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Finding Old Highways


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#1 Mike Ballard

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Posted 05 October 2016 - 11:13 PM

I've been slowly working on a guide to finding old highways. While parts are more applicable to California (survey monuments and other CA-specific items), it does apply elsewhere. It will discuss paving types, survey monuments, bridges and their railing, and other ways to determine if a roadway was an old State Highway (whatever the sign route was).

 

http://socalregion.c...ghways-a-guide/

 

If anyone has any requests for things to add, please let me know.



#2 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 06 October 2016 - 07:38 PM

Mike,

 

Thanks for making a well written and informative description of important aspects of old highway location available to many. We all need to do that. Your knowledge took years to acquire, and we owe it to others to share it. You have done so, to your credit, and as a benefit for all. Thanks!

 

Dave



#3 Mike Ballard

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Posted 15 October 2016 - 02:45 PM

Always glad to help. I've been doing some research at Caltrans and will be adding more detailed information about California-specific roadway details soon.



#4 knightfan26917

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Posted 05 November 2016 - 08:32 PM

Mike,

 

Your work is an AWESOME resource. I bookmarked it for future reference, but glancing through & reading a few portions of it just now ... makes me want to go explore full time ... if only I could.  Nicely done.  Thank you for posting it here for us.

 

 

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#5 Mike Ballard

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 01:43 AM

Update coming soon for my old highways guide. I'm about 1/2 done with my bridges section, which looks like it will be the longest as well. I'll post here when it is done.



#6 Mike Ballard

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 12:45 PM

Finally posted the Bridges section of my "old highways guide".

 

http://socalregion.c...part-3-bridges/



#7 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 02:30 PM

Mike,

 

Will you (or do you) have a section on road design, by which I mean the practices of road building and placement that help identify the location of an old road. Simple examples: The old road did not cross a wetland, it stayed along the edge a foot or more above the high water. The old road did not have cuts or fills of consequence, and followed contours to reduce grade, etc, etc. You gave an excellent example when you noted the right angle turn at a bridge.

 

In identifying sections of the Red Trail for National Register application, and of the Yellowstone Trail for their publications, I have found some hints to look for that are more subtle than such factors as road surface and bridge design (which are obviously excellent). Knowing them helps us (I assume you have developed the same kind of indicators) spot the old road alignment readily, but they are not self evident to those who don’t know what to look for.

 

Put me on your list for a first edition of your book!

 

Dave

 

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#8 Mike Ballard

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 02:44 PM

I can work on that, though it may take a while to gather good photos. Sometimes abandoned roadways are more difficult to find unless you do spot certain clues (plants growing in certain patterns, different materials on the ground, small embankments visible, trees in a line or with a gap between).



#9 knightfan26917

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 08:15 PM

Finally posted the Bridges section of my "old highways guide".

 

http://socalregion.c...part-3-bridges/

 

 

NICE!

 

Think my favorite bridges are the long, arched ones, like the "Concrete Open Sandrel Arch Bridge".....

 

 

Cort, www.oldcarsstronghearts.com

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#10 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 11:57 PM

I am completely with you when it comes to trying to photograph good examples of old road design and identification. I find I resort to drawing lines and arrows post production, which is not altogether satisfactory.

 

I often find myself driving a modern two lane road, and saying to my wife, “Notice the old road over there, to which her reply is “Where?” What you or I “see” is not always self evident, and as you say, hard to capture in a 2D photo.

 

I am looking forward to your book. It is much needed.

 

Oh, I should add something. I am no beginner at road identification, but I have a friend who can smell the old routes. I have been at this for at least 50 years so I have learned a lot, but he has a natural talent. Kind of like old time water witchers, he can spot the target most every time. If you want contact info, send me a Forum message. Someone should pick his mind and get his insights for others to use.

 

Dave

 

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#11 knightfan26917

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Posted 18 February 2017 - 08:22 PM

I am completely with you when it comes to trying to photograph good examples of old road design and identification. I find I resort to drawing lines and arrows post production, which is not altogether satisfactory.

 

Dave ... not sure what program(s) you have ... or if you've even tried this ... but, 1 option might be to highlight the areas by turning the base photograph to B&W & coloring the area(s) you want people to see-focus attention.  That may help eliminate those lines or arrows.....!?

 

 

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#12 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 19 February 2017 - 08:34 PM

Cort,

 

Good suggestion.  Grayscale all but the road you want to show.  I'll add that to my "tool kit!"  

 

As you know, many books today are self published, and  full color isn't cheap.  But with your suggestion you could get by with grayscale and one color.

 

Another approach would be cross eyed 3D stereo.  You can print in grayscale and freeview cross eyed.  Unfortunately, too many complain they can't do it, even though they do the same thing when they read their wrist watch.

