6 July 2005
St Clairsville, Ohio 1206.4 miles
The National Road, as it was called, was designed to connect state capitals as it headed west from Wheeling, West Virginia, and indeed it goes through Columbus and Indianapolis, then turns southwesterly just enough to miss Springfield and Jefferson City. (It also bypasses Dayton, Ohio, but that's another matter.)
US 40 still carries "National Road" signs, but it's been largely supplanted by Interstate 70; just the same, I decided to spend as much time as I could on the old road, which is mostly still drivable in Indiana and western Ohio. East of Indianapolis, US 40 picks up a series of charming small towns, bracketed by the cities of Greenfield and Richmond; it's a serene little drive if you can handle the speed-limit changes. (There's also a Nameless Creek, or so says the sign.)
It's more problematic in Ohio, where current alignments tend to be tricky. (And in Zanesville, you face a fork in the road in the middle of a bridge.) Still, if you hate I-70 as much as I do, this is the way to go.
These guys were running a truck called the "Semen Shuttle" about 35 miles west of Indianapolis. I didn't stop to ask.
A couple of things I noticed in Richmond: an actual Bank One sign I guess the merger is taking longer than anticipated and, at a brokerage office, what looks like a time/temperature sign, which actually displays the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
Ohio had a few stretches of road marked "Warranty Pavement," with an expiration date. I have a feeling some of them aren't going to make it.
Across the bottom of my receipt from a BP station in St Clairsville: THANK YOU / LIVE LONG AND PROSPER. Must be some kind of mining tradition.
(Timestamp below in EDT.)