Jump to content

Finding old fashioned two lane roads for long distance travel


ply33
 Share

Recommended Posts

That was from a great road trip thread (read it and savor the photos if you haven’t yet done so).

 

Anyway I am following up on this part:

Quote

At some point we really need to have a long detailed thread on this forum about how to find old fashioned low-traffic 2 lane roads, and more importantly how to connect them over long distances. One would think since we are spread out all over the country, and also the world, that some good information could be compiled.


I think this is a great idea and thought I’d kick it off.

 

The longest distance tour that I have setup was from San Jose, California to Tucson, Arizona a number of years back. My goal was no freeway driving at all. This presents problems as there are a number of choke points where it seems a freeway is the only possibility. In my case there were four big ones:

  1. Getting out of the southeast side of the San Joaquin Valley.
  2. Crossing the Colorado River
  3. Getting across the Mojave and Sonoran deserts on non-freeway but paved roads.
  4. Avoiding big population centers like Los Angeles and Phoenix.

I had the advantage of numerous visits to family in Southern Arizona and used those visits to scout various possibilities and found a route that worked.

 

But if repeated scouting trips in a modern car are not feasible, what can you do?

 

I think the long distance route that works for you depends a bit on the era and capabilities of the vehicle:

  • Long steep mountain grades could be an issue due to lack of power or braking.
  • The distance between gas stations (depending on conditions 170 miles is about all my car will do on a tank of gas without me freaking out about “driving on fumes”).
  • And each person has a different tolerance for freeway driving. If the two lane requires going one exit on a freeway is that okay? Is it some distance (1, 5, 10, 20 miles, etc.) okay?

But even if everyone doesn’t agree on the exact parameters we can probably come up with ideas for finding routes that can work for most people.

 

Ideas? Suggestions? What works for you?

 

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, ply33 said:

Long steep mountain grades could be an issue due to lack of power or braking.

 

I have never had the luxury of thinking about this one too much, as other factors have eliminated most possible routes. The 1936 Pontiac has especially good brakes for it's time, but on my recent trip I definitely found myself on some hills I wouldn't want to descend in a Model T, and that goes double if it did not have Rocky Mountain Brakes.

 

4 hours ago, ply33 said:

The distance between gas stations (depending on conditions 170 miles is about all my car will do on a tank of gas without me freaking out about “driving on fumes”).

 

This bears consideration, however it is not as big of a problem as I expected it to be. If you look on a map. and find some long stretch that has no towns, or only ones with tiny dots, 170 miles doesn't look like enough. Not knowing my exact range, I was figuring on more like 150 or 120. Initially I was planning on hauling about 2 gallons, but some quick math said I needed 5. This allowed for towns with no pumps, or closed on Sunday, or closed after 6PM, or whatever.

 

In practice, I carried 5 gallons of gas to Wisconsin and back. You can check google for gas station locations along a given highway. They might not still all be there, but sometimes it flags something that is only a couple miles from the main road too. If you are looking for information online, do it before you leave home or at the motels along the way. Don't expect your phone to have service in places like this.

 

The good part is that ALMOST everywhere now, if there are pumps, they have card readers and work 24 hours, and you can use a credit or debit card. There might not be good lights. There might not be any lights, but there are usually some. You might not get a receipt. but you can get gas.

 

Now a word or two about gas cans. The new ones suck. Plastic in general sucks, but unless your car is old enough to haul gas on the running boards in Boyco cans or something like that, you are probably stuck with it. I did not like having all that gas in my trunk. The first thing I did in the pitch black after the incident where I went off road (see the thread @ply33 linked above) was to run my hands under the back of the car to see if the 5 gallon gas can had ruptured.

 

Two years ago, my gas gauge didn't work and so I hauled a little 1 or 1.5 gallon gas can around in the trunk. They don't put vents in them anymore, due to VOC laws or whatever. This one would swell up like a dead cow along the highway. I let the pressure out petty regularly, but it would swell right back up. One day it exploded. I came out of the house to find the back of the Pontiac soaked in gas, and gas dripping out on the ground from every hole. The can had split wide open. It was only 2 months old. Plastic gas cans do rot, and eventually the plastic gets so bad you can poke your finger through. I can only assume that they get more hazardous as time goes on.

 

Fun Fact: You can buy those little yellow vent lids that every plastic gas can used to have on Amazon, and put them in yourself.

