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Author Topic: Alps on the Road  (Read 11381 times)

Alps

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Alps on the Road
« on: May 24, 2013, 10:26:25 PM »

I'm going to try to make this a lot more basic than last time and hopefully not burn out.
Today: EWR-YYZ, YYZ-YQT, Thunder Bay ON-Silver Bay MN
Route: James St. Bridge in Thunder Bay, 61 south
Highlights: James St. Bridge was awesome. There's a railroad down the middle and the car lanes are squeezed in on either side, signed 10 feet wide (3,0 m) but definitely not that wide. The train was coming down the track while I was there, so that'll make the photos fun.
Not much to see in Canada once you're out of Thunder Bay and the bluffs on either side. Keep an eye out between Customs for the border sign right over the river. Then make your first right over the border, grab a map, and head straight back for 1/2 a mile to the waterfall. It's like a little Niagara.
I saw a few other waterfalls on the way down 61. Cascade Falls is 300 feet off the road - a rocky trail, but 5 minutes out of your time, so go for it. Then there's this new bridge, and look to the west, and there's a waterfall going under 61. Stop right there, walk over. Finally, right here by my motel is a scenic overlook with some great views of Lake Superior, well signed along Outer Drive at the first traffic light you'll see south of Canada. You get to clamber along rocks to your heart's content!
One old KH trailblazer spotted (on the main highway, actually), and two old NB signs for an Ontario secondary, and that's it for signs today.

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Re: Alps on the Road
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2013, 11:13:50 PM »

Today: Silver Bay MN-Cooperstown ND
Route: 61 south to 35, 535 east, 2 west, MN 38 north, CR 7 south (scenic loop), 169 north, Hill Annex Mine, 169 south, 2 west
Highlights: I was going to drive the truss bridge off 35's northernmost exit (Lake Rd.), but it kept opening. So I took a video of the truss coming down after a big ship and got whatever photos I could. Over to Superior on an arch, back on another arch, and found some non-reflective button copy on US 2 leaving Wisconsin. Very nice surprise, that, only signs of their age I've seen in WIS. Not much to report road-wise, but I'll say that the Hill Annex Mine is well worth the $10 bus tour - if you don't think so at first, give it a half hour to develop. Bemidji is also cool - statue of Paul Bunyan and Babe, the adjacent old US 2 bridge (walkable), Fireplace of the States in the visitor center and some Bunyan-sized amusing kitsch. Other than that, it was a few courthouses, lakes, and a lot of boring flat stuff on 2. Oh, there is a very nice bridge into downtown Grand Forks on Business 2 that I highly recommend.

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Re: Alps on the Road
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2013, 11:20:34 PM »

some non-reflective button copy on US 2 leaving Wisconsin. Very nice surprise, that, only signs of their age I've seen in WIS.

where is that?  I don't remember it, but I have not driven the Bong Bridge westbound ever. 

there's plenty of old stuff in Wisconsin, like a pre-US-route-system concrete pillar in Baraboo that has state route 12 and state route 23 shields, and some '61 spec state-named US/WISCONSIN 14 shields in Janesville.

until about 2-3 years ago, Wisconsin was one of the absolute best places to find old signs, but recently they've gone through and replaced a lot of them.
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Alps

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Re: Alps on the Road
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2013, 11:57:37 PM »

some non-reflective button copy on US 2 leaving Wisconsin. Very nice surprise, that, only signs of their age I've seen in WIS.

where is that?  I don't remember it, but I have not driven the Bong Bridge westbound ever. 

there's plenty of old stuff in Wisconsin, like a pre-US-route-system concrete pillar in Baraboo that has state route 12 and state route 23 shields, and some '61 spec state-named US/WISCONSIN 14 shields in Janesville.

until about 2-3 years ago, Wisconsin was one of the absolute best places to find old signs, but recently they've gone through and replaced a lot of them.
It's... on 2 leaving Wisconsin. No, really. Take 2 west out of Superior, it forks off onto the bridge approach.