 

It might be easier for beginners if they made  the images  small so they only slightly crossed their eyes  to get the central lmage in 3D.  The 3D helps road features to stand out.  Here is a 3D image of Echo Point on the Blewett Pass of the Yellowstone Trail to practice on. :)

 

Dave

 

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EchoPoint3Dbw.jpg



#13 knightfan26917

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Posted 26 February 2017 - 02:16 PM

Hey Dave,

 

Yes ... grayscale with 1 color!  Sure would cut some of the costs....

 

I do love those cross-eyed 3D images ... but they can be hard on the eyes, sometimes.... ;)

 

 

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#14 Mike Ballard

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 02:36 PM

Annotations on photographs is an option that I am mixed about. I prefer to have a description outside the image, that way the subject of the photo is not covered over. Sometimes it isn't easy to show or describe certain features, such as a slight change in grass color or vegetation on top of an older alignment.



#15 Mike Ballard

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Posted 04 March 2017 - 11:59 PM

I have been having another thought about this finding old roads thing. I have a gopro camera. I've used it to video some now removed sections of roadway, such as the North Burbank UP on US 99 in Burbank, CA as well as the Soto / Huntington Viaduct, a former Pacific Electric grade separation. I no longer have a mount on my motorcycle helmet but can mount it other places. What I haven't done is do anything with a narrative. Would there be interest in some sort of narrative video where I describe certain roadway features? Could be a lot of fun too.



#16 knightfan26917

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Posted 05 March 2017 - 02:41 PM

Annotations on photographs is an option that I am mixed about. I prefer to have a description outside the image, that way the subject of the photo is not covered over. Sometimes it isn't easy to show or describe certain features, such as a slight change in grass color or vegetation on top of an older alignment.

 

Despite my usage of a "stamp" on the photos I post on my website, I definitely struggle with adding them.  I don't like covering the image, either; however, I've also found many times pics I've taken have been used elsewhere with no notation as to where they originated.  Cool as that is, I've seen times when people have asked to see more, but have not been directed to where they can see more.  Since I started adding the "stamps", I've found a slight increase in views on my website.  Coincidence?  Maybe, maybe not ... I'll never know for sure!

 

 

 

I have been having another thought about this finding old roads thing. I have a gopro camera. I've used it to video some now removed sections of roadway, such as the North Burbank UP on US 99 in Burbank, CA as well as the Soto / Huntington Viaduct, a former Pacific Electric grade separation. I no longer have a mount on my motorcycle helmet but can mount it other places. What I haven't done is do anything with a narrative. Would there be interest in some sort of narrative video where I describe certain roadway features? Could be a lot of fun too.

 

 

To answer your query ... YES!!!!!!!!!!  I don't have a GoPro, but I've been thinking of adding more videos when I go "on the road" in 2017.

 

 

Cort, www.oldcarsstronghearts.com

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#17 Mike Ballard

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 01:54 AM

Well, after running into some small technical issues, the video idea is a bit delayed but feasible. I'll see what sort of video shorts I can come up with in the next month or so. Should be a lot of fun.



#18 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 01:17 PM

Mike,

 

I have thought from time to time that I would do a VR series, or a Gopro (wide angle, action) set of videos. I have several opinions, but few facts to share! ;)

 

Three generalizations:

 

  • Individual, stand alone, road videos of unknown sites (not famous) score a low few hundred hits a year on You Tube.

  • Action is critical in VR or Gopro. If you drive off a viaduct on your bike and crash, it will go viral. Otherwise see generalization above.

  • You need a theme and have to build a series following to get an audience.

 

It might be fun to do a Ken Burns video treatment of a few photos from a site, then your gopro video clips. I picked up a post card of the Jack Rabbit Trail from the 20’s the other day. A Ken Burns style look at it, followed or preceded by an ACSC map look, and then your cycle view might be a winner.

 

And if you did a series theme, lets say A Motorcycle on Early California Roads you might get a following. You know, modern daredevil academic follows vintage California roads. Action, with road history as the legitimizing virtue, and some personal experiences with the people and places. Could be fun. And the old roads are there.

 

Dave



#19 Mike Ballard

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 12:09 PM

Right now, I'm not planning to do a motorcycle video. I don't consider myself to be a daredevil nor see that there is a big market for the videos. The ones that I have done have merely been to record highways and I posted them as such. The videos I plan to make are more documentary style with me speaking at some location about said location. Still need to upgrade the equipment as the gopro has limitations in that regard. We'll see where it goes. I never thought my website would have as much it is does nor be linked in the places it is.

 

Either way, even making these videos should be a lot of fun and I am looking forward to that.



#20 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 09:43 PM

Mike,

 

You are right on all counts! Not an evident market. Documenting may be the best objective. And take my “daredevil” comment as tongue in cheek.

 

I encourage you to keep working on the guide!

 

Dave






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