I knew that this brick road was there, because I had researched the route well before I made this road trip. But seeing it was still a great joy, almost as good as if I had stumbled upon it unknowingly.
Enjoying the discovery keeps drawing me back to the old roads. What will I find that will surprise me? What history will I encounter that will make me research it when I get home? Along the way I get to make a long drive away from my troubles, listening to my favorite music, letting my swirling thoughts rest for a little while. Then I come upon a scene like this, and it activates the thrill center of my brain. In this case, I wondered when this road was built, what methods were used in its construction, and at what point it became necessary to bypass it with a more modern road and why.
This, by the way, is a still-driveable segment of the original alignment of US 40 (the National Road) in Clark County, Illinois, east of Marshall. I’ve since learned that these bricks were laid in about 1925, and incredibly I found photographs documenting its construction. You can see them here.
I don’t often think about elite athletes, but I know that along with their elite performance goes elite recovery. By that, I mean they take their downtime seriously, as a critical part of being able to achieve that elite performance.
A good road trip is tiring — I always sleep hard that night. But the next day I wake up with more energy than usual, and a sharpened mind.