Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Travelogue: US-601

It's time for another edition of "taking a road from start to finish simply for the sake of doing so"! Sunday, Adam P. and I drove US-601 from its northern end in Mount Airy, to the South Carolina border, mostly for statistical purposes.

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Despite all the driving I do, US-601 is an easy road to miss. . It's a north-south road in an area where I typically drive east-west (from Durham). And, the road doesn't really go by anything interesting. Even US-117 had the World's Largest Frying Pan; US-601 doesn't have much of anything. The only reason to drive this road is, well, just to do it. (Which is why Amber and Marla opted to sit this one out. We'll save the more interesting drives for the whole family.)

But before we get started with 601, first, a stop in the "town" (a.k.a. dot on the map) of "Toast". I was hoping to find a plain green sign with the word "TOAST" on it, but "Toast Road" this will have to do.

The northern half of 601 in North Carolina, north of Salisbury, was mostly rural, with a few scattered towns along the way. The most interesting thing I saw there was this bridge across the Dobson Bypass, in which they planned ahead much more so than they needed to: (Not sure the Dobson Bypass will ever need to be widened to four lanes.)

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Even the "rural" part of 601 had a decent amount of development on it, but that obviously picked up once we hit Salisbury-Kannapolis-Concord. I just realized I've never driven through Salisbury or Kannapolis, only bypassed on the interstate. From what I could tell, while Salisbury and Concord are getting a lot of new construction and such, Kannapolis isn't. The part of Kannapolis we saw along US-29 probably hasn't changed much in 20+ years. In a way, that was kind of refreshing. (US-601 follows I-85 by Kannapolis, and I've driven the I-85 part before, so we took US-29 through Kannapolis instead.)

I've always thought it was kind of random that fast food chain "Jack In The Box" had franchises in the Charlotte area (and also Upstate South Carolina), even though they're mostly a West Coast chain. They aren't in the Raleigh area, so I figured we may as well take advantage and stop there while in the Charlotte area, I guess? JITB isn't anything special, except that they're something different. And actually, I have a beef (no pun intended) with them. Why expand to Charlotte and not Raleigh? What's the difference? It's the principle of the matter. (Note: there is one Jack In The Box along US-601, in Monroe; the one we stopped at was actually in Concord, just off US-601.)

Continuing the trend of "dots on the map with quirky names"...

So, with many US highways, you get one of three things. It can be a former major through road made obsolete by a nearby interstate, meaning it has a lot of old stuff on it, which can be interesting. It can go through mostly rural areas, far from interstates, which can be also be interesting. Or, it can still be a major through road today. US-601 isn't any of those things; it's just a random, meaningless road. Which is why it needed a dedicated trip in order to check it off my list. But hey, we had a good time.

Finally, the statistical roundup: US-601 was the 6th US highway I've finished from end-to-end within North Carolina (out of 35). (And on the way back, I also finished off US-501, for #7.) And, I've now completed 65.8% of all US highway mileage within the state (3,878 out of 5,894 miles). So, there are still plenty of meaningless statistically-driven drives out there for me. Yes!


Anonymous said...

What is the point of your blogs?

Chris Allen said...

Absolutely no point.

kenny said...

I graduated from Davie County HS in 1976 which is located on US 601 just south of Mocksville. It would have been on your left