 

Another fun fact: Powersports gas cans are better than the regular ones. They usually have a valve you can hold open somehow on the spout. Some are easier than others.

 

On the cans intended for cars they either seem to have a spout that is stored upside down IN THE GAS so it gets all over your hands as you assemble it, or is has some stupid valve that is supposed to open when you hook it on the filler neck. Both kinds are guaranteed to get gas all over you, and the one that hooks on the neck will teach you how to swear if you didn't already know. They don't have vents either so they might explode.

 

My 5 gallon powersports can does not APPEAR to have a vent, but maybe that is built in the valve somehow(?). It never swelled up like a dead cow, and it never leaked a drop. I have it stored in a plastic tub, so I can tell it didn't spill. It is a more expensive model, $10 more than the closest contender, but that choice was made because the spout and valve can be oriented parallel to the ground. That let me get 5 gallons in the trunk without running out of headroom, where the cheapies would not. It is made of really thick plastic.

 

4 hours ago, ply33 said:
  • And each person has a different tolerance for freeway driving. If the two lane requires going one exit on a freeway is that okay? Is it some distance (1, 5, 10, 20 miles, etc.) okay?

 

A lesser traveled freeway might not be too bad. 46 miles on I-94 from Miles City to Forsyth, MT was not bad at all. On a freeway you have the right lane and if there's little traffic it can be pretty relaxed. 3 miles on I-29 just south of Sioux Falls SD was a white knuckle ride.

 

Some 2 lanes, actually quite a few, are places you might not like to be in a slow antique. Highway 6 (191) through eastern Utah and highway 212 through southeastern Montana are a couple that come to mind.

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I write several tour routes a year for the local Horseless Carriage Club regional groups.  These are hub tours - that is, we almost always expect to spend tonight in the same motel we spent last night, having driven somewhere between 60 and 120 miles during the day and having stopped at various places to see a collection, or visit a country store, or have lunch, or - ALWAYS!! - have ice cream.  Every driver on the tour gets a book that shows each day's route in detail.  Obviously, with brass cars, we don't want to get anyone lost, we want to avoid busy roads as much as possible, we want to cross busy roads safely at a traffic light if possible, we want scenery, and we sure as blazes don't want anyone to find himself on an on-ramp to an Interstate in a two-cylinder Buick.

 

I ask the tour master where he wants to leave from and return to, what destinations he wants to visit with their street addresses, where he wants to eat and have ice cream.  The tour master knows these things because he lives somewhere nearby; I live in New Jersey and often don't have a clue.  Then I go to a route mapping program on my computer.  There are several; I use one designed for hikers and cyclists called Map My Fitness.  I start at the motel, and look at the general lay of the land to see roughly where we're going and what I want to avoid in getting there.  Then I zoom in and look at individual roads to get an idea of what will intersect with what to find a nice route.  Then I go to satellite view and zoom WAAAYYYY in. Sometimes I can see the shadows made by the stop signs and their poles.  Then I write detailed, step-by-step instructions as if the computer program were giving me an accurate description of what a driver would see in the real world.  WHICH, OF COURSE, IT NEVER IS!!  So then it becomes the tour master's job to get somebody's butt out on the real road and make corrections, which I will then incorporate into the final instructions.

 

Now, if your objective is to string several days together into one long trip, you're not going to do all this.  On the other hand, you're probably not contemplating this trip in a two-cylinder Buick, so getting on the wrong road is an inconvenience but not a catastrophe.  I only suggest that computer programs like Map My Fitness exist, and can give you a lot more detail than you need, so you can learn to use them to whatever extent you feel will help you plan the trip you'd like to take.  You won't have a local tour master choosing destinations for you, but if you expect to go through Lonesome Sagebrush County in East Dakota, you can look up points of interest on the Lonesome Sagebrush County website and use Map My Fitness to help you find the ones that appeal to you.

 

There's a fellow named Steve Jelf who lives in (I think) Nebraska and has a 1915 Model T.  This year he drove it to the Old Car Festival at the Henry Ford in Dearborn, usually sleeping out in a tent near someplace he could use a bathroom.  Most of us would opt for a bit more (OK, OK, a LOT more) comfort than that.  Steve usually uses local county maps to plan his route to avoid ugly roads.  He posts on the Model T Ford Club of America website and is very popular there.  If he can do it - - -

 

Gil Fitzhugh, Morristown, NJ

  • Like 10
Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of the MTFCA forum's finest just completed a trip from Kansas to the Old Car Festival in Michigan and back in his 1915 model T! There are several threads threads about it, and illness that delayed hi start, early sightings once he did get going, a couple "issues" on the trip, followed by a couple days in Michigan, and then another thread devoted to his safe return home!

