Skip to main content

No particular place to go

A good road trip doesn't have to be 30 hours of non-stop cross country driving or with a particular destination in mind.

Sometimes, a very good road trip is right in your backyard and without a map - just by going on a turn here this road looks good without any maps.

And yesterday that was exactly what I did. Fellow blogger Brian LeBlanc and I roamed around some of the counties east of Raleigh on back roads and secondary roads, forgotten US highways, and the Interstate. What we saw were old corner stores, small North Carolina towns, and an old road that used to be pretty important.

For the entire set on flickr - go here.

The first stop is in Wake County - at the intersection of Poole and Smithfield Roads - this old corner store.

Eastern Wake County is not an area I get to explore much - and there seems to be a number of great old rural buildings and general stores out here. A few miles down pool road is a now abandoned lakehouse at Lake Myra.

After hitting a number of backroads and state routes from Archer Lodge to Middlesex. We picked up US 264 Alternate and headed east towards Wilson. At the begining of the Wilson bypass there's this leftover sign.

It's kinda hard to be on West US 264A when the road is blocked off. (It's a former alignment of the road prior to the construction of the bypass interchange).

From Wilson, we headed south on US 301 towards I-95 and Kenly. Until about 1978, I-95 wasn't complete from Rocky Mount to Kenly. Interstate traffic would move onto US 301 until I-95 was opened. US 301 is full of old motor lodges and truck stops a great look at how things used to be prior to the Interstate. This trip didn't get photos of all the old pieces of travel history - but it was decided to have another trip that would document US 301 throughout North Carolina.

In Kenly, there was a rare North Carolina sign find, an Interstate 95 North Carolina shield. I think that the sign may have been there from prior to I-95 being opened in the late 70s. (This is where traffic would rejoin I-95 from US 301.

We continued south on US 301 and stopped in the town of Micro. Originally called Jerome, the town was renamed 'Micro' in 1905. It seems to be a fitting name for a small town that was bypassed by the Interstate.



Further down US 301, and just outside of Selma, we spotted a rather old Mountain Dew sign.

This is the first time I have ever seen this version before - is this the original?

After looping through Smithfield and Selma it wass off to Pine Level and that's where this abandoned find was. It appears to be an old Feed Mill and it's name was Edward's (something) - the building with the title of the property has collapsed. It was a great late summer find.




Looped back through Princeton and headed south on I-95 to Dunn from there we headed West on US 421/NC 55 to Erwin and picked up Old Stage Road to Raleigh. Near the end of Old Stage Road at the intersection with Ten Ten Road was this Ruritan Community sign. This is only the second such sign I have ever seen. The other is just a few miles away at Ten Ten Road and US 401. Do any more of these exist or were there plenty of these throughout rural NC in the past?


From here it was back home and the end of the trip. Still a nice five and a half hour ride through the local countryside!

Comments

Rob Adams said…
Great stuff. I remember having to use US 301 during the 70's as we made our way to and from Florida, and how barren it was on 95 in the early 80's because all of the businesses were on US 301. We'd always have to use Exit 145 (Gold Rock) to find the Howard Johnson's.

Popular posts from this blog

The Relief Route That Wasn't: The Never Built I-70 Bypass in the Mid-Mon Valley

In June 1963, a small blurb in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette read that The Westmoreland Engineering Company was awarded a $24,060 bid to study the proposed construction of Interstate 70 in Westmoreland and Washington Counties.  The study was to see what the construction and right-of-way costs "...to modernize the existing highway to Interstate requirements within eight months." (1)  This small, non-attributed, three paragraph article came less than a decade after the completion of a four lane highway that linked the Mid-Mon Valley to the Pennsylvania Turnpike. This would be the start of a 15 year process to upgrade and improve Interstate 70 - a process that ultimately never produced a single foot of new highway.

This is the story, albeit brief, of the I-70 that never came about.

Background:
What is now known as Interstate70 from Washington to New Stanton began as a connecting highway for the region to the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  Known as the "Express Highway", construct…

A look at Pittsburgh's Saw Mill Run Boulevard

Saw Mill Run Boulevard - Pennsylvania State Route 51 - runs through the narrow Saw Mill Run Valley.  It begins at the intersection of Clairton Road and Provost Road at the City of Pittsburgh Line with Brentwood.  It ends at the West End Circle at the entrance to the West End Bridge.  A four lane highway for its the entire length, Saw Mill Run Boulevard consists of interchanges at the South Portal of the Liberty Tubes and with the Parkway West.  It is an expressway from the Parkway to the West End Circle (West End Bypass).  One of the most well known traffic tie-ups in the Pittsburgh area occurs between Maytide Street and PA 88 (Library Road) which is simply known as 'Maytide and 88.'

History:
Saw Mill Run Boulevard was part of the 1928 Allegheny County 'City Beautiful' bond issue.  The bonds resulted in the creation of Saw Mill Run, Ohio River, Allegheny River and Mosside Boulevards. (1)   After the completion of the Liberty Tunnels in 1924, Downtown Pittsburgh was offic…

The Many Failed Plans of Pittsburgh's Wabash Bridge and Tunnel

The December 27, 2004 opening of the Wabash Tunnel ended over 70 years of proposals and speculation for the use of the over 100 year old facility.  The tunnel, which is now a reversible roadway that is an alternative route for rush hour traffic, saw many failed plans during the 20th Century.  These plans included options for mass transit, converted and new bridges for vehicles, and other forms of transportation.

Brief History:
Constructed in 1902-04, the Wabash Bridge and Tunnel was planned and financed by rail mogul, Jay Gould.  Gould began his "Battle of the Wabash" with the established railroads of the city in 1890.  He would finally emerge victorious, but during that struggle, Gould would see many setbacks that would eventually result in the railroad's bankruptcy in 1908.  On October 19, 1903, when the two ends of the bridge were to be joined together over the Monongahela River, the 109' bridge collapsed; killing ten men.  Construction would resume four days later …