Road Trips

Twisty US 41 in western Indiana

Let’s return to my October, 2006 road trip along some lovely highways in western Indiana.

Imagery ©2020 TerraMetrics, map data ©2020 Google.

Ice-age glaciers flattened the northern two-thirds of Indiana. It makes a 26-mile stretch of US 41 in western Indiana, on either side of Rockville, a real surprise.

After reaching the end of State Road 47, I headed north on US 41 about 6½ miles to SR 234, and then turned around for the southbound trip, which ended up taking me almost to Terre Haute.

In the periphery, imposing tree banks grow upon massive hills that seem to well up out of nowhere. The road curves around them, yet at times is steep enough that my little car bogged down in fifth gear.

Naturally, the road’s thin shoulder left no obvious place to stop for photographs. That situation changed south of SR 47. The road alternated between gnarled and straight. This southbound photograph is in the middle of an isolated gnarled section.

US 41

After crossing US 36 in Rockville, I stopped to take a photograph of a stirring wall of color created by the southbound road’s curve ahead. The photograph doesn’t do the scene justice.

US 41

This stretch of US 41 frequently passed between dense woods and open country. I entered a lonely, isolated stretch as the road curved uphill. After cresting the hill, the scenery suddenly opens wide. These juxtapositions are common along US 41 in Parke and Vigo Counties, and they make the road a real pleasure.

US 41

It had been on the order of 15 years since I had last driven here. I remembered US41 being curvier and more challenging to drive; I thought there were big “Dangerous Curves” signs north and south of Rockville. Was I imagining these things? I felt like a man who visited the home of his boyhood — how could a yard that small have ever seemed so huge?

Next: A visit to the covered bridge at Bridgeton. I’ve written about this visit a long time ago, here, but I’ll share more photos and history this time.

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10 thoughts on “Twisty US 41 in western Indiana

  1. I tried to imagine your experience of the hills and forests throught that stretch of road in Indiana . But where I live (New Jersey), sandwiched between Eastern Pennsylvania, New York and the Mid-Atlantic Coast, winding roads, rolling hills, streams and brooks and rivers and heavily forrested areas are the norm. I don’t know any areas of New Jersey that would be considered open country.

    Thanks for sharing your road trip, Jim. I have yet to learn to describe mine in this way.

    • I haven’t been to NJ in probably 30 years but I do remember how the roads went every which way. Two good friends, a brother and sister, I knew in college grew up in Edison and I went out there to visit a few times. The sister moved to Hoboken (where she still is) and I’ve been there, too. I found it entirely too easy to get lost anywhere I went in NJ! The brother said of it: “These roads are all old cow paths. Cows don’t plan roads in grids, like you’re used to in Indiana.”

  2. Dan Cluley says:

    It reminds me of parts of northern lower Michigan where you get that mix of flat grid and actual terrain.

  3. Paul Russell says:

    In my early teens, I lived on a farm about a mile from the junction of US 41 and SR 47. My step-father’s family has owned land in that area since the 1840’s. Russell Bend on Sugar Creek, between US 41 and the Jackson Bridge, is named for his family.

  4. Christopher May says:

    I never thought of Indiana as an autumn color hotspot but there are some very nice fall colors in these shots!

    • Indiana really is all about the autumn color. There are more colorful spots — the Smokies come to mind — but we hold our own here.

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