 

Several discussions on the MTFCA forum have suggested a few google and other mapping services that have special features for bicycle and motor scooter routes. If I have an hour or two later or tomorrow? I will see if I can find a couple of those threads. Unless someone better informed than I finds the similar services and posts them here before I can get to it.

 

GFtE just posted, mentioning the same Steve Jelf!

Except Steve J lives in Kansas, not Nebraska.

Edited by wayne sheldon
Additional thought. (see edit history)
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My favorite method is to go to Google Maps, plug in my route, and then set it to "Avoid Highways" (meaning no freeway - not sure why they say Highway) Sometimes it gives you some pretty wacky routes but it does what it advertises. I look up the route and try to find out if there are mountain passes and the like that I should be concerned about, but often these secondary roads were built when our now antiques were new so the engineers had them in mind. I used your San Jose to Tucson trip as an example here. Top is using the freeway, bottom is without it.

Freeway.PNG.4c18fb7f3a7967b4f4ee97875c809e11.PNG

778389070_HighwayOnly.PNG.47e74cb712714dc015c24dbd6bd84a03.PNG

You avoid major metro areas, though the route it uses to get around Phoenix is, uh, interesting. You cross the Colorado on a 3-lane bridge, and do cross the desert on pavement, though it looks like a very lonely stretch. Street view is useful to get a look at areas you're concerned about.

 

Also, @wayne sheldon, I really admire Mr. Jelf for everything he does, and how he keeps everyone updated through his blog and forums. He's done some really impressive stuff over the years. I don't own anything of T vintage, but I want to someday, and he's living proof that they are still perfectly usable cars if you think smart.

  • Like 9
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Lincoln Highway dates to 1913, and some notable names of the era - like Henry Joy and Carl Fischer.  It ran from New York City to San Francisco.  Today much of it is more or less on US Route 30 from the east coast to Wyoming.  From SLC westward to SF, one can largely stay off the Interstates.  E.g., on US 50 and others.  Some roads along the original alignment through western Utah are not paved to this day.

 

Here is an interactive map of the route:  https://www.lincolnhighwayassoc.org/map/

 

In 2019 I participated in the centennial tour commemorating the 1919 US Military Convoy and put on by members of the Lincoln Highway Association.  The 1919 Convoy started in Washington DC, hooked up with the LH in Gettysburg, then followed the LH to San Francisco.  Our tour did the same.  I joined up in Chicago, and drove with the group to California.  There was a second tour at the same time put on by a Military Vehicle Preservation group.  I actually met up with them in Wyoming when I was headed eastward to Chicago.

 

Point being there are a number of these somewhat forgotten "named auto trails" throughout the country.  When the roads were given federal funding in the early 1920s, and then federally assigned numbers in 1926, the various trail organizations disappeared.  But some are being revived and documented by road historians.  Many/most are still two lane highways.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, AL1630 said:

My favorite method is to go to Google Maps, plug in my route, and then set it to "Avoid Highways" (meaning no freeway - not sure why they say Highway) Sometimes it gives you some pretty wacky routes but it does what it advertises. I look up the route and try to find out if there are mountain passes and the like that I should be concerned about, but often these secondary roads were built when our now antiques were new so the engineers had them in mind. I used your San Jose to Tucson trip as an example here.  . .

That “avoid highways” route is actually a reasonable first cut and about 1/3 to 1/2 of it is actually the route we took. One big constraint is about the only reasonably direct way between Arizona and California that does not involve a freeway is the bridge at Parker. Once you pick that, then a lot of the route becomes fixed.

 

Looking at Google’s “avoid highways” route reminded me of another constraint: Decent places to spend the night that are a days antique car drive apart.

 

In the case of the San Jose to Tucson tour, we broke it into three days with the longest day being the first (San Jose to Hesperia). Second day (Hesperia to Gila Bend) was intermediate. That left the last, shortest distance day with time for sightseeing along the way (Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, Biosphere 2, etc.). Picking which towns to spend the night in can make a 100 mile difference in the day’s drive. For cars on our tour that would be about 2 hours. Do you make more shorter days or stretch a couple of hours on one or more days? Depends on the cars and the drivers.