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Re: Alps on the Road
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2013, 09:22:14 AM »

While you were in/near Bemidji, you should've popped down to Lake Itasca and the headwaters of the Mississippi.
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Re: Alps on the Road
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2013, 08:16:41 PM »

While you were in/near Bemidji, you should've popped down to Lake Itasca and the headwaters of the Mississippi.

and checked out this sign.  still there as of December; the last state-named Minn US shield as far as anyone knows.



thanks to our very own Steve R. for alerting me to its existence; I took that photo in Dec 2006.
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Re: Alps on the Road
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2013, 07:21:52 AM »

While you were in/near Bemidji, you should've popped down to Lake Itasca and the headwaters of the Mississippi.
Been, that's why.

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Re: Alps on the Road
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2013, 09:48:25 PM »

OK... My keyboard is dying, so this will likely be the last set of updates.

day 3: Cooperstown to Washburn, ND. Route: ND 1, old US 10 to Valley City, up 5th St. to ND 26, CR 25, ND 200 west, ND 45 north, ND 32, US 2 WB. Devils Lake circle: US 281, ND 57, ND 20, ND 19, US 281. Entered Minot on old 2, doubled back on current 2, down ND 41, US 83 NB, ND 1804 SB to secret 810 around Bismarck. Onto secret I-194, west on old US 10 to Salem Sue, then north on ND 31, ND 25, ND 48, ND Alt. 200 to US 83 and meeting corco. Commentary: Valley City has a couple of cool bridges, but mostly disappointing (newer replicas). ND has a lot LOT lot of windmills. Devils Lake has advanced to take over a lot more of old US 281 - that or it's an aftereffect of spring flooding and more of the old road and intersecting streets will reopen. (I suspect the latter, though the lake will eventually advance there anyway.) It strikes me that ND uses an "Indian Head" shield and then have Indian Routes signed with arrowheads. The BGS shields for 4-digit routes looks like bunnies. Minot has an awesome error shield: "WEST BUSINESS" on top, "194" inside. It's on Bus. 94 WB on the east side of the city where it turns to head downtown. ND wide shields now have a new narrow-neck design. Older 3-digit shields match the 2-digit ones.

day 4: Washburn, ND to East Glacier Park, MT. Route: US 83, US 2, US 85 SB to Alexander, ND 200 WB to Sundheim Park RR bridge/tunnel. CR 16 back to US 85 N, 2 W, down MT 117 to Fort Peck Dam and back to 2 WB. Notes: Velva's street signs are MUTCD compliant - and in Clearview! No surprise given that name. Western ND is surprisingly scenic. Really. US 85 has lots of passing zones south o--f US 2/Washburn - probably because it has so many trucks. US 2 is badly rutted near MT due to trucks, at least WB - I had to use the left lane, and I was not alone. MT residents have "Support 4 for 2" signs, presumably for 4-laning US 2 across the state. It's not needed at all based on traffic. The talking penguin in Cut Bank no longer talks. All of the western MT radio is on AM, not FM - the way I figure, AM has a longer transmission length so one city can serve all of the farms around it. But it's a unique solution - nowhere else I went on this trip has that feature, not even northernmost Canada.

day 5: East Glacier Park, MT to Kennewick, WA. Route: US 2 WB, WA 285 SB, WA 28, WA 281, I-90, WA 243, WA 24, WA 240, I-182, I-82 to OR, I-84 W, US 730, US 12, I-182, WA 240 to my hotel. Notes: North Spokane Corridor is signed Future US 395. Spokane has great waterfalls and bridges - spend a half hour to an hour downtown walking around to take it all in. Wenatchee has a confusing system where the left lane is forced to turn left, but then there's a second left turn lane fed by the right lane. That violates expectation - the left lane should serve all of the left turns - and I found myself more than once getting into a conflict where I thought I could go straight into the right of the left-turn lanes. Who stays in the right lane to turn left? It's just bad engineering. WA 285 and 281 would combine for a nice I-390 - it's a very heavily used corridor.

