Day 4: July 30, 2014
Bridges and Tunnels

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As promised/threatened, I waved at the Old Spanish Trail Zero Milestone as I drove by and here's a blurry picture to prove it.

The active mission is to drive the Old Spanish Trail. The OST and the DH (Dixie Highway) are one and the same between Saint Augustine and Tallahassee. Between Saint Augustine and Jacksonville, the route is 1) essentially US-1, 2) the one I drove as the DH in 2008, and 3) pretty much boring four lane. I hope that explains why there are no pictures before this one more than twenty miles west of Jacksonville. I'd seen a photo of this place in Steve Varner's 2008 trip and recognized it immediately. But I had not studied the photo and my first thought on seeing it for real was that the letters were built into the structure. No so. They are painted on. That was a wee bit disappointing but the cool wooden cows made up for it.

I passed the 1925 Old Ellaville Bridge before I realized it was there so my exploration was a little haphazard. These pictures are presented in geographic rather than chronologic sequence. First up is the east bank approach and a look out on the bridge from that side. Then the river crossing profile and the view from the west side. The last shot is of the road heading away from the west end of the bridge.

A little east of Monticello, on Bassett Dairy Road, trees reached across the road to form a green arch. This was hardly the first time I'd seen that on this trip but it went on for some distance here so that reaching Monticello felt something like emerging from a tunnel.

The tree tunnel effect returned as I approached Tallahassee on Old Saint Augustine Road. Openings appeared at intersections with the entrance to the next tunnel just beyond. I don't recall ever seeing a "CANOPY ROAD" sign before but they were fairly common and certainly appropriate here. Canopy roads (I like this new found name.) are beautiful and a pleasure to drive -- mostly. In large doses they can be a little disorienting and I found myself quite as happy to exit the last tunnel as I was to enter the first.

The old pavement leads to the remnants of the 1922 Old Victory Bridge over the Apalachicola River. The picture of the quarter is for the benefit of students of the bigger-gravel-means-older-pavement school. In the cool of my motel room, I really regret not walking out to get a better look at the bridge but at the time the decision seemed right.

Only out of town traffic is permitted on the east end of the Old Spanish Trail segment at Sneads but a cross street gives west bound traffic access to the road just a couple hundred yards beyond where the row of house trailer shaped buildings caught my eye. The road is smooth and paved until it isn't. I turned back when the surface turned to dirt at the edge of town.

I gave it another look a few miles later at the town of Grand Ridge. The road, now called Florida Street, is paved through the town but goes to dirt at the edges. I was tempted but there will be no excursions on questionable roads this trip.

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