 

Are you adventuresome enough to try the mom and pop independent motels or does your group prefer the known consistency of a major hotel/motel chain? If you decide to favor major chains that is another big constrain on your route selection and length of each day’s drive.

 

While I have used some routing websites that allow for a motor scooter option to give me some ideas it seems that the AAA paper maps are far more useful for me. I can get a better overview on paper than on a web map and that helps a lot.

 

21 minutes ago, wws944 said:

. . .

Point being there are a number of these somewhat forgotten "named auto trails" throughout the country.  When the roads were given federal funding in the early 1920s, and then federally assigned numbers in 1926, the various trail organizations disappeared.  But some are being revived and documented by road historians.  Many/most are still two lane highways.

I agree. I have spent some time perusing my mid-1920s Rand McNally atlas and have acquired early 1930s road maps for areas of interest. Another advantage of having those resources is knowing a bit about the history of the roads. If setting up a tour with others that information can be used in the tour guide/booklet you put together. If on an adventure of your own it is still nice know this. For instance, comparing maps I am pretty sure part of the route we took between Parker and Gila Bend (between Salome and Arlington) was on the Atlantic & Pacific Highway. And I know the section between Florence and Tucson was on the Old Spanish Trail.

Edited by ply33 (see edit history)
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

For what it's worth, one of my favorite hobbies is photo documenting roads and travels. I've covered a far afield as Illinois but most is centered on New York. My main goal is visiting every town in Dutchess County which is where I live...just took another ride yesterday. 

 

When I do these trips I have the GPS on my phone turned on so you can see exactly where each photo was taken...and I also map out each trip which I put at the end of each album, at least for Dutchess County. 

 

Some of the rides are quite long with 14 hours being the current record, some of them are also nearly 1000 photos.

 

I do have them in multiple places. Those that are documenting the way to a specific place (museums, usually) are under Trips: https://public.fotki.com/ElCaminoBilly/trips/

 

While those that are rides for the sake of exploring with no specific destination are under Driving Tours: https://public.fotki.com/ElCaminoBilly/driving-tours/

 

Edited by Billy Kingsley (see edit history)
  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It was reasonably common for roads here to just be upgraded over time rather than brand new being laid, so a lot of the original roads are gone and the ones that still exist generally will be a short road to a town

 

For gas storage, I’ve got a couple of original pattern jerry cans 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am with the group who likes fold out paper maps.  They fit well in my motorcycle jacket and would survive rain if I remembered to keep them in a plastic bag. As my age induced vision weakness increased it took longer to see and plan routes but they still beat staring at a computer screen or smartphone screen.  I used to carry a very early GPS that only showed larger roads.  It was good when I wandered too far off the main roads and would get me back towards civilization.  That came in very handy one time when wandering the back roads of West Virginia on my motorcycle and really got off the main traveled roads. That time a gravel road was a step up from what I had been traveling on.  Ah, the good old days!

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, rocketraider said:

Printed DeLorme atlases are my go-to when planning trips. If there's a road the DeLorme will show it (and that includes farm roads and pigpaths so be aware😲).

Yeah, I have a DeLorme atlas and it shows some things as roads that haven't been roads in a very long time. Especially bad in the mountains with all sorts of abandoned logging roads and things like that. Great way to find cool trails though!

  • Like 1
  • Haha 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

53 minutes ago, AL1630 said:

Yeah, I have a DeLorme atlas and it shows some things as roads that haven't been roads in a very long time. Especially bad in the mountains with all sorts of abandoned logging roads and things like that. Great way to find cool trails though!

There are places that I know have never had roads, only hiking trails that show up as roads on some of the newer digitally created maps. Now that I think about it, I know of at least one place where there has never been a road or trail that shows a road.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

53 minutes ago, AL1630 said:

 it shows some things as roads that haven't been roads in a very long time.

 

We've all heard GPS will route you right off a cliff. Not quite a cliff, but GPS routinely routes VIR rigs down my state-maintained half-mile dead end gravel road. 

 

There's a farm road at the end that I'm not sure anything bigger than a 140 Farmall could get thru now, and that farm road runs into another state gravel road on the NC side. That, in turn, runs into a paved two-lane that connects with the main road into the racetrack complex, and that's how GPS tries to route them. Both VA and NC DeLormes actually show the farm road too.

 

Can't tell you how many 50-foot plus rigs I've seen go by here and then have to figure out how to turn around. 