day 6: Kennewick to Arlington, WA. Route: I-82, I-90, US 97, US 2 EB to Wenatchee and old US 2 back, US 2 W to its end, I-5, WA 526, WA 525 Spur, and WA 525; I-405 to WA 518, back east to I-5, WA 599, WA 99, old US 99. Notes: Old US 2 west of Wenatchee is a state highway; it has brand-new mileposts. Hop Museum in Toppenish is a waste of time, but the railroad museum has a wig-wag and a rotating stop signal, so you might at least want to see that. US 2 brutally needs 4 lanes east of Everett to the edge of the forest - it was slow in both directions and full of trucks with no opportunity to use the passing zones. There's an old truss to the east of WA 599 at its southern end - I need to figure out how to get there when I come back to finish old US 99.

day 7: Arlington, WA to Vancouver, BC. Route: old US 99, BC 15, BC 17, downtown bridges, BC 91A, BC 91, more local streets up to TCH 1, then Marine Drive from Exit 14 west to the ferry. Vancouver Island: a mix of current and former TCH 1 south and north. Notes: BC has the same flashing green as MA: pedestrian-actuated signal, except in BC there's no signal on the side street, just a stop sign. Victoria has a legitimate rush hour, exacerbated by a late construction pickup - took me a half hour to leave the city on 1.

day 8: Vancouver to Mackenzie, BC. Route: BC 99 and local streets south to Point Roberts, WA. BC 17A, BC 99, BC 7, BC 1, BC 3, BC 5 NB, Coldwater St., BC 97C, BC 97D, local streets in Kamloops, BC 97, BC 39 . Notes: BC 17A is signed as 17. The interchange is under construction a few km south of BC 99, and I assume BC 17A will be truncated to the stretch between 17 and 99 once that opens and 17 will go to the ferry landing. Kamloops people are rude (I got yelled at twice, the only two times this entire trip, including one guy who wanted to fight me. Most times, people wave) and the signal forced me to turn left when I wanted to go straight because the train was going by. I am never returning. Quesnel, BC has a cool old truss, the first bridge in town. I saw some bear along 99, including a sudden four-cub crossing behind a mama bear.

day 9: Mackenzie, BC to Fort Liard, NT. Route: BC 39, BC 97, BC 77, NT 7. Notes: 97 moves quickly, speeds generally 100 km/h or more. More bear sightings, off the road. 77's speed limit is 80, but do whatever feels right, there's no enforcement. Road is newly paved up to the NT border because of truck activity. NT 7 is well-packed but dusty gravel for the first 10 km, then changes to a redder color that's looser on top but with much smaller dust clouds. Traffic is sparse, maybe one car the other way every 6-8 km, no gravel kicked up yet... No bear spied in NT yet, but a herd of buffalo placed strategically just north of the border to greet visitors. Buffalo were actually introduced here because of disease spreading in a herd elsewhere, and seem to have flourished to the point that they upset locals just like deer in many US communities.

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Re: Alps on the Road
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2013, 10:39:16 PM »

Quote
All of the western MT radio is on AM, not FM - the way I figure, AM has a longer transmission length so one city can serve all of the farms around it. But it's a unique solution - nowhere else I went on this trip has that feature, not even northernmost Canada.

I...don't know about that. There certainly are more AM stations than in most places, but NPR is on FM and even the small town western MT town I live in has its own FM country station- there's plenty of stuff on the FM dial. It's definitely possible that there are places where you can only pick things up on the AM side, but that's not so much due to the lack of FM stations as it is the terrain.

Also:
Quote
farms
:ded:
« Last Edit: June 02, 2013, 10:45:26 PM by corco »
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Re: Alps on the Road
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2013, 05:25:12 AM »

Quote
The BGS shields for 4-digit routes looks like bunnies. Minot has an awesome error shield: "WEST BUSINESS" on top, "194" inside. It's on Bus. 94 WB on the east side of the city where it turns to head downtown.

Assuming you're referring to Bismark here and not Minot.

Quote
MT residents have "Support 4 for 2" signs, presumably for 4-laning US 2 across the state. It's not needed at all based on traffic.

