the countryside, the people, perfect diners and home cooking places, an amazing variety of how English can be pronounced.......

 

Some sections ruined forever by sprawling business developments with repetitive chains of national stores and traffic lights.

Others - fortunately most of it - great riding on quiet 2-lane roads. Even finding a few old - now out-of-use - dirt or brick sections.

 

Most amazing I found to see almost no references to the North-South mother road - very unlike what I came across on its East-West sister Route 66 last year (see my message on the Route 66 forum on this amricanroadmagazine site).

 

Nevertheless, riding the Dixie Highway is like riding through American history. Even though people living along the Dixie Highway barely seem to be aware of the historic territory they are on.....

 

What adventures await you on Dixie Highway today: read the saga on: http://www.yamaha-triples.org/forums/forum-view.asp?fid=60

 

The pictorial saga is in the making.

 

Harold de Bock, Hilversum, The Netherlands.

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Harold,

 

I thought I would reply to your e –mail here so that others interested in the Dixie Highway would have the information.

 

First, your adventure sounds great and I look forward to the descriptions and photos!

 

I am not an expert on the Dixie Highway, but I do have a “few” vintage road guides and maps. Some time ago I posted a 1925 detailed Dixie Highway Hobbs Guide HERE. (I am not aware that the Dixie Highway people published an official guide in the pre 1927 period.)

 

I was referring to original 1916 Dixie Highway maps and guides published in a special section of one of my vintage Scarborough’s Official Tour Books. The turn by turn directions are those of 1916, not today! I don’t think they are what you wanted. I think your need was for modern directions to the road, much as there are modern directions for those interested in Route 66.

 

However, if you searched the web and found only the 1923 map, then I should scan and make available the 1916 maps, for those interested in the old alignments, etc. In the meantime, I have photographed (not scanned) below the 1916 maps and a sample of the turn by turn directions.

 

The 1916 turn by turn directions are too long (at least 65 pages) to be readily scanned. However if someone is looking for an early exact alignment, I will try to help, on request.

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

 

AR1916DHMap.jpg

 

AR1916DHTT.jpg

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I just finished your DH saga and enjoyed it a bunch. Can't wait for the "Pictorial Saga" so I can check out the Everglades Fairy and a few other things (e.g., the unpaved section), too.

 

I really appreciate the way you describe this country. Maybe I have a little more tolerance than you for Key West but not much. Or maybe it's gotten worse since I was there. We're in complete synch on Gatlinburg. "Disneyland looks like a real world compared to what has been brought together on this one street", sounds about right to me. I'm sure I'd like Don Wop's diner (Just where is it, anyway?) and probably Granny's Kitchen, too, and I like the little stories you pick up: "...she hit a bear. The bear lost...", "One race I won silver and she got to kiss me...", "...she was in an area that looked like here. So I think it must be France." Good stuff.

 

You say you were amazed that the DH was "very unlike what I came across on its East-West sister Route 66 last year". It would certainly be nice if the DH were marked or there were better guide materials around but the DH and Sixty-Six have always been very different creatures. The first post in the saga has the line "DH was conceived of as first North-South connection at about the same time as the East - West Route 66." That's sort of true with a rather course time scale but the two did not really coexist. The birth of US-66 and all the other numbered US routes was what brought the era of named auto trails like the Dixie Highway and the Lincoln Highway to an end. The Dixie Highway Association disbanded in 1927. The heyday of the DH was 1925 when people were driving Model Ts and sleeping in municipal campgrounds. The heyday of Route 66 was more like 1955 or '65 when people were driving T-Birds and sleeping in cement tepees. I'm writing this because it seems you were very disappointed that the DH was not like 66 but it really couldn't be. And the Lincoln Highway and US-40 and the Blue Ridge Parkway are all different from either of them and from each other but they're all pretty cool.

 

Thanks for the journal and let us know when the Everglades Fairy's ready for viewing.

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What a great road trip journal, Harold! Thank you for linking to it. It sounds like you had just the kinds of adventures one has when you follow the old two-lane and see where it leads.

 

jim

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Absolutely intriguing to try and ride the Dixie Highway eastern and western itineraries with basically only the old 1923 map as guide. (Google gets you to that map easily - as well as to a site which lists current road numbers).

 

Starting out in Bloomington Indiana and riding solo on an old 1980 Yamaha motorcycle all the way to Key West - and back of course. Western section southbound, eastern section northbound. May - June.

 

Taking it easy and trying to retrace & experience some of what it would have been 65 years ago. The old towns, the countryside, the people, perfect diners and home cooking places, an amazing variety of how English can be pronounced.......

 

Some sections ruined forever by sprawling business developments with repetitive chains of national stores and traffic lights.

Others - fortunately most of it - great riding on quiet 2-lane roads. Even finding a few old - now out-of-use - dirt or brick sections.

 

Most amazing I found to see almost no references to the North-South mother road - very unlike what I came across on its East-West sister Route 66 last year (see my message on the Route 66 forum on this amricanroadmagazine site).

 

Nevertheless, riding the Dixie Highway is like riding through American history. Even though people living along the Dixie Highway barely seem to be aware of the historic territory they are on.....

 

What adventures await you on Dixie Highway today: read the saga on: http://www.yamaha-triples.org/forums/forum-view.asp?fid=60

 

The pictorial saga is in the making.

 

Harold de Bock, Hilversum, The Netherlands.

 

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(I guess I just made a mistake of some kind - moderator you may want to throw out my 'reply' from a few minutes ago. Thanks!)

 

 

In reply to the various highly appreciated reactions.

 

Directions

The turn by turn directions I used I found on: http://www.us-highways.com/dixiehwy.htm. In combination with the 1923 map it allowed me to pencil in on modern road maps what the eastern and western itineraries of DH apparently were. What a great post with the old document on DH! I was so naive as to check with the AAA about DH guidance; I don't think it carries anything to my surprise, no historic feeling?

 

History

DH dates back to the early twenties, indeed. R66 did not come much later, though. In the early thirties, it changed course in various years in various locations - some of the road side markers point out in what year R66 passed by there. So R66 and DH share about the same historical timeline. Both were also put into place, as far as I can tell, by what we now call the industrial-military complex. In the twenties Japan was already building up its military power, invading China in the early thirties. The US realized it had no way of getting troops, equipment etc from the industrialized north-east to its western coast. Enter R66. The same holds for DH: when the US entered WWI, the US had no over land connection to strengthen its defenses on its south-eastern coasts. Enter DH. It combined with the arrival of the car as mass (tourist) transportation for civilians. Against that perspective, I expected a bit more similarity between R66 and DH heritage.

 

Pictorial saga

Should be ready mid-August or so - and will feature the Everglades Fairy Queen.

 

Harold

 

 

 

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