 

Last spring the county finally put up a "Dead End" sign about 100' in. Now you see 'em trying to back out...😜

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This all has me thinking that it was not that long ago that we took the 66 Dodge Coronet on a road trip from Woodstock, Ontario out to Bath, Maine and back.  That was when you stopped at the Tourist Info Booth as you crossed the state line and picked up the newest road map and more importantly the tourist newspaper that had the hotel discount coupons in them and you would use the phone at the tourist center for free to book your room for the night because we didn't have cellphones.  Made the round trip without any issues, stumbled across a Bugatti restoration shop is Salem, Mass - is it still there?  amongst many other great sights all with nothing but a road map to navigate by and checked into hotels as we found them.  Anyone else remember checking at various hotels every night and just hoping that they still had a room?

 

BTW not that long ago was nearly 30 yrs as I think about it and the night after we got home I drove the car two blocks and it died but was nothing serious. 

 

Now with the modern vehicles we use a combination of the Nav system and paper maps.  On long trips we use the Nav system to get us in the neighborhood (one or two states away) we are headed to and then use the Rand McNally road atlas to hit the two lanes.  By chance a couple of years ago we ended up being 15 miles away from Falling Water and had no idea until my wife started looking at the atlas -it had been on both our lists of places to visit and we would have completely missed it if we stayed on the Interstate.   We still book hotels as we go using Hotwire which has taken us to many great places that we would never have seen otherwise.  

 

With the 66, right now with the whole covid thing, we just get in the car, pick a direction and drive until we find something interesting and take a different way home.  There's a map in the car but we just drive until we recognize a road and follow it back home.

 

The best road trip plan is having no real plan, just a general direction or area you want to visit and see what you find along the way!

 

Happy Motoring and Keep the Shiny Side Up!

 

Don

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, 3macboys said:

By chance a couple of years ago we ended up being 15 miles away from Falling Water and had no idea until my wife started looking at the atlas -it had been on both our lists of places to visit and we would have completely missed it if we stayed on the Interstate.

Were you amazed, as I was, at how small the house really is, and how narrow the hallways are? FLW architecture is another of my fascinations.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, rocketraider said:

Were you amazed, as I was, at how small the house really is, and how narrow the hallways are? FLW architecture is another of my fascinations.

We were, but also how well the outdoors were incorporated into the design.  We took in Kentuck Knob as well since it was so close by.  

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Couple of other thoughts:

 

I, like probably many here, have tried following the original alignment of Route 66.  Today it is largely Interstate, and often literally on top of the original road.  But I found it interesting that one can often find frontage roads right next to the Interstate that allow travel by slower vehicles.  They sometimes even give a more realistic feel of the pre-Interstate era because they are not as "cut and filled" as the Interstates.  They are also where a lot of the historic Route 66 tourist stops are located.

 

I'd guess lodging, or lack of it, depends on the specific group and its goals.  On our Lincoln Highway tour, the organizers tried to keep it at about 30 cars max at any point in the tour.  This meant the group was large enough that we needed to stay in larger chain motels instead of mom 'n pop motels.  Same with food - where the restaurants need to be a certain size to accommodate the group.

 

Fuel...  I drove my Tesla Model 3 on the LH tour.  There two other Teslas as well.  One did the entire trip from WDC to San Francisco, the other joined the tour in the Midwest - as I did.  Since we were mostly close by Interstate 80, access to the Tesla I-80 Supercharging network made it pretty convenient for most of the trip.  There were a few hard spots at the time though.  One was Marshalltown, Iowa.  I car camped overnight at a public RV campground and charged the car using their "50 amp" electrical hookup.  Interestingly the same park was used overnight in 1919 by the Military Convoy!  The other place I car camped and charged overnight was at the KOA in Ely Nevada.  We did the US 50 run to Fallon the next day.  (If I were to do the same trip today, two years later, there has now been enough EV charging installed that I could stay in a motel both nights...). Gas cars ranged from Model As to modern, and I don't think any of them had a problem.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, wws944 said:

But I found it interesting that one can often find frontage roads right next to the Interstate that allow travel by slower vehicles.  They sometimes even give a more realistic feel of the pre-Interstate era because they are not as "cut and filled" as the Interstates.  They are also where a lot of the historic Route 66 tourist stops are located.