Might be due to truck traffic increasing in recent years due to drilling.
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Re: Alps on the Road
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2013, 03:03:48 PM »

Oooo by the way Alps the next morning I saw an EAST BUSINESS 194 shield when I went down to the Biz, probably in the same spot as your West

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Re: Alps on the Road
« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2013, 03:21:24 PM »

Quote
The BGS shields for 4-digit routes looks like bunnies. Minot has an awesome error shield: "WEST BUSINESS" on top, "194" inside. It's on Bus. 94 WB on the east side of the city where it turns to head downtown.

Assuming you're referring to Bismark here and not Minot.

if it is Bismarck, then I totally missed that shield in 2009... or it might be brand new.  got a photo?
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Re: Alps on the Road
« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2013, 03:28:14 PM »

Alps' picture is better- here's the eastbound one

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Re: Alps on the Road
« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2013, 03:30:10 PM »

must be new... I am quite sure I would have noticed any mention of 194, especially one this erroneous.  I was looking pretty hard for I-194 references.
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Alps

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Re: Alps on the Road
« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2013, 01:18:56 AM »

Alps' picture is better- here's the eastbound one


That's I94 not 194. Maybe mine is also an I94.

Alps

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Re: Alps on the Road
« Reply #15 on: June 04, 2013, 01:31:02 AM »

day 10: Fort Liard, NT to Grande Prairie, AB. Route: NT 7, NT 1, NT 3 to Fort Providence and back, NT 1, AB 35, AB 2 E, AB 684, AB 2W. Notes: NT 7 was only open to vehicles 4,500 kg or lighter due to a temporary bridge, and even on NT 1 I never saw a truck. Not a single rock hit my rental car, yay! Except for one really bad patch of 1 east of 7 (under construction, huge rocks, no dirt), the roads flew at well over 80 km/h (posted speed limit) - I found myself braking to conserve fuel economy. I actually went slower on the paved parts of 1! In most of our travels, sometimes you can't find a radio station with your preferred genre. In NT, you can't find one at all for hundreds of km. Just you and the scenery. There is still some NT 7 and NT 1 on my car, despite numerous showers and even outright storms over the last two days. Stop at the border on AB 35/NT 1 and get a signed certificate to commemorate your journey. AB 35 is ridiculously flat and straight, but at least there is some radio to listen to from High Level on down. AB 2 changes directions constantly - north/south to east/west near Peace River, then south/north through Grimshaw, then east/west once more to Fairview, then south/north after that. The stub of AB 43 west of 2 is signed as 43X.

day 11: grande prairie, AB to fernie, BC. Route: AB 40 SB, TCH 16 WB, AB 16A (unsigned), AB 93, BC 93, U-turn at US border, BC 3. Notes: Not much. Jasper, Banff, and Yoho Parks are all beautiful. Even south of Yoho along BC 95 and south of BC 3, 93 is beautiful. I'm glad I drove the whole thing, but I sure wish the sun was out. Rain made photography difficult and clouds hid all the tall peaks. Even so, well worth the $9.80 admission. I got to walk on a glacier! I decided not to swim in Radium Hot Springs, though. I just don't trust something named Radium. Lake Louise had prairie dogs, the first time I've seen them in the wild.

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Re: Alps on the Road
« Reply #16 on: June 04, 2013, 07:52:00 PM »

Quote
The stub of AB 43 west of 2 is signed as 43X.

"X" is Alberta's designation for future alignments- only the stub is open right now, but Alberta planning documents show a full 43 bypass there in the future. Not sure when that will be completed or what the status is beyond that stub being open.

Also unsure as to how 22X fits into that scheme, but most nX routes (many of which exist only on paper) are future bypasses.

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Re: Alps on the Road
« Reply #17 on: June 06, 2013, 10:45:28 PM »

Quote
The stub of AB 43 west of 2 is signed as 43X.

"X" is Alberta's designation for future alignments- only the stub is open right now, but Alberta planning documents show a full 43 bypass there in the future. Not sure when that will be completed or what the status is beyond that stub being open.

Also unsure as to how 22X fits into that scheme, but most nX routes (many of which exist only on paper) are future bypasses.
Yeah I was surprised it was signed, more than anything.

