Posts tagged highway

Indiana State Road 58

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Indiana State Road 58

Indiana State Road 58 is one of southwest Indiana’s best routes to travel when you’re in the mood to enjoy a road that isn’t straight as an arrow. Its 122 mile path cuts through the typical Indiana farmland, but it also winds you through parts of the Hoosier National Forest. It’s one of those roads where you want to find yourself on a weekend in the Fall. The colors can be spectacular.

IN-58 starts in Merom, Indiana, some 30 miles south of Terre Haute.

Merom is home to less than 300 citizens, but is also home to the Merom Conference Center. Opened in 1862 as the Union Christian College, the Merom Conference Center now serves as a retreat for the United Church of Christ.

IN-58 angles southeast out of Merom, crossing over US 41 at Carlisle, which is “home” to the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility.

IN-58 continues to zig-zag southeast to Freelandville.

58 straightens itself somewhat at Freelandville and cuts across to Elnora. A visit to Elnora isn’t complete without a visit to the Graham Farms Cheese store, located on the north end of Elnora on IN-57. East of Elnora, IN-58 starts to wind through the hills as it approaches Bedford.

Approaching Bedford, IN-58 follows IN-37 south for a short distance before heading east on its own in Bedford. Bedford, population 14,000, is noted as the Limestone Capital of the World. Limestone from Bedford can be found in structures such as the Empire State Building, the Pentagon, and the National Cathedral. Bedford also lays claim to a couple of historic highways as well: The Dixie Highway and US Route 50, traversing some 3,000 miles across the United States from Ocean City, Maryland to West Sacramento, California.

  

East of Bedford, IN-58 continues its twisty two-lane trek across parts of the Hoosier National Forest. This particular area is a good section to test your driving reflexes or just to see how well your car handles tight curves. :-) Plus, you get to see a wide array of warning signs along the way you won’t often see elsewhere.

Just up the road is the tiny town of Heltonville. Boasting a population of 1200, Heltonville is the boyhood home of Indiana basketball legend Damon Bailey. Bailey’s fame began when he was in 8th grade and Indiana University basketball coach Bob Knight targeted him as a recruit to play for the Hoosiers in the years to come.

Bailey went on to set the Indiana state scoring record in basketball, which also garnered him the coveted title of “Mr. Basketball”, given to the state’s top senior hoops player. He eventually signed to play college ball at Indiana University. Today, Heltonville honors its native son with a limestone monument, which chronicles his achievements, in front of the grade school he attended.

Past Heltonville, IN-58 continues snaking through the countryside…

before entering Freetown, a town seemingly lost in time with its old time grocery…

and its gas station.

IN-58 begins to angle northeast out of Freetown for its remaining 17 miles through Spraytown…

Waymansville….

and finally Ogilville.

Indiana State Road 58 quietly ends its 122 mile journey just past the interchange with Interstate 65.

IN-58 has much to offer if you’re looking to kill a day with a drive. I highly suggest making this trip during the peak foliage season in October. It’ll give you a good dose of happiness before a loooong winter season.

Indiana State Road 75

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Anyone looking at a map of Indiana State Road 75 thinking it’s non-stop from US 40 west of Stilesville to its terminus some 78 miles north at Camden may be in for a surprise….like I was.

I wasn’t expecting anything out of the ordinary when I recently took a Sunday afternoon to explore this north-south route through Indiana’s western half. I’ll fill you in on that later. Like many of Indiana’s state highways in this area, IN-75 slices through Indiana’s rich farmland. It quietly begins its northern journey at US 40 a few miles west of Stilesville.

It skirts the east side of the Coatesville before taking a straight shot north where it intersects US 36 at New Winchester, which is little more than a grain elevator, a couple of businesses, and a smattering of homes. Standing as a tribute to gas stations of a bygone era quietly sits a relic on the northwest corner of US 36 & IN-75.

North of US 36, IN-75 curves through Hendricks County and has a series of 90 degree turns around various farms on its way into North Salem.

In North Salem sits the Eel River School, once an “all grades” school that now is North Salem Elementary. This is one of the few examples of a small town school that survived after consolidating with other small towns. There are many examples dotted throughout the Indiana landscape of former schools such as this that are sitting silent with shattered windows and overgrown weeds. The Eel River escaped that image.

Just past the town limits of North Salem on the west side of IN-75, a field has what appears to be an unnatural hill. Legend has it that when my grandmother was a little girl in the 1910’s, she’d play out in that field and would often find various Indian arrowheads and other articfacts like that. It’s always been thought this little hill is an ancient Indian mound.

Between North Salem and Jamestown, an abandoned section of IN-75 can be seen. Looking south here, old 75 is on the right and used to make a hard left turn over Big Walnut Creek before joining the current alignment of 75 on the left of the photo.

Entering Jamestown, the Tucker Auto Sales building sits on the southwest corner of US 136 and IN-75. Of note, US 136 through Indiana was one of the many alignments of the fabled Dixie Highway, the brainchild of Lincoln Highway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway founder Carl Fisher.  

North of Jamestown is the town of Advance (prounounced AD-vance in these parts).

