Missing the Open Highways: A Look Back at Some Back Roads of America

The start of US Route 2 heading west out of Ironwood, MI
The start of US Route 2 heading west out of Ironwood, MI

It is nearing the end of June 2015.  About a year ago at this time I was rolling down US Highway 61, better known as the Blues Highway, in Mississippi.  I was on my way to Galveston for a family reunion and then would make my way back home to Kentucky via Houston, Austin, Fort Worth and then thru Oklahoma, Missouri and Illinois.  I love the freedom of the road and sitting home in Lexington, KY is not what I wish I were doing.  Following is a pictorial of what I am missing and longing for on this hot, humid Kentucky day.

These are photos of the highways…the well beaten, but sometimes less beaten paths of our spacious and beautiful expanse we call America.  I don’t even recall where some of these were taken, nor when, but they represent this wonderful country.  I will return to these long solitary highways again someday soon.  But, for now, I can only dream about them and look back….  Enjoy the Ride!

Algonquin National Park in Ontario, Canada
A mountain highway in Central Oregon
Bluegrass Parkway in Central Kentucky, near Bardstown
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Heading towards the Grand Tetons in Wyoming
South on I-15 into Idaho
South on I-15 into Idaho
I-15 South of Divide/Wisdom, MT
I-15 South of Divide/Wisdom, MT
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Snowy road in the Rocky Mountains of Montana
I-94 west of Bismarck, ND
I-94 west of Bismarck, ND
Stretch of highway 200 heading from Jordan to Mosby Rest Area
Stretch of Hwy 200 heading from Jordan to Mosby Rest Area in Montana
Harmons Lick Road - Crab Orchard, KY
Harmons Lick Road – Crab Orchard, KY
Approaching Wolverine Creek Wind Farm, near Iona, ID
Approaching Wolverine Creek Wind Farm, near Iona, ID
Snowy Scenes along highway 32
Snowy Scenes along highway 32 in Idaho
Back road to What Cheer, IA.... a six mile long dirt road
Back road to What Cheer, IA…. a six mile long dirt road
Scene from ND Hwy 22
Scene from ND Hwy 22
A typical Hi-Line scene
A typical Hi-Line scene on US Route 2 in northern Montana
The "Main Drag" in Havre. US Hwy 2 runs right through the middle of town.
The “Main Drag” in Havre. US Hwy 2 runs right through the middle of town.
Gravel Road - Yoleta Trail Rd. east of Craig, CO
Gravel Road – Yoleta Trail Rd. east of Craig, CO

Colorado Hwy 13I-80 near Green River, Wyoming

I-80 near Green River, Wyoming

US 30 east of Diamondville
US 30 east of Diamondville
US 30 heading east to Kemmerer, WY
US 30 heading east to Kemmerer, WY
US 30 east of Montpelier
US 30 east of Montpelier, ID
Grandview Canyon on US 93 - northern section of the Peaks to Craters Scenic Byway
Grandview Canyon on US 93 in Idaho – northern section of the Peaks to Craters Scenic Byway
US 20 heading to Idaho 75 and Carey, ID
US 20 heading to Idaho 75 and Carey, ID

DSC_8580Heading West towards Wyoming on I-90

Heading West towards Wyoming on I-90

Long gravel roadSD 63 going though prairie grasslands and badlands

SD 63 going though prairie grasslands and badlands in central South Dakota

Heading west on US 18 out of Winner, South Dakota
Heading west on US 18 out of Winner, South Dakota
The road goes on forever - US 18 in southern South Dakota
The road goes on forever – US 18 in southern South Dakota
A typical road in Oxford County
A typical road in Oxford County, Ontario
Bluegrass Parkway near Bardstown, Kentucky
Bluegrass Parkway near Bardstown, Kentucky
US Route 60 west of Mountain Home, Missouri
US Route 60 west of Mountain Home, Missouri
US 87/287 heading south into Amarillo, Texas
US 87/287 heading south into Amarillo, Texas
US 87/287 South near Masterson, Texas
US 87/287 South near Masterson, Texas
I-25 East towards Trinidad, Colorado
I-25 East towards Trinidad, Colorado
CO Hwy 69 south towards the Wet Mountains
CO Hwy 69 south towards the Wet Mountains in Colorado

