In 1915, there were many ways to drive across and around in the United States (though trans-continental routes were mostly dirt, with some improved sections). So why did a group meet that same year to develop another cross-country road, one that would take 15 years to complete, rather than tying together existing segments? Tourism to their communities, mostly, but their* Old Spanish Trail also boasted of being the shortest route from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Today, you can still find remnants of that road, and there's a group of people who are trying to revive this historic highway. [more inside]
Obsessively Detailed Map of American Literature's Most Epic Road Trips
"The...map is the result of a painstaking and admittedly quixotic effort to catalog the country as it has been described in the American road-tripping literature. It includes every place-name reference in 12 books about cross-country travel...and maps the authors' routes on top of one another. You can track an individual writer's descriptions of the landscape as they traveled across it, or you can zoom in to see how different authors have written about the same place at different times."[more inside]
Courtesy of your dear friends at ye olde Google, here's a fun and educational interactive tour of the legendary London recording studio: Inside Abbey Road.
The trial of supposed Silk Road chief Ross Ulbricht is now underway. His defense rests on the claim that while Ulbricht did found Silk Road as an experiment, he relinquished control a number of years ago and is now the "fall guy" for those who were truly in charge. According to Ulbricht's defense, he was not Dread Pirate Roberts, and that there may be a number of other people who were. One of those possible operators? According to a DHS agent who took the stand yesterday, it could have been Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpelès.
"If you need a sign to tell people to slow down, you designed your street wrong." Going from "Forgiving Highways" to "Self-Explaining Roads": A longitudinal look at the Dutch and American responses to motor vehicle traffic safety. [more inside]
A short video clip about an artist who takes pictures of stranges acting like they're old friends or lovers or relatives. Surprisingly touching and beautiful photos ensue.
Lewis Lehe created an interactive graphic that shows what happens when one driver brakes in traffic
Motor Trend has put a considerable amount of effort and money into their YouTube presence (autoplay) over the last year or so, and have pulled up a decent batting average for quality videos. However, one of their series stands head and shoulders above the rest: Roadkill (also autoplay). Starring Hot Rod Magazine's Editor in Chief David Freiburger and Staff Editor Mike Finnegan, Roadkill is a roughly 20 minute web series, typically posted the first Friday of every month, and is essentially two hot rod/muscle car guys taking on self-imposed amusingly bad ideas - such as throwing a dart at a map and trying to buy a car and drive home on only $1,500 - or occasionally chronicling the goings on at major Hot Rod Mag events like Hot Rod Drag Week. [more inside]
Drivelapse: dashboard-camera footage of stretches of roadway, sped up via timelapse, often with annotations. For example, you can zoom through Zion Canyon or zig-zag down the Swiss Alps. Travel 250 miles from Beverly Hills to Las Vegas in 28 minutes. Or, Norwalk OH to Williamsburg VA: 550 miles in 17.5 minutes, approximately 1885 mph. Take a tour of Minneapolis surface roads or winding New England state highways. Or, tilt at windmills along the coast of the Strait of Gibraltar. ⚠MOTORIST WARNING: ANNOYING SOUNDTRACKS NEXT 10 MILES — PREPARE TO MUTE SOUND. ⚠ [more inside]
The lack of female road narratives and why it matters Whereas a man on the road might be seen as potentially dangerous, potentially adventurous, or potentially hapless, in all cases the discourse is one of potential. When a man steps onto the road, his journey begins. When a woman steps onto that same road, hers ends.
"On a good day, the street maintenance team tasked by the New York City Department of Transportation with roadway repair might fill 4,000 potholes in eight hours. In an average week, they could resurface 100,000 square yards of road. After Hurricane Sandy, their crews removed 2,500 tons of debris. And every day, on a Tumblr called The Daily Pothole, New Yorkers can take a peek inside the workings of a city system few have likely thought about." Storyboard: A Day with New York City’s Pothole Repair Crew. [more inside]
"Was it intended as a parody?" Asked Roger Ebert in his original review of the Patrick Swayze film "Road House," which premiered in 1989. [more inside]
Whoever let the tape roll on at a Beatles recording session at Abbey Road studio, 47 years ago, deserves our gratitude for several reasons. For reminding us that these exalted and almost absurdly famous musicians could sound like rank amateurs trying to teach themselves their newest song. For giving non-musicians a window onto the utterly mundane reality of the recording process, i.e. the endless waiting around for the engineer to get the tape cued up into the right spot. For giving us an audio glimpse of Lennon and McCartney's continual nutty banter, which can be quite entertaining. All that and more to be heard in The Beatles in Studio - Rubber Soul (1965) and Rubber Soul (Think For Yourself) 1965 Session.
