Thursday, December 31, 2009

courtesy AARoads Shield Gallery
Make your own Shield at the AARoads Shield Generator

Monday, August 31, 2009

Where are we now?

No, we're not in Minnesota.

The shovel shaped sign is a clue.

US President Herbert Hoover once lived here.

We're in Newberg Oregon on Oregon 99W, also known as the Portland Road, formerly known as US99 and US99W.

It’s still called the Herbert Hoover Highway in honor of the 31st President. Hoover spent time in Newberg as a college student at Friends Pacific Academy which became George Fox University. The house he lived in, The Hoover-Minthorn House, is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

By whatever name you call the road, this section of 99W is a great mix of different road construction eras. In some areas the older northbound lanes goes up and down and around sharp curves with the natural landscape. Meanwhile the mostly parrellel southbound lanes are flat and have broad curves of a later era. Not too much has changed in the allignment of 99W since I-5 was built in a new location splitting the difference of 99W and 99E.

A rare sight is an operating drive-in movie theater. The 99W Drive-In has been around since 1953. They have an on-site indoor theater which may have helped them stay around.

99W is still the main thouoghfaire through the area. It’s often jambed with traffic especially when it drops to a two-lane road though Dundee. There is a plan to bypass both Newberg and Dundee with a new road.

Order a free Oregon Highway map and see others
More Historic Places in Yamhill County
99W on Wikipedia

History of 99W Drive-In
Book: That Ribbon of Highway III: Highway 99 Through the Pacific Northwest
Book: Oregon Off the Beaten Path

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

More than just a Bicycle Map

Once in a while you find something road geeky when you least expect it. I was at the library last week and saw a free map. Besides being a Road Geek, I’m also a Map Geek. I think it may be in my genes. During one our family’s mini-semi-irregular-family reunion my Father, Brother and I were in the living room. Our wives were elsewhere. Without prompting from any external or internal sources, all three of us were looking at maps. As usual I digress.

The map was the Washington (State) Bicycle Map 2008. Never being one to turn down a free map, even a map I don’t “need”. After all, I can’t remember the last time I was on a bike. It probably involved minor injuries, which may be why I have blocked it from my memory.

I opened the map and found the usual Washington State map from the Department of Transportation, highlighted with bicycle trail information. It showed the freeway sections closed to bicycles, highways with dangerous narrow shoulders, and the real highlight for this geek… color coded from hot red to cold blue, the highway’s average daily traffic. I’ll admit knowing that up to 2000 cars travel daily on US101 between Forks and Humptulips, Washington probably doesn’t make for exciting conversation. However, for the road geek, or map geek, or maybe even a cyclist… enjoy… but please, wear a helmet.

View the Washington State Bycycle Map
Bicycling in Washington from the WSDOT
Forks is the home of the movie Twilight
More Bicycle Maps

Sunday, February 22, 2009

GPS is Fun

If you are a road geek like me, you’ve probably spent hours and hours pouring over maps. I look at road maps, USGS maps, Atlases, old road maps, as well as the pc based maps from Google, Mapquest and so on. Sometimes it’s just for figuring out where you are going, or afterwards, where you got lost!! One of my favorites is researching old routes of highways.

My wife has often remarked her amazement that I knew about some little road in some place we had never been. Of course, when I’m not Super Map Guy, I can be Super Boring Guy point out and obscure piece of pavement that used to be a US highway, but was bypassed and then decommissioned….blah blah blah while she is wondering if I noticed that red light ahead. But I digress greatly.

I had been one to resist the handy GPS devices as just a piece of technology that I did not need. It took a combination of seeing a GPS working, my eyes having a hard time seeing signs and maps in the dark, and getting lost in Dallas that made me break down and buy one for HER. It was especially easy when their prices started dropping below $100 around Christmas and I was able to find one for $80. So being the geekier of the two of us, I put it in my car and learn how it worked and what it did and didn’t do.

So here I am learning how it works and jumping around the screens and suddenly it hits me. This is pretty cool…. Not for the obvious feature if knowing where it is and how to get anywhere in the US. Ahem… It couldn’t figure out how to drive TO Puerto Rico. This GPS was pretty cool because it’s basically a zoomable map of every road in the US. I know you can do that at home on your computer, but this is like a moving map that goes along with you… and is almost like radar in that it can see roads beyond the trees, even when I can’t. That’s pretty cool. Depending on the views available, you can view the road from above like from a blimp, or if you prefer, a very slow private jet.

I usually have the silly thing on, even when I know where I’m going. Just this afternoon coming home from church, I found what appears to be an old section of Pacific Highway that still has its narrow concrete roadway in excellent shape.

So go ahead, get that GPS. You don’t have to let it tell you where to go. Watch the road, use the radar, er.. GPS as needed. Just enjoy the ride and the map that moves along with you.
A final fun note. Once in a while, ignore the GPS directions. Keep it guessing. It can be your protest of technology, before the GPS takes over!!

Get your own GPS here
Tips from InformationWeek
Tips from Consumer Reports
Get rid of the suction cup!
GPS For Dummies (For Dummies (Computer/Tech))

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Where are we?

US 27 stretches from Miami to the Michigan border, but this looks pretty desolate and desert like for that part of the country. Here's some links below to help you play Road Geek Detective.
Hint: It wouldn't be the first or last time there was a shield error.

US 27
A huge hint here.
More about sign shields.
You are here!