Mt. Massive in ColoradoA road near Lexington KY with the shadows of the famed plank fences

A road near Lexington KY with the shadows of the famed plank fences

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Eureka Springs, Arkansas back road

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Land of the Lakes in southern Kentucky

Bridge over Mississippi River at Cairo, IL

Bridge over Mississippi River at Cairo, IL

Shaded hills on US Route 2 as the sun lowered in the sky east of Wolf Point, MT
Shaded hills on US Route 2 as the sun lowered in the sky east of Wolf Point, MT
Driving south of ND Hwy 3 heading towards Rugby, ND
Driving south of ND Hwy 3 heading towards Rugby, ND

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Life Gets Busy – Blog Suffers

To all of you who faithfully follow my Travel Blog, I don’t want you to think I have quit writing. I am in the midst of an extremely busy work season (I work in high school sports web management and social media and it’s football season!)

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I still have plenty to write: US 61 through Mississippi, a drive through the swamplands of Louisiana, a visit to Galveston, some back roads in Texas and more.

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Indeed, life has sent me this way and that way.

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So, watch soon for more fun and quirky offbeat back roads travel.

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The Two Towers of Paris – Tennessee and Texas

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A Tale of Two Towers

This is a tale of Two Towers – both in a place named Paris, but one is in Tennessee and the other in Texas. The map below shows that they are about 8 hours away from each other.

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Paris, TN and Paris, TX – Home of the battling Two Towers

There are seventeen towns in the U.S. with the name of Paris (and one in Ontario, Canada as well — and I lived there for a while).  I have been to Paris in Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas, Idaho, Illinois, Ohio, and Missouri.  But the towns of Paris, TX and Paris, TN are the only ones to have an Eiffel Tower that is fairly large.  Paris, Michigan has a smaller one.  And there are a couple of other places, such as Atlanta, Austin and Las Vegas that have them…. but I am focused on the Paris versions. See this page for a list of NINE replicas around the world.

Paris, TX
Paris, TX
Paris, TN
Paris, TN

I took a road trip to Galveston in June 2014 and along the way I had occasion to pass through both of these towns named Paris (Paris, TX and Paris, TN) and capture their versions of the Eiffel Tower.  (I’ll have some posts about my trip through the state of TN, MS, LA, TX, AR, MO and some of the unique places I visited coming in August 2014).

Eiffel Tower in Paris, Tennessee is 60 feet tall
Eiffel Tower in Paris, Tennessee is 60 feet tall

Both of these towers were built in 1993 and a battle ensued for the tallest.  At first, the Tennessee version of the Eiffel Tower was originally built in 1990 at Christian Brothers University, but was later donated to the town of Paris, where is was moved and reassembled. The tower was designed to scale by Tom Morrison, professor emeritus of civil engineering; Jim Jacobs, assistant professor of mechanical engineering; and Roland Raffanti, engineering lab technician, from Christian Brothers University. According to Brother Patrick O’Brien, Morrison designed the model’s design based on the original drawings of Gustave Eiffel. At 60 feet tall, the tower is a nearly perfect 1:20 scale replica of the original.

The Eiffel Tower in Paris, Texas
The Eiffel Tower in Paris, Texas

The Eiffel Tower in Paris, TX Texas’s was built by the Boilermakers 902, a labor union representing workers of the former Babcock and Wilcox Paris Plant, and was 65 feet tall.

Eiffel Tower in Tennessee goes to 70 feet in 1998
Eiffel Tower in Tennessee goes to 70 feet in 1998

In 1998 when Tennessee moved its’ tower to Paris they expanded their tower to 70 feet.  But, the Texans wouldn’t have it. They made the claim of being “The second largest Paris in the World,” so in 1998 town boosters added a large red cowboy hat to the top of the 65 foot tower, which made it a tad taller than Tennessee’s tower.

The Paris, Texas Eiffel Tower with a Cowboy Hat on top
The Paris, Texas Eiffel Tower with a Cowboy Hat on top

Both are dwarfed by the massive Eiffel Tower replica in Las Vegas, but in the battle of the American Paris Towers, currently, the Texas version holds true to things being bigger in Texas….

 

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