Other than the intersecting of a couple of popularly named streets….

and a cool old DX Service Station…..

there’s not a lot going on in Advance these days.

Now, remember what I said about the surprise I encountered earlier with this route? Arriving in Thorntown….about halfway through IN-75’s length…..I encountered at IN-47 a sign that stated “End Indiana 75″.

Huh? How could this be? My maps looked as if it should piggyback IN-47 east and then resume north piggybacking IN-39 into Frankfort. A little cornfused, I followed what I thought should be the route up to Frankfort, which was some 17 miles. Following my route through Frankfort, I got my answer. IN-75 is essentially two highways. It restarts on the north side of Frankfort.

 Frankfort’s a neat little city of 16,000, and is the county seat of Clinton County Indiana. Frankfort is known for several things, one of them being the hot dog. No, Frankfort’s not a hot dog hub, but Frankfort High School’s nickname is the “Hot Dogs”. Every last weekend in July on Main Street in Frankfort you’ll find Frankfort’s Hot Dog Festival.

hotdog

Frankfort’s town square is very vibrant, with the beautiful Clinton County Courthouse as the centerpiece. On the northwest corner of the square are murals depicting Clinton County’s history. Part of one mural honors Frankfort’s favorite son, Will Geer, who portrayed Grandpa Walton on “The Waltons”. And no visit to Frankfort is complete without a visit to the Zachary Confection factory, located on the west end of Frankfort on IN-38. They’ve got a shop at the factory where you can purchase some of your favorite chocolate covered goodies when in need of some good “road food”.

IN-75 departs Frankfort and heads north for another 23 miles through Sedalia, Cutler, and Flora before REALLY ending in Camden.

Camden’s main drag through town is IN-218. It was a quiet little burg when I was through, but the old Masonic Lodge is worth a look, as is the local library with the cool old fire escape.

Thus ends our journey on Indiana State Road 75…..both of them!

Indiana State Road 236

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Not long ago, a fellow roadie from the Indy area (code name “mobilene”) had a post on his blog  about an end to end trip he took on Indiana State Road 42. I’ve admired his writings of his road logs and vowed to start documenting some routes in our home state as well. I figure together we should wrap up the entire state by the time we’re in our mid-late 110’s.

My first…and hopefully not last…entry is based on a route that goes all the way back to my very beginnings: State Road 236. It stretches from just north of Danville and makes a 41 mile trek through west central Indiana farmlands to its end at US 41, about 6 miles north of Rockville.

Most of you aren’t aware that we started “geocaching” last year and got hooked on it pretty good. For those of you who’ve never heard of it, in the simplest terms, geocaching can best be described as using multi million dollar government satellites to find Tupperware filled with toys hidden in the woods. To do it, you need a GPS and an account at http://geocaching.com. You get your tupperware (or other appropriate container), find a hiding place for it, mark the coordinates on your GPS, then enter it all on the geocaching web site. Then, other folks with GPS and a sense of adventure will take the coordinates and try to find your cache. When they do, they sign the log that’s in it, and put the cache back in its hiding place for the next geocacher to find. Simple enough, eh? I have two caches of my own out there. One near my office and the other in a cemetery in North Salem, Indiana where some of my mom’s side of the family are resting forever.

 I got word from someone who found my cache a few weeks back that it was in bad shape. An animal of some sort with sharp teeth had chewed on it and water had got inside and ruined the log. So, I disabled the cache on the web site and today part of my SR-236 trip was to replace the old container with a new one.

After I accomplished that mission, I was pulling over in “downtown” North Salem to snap a couple of shots when my oldest brother & his wife passed going the other way. He moved out there about 20 years ago. After a brief chat, we were on our separate ways. Not much going on in North Salem on this Sunday. The only thing open was the gas station. Everyone else was home for the day…most of its 591 population.

State Road 236 isn’t going to excite most two-lane roadies, but still, it’s got its charm. The largest town on the road is Roachdale with a population of 975. What’s unique about SR-236 is that there is not one stop light on its 41 mile length. And, the only stop between the two endpoints is at US 231, where SR-236 piggybacks it for a short distance.

Near Guion, which is little more than a handful of houses, 236 comes in contact with The Ben Hur Route. This was an auto trail within Indiana that stretched from Terre Haute up to Fort Wayne, beginning around 1918. The Ben Hur overlaps 236 at Guion for a mile or so. In this photo, the BH continues straight on the snow-covered gravel road, as 236 hooks to the right.

Marshall is the last “big” town (population 360) SR-236 cuts through on its trek west. Marshall resides in Parke County, which is famous not only for it’s 31 covered bridges , but it’s also rich in Amish residents. I happened to encounter one while exploring what there was to explore in Marshall.

Shortly after Marshall, SR-236 greets its western terminus at US 41, 6 miles north of Rockville, the Parke County seat. 236 isn’t a major state road through Indiana by any means, but the route…even prior to it being given a number…has a lengthy history dating back to the 1800’s, and is still important to the daily lives of those who live on & near it.

The rest of the slide show can be found here on Flickr.

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