He was methodical, he rode the highways, and he preyed on teenage girls. Girls who'd run away. Girls no one would miss. In the summer of 1985, the author was such a girl. One night on I-95, she hitched a ride from a stranger and endured the most terrifying moments of her life. Now, years later, she returns to the scenes of her fugitive youth looking for clues to that terror—and the girls who lost their lives to it - The Truck Stop Killer
Driving through Time features roughly 2700 photographs and 76 interactive maps of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The website allows students, researchers, and digital tourists to uncover hidden stories, hear forgotten voices, and understand the often wrenching choices that the construction and preservation of a scenic parkway in a populated region have necessarily entailed. [more inside]
The BBC has put up a page presenting statistics dealing with deaths on British roads between 1999 and 2010. A slightly older page presenting mostly the same statistics (up to 2008) can be visited here; this earlier version was published in conjunction with several other articles, including one looking in-depth at a single crash and its aftermath in Stevenage in 2007.
Nearly a decade of US road accident casualties mapped by location across America from ITO World via the Guardian (they have also done the UK)
Canopy roads are awesome, iconic features of rural Florida, beautiful, red, bright, green, yellow, normal.
Storseisundet Bridge, along Atlantic Road, the Atlanterhavsveien in Norway, is a mind-bending (at certain angles) cantilever structure guaranteed to thrill you.
Global Slacker (One Day) (YouTube: One couple's drive across two continents, from Chengdu to Capetown. A compilation video.) Main Site. (Via) [more inside]
The American Festivals Project takes you along on two guys' National Geographic-funded 2008 tour of the "small, hidden, and bizarre" festivals celebrated all over the United States. Through photos, video, and a blog, discover Rattlesnake Roundup, Okie noodling, an American Fasnacht, the Idiotarod, and plenty more. [more inside]
Tiger Stone is a Dutch company (site is in Dutch) which is promoting a technology which allows you to "print" 300-400 meters per day (roughly a mile every four days) of attractive brick roadway. [more inside]
"The Diverging Diamond reduced traffic accidents by a remarkable 60 percent. The only complaint is the strangeness of being shifted to the wrong side of the road."
The Beatles 'most famous' album cover inspires dozens of imitations
Bleeding billboard. Yeah, that's what I said.
Roadside Architecture. "I have been passionate about commercial architecture and roadside related things all my life. I grew up in California but New York City has been my home since 1980. I started this website in 2000 simply as a way to organize my own photos. Since then, it has become a bit of an obsession and grown to well over 1,000 pages." flickr. blog. [more inside]
"I can name that tune in 300 yards ..." Not for much longer, though. Honda prepared for an upcoming commercial by cutting grooves in a road in Lancaster, California. These grooves, if driven over at just the right speed and in just the right car (one guess!) should play something resembling the William Tell Overture. But once filming was done (and I'm sure the commerical will be as impeccably produced and successful as Honda's other ads), locals and tourists were left with the driver's equivalent of that huge floor keyboard in Big, with some drivers lining up to play over and over again. Result? The city will pave over the road today. But hey, we'll always have Anyang. And Japan (previously). And Denmark.
For about two months each year Nuna Logistics operates the Tibbitt to Contwoyto Winter Road in Canada's Northern territories. The road is nearly 600km long and is predominantly constructed over frozen lakes. At this time of year the Ice Road Truckers take on the cold and the risks inherent with carrying loads of up to 40 tons over it (home page for a History Channel series about the drivers with some interesting video). The road one of several worldwide - it has some travel news. Also previously.
"Road Trip is a short film composed of 12,397 pictures taken automatically from the back seat of a car while driving accross [sic] America from Portland, Oregon to New Hampshire."