 

I was happy to find out that those frontage roads exist along many interstates, especially out in the flatter sections of the country. Maybe some of them can be documented in this thread. In Washington State, they typically don't exist or don't go through. Certain areas of the country are "bottlenecks" as @ply33 mentioned in the original post. You can get to them without using interstates, but probably not around them. If it is a city that is blocking your way rather than a mountain pass, maybe you can just drive through it if you can figure out a reasonable route.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This past summer, my wife and I drove from Atlanta to Los Angeles to assist moving our daughters.  We joined I-40 in Memphis, until we arrived in Albuquerque.  The following morning we departed using Google maps and "avoid highways", selecting Prescott, AZ as an intermediate destination for the first night, then Palm Springs to rendezvous with our daughters before driving into LA on the third day.  We had a marvelous drive on two lane roads, some with no center or edge lane marking, about 14 miles of dirt roads and a great haul through rural towns in the Ponderosa forests of AZ.  The route after Prescott, AZ from about 40 miles west of Phoenix and all the way to Palm Springs was no where near as exciting or pleasurable as some of New England's back roads to say the least.  This drive was in our daughters relatively new car.  I though many times of how much more exciting it could have been in a vintage car.  If I could ever arrange time to do this drive again in a vintage car, it would be mid to late fall, never in 108 degree desert temps in a car with no A/C.

Edited by kgreen (see edit history)
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In 2016, my wife and I organized the Studebaker Drivers Club's International meet in Warwick, RI.  One challenge was finding a route for attendees from the middle of the country to New England that avoided Interstates.  We have driven U.S. 6 through Pennsylvania several times, found it a comfortable 2-lane road with good scenery, sights to see, gas stations, restaurants, and hotels/motels along the way. Here's the route that avoids most of the big highways and big cities, though you may have to briefly be on busier roads to cross rivers, etc.  There are some departures from U.S. 6 to get around the NY metro area.  U.S. 6 runs from the eastern tip of Cape Cod in Provincetown, MA to Bishop, CA, but used to run all the way to Long Beach. 

See the Wikipedia article on U.S. Route 6:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Route_6

 

The Pennsylvania Lumber Museum just east of Coudersport on U.S. 6 is a good stop.  As you go east, Silver Birches Resort on Lake Wallenpaupack is a good, old-timey stop for the night, has a restaurant, swim in the lake.

 

We stopped in Edinboro, PA in western PA once, didn't find a decent restaurant, barely found a hotel.  It's on my "never stop there" list!  On the other hand, the Milford/Matamoras/Port Jervis area is interesting, has the Hotel Fauchere in Milford with its restaurant.  https://hotelfauchere.com/ 

Helm's Service Station, just off the center of Milford on Harford St, has a small collection of antique cars.  From Port Jervis, you can make your way through the local cemetery to find the tip of land under I-84 where PA, NY, and NJ meet on the Delaware River, good for a picnic stop.

 

996473117_Edinboro-Warwickmap2.jpg.7a61434f247e9e3caed913574e49cb5b.jpg  

  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll be saving this topic. I'm seriously considering taking a week long trip by myself next spring, in a 70+ year old car, and had been thinking of trying hard to stay on 2 lanes. I don't want to over-plan (I'd like the freedom to stop when I want, where I want just to explore, not worrying about where I need to be that night) but I also don't want to waste my time backtracking or being stuck on long stretches of interstate. My preliminary plans would have me passing through parts of MD/PA/WV and perhaps KY/OH. We shall see. Yes, that Pontiac thread has been an inspiration of sorts! (Coupled with a recent 4 day weekend that saw me running way too fast past way too many things I wanted to see on foot, all because Mrs. G keeps me on a tight schedule.)

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As someone who for past 4 decades has actually raveled extensively with vintage cars all over US and elsewhere, I’ve never had problems finding scenic, leisurely routes avoiding use of conveyor belts, a.k.a. Freeways or Interstates and major metropolitan areas whenever I so chose. Sometimes one even gets lost and that in itself can bring more adventures into the trip.

 

These were some of reasons why I joined this site and started the thread about it all, but apparently, like probably so many before and after, it died and got buried due to lack of cohesive/focused contributions from other members.


Oh well, such is (modern) interwebs life, I guess.