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Re: Alps on the Road
« Reply #18 on: June 07, 2013, 09:46:09 PM »

day 12: fernie, BC to Calgary. Route: BC/AB 3-AB 507-AB 785 to Head Smashed In-AB 2-AB 3-AB 23-AB 2A-all over Calgary. Highlights: BC/AB 3 is signed with a crow in the shield, which looks awesome but is very tough to read. (But no other routes are signed with crows, so...) AB 507, being secondary, has an unsigned multiplex with primary AB 6. The old flower Secondary shield is still out in many places, so the flowerless one must be quite new. AB routes change signed directions wherever they change cardinal directions, even if it's just for 10 km. AB 2 goes N-S/E-W/S-N/E-W/S-N, for example. AB 23 makes a hard turn from N-S to E-W. It can get quite confusing if you junction at a turn. As I've noted elsewhere, AB 2 has button copy! (ramps and a little on mainline) Exit 238 ramp is an example. The Olympic ski park looks like a giant water slide from AB 201 SB (west side). AB 201 could already use a 3rd lane along the east and north, as it's well-traveled already despite the south half not yet being open. Construction looks like it will take 1-2 more years. The left shoulder in many places appears wide enough to add that third lane without restriping. There's a 3rd lane at AB 2 that opens and closes for no discernable reason - the LEAST amount of traffic would be between the exit and entrance ramps...

day 13: Calgary to Moose Jaw, SK. route: AB 2A and old 2 north, all around Edmonton, AB 14-SK 40-SK/TCH 16-SK 663-SK 11-SK 2. Highlights: AB 2 signage in Edmonton disappears between the southern AB 216 interchange and downtown AB 14 - is this an official gap, or just a gap in maintenance, or shoddy signage? Edmonton has fewer people over a larger area than Calgary, with better roads, so there's no rush hour traffic to be found. Battle River Trestle is signed off AB 14 west of Wainwright. Worth the 7 km detour - it's a huge railroad viaduct. Like ND, SK has been badly flooded and is still recovering. Circle Drive in Saskatoon is under aggressive construction to convert signals to interchanges (Preston at SK 11) and complete the SW quadrant of the route, but the north side remains choked with businesses, signals, and traffic with only 2 lanes each way. It really needs to be bypassed, but at a minimum, it NEEDS another lane each way. SK 11 is mostly 4 lanes divided but drops to 2 lanes into downtown Chamberlain. No bypass construction in sight. Athabasca St. in Moose Jaw is former SK/TCH 1 and still has an EB shield leaving 2.

day 14: Moose Jaw, SK to Hadashville, MB. route: TCH 1-over to SK 730-around Regina-SK 33-MB 13-MB 2-around Winnipeg-MB 59-MB 202-MB 204-MB 44-MB/TCH 1 west. Highlights: Regina's Ring Road freeway has an at-grade railroad crossing, for that thread. In MB, there are new shields with smaller "Manitoba" on top and the little buffalo logo reduced in size and located to the right of that word instead of sitting on top of it. These are very new, because the older shields are still plentiful and relatively new-looking. MB 2 had a few shields left from the generation before that, with the word "Manitoba" in black instead of green on primary shields, and secondary shields with no buffalo and the words "secondary route" on the bottom. There are bilingual signs in various parts of Manitoba thanks to the Métis settlers, and one neighborhood on the north side of Winnipeg is actually predominantly French. (French radio was listenable practically throughout my travels.) Winnipeg city routes are signed within the Perimeter Highway, and can even be signed to overlap provincial routes like City 20 and MB 59.

day 15: Hadashville, MB to Thunder Bay, ON. route: MB/TCH 1-MB 308-MB 525-Angle Inlet and back to TCH 1-ON 17-ON 71-ON 11. Highlights: Not much. Angle Inlet is neat. I've now been on the northernmost road in the lower 48. I'll have gone through Customs 8 times after tomorrow's flights thanks to Point Roberts and Angle Inlet. (You now do have to check in with Canada when leaving Angle Inlet.) Fort Frances/International Falls is the westernmost border water crossing by road until Hyder, AK. ON 17 had the only signed time zone boundary of my entire trip.

