Thursday, February 08, 2007

EFNHOH, Markers and Libraries

So I did some more work on Every Numbered Highway. Short answer is, no way it's doable in 24, and it would be challenging to do it in 48. I think I will put this one back on the shelf. As Jim pointed out, it's not quite as cool as some of the other things out there to do. I mean sure, it goes on the mantel, but maybe not in the center of the mantel.

I then turned my sights to historical markers. I'm sure you've seen them on the side of the road - commemorating various cool things. Turns out there is a website which lists them all out.

There are 67 in Hamilton County, but a lot of them are concentrated downtown and in a few other places. So that might be an option.

I also revisited EFL, being Every library in Hamilton County. There are 41 libraries, including the main library. The shortest distance is 121.53 miles, but that does not account for the fact that due to the hours of operation of the various libraries, doing it that way would force you to do it in only 9 hours. On a bike, that is even more unreasonable than the whole thought of doing this in general.

There is another route, which starts at Anderson and ends in Harrison, which gives you 10 hours (from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.) to get from Anderson to the 2nd to last library (Miami Twp) and then another hour to do the last 8.5 miles to Harrison, which closes at 9. It would have to be done on a Monday or Tuesday. Here's a potential route, complete with actual road directions

I'm looking to do that maybe this year, maybe next year. The next big bike trip besides my triathlon is T de M 2007.

Sunday, February 04, 2007


That of course stands for Every (Freakin) Numbered Highway in OHio

So first of all I highly recommend this website - Straight Line Diagrams (SLDs) from somewhere in ODOT I assume.

In any case my first pass was to check how many counties had to be visited. I found out that 80 of the 88 counties have numbered highways that are ONLY in that county. The 8 that do not are Allen, Auglaize, Fulton, Montgomery, Portage, Richland, Shelby, and Warren. So in theory I would not have to ever visit those counties.

I will keep you, my loyal non-readers, posted.

WV County Trip, part 2

Well, on the way home, I executed my plan to pick up the northernmost 2 counties of the West Virginia panhandle (Brooke and Hancock). A few notes:

  • I travelled the entire distance of PA 844. It was kind of windy through Western Pennsylvania
  • More fun on WV 2 - again, it was a decent road but lots of stopping through river-towns.
  • No county sign at Hancock County on US 22, though on the way back, I did see a very small green sign that said just "County Line"
  • While paralleling the Ohio River on OH 7, if my camera batteries hadn't died, I could have snagged several pictures for the Ohio Highway Ends website.
So while driving home, I pondered how long it might take to visit Every Numbered Highway in Ohio. This is something that I've thought of before (of course) and naturally it is a great fit into the Every Whatever theme.

I'm not convinced that it couldn't be done in 24 hours. On the surface, it seems like it would take quite a bit more time than EFOHC (which was done in 23 hours 34 minutes and 34 seconds, as I'm sure you well remember. And that may be the case. But on the flip side, there would be a lot less time wasted on out and backs. Instead of wandering around for 30 minutes on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere trying to figure out where the Gallia County line is, it should be mostly major (well-marked) roads.

Ground rules: There are approximately 530 Ohio routes, plus 24 US highways (6 6A 20 20A 22 23 24 27 30 30A 33 35 36 40 42 50 52 62 68 127 224 250 322 and 422) and 21 Interstates (70 71 74 75 76 77 80 90 270 271 275 277 280 470 471 475 480 490 670 675 and 680). It was decided that if you cross a route, then it counts as long as it's an at-grade intersection - if you cross over and under then it's no go. You'd have to get off the highway, cross the highway and get back on.

Don't worry, your intrepid blog-master will investigate this and report.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

WV County trip

So, I was headed out to visit family in Washington (washington), PA. Get it, it's like that one song, but it's actually in Washington County too so it's also like... umm never mind.

Anyway, there was this one little blotch of white on my county map that was just MOCKING me!

I just couldn't stand for that. As pointed out over on that other blog, I set out to rectify the situation. I came up with a little route to visit 11 new WV counties (I will visit 2 more on my way home Sunday). So I thought I'd do a little recap out there. I know that nobody probably cares, but I do want to make a record of this. Plus, one thing I was looking for was information about the road conditions in various areas, and there is precious little information of that sort on the Internets (sic). For instance, US 50 in West Virginia. What's it like? Mapquest shows it as a major road, but what does that mean? So this post is to help that one guy out there that wants to visit Calhoun County but doesn't know how! Yeah, him.

