Photography, Road Trips

Captured: Perfect gravel road

Perfect gravel road

This country road may seem like it’s in the middle of nowhere, but it is about 100 feet away from busy US 36, two miles west of Rockville, Indiana. As I took this photograph, the rumble of cars and trucks on the nearby highway blotted out nature’s sounds. Yet when I look at this photograph now, the scene seems so remote that I can imagine hearing the rustling wind and the chirping birds.

At one time, though, this road was the busy highway. This was an early alignment of the Pike’s Peak Ocean-to-Ocean Highway, one of the “auto trails” that crisscrossed the nation in the early 20th century. Then in 1918, when Indiana created its first system of numbered state highways, this road became State Road 31. Next, in 1927 when the US numbered route system was formed, this road became US 36. It wasn’t uncommon for US routes to be gravel roads in the early days. It wasn’t until about the early 1930s that US 36’s current alignment was built nearby as a modern, paved highway. This has been a county road ever since.

Read more about my trip down US 36 in western Indiana here and here.

Last updated on 19 February 2020 by Jim Grey

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2 thoughts on “Captured: Perfect gravel road

  1. Lone Primate says:

    It’s a gorgeous shot, Jim. Looks like a really wonderful hike. :)

    The map’s interesting… I wouldn’t have imagined LA would have been the principal destination that long ago; I would have assumed SF still held the ascendancy…

    • Parke County, where I shot this scene, is great. The county is full of old wooden covered bridges, and you come upon them on the back roads all the time. If you click through to my US 36 trip report (see the links in the “read more” line at the end of the post) you’ll see at least four that I encountered on this trip alone. One of these days, I’ll get a hotel room in Rockville, attach my bike carrier to my car, take my bike along, and make a bike tour of the county.

      As for SF vs. LA, you raise a good point that I had never considered. But the PP-OO actually originally terminated in SF. Go to this page for details: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/infrastructure/ppmap.cfm. The PP-OO originally tried to compete with the more-famous Lincoln Highway. Its marketing strategy, if you will, was that it didn’t pass through as many major towns as the LH and was therefore a faster and easier drive. But the PP-OO never got the support that the LH did, and it also had a pesky problem of frequent and major alignment changes, including a change of its terminus to LA.

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