Aug. 28-30 2010

This 10-part set of photos and videos is the first of 3 batches from my massive automotive tour of the West and Midwest. I divided this trip into 3 multipart sets because of its sheer brute force. This 10-part batch covers only the first third of this now-legendary trek.

Although this outing is well-known for the fact that a CD that I brang along began mysteriously digesting itself, the outstanding scenery and distinctive traffic control devices far outweighed this almost insurmountable hardship.

Our mandatory Indiana photo. Westbound I-74 approaching the Illinois line bore minimal lane striping.

This photo is designed to highlight Illinois's handy practice of listing each exit when entering an urban area. However, this sign on I-74 for Danville, IL (hometown of Dick and Jerry Van Dyke) is in Indiana.

Finally entering Illinois on I-74. The first Danville exit sprouts from here. Note that Illinois used what I call its "PBS sign" to welcome visitors.

Getting onto US 136 near Le Roy, IL, we were confronted by this sign, forcing us to go 3 more miles on I-74. How uncouth!

The significance here? It's a U.S. route that is no more! This is looking north on Main Street in McLean, IL. This was once part of the now-defunct US 66 that Depeche Mode sang about.

The Scott W. Lucas Bridge goes over the Illinois River in Havana, IL (the town where we saw a Mr. Hooper look-alike at a restaurant). It carries US 136. And IL 78. And IL 97.

A present from the prairie! I was surprised to see US 136 going under this rail overpass near Table Grove, IL.

US 136 uses Jackson Street in the college town of Macomb, IL.

I'm almost inclined to think there ought to be a law that says no state north of 36 30' can name a street after John Calhoun (assuming that's who this is named for). Nonetheless, US 136 stumbles around the center of Macomb here. WIU is Western Illinois University.

I don't know how we ended up on Madison Street in Carthage, IL, but clearly we did.

On that same street, the Hancock County Courthouse starts to leer at us on the left.

Continuing on the unnumbered Madison Street through downtown Carthage.

West on Main in Carthage, the pavement relaxed to gravel.

The unnumbered Main Street, heading out of Carthage.

West on US 136/IL 96 in Hamilton, IL, approaching the Mississippi River. This is also called Keokuk Street - and Keokuk, IA, is in the background.

Still in Hamilton, looking at Lock and Dam #19, which opened in 1913. The facility drew an end to the existence of the Des Moines Rapids, which had long blocked river traffic. The dam was once the second-longest in the world.

Crossing into Keokuk on the Keokuk-Hamilton Bridge, which carries US 136. The span opened in 1985.

The Keokuk Rail Bridge still carries rail traffic (as the name implies), but it was also used for road traffic until the 1985 bridge opened. This structure opened in 1916, and it's a double-decker: The upper deck that was once used for a roadway is now just an observation deck.

Our rather unceremonious entry into Iowa on the Keokuk-Hamilton Bridge.

The bridge feeds into Keokuk's Main Street.

Continuing on Main, crossing 4th.

I love this banner, but I still can't forgive Iowa for its misnamed "right-to-work" law. US 218 begins here in Keokuk, while US 136 turns left down 7th.

Upstream on the Des Moines River where US 61/136 passes it over. We're entering another state, which is... (I'm leaving you in suspense!)

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