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KC Wildmoon | The Old Roads
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Roadtrip!

Roadtrip!

By on Apr 6, 2014 in Cross-country | 6 comments

Way back in 1903, cars were pretty new. The first practical gasoline powered car came along in 1885, and the first American manufacturer got going eleven years after that. At the turn of the century, fewer than one in 10,000 Americans owned a car. Horatio Nelson Jackson, a Vermont doctor, wasn’t one of them, although he did think that cars were a damn cool thing.

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Road to Nowhere

Road to Nowhere

By on Mar 11, 2014 in NC288 | 0 comments

That stretch of US25E through Dutch Bottoms, the one that’s under water most of the time because of Douglas Lake, is one of my favorite old roads. I may have a new favorite — a highway with a similar story. It’s North Carolina State Route 288, and the unpaved track skirted near the bottom of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, following the route of the Tuskasegee River and then the Little Tennessee River from Bryson City to Deals Gap, where it ended at US129.

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Cumberland Gap is a mighty fine place

Cumberland Gap is a mighty fine place

By on Mar 7, 2014 in US25E | 0 comments

I remember going up to Cumberland Gap in the 1960s. There was no 4-lane highway, no tunnel, and US25E went straight through the gap, right along the Wilderness Road. That’s all changed now. There is a tunnel, and the concrete of the highway has been replaced by crushed limestone, which, while not exactly period — Wilderness Road was often described by early travelers as a muddy mess — makes for a nice walk along an historic road.

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Over the Smokies

Over the Smokies

By on Mar 3, 2014 in Newfound Gap Road, US441 | 0 comments

One of the spots I’m sure to get to is Newfound Gap, the point where US441 crossed the main ridge of the Smoky Mountains and the state line between Tennessee and North Carolina. I visited there many times as a child, and my parents did the same long before I was born. For the most part, US441 in the park follows the old road, which followed the old Cherokee trail, coming out of Gatlinburg.

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From here to there

From here to there

By on Mar 2, 2014 in US Highway System | 0 comments

The proliferation of automobiles radically changed how humans traveled from place to place, most dramatically in the time it took to get there. In the beginning, speed wasn’t much better since most roads weren’t even out of their stagecoach trail days (just take a look at the roads still called “Stagecoach Road” or “Stage Road” or something or other “trail” around).

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