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Re: Alps on the Road
« Reply #19 on: June 08, 2013, 12:18:28 AM »

That predominantly French neighborhood in Winnipeg is known as St. Boniface.  There are also some Franco-Manitoban areas of the province outside of Winnipeg, such as St. Malo (a farming community south of Winnipeg).

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Re: Alps on the Road
« Reply #20 on: June 08, 2013, 08:38:11 AM »

Athabasca St. in Moose Jaw is former SK/TCH 1 and still has an EB shield leaving 2.

There's also old signage for an Alternate TCH 1 in that part of Moose Jaw.  I don't have my notes with me on which streets it followed, but I think Athabasca St. was the former alternate route, with the old mainline following the Manitoba St. Expressway east to present-day TCH 1. 

Some old TCH signage remains also on SK 2 in Moose Jaw, and on the old routes through Regina and Saskatoon.  However, in other places in SK where the TCH was re-routed around towns (Maidstone, North Battleford, and Yorkton on TCH 16, and Moosomin on TCH 1), the old route either has no residual TCH signs, or was renumbered as a new auxiliary TCH route (TCH 16A in Yorktown, TCH 16B in North Battleford).

day 15: Hadashville, MB to Thunder Bay, ON. route: MB/TCH 1-MB 308-MB 525-Angle Inlet and back to TCH 1-ON 17-ON 71-ON 11. Highlights: Not much.

Last I was in Thunder Bay last October, work was underway on twinning and in some places realigning 11/17 northeast of the city.  Is that work still ongoing?   
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Re: Alps on the Road
« Reply #21 on: June 08, 2013, 12:56:06 PM »

Technically, the bridge at Beaudette, Mn is the westernmost water crossing.  Did you notice the Lake Superior Route TCH marker near Ignace?  (I think it was an LSR sign, but it may have in fact been for the Voyager Route).  Either way it was the last one that I had ever seen.
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Re: Alps on the Road
« Reply #22 on: June 09, 2013, 02:32:58 PM »

Athabasca St. in Moose Jaw is former SK/TCH 1 and still has an EB shield leaving 2.

There's also old signage for an Alternate TCH 1 in that part of Moose Jaw.  I don't have my notes with me on which streets it followed, but I think Athabasca St. was the former alternate route, with the old mainline following the Manitoba St. Expressway east to present-day TCH 1. 

Some old TCH signage remains also on SK 2 in Moose Jaw, and on the old routes through Regina and Saskatoon.  However, in other places in SK where the TCH was re-routed around towns (Maidstone, North Battleford, and Yorkton on TCH 16, and Moosomin on TCH 1), the old route either has no residual TCH signs, or was renumbered as a new auxiliary TCH route (TCH 16A in Yorktown, TCH 16B in North Battleford).
The TCH signage was so ubiquitous in downtowns that I just figured 1 will always be signed as TCH (probably accurate) regardless of there being a bypass route. (That'd really be just for Regina, though.) As for 2, didn't head southwest from downtown, so no idea if those are still there.
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day 15: Hadashville, MB to Thunder Bay, ON. route: MB/TCH 1-MB 308-MB 525-Angle Inlet and back to TCH 1-ON 17-ON 71-ON 11. Highlights: Not much.

Last I was in Thunder Bay last October, work was underway on twinning and in some places realigning 11/17 northeast of the city.  Is that work still ongoing?   
Day 16: Thunder Bay. Route: Former ON 11/17, ON 11/17, ON 587, ON 11/17, ON 61 to airport. Highlights: 11/17 will be open by summer. Spied on construction in a few places, they're finishing paving and signs are already up.