Respect speed limit, get free music from...asphalt ? When driving in Japan remember to respect the speed limits , you may be instantly rewarded by hearing a tune as played by...your car and the road.
Nearly 700 cyclists are killed on U.S. roads every year, and more than 540,000 are sent to the emergency room. The annual Ride of Silence was started in 2003 to honor and raise awareness for those tragically killed and injured on the road, and has grown into a worldwide event, with more than 270 confirmed rides planned to start tonight, at 7 p.m. Ride along on YouTube or grab a black armband and join a group near you. [Previously on MeFi]
40 years ago, the Vicious Cycles motorcycle club assaulted a construction worker before taking to the road. Fortunately, filmmakers Chuck Menville (father of voice artist Scott Menville) and Len Janson were on hand to film the gang's misdeeds. Menville and Janson's picture would ultimately become part of a trilogy, with Blaze Glory and Sargent Swell of the Mounties produced wit similar eye-catching style. Decades later, the filmmakers' work would be echoed in another tale of conflict, in addition to a product-themed homage to more recent hipster subculture.
Virginia woman could get 2 years in prison for throwing McDonald's bag - a jury in Stafford County, Virginia has recommended a two-year prison sentence for Jessica Julia Hall, a 25-year-old mother of three, for throwing a bag with a soft drink inside into the car next to her. She was convicted of a felony offense after getting into an altercation with another driver on I-95 between Fredericksburg, VA and Washington, DC - widely considered to be one of the most congested stretches of road on the East Coast. Anyone who drives in the DC area can tell you how overcrowded the highways are. It gets worse in the summer when the tempratures rise and tempers flare. This could be an example of excessive justice, or perhaps juries in this area have had enough.
Your favorite movie stars and the roles they didn't get. Edward James Olmos instead of Christopher Llloyd? JODIE FOSTER INSTEAD OF CARRIE FISHER?!
Kerouac's essential On The Road is celebrating it's 50th year in publication next September. To commemorate, Viking Press plans to publish the raw, unedited "scroll version" that's been touring around the country. The hardcover -- due out somtime next year -- contains "some sections that had been cut from the novel because of references to sex or drugs" along with real names of characters, and "a different first sentence than the published novel, as well as a more abrupt ending."
The 1919 Transcontinental Motor Convoy — Take a 28 year old future U.S. President on a two month long, 3,251 mile, transcontinental road trip (where relatively few have gone before). Wait while he shoulders a little responsibility, add some autobahn^ envy, and 37 years later he signs into law over 40,000 miles of the National Defense Highway System (later renamed: it recently passed 50 years of growth.) About his favorite domestic program, Ike said, "More than any single action by the government since the end of the war, this one would change the face of America. ...Its impact on the American economy - the jobs it would produce in manufacturing and construction, the rural areas it would open up - was beyond calculation." More documents, logs, and first-hand reports from the 1919 convoy here.
"We tacitly agree to accept a certain level of carnage in order to use the highways in ways we value." [pdf, 750kB] Three particle physicists analyze data from crash tests and crash statistics, and show that pickup trucks pose a much greater risk to other drivers than any other type of vehicle, even SUVs. [pdf, 880kB] Also, I found some totally rad videos of airplane crash tests from nasa. Sweet!!
Local governments in Colorado have agreed to deliberately impede traffic on existing highways near a toll road in order to protect the toll roads' investors.Article includes examples of similar public/private "cooperation" in Virginia and California.
The use of a mobile phone up to 10 minutes before a crash is associated with a fourfold increased likelihood of crashing according to a forthcoming article in the British Medical Journal. There is no safety advantage in 'hands-free' devices. The authors interviewed 456 drivers in hospital ERs in Perth, and then accessed, with consent, their phone records. The authors had wanted to carry out the study in the United States, but the phone companies would not release customer billing records, even with a customer's consent. [Article pdf free for the next few days, but BMJ will charge for it after next week I think.]
Jorg Schniedmayer and Armin Scrinzi's road trip photos of China These images are part of a large photo essay.I think the Lake Karakal, the best nature photography I have seen, lately.
Southwest: an exquisite gallery of photos by three friends on the road, including shots of Bryce, Antelope, and The Wave. The web has done wonderful things to that old phenomenon of vacation photos.