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Roadgeek Origins

Started by DrZoidberg, March 01, 2009, 11:56:26 PM

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So what got each of you into the world of "roadgeeking"?  At what age did you spark your interest?

I think I got inot it at age 6, taking a trip from Wisconsin to Ohio.  I was amazed at how the same "Highway 94" that ran by my house also went into Chicago, then the biggest city I'd ever seen, and into Indiana, and how one freeway met several, much larger freeways.

As soon as we got home, I remember my dad buying me a road atlas, and I studied it intently, and even drew my own maps (discussed in another topic).  I think I was truly amazed at how somebody could drive from the Atlantic to Pacific without a traffic signal!

It's an interest that stays strong.  After graduating high school, I drove from WI to California with 3 friends, sticking mostly to US highways and trying to avoid Interstates when possible....what an experience.  I even did several college road trips while in my UW Madison days, and my move when I got my job in Portland....another adventure.  To me, hitting the open road and trying new routes is what keeps this interest so strong.

What's your story?
"By the way...I took the liberty of fertilizing your caviar."


I got into it with a drive to Florida a few years back.


Well, there was a major car fire on I-20 (in Douglas County) a few years back. So, I went on the internet and began looking up different highways, and that's how it started for me.

Be well,

Check out my YouTube page ( I have numerous road videos of Metro Atlanta and other areas in the Southeast.

I just signed up on photobucket -- here's my page (


When I was much younger, my parents and grandparents would shuttle me by car between Pennsylvania and Florida, and I was more interested in the roads than I was in the stuff I had with me to keep me occupied.  This was in the mid-1970's, when many pieces of I-95 were not complete.

Through my job did I stumble across sites like this one a number of years ago.  Good for finding photos of signs in project areas that are too far away to drive to.
Opinions here attributed to me are mine alone and do not reflect those of my employer or the agencies for which I am contracted to do work.


Well, from a very young age I always had an interest in Matchbox cars. I figured that it wouldn't be realistic unless they had some roads to go on, so a long chain of road and sign-related events happened.  Now I'm a full-fledged roadgeek.
NJ Roads FTW!
Quote from: agentsteel53 on September 30, 2009, 04:04:11 PM
I-99... the Glen Quagmire of interstate routes??


Can't really pinpoint a specific event or time that turned me into a roadgeek. My parents would take me on roadtrips throughout Germany, mostly to play in bowling tournaments, and trips through the US while on vacation. And over the time, I slowly started to develop an interest in roadmaps, cars, etc, and the interest grew at a steady rate over the years. Though TBH, Google Earth gave the interest quite a big boost, namely being able to go on virtual roadtrips when it is (financially) impossible to go on actual roadtrips.


My dad started driving a truck when I was very young, and when I got a little older I would try to find his location on a map.  That turned into trying to trace the routes I thought he had taken.  I was amazed that highways with which I was familiar ran for hundreds or thousands of miles.

In the late 90s, I discovered the world of personal websites, and my interest in roads exploded.


1986.  saw that every state but Massachusetts had the state name on the interstate shields.  Thought Massachusetts was the king of the world and didn't need it ... guess I was wrong!

yep, still remember all those '61 spec Tennessee I 81 and I 40 shields on the mainline!
live from sunny San Diego.


Mid 1990's, when I was about 8 - 9 years. Initially I was very good in geography, always got A's in school, and then it rolled out into the field of highways. By the age of 14, I was able to tell all exits along any German Autobahn in order. I always enjoyed the vacation for the ride to it, rather than being there from an early age. I started logging license plates from foreign cars on vacation, and drawing maps and signage of German Autobahns. Later, I broadened my view, I became interested in all European countries, learned how to translate Greek and Cyrillic, and then freeways all across the world, from Japan to the United States to Russia.


For as long as I can remember, I was always into roads and highways and such.  I have been able to identify the Texas interstate system and know all the Texas cities before my 10th birthday.  I would study the road map in my spare time as a grade schooler.
We're so far south that we're not even considered "The South"


I started getting into roads, maps, etc. on car trips as a kid between Long Island and the Catskills.  I attribute the Taconic State Parkway here in New York State as a factor.  I formally found the roadgeeking hobby a decade ago by checking out through a search engine while avoiding studying one night in college.


I got interested in roads thanks to my mom talking about the "New 48" when we would travel to visit my grandparents in McKeesport.  She'd also tell me about how Eisenhower created Interstate System after his service during WWII.  Little did I know I'd meet his great-grandson two decades later in Gettysburg commemorating their creation.