So, we started out going north on I-71. Knowing I had to eventually end up on US 35 Eastbound, I had some debate as to whether or not to take 71 to US 35 and follow that through Washington CH and Chillicothe and the like or to take OH 32 out to Jackson and then take 35. It looked to be about the same time, and the debate was settled when Mike pontificated that "if you have the opporuntity to drive through Washington CH, you take it" I couldn't argue with that logic, so up 71 I went.

71 was fine, but 35 was interestsing. The road itself was fine - divided 4 lane highway that on a normal day would be superb for adventures of this sort. However it was snowing (and would remain snowing to various degrees all day). Only the right lane was plowed, so whenever one wanted to pass a truck or other slow-moving vehicle (and thus moving in the left lane) it got interesting. For the record, I have now with even more than 100% certainty been in Gallia County.

After crossing the Ohio into West Virginia (and picking up the first of the 11 - Mason County), we turned right onto WV 2. Passing a school, it was good to know that Avery Daugherty was the county spelling bee champion. A few miles later on WV 2, a church billboard proclaimed just "Congratulations Avery Daugherty" without specifying why she (he?) should be congratulated. And yes, I did just check, and Avery is significantly more popular as a girl's name than a boy's, though it's fairly popular for both (66th for a girl or 215th for a boy). Though I suppose I should have checked the popularity report for 10-14 years ago.

WV 2 was a solid piece of road - 2 lane and speed limit 55 but not very hilly or windy. I continued onto Jackson County and then headed north on I-77 into Wood county. Getting off on WV 21 I was a bit worried about a 2 mile or so out and back into Wirt county but for no need - the road was good and the county sign was well marked. Turning around and getting back on I-77 I continued north and then got off on US 50.

US 50 through West Virginia is also called Corridor D, and was a superb quality of road, at least the section I went on (about 30 miles, into Ritchie and Doddridge counties and then back to WV 16). Carolyn and her family took US 50 from Cincinnati all the way into Washington DC when we got married, and I remember that she told me that it was very windy and not good times. Of course that was 8 1/2 years ago, so perhaps they've upgraded since then. Or maybe more of US 50 is windy and hilly. But this is definitely making me rethink my Cincinnati to Washington DC preferred route of choice. Maybe OH 32 to US 50 to I-79 to I-68 would be the way to go rather than I-71 to I-70 or the AA to I-64 to either I-79 or I-81. Something to think about next time I head out that way.

Then came the interesting section of the journey - Calhoun County. I stopped in the thriving metroplex of Ellenboro to get gas. I asked the attendant how windy WV 16 was. She said it was quite. Then I asked if it was very hilly and she said not that much. And... that's about it. Very windy and slightly hilly. I did make my first (and only) wrong turn in Harrisville. WV 16 turns left and I missed the turn. Then coming back after I had turned around, I turned where I thought I should, but I wasn't completely sure. So I kept going looking for some reasurrance markers, but there were none to be found. I drove 7-8 miles without a single WV 16 shield. I was wondering if this was the right road or if I was going to be stuck wandering the West Virginian wilderness forever. I saw a auto shop with a guy there and I was going to stop but then realized it would be a serious violation of the Man Code to ask for directions so I kept going. No more than 1/4 mile later I saw a nice WV 16 shield. Clearly I was rewarded for my adherence to the Man Code. The trip itself was uneventful and what WVDOT lacked in reassurance markers, they made up for in very nice County welcoming signs. It was about 70 minutes out and back, only to hit Calhoun County. If only I had taken the time to detour to pick it up when I was coming up I-79 last time I was driving to Washington, DC. It looks like it's about a 2 mile out and back from Exit 40 on WV 38.

Then I continued north on WV 16 to WV 2 and came up WV 2 following the east bank of the Ohio River for about 30-40 miles. It was nice except for having to go through all the river towns. Not that the towns weren't interesting, but by this time it was getting late, and although the kids were being good troopers, even I was ready to be done.

We crossed back into Ohio at Moundsville, solely to drive on OH 872, one of the shortest Ohio state highways. Then up on OH 7 (a nice limited access road) and back across the Ohio on I-470 and then continued on I-70 to Washington, PA.