[Floodgap Roadgap presents the Summer of 6]

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12 July 2006: Chicago, IL to Sandusky, OH
 
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14 July 2006: Cleveland, OH to Warren, PA
 

13 July 2006: Sandusky, OH to Cleveland, OH

Continuing on, this set should catch us up for Cleveland to Warren, PA, which I will do tomorrow. These pictures are from the 10th; our odometer start was 96927.

And a very big thank you to Uncle Eric and Aunt Allyson for their hospitality! I had a wonderful time!

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Downtown Sandusky. Sandusky is not actually in Sandusky county, but in Erie county, named for the Great Lake (which itself is named for the local Indian tribe, a contraction of erielhonan "long tail" [referring to wildcats], who were eventually conquered and assimilated into the Iroquois in the 17th century; with a total volume of over 48,000 cubic metres), along the southern shore of which US 6 will run for a fair distance. Erie county has Sandusky as its seat and a population of 79,551 [2000]. This is the downtown fountain and one of the municipal buildings, visible on the right as we enter downtown on US 6 EB.

The area that is now Erie county came out of Huron county in 1838. Sandusky already existed by then, having been platted in 1818 by designer Hector Kilbourne, a Freemason who designed the street pattern to match the Masonic symbol (explaining the city's odd diagonals). The original settlement that predated Sandusky was variously called Ogontz Place after the chief of the Ottawa tribe, but later took its name from the Indian phrase lac-san-dou-ske "lake of cold water" (appropriate). The modern city was incorporated in 1824 and today has a population of 27,844 [2000].

The Great Lakes are the largest bodies of fresh water in the world.

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The old downtown, with the lake in the background.

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Because most highways would otherwise continue into the lake, which is advantageous for depleting population centres of stupid motorists but generally considered poor form for highway continuity, US 6 in Ohio is a frequent terminus. The main terminus in town is probably US 250, shown here (along which I stayed in the otherwise forgettable Rodeway Inn), running between Sandusky and Richmond, VA for a total of 514 miles.

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Oh yeah, and there's these roller coasters in town, but no one ever comes to those. I mean, Cedar Point? Who visits that? Having only the *second* tallest and *second* fastest roller coaster in the world (Top Thrill Dragster), who would bother?

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Outside of Sandusky, US 6 makes a very small freeway multiplex with OH 2 and branches off into the little city of Huron, named for the tribe (as well as the river and lake; the name comes from the French name for the Wyandot/Wendat tribal confederation huron meaning peasant and possibly referring to their farming practise; the lake itself has 3,540,000 cubic metres of volume) and with a population of 7,958 [2000]. Established in 1809 and converted into a river port in the 1820s, Huron is going through a process of controversial revitalization, starting in 1967 with the purchase and demolition of thirty-eight downtown buildings to make way for a new hub marina. The marina has been successful, but the expected influx of investment into surrounding areas has so far failed to materialize. Huron remains a significant port on the Huron River, however, which drains into Lake Erie (not Lake Huron, interestingly).

This picture, at OH 13 passing through Huron, shows a still-extant cutout but of the irregular state outline (!) for the Ohio Turnpike. Ohio's state marker is a little bit problematic; people have complained that at a distance it could be mistaken for a misshapen 3-digit US shield and I can certainly see how they would.

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Through Vermilion (note: one L), at the Erie county border. Vermilion takes its name from the river that flows through it, itself named for the reddish clay in the local soils. Settled in the early 19th century, it became the site of the 34' Vermilion Lighthouse (sadly demolished in 1929 after it became structurally unstable and replaced now by a small 16' model), and as commercial traffic on the Vermilion River became too much for its small capacity and moved elsewhere in the 1970s, gradually transformed into the gentle resort community it is today. Its population is 10,927 [2000].

This old truss bridge, built in 1928, still carries US 6 traffic today. A plaque gives the original service date, as well as a 1978 dedication to local police officer Francis Smolka who died in the line of duty on 29 October of that year.

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Overlooking Lake Erie, from one of the many parks that border it. It was pretty cloudy that day, which makes the pictures all the more ethereal.

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Lest people forget, Lake Erie also has its fair share of industry. This is in Avon Lake, a spinoff of Avon and likely inheriting its name from the River Avon in Great Britain (a silly name since avon comes from the Welsh word for "river" anyway). First built in 1926 for the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company as a coal-fired power plant, the plant was gradually expanded to nine generators and is now operated by Reliant Energy. Today's Avon Lake has 18,145 [2000] residents, having spun itself off from the mother city as a township in 1915.

