Geeks in the ‘Hood

Cincinnati 2013 Road MeetI attended my third Road Meet on Saturday; This one in Cincinnati. The previous two were in Columbus and Dayton. I did a blog entry on the Dayton meet in which I tried to define “roadgeeks” and describe how they differ from “roadies”. That generated a little discussion on the blog post and more on a Facebook post pointing to it. The much condensed version is that I described “roadies” as liking old roads and “roadgeeks” as being attracted to new roads. The gist of the comments, mostly from those calling themselves “roadgeeks” was, “Hey, we like old roads, too.” And I know they do. As a result, I’ve been shying away from both names and mostly using “road fans” to describe folk who like roads and/or the stuff beside them. It remains true that members of Route 66 and Lincoln Highway groups often refer to themselves as “roadies” and that many of the Yahoo Roadgeek group postings concern new road construction but, as the discussion triggered on that earlier blog entry indicated, the old vs. new distinction really is just one of degree. On Saturday, a bunch of road fans, who are members of a group named Roadgeeks and who know a lot about the way roads are built and signed, met in Bellevue, Kentucky, just across the river from Cincinnati.

Cincinnati 2013 Road MeetThe Cincinnati meet had more of a mix of old and and new than the other meets in my limited experience. It started with drivebys of some old signs on a railroad overpass, which I did not photograph, and this embossed “END OF…” sign. We drove a bit further south before moving onto expressways to head back toward the river. That picture at the top of the article, taken in Devou Park, should have two more people in it. We lost them during on the expressway section and I am responsible for that.

The meet’s organizer, Jeremy Mose, was in my car so I was leading. Behind me, the other four cars shuffled a bit but I thought all were with me as we moved from I-275 onto I-75. But, when we left the interstate, I soon realized that a grey car I believed was part of our group was not. Before too long, I was feeling helpless as well as guilty. The lost couple were attending their first road meet. The first time any of the other attendees had met them was at the restaurant where the meet started. No one had a phone number for them. They had not been part of the group associated with the Facebook event entry for the meet which meant they had not received the cellphone number Jeremy had sent to everyone signing onto that event. They did have a set of driving instructions so it seemed a good possibility that they would find their way to Devou Park on their own but that did not happen during the hour or so we were there. There was only one car in the group which could be lost with no means of contact available and I did it.

EDIT 14-OCT-2013: I have just learned that the missing couple received a phone call from a son in need of a ride and, in their words “had to bolt the meet”. My guilt is gone but I will make more of an effort in the future to see that anyone following me can contact me.

Cincinnati 2013 Road MeetCincinnati 2013 Road MeetWe eventually headed across the river and through what Jeremy called the 6th Street viaduct project and which I, in my few encounters, thought of as a US 50 project. It apparently has an official name which is neither of those though, unless my memory surprises me by tucking away Valdvogel Viaduct, I may continue to use US 50 as the identifier. Valdvogel Viaduct is kind of fun to say so it could happen. We also got a view of part of the project and a lot of Cincinnati from Olden View Park near where the Price Hill Incline once terminated.

Cincinnati 2013 Road MeetThis is a view of the “Lockland Canyon” that I had never seen before. In fact, I don’t recall ever before hearing this section of southbound I-75 referred to by that name though it is apparently fairly common. The canyon aspect of the road comes largely from the fact that locks of the Miami & Erie Canal once occupied this space. Widening the “canyon” is part of a project planned for 2016. Although this was my first time at the “scenic overlook”, I have driven through here countless time. I have also ridden a motorcycle here and can attest to the buffeting that a semi-truck and those concrete walls can create.

Cincinnati 2013 Road MeetOur last stop was near the Kennedy Connector project. I couldn’t get much of a picture of the project itself so here is a picture of a sign assembly associated with it. The photo illustrates two things. One is the odd mixes that can show up on roadside signs. The right hand panel contains button copy (reflective “buttons” on sign elements). Ohio was one of the last three states to use button copy (The last was Arizona in 2000.) so it is not as rare here as elsewhere but it is an old technology. The left hand panel contains Clearview Font which is sort of the leading edge of highway sign lettering. The second thing the photo illustrates is that roadgeeks notice these things — and the orange “detour arrow”, too.

1832 culvert, Richmond, IN1832 culvert, Richmond, INI had visited another construction project on Monday. A few days earlier, a Richmond, Indiana, newspaper published a story about a repair crew uncovering an 1832 stone culvert underneath US-40 (a.k.a., National Road). The uncovering was temporary and the culvert would again be hidden when the repairs were complete. I headed over for a look but it was already too late. Although the article had appeared just days before, the project it described had taken two months and was very near completion when I visited. The culvert was likely out of sight before the article was printed. Still, it’s nice to know it is intact even though it is out of sight and it is a wonderful thing that pictures were taken during the culvert’s brief appearance.

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