I returned to US 50 not long ago to finish exploring it across Indiana. I found some great views from Shoals west to the Illinois state line.
Although my last trip ended in Shoals, I started this trip a bit to the west in Loogootee (pronounced lo GOAD ee). Not only is there no direct route to Shoals from my Indianapolis home, but I had learned of an old alignment through Shoals and exploring it would cause me to miss the section of current US 50 between Shoals and Loogootee. I had a great time zooming through that twisty stretch during a 2006 road trip and wanted to drive it again. Here’s a photo I took from there in 2006.
I photographed the road from about the same place this time, too. I’m surprised to find the road looks less twisty in my new photo. I took the earlier photo with a Olympus Stylus Epic Zoom 80, a film camera I owned then. It had a 38mm lens. Could my Canon PowerShot S80’s 28mm lens have straightened these curves a little? Or is it that I got this shot from just a little farther east than last time, which ate up a bit of the curve?
For Hoosiers who grew up where the glaciers flattened everything, pretty much the northern half to two-thirds of the state, straight roads cut through level farmland. But roadbuilders of old had to go over or around southern Indana’s hills. It had to be much harder work than their northern Indiana counterparts experienced, but it sure led to fun drives like this stretch of US 50. It also led to some great views, such as this one at a little pulloff called Overlook Park.
I had more trouble finding Jug Rock, a natural rock formation in Shoals not far from the bridge over the east fork of the White River. It’s all sandstone and is the largest “table rock” formation east of the Mississippi. It stands feet from the road, but downhill a bit and in a thick woods so it’s hard to see. It’s also not well marked. I missed the itty bitty sign and tiny pulloff three times and almost gave up looking for it!
US 50 was busy this Saturday. As I waited for traffic to pass so I could get back into my car, I snapped this shot that shows the road’s character here.
But as I mentioned earlier, this isn’t US 50’s original path. I’ll share the old alignment, which involves a county road and a state highway, next time.
Another great Indiana rock formation is in Madison along State Road 7. Check out Hanging Rock Hill.