Clinching the National Road

We roadfans say we’ve “clinched” a road when we’ve driven it end to end. Some roads are easier to clinch than others. I clinched the Michigan Road here in Indiana over several trips one summer a few years ago, but I never had to leave the state to do it. The National Road (the nation’s first federally funded highway, built between 1811 and 1838) stretches across six states and is therefore a little more of a challenge. I’ve been working at it, though. I began in Indiana in 2006, conquered it in Illinois in 2007, and drove it across Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia in 2009. But Ohio’s segment of the road has remained unexplored territory for me. It’s not that I haven’t tried to drive it. It’s just that the last time I entered Ohio on the road, it cost me my car.

Over Memorial Day weekend – a great weekend to get out of Indianapolis if you’re not a race fan, and I’m not – my dog and I sped along I-70 to Bridgeport, Ohio, where the National Road and US 40 begin their westward trek across the state. I spent three days driving the road, following every old alignment, photographing every old bridge, and stopping in many of the towns along the way. I’ll be writing about this trip for the next several weeks, and I hope you’ll come along for the ride.

Brick segment of old US 40/NR

I’ve driven the National Road from its beginning in Baltimore, MD to its end in Vandaila, IL. To read everything I’ve ever written about it, click here.

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8 responses to “Clinching the National Road”

  1. ryoko861 Avatar

    THAT is very cool! You don’t see too much of that around.
    I look forward to your next posts on this!

    1. Jim Avatar

      I saw several brick and concrete segments — they date to the 1910s. Stay tuned; it’s all to come.

  2. gaycarboys Avatar

    i love seeing how others write about road trips. Yes I’ll be watching!:) have fun.

    1. Jim Avatar

      Be prepared — I’m a roadgeek of the highest order.

  3. Dani Avatar

    Looking forward to more pictures and learning of your explorations.

    1. Jim Avatar

      Ask and ye shall receive. Two more are already queued up and I probably have 8-10 more to write!

  4. Lone Primate Avatar
    Lone Primate

    The National Road (the nation’s first federally funded highway, built between 1811 and 1838)

    And opposed, in principle, by none other than Thomas Jefferson, no less, if I’m not mistaken. Ha! Take THAT, Tom! :)

    1. Jim Avatar

      Proof positive that our founding fathers could be wrong!

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