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As we approach Cleveland, US 6 splits into separate alignments, a shoreway alignment that has turns too tight for trucks (shades of California's Arroyo Seco Fwy), and a straighter but slower ALTERNATE alignment which is well-signed. We will do them both.

Cleveland is not Ohio's largest city (Columbus is), but it does have the most populous county surrounding it (Cuyahoga), of which it is the seat. Cuyahoga county is named for the great and disgustingly polluted Cuyahoga river, which has been befouled to the point where it infamously caught fire (in 1936 and most notoriously in 1969). The name comes from the Algonquin term cuyahoga for "crooked river" and the county today boasts 1,393,978 [2000].

Cleveland itself was named in 1796 after surveyors from the Connecticut Land Company in what was then the state's "Western Reserve" picked a site and named it in honour of their leader General Moses Cleaveland [sic]. Cleaveland planned the city's public square, but he never actually lived in it and the village was not incorporated until 1814. The modern spelling came in 1831 when a CLEVE-r (ha ha ha!) newspaper editor dropped the 'a' to fit it into a headline, and the intentional error stuck. Its harsh winters and unfriendly marshes were unattractive initially, but river traffic and the Ohio-Erie Canal in 1832 made it a key link between the Ohio River and the Great Lakes and over the next several decades its population exploded, annexing nearby Ohio City and becoming a major steel centre (adding to the Cuyahoga's environmental burden) by the 1930s. Unfortunately, rapid growth often begets spectacular failure when the rate is no longer sustainable and Cleveland proved this rule when its industries faltered and civic unrest consumed it during the 1960s, culminating in its financial default and insolvency in 1978. Struggling to escape the moniker "mistake on the lake" ever since, Cleveland has cautiously restored many of its areas and attempted a slow, just-enough-aggressive downtown redevelopment with modest success. And yes, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is in Cleveland, though sadly not on US 6. Today's city bears 478,403 [2000].

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First, mainline US 6, which is mostly multiplexed with US 20 and OH 2 (in a non-freeway alignment at present), here at the Cleveland city limits. This first stretch mostly goes through a relatively blase residential area along Clifton Blvd.

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US 6 then transforms into the Shoreway along OH 2. This is probably where the NO TRUCKS designation comes from, as some of the turns are quite sharp. US 2 and US 20 then branch off to the left and tag US 42 as it comes up from the south.

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Alternate US 6 may be slower, but I think it's the more interesting of the two routes (and is also the older of the alignments as well). Although its speed is limited to 25mph in most spots, US 6A is very well signed (an example of the ALT US 6 shown here) throughout Lakewood into Cleveland and a more cosmopolitan drive.

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The two then unite at the US 42 junction and cross the Cuyahoga on the Veterans Memorial Bridge, formerly the Detroit-Superior Viaduct (named for the two streets it connects, Detroit Ave [carrying mostly ALT US 6] and Superior [carrying US 6] on the other side), along with US 20 and US 42. Note the single external split lane, a product of a 2004 redesign (originally there was a split in both directions from a preceding redesign in the 1990s). A two level bridge, only the top level carries traffic now. The 591' span was first built in 1918.

Only a portion of the Old Superior Viaduct, which it replaced, remains today to the north.

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Entering downtown.

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Curse Cleveland's public works department as construction over a long area of the street obliterated parking areas and made it impossible to capture the several termini along it. For reference, US 42 finally ends here in the downtown section (a true useless multiplex, it could have simply just ended when US 6/US 20 joined), a total of 355 miles from Louisville, KY; as well as US 322, coming in from Atlantic City, NJ for a total of 494.

And now, some pictures from tooling around Columbus, just for a change of pace:
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(Great-)Aunt Jane, our matriarch at 87. Get well soon, Aunt Jane! She is flanked by Gary and Sophie, who are wonderful people.

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From Aunt Jane's archives, a young married couple and their dog. I can't identify them. I think the dog is Duncan?

I have some other articles of blackmail Aunt Jane provided ...

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And one for the roadgeeks: a US 33 cutout shield in downtown Columbus on the WB side, just east of the OH 315 junction.

That's it, we're all caught up! Next: Cleveland to Warren, PA!

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