Edited by TTR (see edit history)
  • Like 2
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My current favorite two lane drive is from Sturgis up to Lemmon on the SD/ND border. It's a lovely drive, but very remote. If you're worried about break downs you wouldn't want to go that way. The scenery is beautiful, sometimes stunning, but not spectacular in a Rocky Mountain or Grand Canyon sense, so tourist crowds don't seek it out, hence a very nice lack of traffic. There are a couple of ways to take that route and the scenery is a little more dramatic if you take 79, as I recall. One of the prettiest wood frame churches I've ever seen is in Newell, SD. In fact, it's Mennonite, and the morning I was driving through the ladies were having some sort of prayer meeting on the front entrance landing. I'd never seen anything like that before and it was wonderful. Heading east from Lemmon to Mobridge on 12 is also quite pretty. As is the case in that part of the world, once you get east of the Missouri River the scenery becomes more mundane pretty quickly, but is still a pleasant drive.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good to know it's a nice drive up that way. Some nice routes lead to Sturgis, but if you live in WA like I do, the question quickly becomes "what then?" 212 out through Broadus, Monatana is not a place that would appeal to me in a slow antique. Then when you get to the West end there does not seem to be any way to avoid the interstate.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/28/2021 at 6:48 PM, Gary_Ash said:

In 2016, my wife and I organized the Studebaker Drivers Club's International meet in Warwick, RI.  One challenge was finding a route for attendees from the middle of the country to New England that avoided Interstates.  We have driven U.S. 6 through Pennsylvania several times, found it a comfortable 2-lane road with good scenery, sights to see, gas stations, restaurants, and hotels/motels along the way. Here's the route that avoids most of the big highways and big cities, though you may have to briefly be on busier roads to cross rivers, etc.  There are some departures from U.S. 6 to get around the NY metro area.  U.S. 6 runs from the eastern tip of Cape Cod in Provincetown, MA to Bishop, CA, but used to run all the way to Long Beach. 

See the Wikipedia article on U.S. Route 6:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Route_6

 

The Pennsylvania Lumber Museum just east of Coudersport on U.S. 6 is a good stop.  As you go east, Silver Birches Resort on Lake Wallenpaupack is a good, old-timey stop for the night, has a restaurant, swim in the lake.

 

We stopped in Edinboro, PA in western PA once, didn't find a decent restaurant, barely found a hotel.  It's on my "never stop there" list!  On the other hand, the Milford/Matamoras/Port Jervis area is interesting, has the Hotel Fauchere in Milford with its restaurant.  https://hotelfauchere.com/ 

Helm's Service Station, just off the center of Milford on Harford St, has a small collection of antique cars.  From Port Jervis, you can make your way through the local cemetery to find the tip of land under I-84 where PA, NY, and NJ meet on the Delaware River, good for a picnic stop.

 

996473117_Edinboro-Warwickmap2.jpg.7a61434f247e9e3caed913574e49cb5b.jpg  

 

Route 97, the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway, has it's southern terminus in Port Jervis, and I highly recommend the road. I did it in full on March 1st, 2020,  just before the pandemic kicked up. There are several interesting places to stop with river access, a waterfall to see, and the Roebling's Delaware Aqueduct which is very nice. I've walked it three times now. It connects you from Barrytown NY to Lackawaxen PA. The famed Hawk's Nest is also near the southern terminus. 

 

There is only one gas station on the road so that's something to keep in mind. There are several in Port Jervis and at least one at the northern terminus.

 

https://public.fotki.com/ElCaminoBilly/driving-tours/upper-delaware-byway/

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Route 6 across northern Pennsylvania is a great recommendation: low traffic density, wonderful scenery, good restaurants and diners.  Of the latter when in Wellsboro, the Wellsboro Diner is right on the corner at the stoplight.   It is, if i recall correctly, a 1939 model built by the Judkins Body Co after they turned from series custom coach-built car bodies.  The food and service are just a down-to-earth, no pretense, good daily fare diner food.  Its a traditional Sunday mid-day stop for us returning from Hershey.  Wellsboro itself is worth your time to walk the main street lined with 19th century buildings and a gaslights mall in the center.   

 

And, when on Route 6 west of Scranton (take time to visit Steamtown when at Scranton) take a quick side trip up to Nicholson to see the giant D L & W RR Tunkhannock Viaduct.   If you are near Lanesboro, take time to see the cut-stone Starrucca Viaduct, the 1848 Erie Railroad bridge which is a magnificent engineering work.   That's my cousin Mark and his sons Carson and Oliver standing next to a pillar for scale.

Tunkhannock Viaduct.jpg

Steamtown - Aug '21 ze.JPG

Steamtown - Aug '21 zc.JPG

Edited by 58L-Y8
Added viaduct recommendations (see edit history)
  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...