ABOUT THE SITE
This site is designed for roadies. Those who realize that the journey itself is the reason for travel; away from the Interstates, seeing America’s big cities, small towns and rural beauty from the perspective of its back roads and two lane highways.
If thoughts of gettin’ your kicks on Route 66 inspire you; if spotting a red, white and blue Lincoln Highway sign excites you; if a narrow forgotten road leading to nowhere intrigues you – then you’ve come to the right place, for we are kindred spirits.
This site is being developed to share aspects of the road that have inspired us: great roadside diners and cafes, classic motels, incredible neon signs, and most of all the the wonderful people we meet and the roads that get us there.
The site primarily consists of drivable maps I have created. These include the Dixie Highway, the Jefferson Highway, the National Old Trails Road, and US-80/Dixie Overland Highway. The historic US-20 routing is partially complete, and others will be coming soon.
I also have a map of recommended motels/hotels, restaurants, and roadside attractions as well. So stay tuned, and take a road trip!
I have created a handful of cross country maps for my personal use that I decided to share with other roadies. If you open any of these maps on a tablet, computer, or smartphone you should be able to follow the route as you drive. There are no voice turn-by-turn instructions, just an electronic version of a road map. I try to be consistent with my procedures from map to map, but no guarantees. A description of some of the rules I try to use can be found HERE.
Jefferson Highway Map (Winnipeg, MB, CA to New Orleans, LA)
The original Jefferson Highway Association came into existence in 1915, and the first route was laid out the following year. The Jefferson Highway, like all of the other named routes of that time period, was replaced by the U.S. Highway System which came into being in November of 1926. The focus of this map is primarily on the Jefferson Highway during the 1916-1926 period. Visit the Jefferson Highway Association’s web site and their Facebook Page for lots of historical information.
Dixie Highway Map (Sault Ste. Marie, MI to Miami, FL)
The original Dixie Highway Association existed from 1915 – 1927 (though it technically never disbanded). For all intents and purposes, the Dixie Highway and other named routes were replaced by the U.S. Highway System which came into being in November of 1926. The focus of these maps is primarily on the Dixie Highway during that time period. Visit the Dixie Highway History Facebook page for lots of good historical information.
National Old Trails Road Map (New York City, NY to Los Angeles, CA)
The original National Old Trails Road Association formed in 1912. Much of its eastern route is shared with the historic National Road and US-40. The far western section is closely aligned with Route 66. My map routing primarily follows the National Old Trails Road guide (ca. 1926) created by the Automobile Club of Southern California. Much more detailed historical information can be found at the National Old Trails Road Page on Facebook.
Historic US-80/Dixie Overland Highway Map (Tybee Island, GA to San Diego, CA)
The Dixie Overland Highway was one of very few U.S. Auto Trails that had almost its entire route marked by a single U.S. Highway. In this case, US-80. The map is targeted to showing the original route of US-80, not its modern day routing which only goes as far west as Dallas, TX. The map shows everywhere I know of that the Dixie Overland Highway deviates from the original US-80 routing; otherwise the two are presumed to be the same. For the most part it follows the earliest drivable route; sometimes 1926 and sometimes later. On a few occasions I show more than one route, particularly if I think you can see something interesting that you might otherwise miss. I also occasionally show brief sections of the Bankhead Highway and to a lesser extent the Old Spanish Trail. In the west, my map relies extensively on Jeff Jensen’s Bygone Byways web site as well as his books. Steven Varner’s American Roads website has been helpful with the the Dixie Overland Highway, not to mention providing immeasurable help to me in developing an overall understanding of the US auto trails in general.
Historic US-20 Map – In Process (Boston, MA to Newport, OR)
US-20 is currently considered to be the longest road in the US at 3,365 miles. This was not true in 1926 when the US Highway System chose to end US-20 at the eastern entrance of Yellowstone National Park. Beginning in 1940 the road was extended from Boston to Albany, Oregon and it has been further extended to Newport, Oregon. My map follows the original 1926 route as much as possible, then follows the 1940 route to Albany, Oregon. It continues on to Newport, Oregon on a later route. Check out the Historic US-20 site to get more detailed routing information.
2 Lane Traveler’s Roadtripper Map (Classic Restaurants, Motels, and Roadside Attractions)
This isn’t exactly a map. It’s a list of unique restaurants, motels, historic hotels, and roadside attractions across the country. These are some of my favorite places to eat, sleep and visit. There are very few places shown that I haven’t personally visited. Maybe a handful of motels and a couple of restaurants that are on my “to-do list”, but that’s about it.
You will probably figure out very quickly whether my tastes align with yours or not. I love old fifties-era diners and hamburger joints. There are a few historic, classic restaurants included that serve excellent food at premium prices, but mostly these are reasonably priced burger and comfort food places. The restaurants serve good food, have good service, and most importantly for me, have plenty of atmosphere. I have no issue with Applebee’s or other chain restaurants, but you won’t find them here. You don’t need my map to find dozens of examples of this type of restaurant in any city or small town across America.
I also really like fifties-era motels. If you find a Holiday Inn or Fairfield Inn & Suites barely tolerable you may want to skip my recommendations here. I am a Marriott Lifetime Titanium Rewards member, but I will always choose a clean and comfortable motel with a great neon sign if given the opportunity. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between a classic motel and a “sketchy” one, which is a big reason for the creation of this map. I have stayed in almost all of these and find them acceptable. The few I haven’t stayed in have been recommended to me by trusted roadie friends who have.
Finally, the roadside attractions are just a hodge-podge of things I find interesting. The biggest part of the list consists of roadside giants that I have photographed during my travels. If this isn’t of interest to you just uncheck the “Attractions” box on the map and those icons will disappear.
ONE IMPORTANT POINT: I made sure that these listings were up-to-date when I created this map, but the Coronavirus has caused things to change in a hurry. Before you drive miles out of your way to stay at a motel or eat at a restaurant, you should confirm that it’s still open.
Diners & Cafes
The “Al’s Diner” sign no longer stands above this 1955 O’Mahony, and it is now known as Nick’s Southside Diner. It is located in Alpena, Michigan on what was once the historic Dixie Highway. Now open 24 hours, it is definitely worth a visit.
The Haines Shoe House is located in Hellam Township, Pennsylvania, just off of the Lincoln Highway. It was built by Mahlon Haines in 1948 as an advertisement for his shoe business. It was originally used as a guest house and has been through various owners over the years. Current owners Jeff and Melanie Schmuck invite you to stop by for a tour, ice cream and other sweets.
There are some great abandoned buildings along every road in America. This relic is the Kilmanagh Store, located in the once-thriving village of Kilmanagh, Michigan. The Thumb Loop of the Dixie Highway runs east along the side of the store, then turns left on Bay Port Road, travelling north directly in front of the store.
Route 66 in Albuquerque, New Mexico is a neon lover’s paradise. One of the best signs anywhere can be viewed above the El Don Motel.