Why do I write about old roads on a photography blog?

My stats tell the story: you like my photography posts best, by far. So why, then, do I keep writing about old roads and the places on them?

Abandoned National Road

First, because I love them. Why do you think this blog is called Down the Road? I intended to make this blog be primarily about the old roads. But then I rekindled my love of old film cameras and caught the photography bug. The blog’s purpose shifted toward photography over time, and that’s how I attracted the bulk of my readership.

But second, these posts become public services, of sorts. Google search brings readers to them all the time. Every now and then someone will share one on Facebook and I’ll get a flood of views. There are plenty of people who live on or near one of the old alignments I write about, and finding my research really delights them, or tells them a story they never knew about a place familiar to them. A few of them even leave a comment saying so. In this way I feel like I’m leaving a small gift to the world.


23 responses to “Why do I write about old roads on a photography blog?”

  1. Dick Davis Avatar

    I have appreciated your blog for covering both topics as they are interesting to me. I also enjoy you reliving your personal experiences as I feel I’ve gotten to know Jim Grey personally even though we’ve only met once. We need to change that

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I think I have two primary audiences: the photo audience (the larger of them) and the road audience. Nice to know you like both! I’m sure there will be other opportunities to meet.

  2. brandib1977 Avatar

    I love your blog exactly as it is.Old roads, photography and exploration close to home go well together! If you don’t mind – I have to ask – are there any must see places to photograph in Vincennes and Jasper? I’ll be visiting from Ohio next week and am excited for a little adventure with my camera. Thanks for brightening my day with your blog!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I haven’t spent time in Jasper really but I do have some off the wall recommendations for the Vincennes area:

      A one-lane steel bridge that used to carry US 50: https://blog.jimgrey.net/2010/10/07/a-quiet-drive-down-old-old-us-50/

      A memorial to Abraham Lincoln where his young family crossed into Illinois:

      Behind that Lincoln memorial is a strip of old brick road from a long-ago bridge:

      1. brandib1977 Avatar

        Thanks so much. I’m seeing a show at the historic Astra Theater in Jasper. Looks like a neat place. I’ll look forward to perusing these posts!

    2. Bart Swindall Avatar
      Bart Swindall

      BRANDIB1977, I haven’t been down to Jasper since 2003, but at that time, there was a cash machine way out in the middle of a cornfield — unconnected to apparently anything — on the road connecting the main road heading south out of town with the Corporate HQ of Kimball Office.

      I remember it so well, because I passed it — walking — on the pre-sunrise, bitterly-cold January morning of my first day of my first week of orientation at Kimball Office, and I was on foot, because of a silly mix-up at the car rental agency that I intended to rent a car from, when I got to Louisville KY, which was as close as I could get to Jasper, Indiana from O’Hare airport in Chicago.

      Actually, it was my own fault that I was on foot: I had neglected to renew my driver’s license when it had first expired back in July, and I hadn’t has to rent a car since then. It wasn’t till the guy behind the car-rental counter handed it back to me, and said “I can’t rent you a car because your license is expired” that I realized my own contribution to my predicament.

      I was in an unfamiliar airport, late at night, in an unfamiliar town, with no way of reaching the cozy bed in the hotel which Kimball Office had (thankfully) already paid for my hotel for the night. Oh, and the car-rental place was preparing to close down for the day. Fortunately, there were cabs from the airport to all the surrounding communities, so it was just a matter of being already in the cab before the driver found out he would be taking me a place which neither one of us knew where-the-hell this place was.

      Oh, there was another complication: during the night, there was a white-out blizzard, and because I didn’t have a car to drive out to Kimball Office’s campus, my walk ended up being a slow-motion slog through ankle-deep snow, facing into the wind…while wearing my best dress shoes, to you know, look good first day on my new job.

      Actually, this is the first time I’ve ever told this story.

      SO, just to recap:

      TAKE road out-of-own going south out of Jasper,
      TAKE road off to right that ultimately goes to Kimball Office Corporate Campus, WATCH for cash machine out in the middle of a cornfield .

      1. brandib1977 Avatar

        Lol. BART! That’s quite a story! You made my evening with this tale and recommendation. I will absolutely go looking for it. Thanks!!

  3. Johnny Avatar

    Jim although I live in London in the UK and have never been to America (or anywhere else outside the UK) I really enjoy reading about your road ‘adventures’ and your photographic experiences. It gives me a sense of ‘being there’. I too collect and use old cameras and looking for info on a Yashica D a year or so ago brought me to your blog. I really look forward to your daily emails. Keep up the great work.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Well, I’m very happy you enjoy it all! Thanks for hanging around after you found that Yashica review.

  4. JoHawkTheWriter Avatar

    I love both aspects of your blog. Mom was a part-time professional photographer and I spent many hours as her subject while she tested a new filter or film or lighting. I also lived a number of years in Indiana and some of the places you visit are familiar old friends. I appreciate it all. ☺

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’m so grateful to you for saying so!

  5. M.B. Henry Avatar

    I love your old road posts! :) Keep ’em coming

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Awesome! Stay tuned, more to come!

  6. ronian42 Avatar

    It had never occurred to me that you wrote about roads a lot, as you said in this post it is the photography aspect that first drew me to your blog. However, it is a very enjoyable read and certainly highlights to me on this side of the pond, an aspect of the USA that I didn’t even know about. One of the great things about photography is that it really has enabled to see man’s impact on the environment over the last 150 years or so. Our towns, cities and infrastructure are fascinating to us and the ability to capture them as they are is a great legacy we can leave our descendants. Even photographing mundane, everyday scenes is the most important thing to do. Keep up the good work Jim.


    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks so much Ian! I forget that the changing American roadscape might be fascinating to people who don’t live here!

  7. Richard Scholl Avatar
    Richard Scholl

    What first drew me to your blog was your old-road focus — specifically one about Dandy Trail. That is also what continues to draw me, largely because it addresses details with which I am typically unfamiliar. Despite being your secondary focus, I hope you keep it up.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Oh yes, the Dandy Trail! I never have driven it from Southeastern Ave. back around the southeast side of town. Anyway, I’m unlikely to give up writing about the old roads!

  8. analogphotobug Avatar

    I love Photography AND I love History. Your Blog provides the best mix of both. Also I enjoy stories from the Road Less Traveled…….

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thank you! So happy you’re along for the ride.

  9. Scott Bennett Avatar
    Scott Bennett

    I like both, but I’m primarily here for the roads, and I’ve never been to Indiana! Someday I will though.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      There’s plenty of old-road goodness here!

  10. Ward Fogelsanger Avatar
    Ward Fogelsanger

    Always enjoy the photography. Going to be in Casey next week and am going to measure the pavement east and west of town and will share pictures with you.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I look forward to it!

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