I was far too young to know what got me into the hobby.  Unless I'm not feeling well*, I've never fallen asleep in a car.  I've always been interested in the road passing by; I used to play license plate games involving those with stickers (commercial) or out of state and see how high I could score in a 30 minute car ride.  I used to play on my dad's exercise bike, unfold a map, and "drive" somewhere new.  Of course, I had quite the map collection by this point and I was already navigator on our trips.
Anyway, here's what got me into the profession: leaving the fraternity I pledged.  Because of that action, I went back to the dorm where I'd drawn an interchange on the wall (see? any surface), and pointed it out to someone who said "Oh, you should meet (X)".  (X) introduced me to the hobby side, showed me m.t.r., where I then found out that people became civil engineers to enter the highway profession.  Once I found that out, I think my course was inevitable.  Imagine if I'd been an automotive engineer given our economy!
*Includes being without sleep for more than 24 hours provided that I've seen all the roads from there to my destination.


I thought I had posted here already - guess I didn't. :-D

I've always been fascinated with roads since I was a younger kid.  and when I got older I started wanting to take small random road trips around the state on my own - along with trips with family, Ultimately I took a vacation out to California (via Vegas) and drove from Vegas to LA then to San Francisco.  The year before I did a circle drive that involved driving through Michigan on US 2 and I-75, then back via the toll roads.  then I went on a mad spree to clinch all the counties in WI.  Course at the time I hadn't admitted it.

Then a trip to Tulsa - with a side trip to Dallas - and a bunch of business related flights to Montana and Colorado pushed the envelope.  Now I take the random road trip whenever and drive just to drive the highway.  (within reason given the $$$ don't grow on trees).

I've been to more than half the states in the US through my life, including NY, FL, CA, WA, and points in between.  I've driven all the WI Interstates - almost have the MN Interstates (part of 35E and all of 694 remain) and NE (only I-129 remains). I've had a couple all night trips (not driving the whole way of course) to Albany, NY - one via the thruway and the other via I-80, 81 in PA.
Scott O.

Not all who wander are lost...
Ah, the open skies, wind at my back, warm sun on my... wait, where the hell am I?!
As a matter of fact, I do own the road.
Raise your what?

Wisconsin - out-multiplexing your state since 1918.

Urban Prairie Schooner

When I figured out that US 61, boring old Airline Highway to me locally, actually travelled all the way to Minnesota and even Canada.


I was quite young when I became interested in roads. My initial interest was in automobiles, I actually learned to read by reading nameplates on cars ("Oldsmobile" was actually the first word I learned how to read since I came from an Oldsmobile family).

With an interest in cars came an inevitable exposure to the roads the cars travelled on, and somehow I became pretty interested. I think some of the Car and Driver magazine features in the early 90's really got me interested, like when they took the custom made Ford Taurus SHO Wagon to New Mexico and drove through Billy the Kid territory in the April 1993 issue.

I remember studying my father's 1994 Rand McNally very carefully, and my father being in international business made me quite interested in world geography as he was always traveling. Roads were just a logical extension of all of that, and with the advent of the internet and the ability to look at pictures of road signs without leaving my house, I became a highly obsessive sign geek.

Once I got my driver's license I immediately had the urge to photograph highway signs and work to drive as much of the country's highway system as possible. I've finished driving every mile of US, state, and interstate highway in Washington State, and am actively working on Wyoming/Colorado, getting as much of Idaho/Oregon/Utah as I can when I ahve time. I have every intention of clinching all those state hgihway systems and then continuing on as much as possible. The whole country is probably a bit ambitious given how short our lives are.


Umm...starting at age 4...Mom always drove me to church 30 miles away in Everett, many freeways and got me interseted...hooked ever since.


As a very, very young child, I'd make faces for the phases of traffic signals and my mom thought something was wrong with me, but she realized what it was about. Loved driving and exploring areas soon after that and it progressed to where it is today. Too bad there's not a machine that can make a photograph of a memory in your mind.
So many little time.


Quote from: florida on August 09, 2009, 04:26:19 AM
As a very, very young child, I'd make faces for the phases of traffic signals and my mom thought something was wrong with me, but she realized what it was about.

And here I thought I was the only one who did that as a kid!!


I think the main thing that did it for me was going back and forth from Midland/Odessa, and then going on vacation to Iowa really got me intersested in roads/highways, like jgb191 i always knew the interstate and i could say every interstate number in Texas, Iowa, Kansas, and Oklahoma before i was 10.


Couldn't tell you how I started. I've been fascinated with roads since before I can even remember. Was drawing maps and roads when I was just four years old.  I also became fascinated by the fact that there are twenty zillion different versions of the NY route shield when I was very young, and thought to myself of how awkward they looked!

I first discovered road websites a few years ago while in college...that's when I found out that I wasn't the only one! :D
This is cu2010, reminding you, help control the ugly sign population, don't have your shields spayed or neutered.

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