Down the Road

Roads and life and how roads are like life

Drunken road striping


West of Effingham, Illinois, US 40 makes a wide curve and passes over a railroad track. An earlier alignment of the road was left behind when the overpass was built.

Drunken road striping

Here’s what all of this looks like from the air.

Imagery and map data © 2014 Google.

Imagery and map data © 2014 Google.

Humorously, on the ground this alignment looks like this. I can hear the chatter at the highway maintenance garage now: “I know! Let’s get drunk and go stripe some road!”

Drunken road striping

There are a couple houses on this little stretch of road. I wonder what the owners think of the hilarity at the end of their front yards.

Drunken road striping

It’s a time-honored tradition in road realigning to just bury an old alignment under a mound of dirt to build the new alignment.

Drunken road striping

All of these photos are from two visits I made here in 2007.



I’m still sharing some of my film photographs on Instagram. I follow a whole bunch of other film-shooting Instagrammers and we all seem to be in loose community there.

Some of those Instagrammers routinely get 100 or more “likes” on their photos. I’m doing good when I get more than 10. When one of my photos really catches on, it gets maybe 25 likes.

For a while I thought I was missing the secret to Instagram success. Was I not using the best tags? Was I not liberal enough with my likes of other photographers’ work? Was I not following enough people?

It appears to be all about having lots of followers. When I look at the well-liked Instagrammers I follow, I find that they follow hundreds of people and have hundreds of followers in return. It also seems like Instagram is a reciprocal community – people like being liked, and like back in return. For popular Instagrammers, that must translate either to spending a huge amount of time looking at and liking photos, or simply blindly clicking Like on every photo they see. I don’t have that kind of time to give to Instagram, and I’m going to click Like only on photos I actually like. And so I will continue to toil in Instagram obscurity.

I have to admit, I scratch my head over why one of my photos gets attention and another does not. For example, I feel pretty “meh” about the two photos below. But other Instagrammers seemed to like them, at least relative to my other work.

I can usually count on photos that I tag #architecture to get some good attention. There seems to be a good-sized community of architecture photographers on Instagram.

And people seem to enjoy shadow work, such as these two photos of the same set of arches.

Detail seems to appeal to people, too. These two photos are good examples.

Amusingly, my most-liked photos are some that I took of the cameras in my collection. Maybe I should go all old cameras, all the time.

Eh, nah. I guess I’ll just stay in Instagram’s dusty corners, eking out my daily handful of likes.

Are there two alignments of the National Road in Effingham, Illinois?


We drove right on through Effingham on our May trek across Illinois on the National Road. We had lingered in Clark and Cumberland Counties, and I really wanted to get to the end of the National Road in Vandalia before we ran out of daylight.

But I did explore the National Road through Effingham in 2007, and am sharing photos from that visit here. The road runs alongside a railroad track as it enters town. The signed National Road alignment forks away just as you enter town. US 40 veers away from the tracks shortly thereafter on its way to downtown.

National Road exit right

The signs have you follow Jefferson St. to Third St., where you turn left and then shortly right again onto US 40. Jefferson St. runs through a residential area.

Effingham National Road

As I look at a map of Effingham, I wonder whether the National Road originally hugged the railroad tracks all the way through town. A road signed National Ave., a common name for old National Road aligmnents, parallels the tracks in several discontinuous segments. See the map below; click it to see it larger. The signed National Road alignment is highlighted green to where it merges with current US 40. The suspected alignment is highlighted in blue.


Imagery and map data © 2014 Google.

Isn’t it interesting how US 40 enters and exits Effingham along the tracks, and there are bits and pieces of National Ave. along the tracks through town? One section of National Ave. is closed to through traffic and appears to be used as an access road for an industrial area.

Quasi-abandoned National Road

I walked past the barrier for a look.

Quasi-abandoned National Road

This street sign suggests that perhaps this road was once through.

Quasi-abandoned National Road

A bit further west, where the road is open to traffic, it passes underneath US 45.

Suspected old NR alignment

I wonder if any records exist to prove or disprove my theory.


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