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Re: Alps on the Road
« Reply #23 on: May 22, 2015, 10:23:53 PM »

Returning to my oft-interrupted blog.
Day 1: The journey out. A couple of buses down to EWR, flew over to DEN in overcast skies. I saw rooing in the distance as I got to my hotel in Rifle, but the real highlight of the weather was honest-to-goodness SNOW as I neared the Eisenhower Tunnels. There were brief rain showers, but mostly the light has held up for some great photos. (85% scenery min. content by weight)

Route: Peña Blvd., I-70 W, I-270 W, I-76 W, I-70 W to Rifle with a brief detour down US 24 to Red Cliff Bridge.
Notes: Tons of traffic at about 3:30 PM heading west from the airport (toward Denver). It looked worse on 70 but ended up being much worse on 270. 76 was light and 70 was heavy but flowing well once I rejoined it. (I went this way to set up clinches next weekend.) State name shields everywhere, even on mileposts. I-70 has a lot of substandard curves without having a lower posted speed limit, interesting given the truck volume (though the trucks tend to be under the limit anyway). The 75 mph sections have curves posted at 70 mph, if you're into high advisory speeds. Enforcement is very, very light - people go 80+ in 60/65 zone - but left-lane blockage is rampant. Red Cliff Bridge is very cool; the drive is pretty slow but scenic.
I was going to take US 6 west of the Ike Tunnels (originally was going to take it over the summit there as well, and realized how dumb that would be), but decided I-70 was being really scenic at me. I don't think I missed much - 6 is in the same canyon/valley, so it's just the slower route.

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Re: Alps on the Road
« Reply #24 on: May 23, 2015, 10:32:52 PM »

Day 2: Wyoming. The roo lover would have loved this trip. The sky got positively black west of Casper, and the rain barely held up for me to see Hell's Half Acre (worth the stop - mini canyon, former tourist attraction now just a dirt lot with fences, but you can get photos through the fences). As soon as I continued from there, I drove into the belly of the beast - lightning all around, as dark as night. Some cars pulled over to wait it out. I later found out from a pack of drinking teenagers at Castle Gardens (very, very, very strongly recommended, by the way) that it had been hailing not too long before. Glad I missed that. Not a chance of a twister, the storm was very staid and not rotatey. I managed to see Castle Gardens during a gap between T-storms - actually sunny for a bit there - and jogged out as the cold winds picked up. Sure enough, it started raining on the long dirt-road drive back up to US 20/26, making slush out of the surfaces that had been solid on the way down (the northern 8 miles or so of the 15-mile main road, and the western 3-4 miles of the site access road).

Route: C-13 north, WY 789, I-80 east, WY 130, Business 80, I-80 east, WY 210 to Cheyenne; US 85 north, WY 219 and other old US 87 alignments up to Casper, then US 26 west to Shoshoni

Notes: Surprisingly, the WY 70 Battle Pass is still closed. Well, at first surprisingly... Once I saw the sign (closed Nov-May) still unfolded, I confirmed the closure and decided the best way to continue (original plan WY 70-230-130) would be to head up 789 to 80 and earn a clinch of 130. 789 had some scenery, I-80 perhaps less so, though an old US 30 truss was a welcome find as I neared 130. Research shows me 70 opened June 24 in 2011. If a road is open for less than 5 months out of the year, why even have it?
I was less surprised by the Battle Pass closure when I went through Snowy Range Pass on 130, thankfully recently opened. As I got toward the pass, the snow got to be 6-8 feet deep at times on either side of the road. Forget plowing, the road was literally cut through the snow, using the 15-foot tall poles as guides for where the road goes. So if it took that much for 130, and they just had several inches of snow this past week, I get why 70's closed. Just glad I at least got to see one of the scenic passes.
WY 210 is known as Happy Jack Road. All of the interesting stuff is at the west end, a bunch of weird rock formations and stubble all around the sides of the road. Most of the road to the east is just boring farmland.
I-180. Wow. What a trip. If not for the shields, I would have missed it had I not been looking for it. One more roadgeek standard clinched.
Not a whole lot else roadwise, other than the random old undriveable alignments of US 87 and the 20 miles of dirt road (each way) between US 20/26 and the petroglyphs at Castle Gardens. Sunflower Highway (a county route west of WY 96 that carries old 87) had a unique county route shield that said CONVERSE 36 SUNFLOWER HIGHWAY COUNTY, all crammed in. I didn't see a similar shield EB, but I bet there's one I just didn't see. No other county shields were named.

 


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