The Broadway of America,
the Bankhead Highway and others would ultimately become a portion of one
of America's original 1926 U.S. Highway family - old Highway 80. Once truly a grand
transcontinental highway stretching
from coast to coast, old Highway 80 encompassed portions of many early important 'named'
auto routes such as the aforementioned Bankhead and Broadway of
America routes. Old 80 also encompassed portions of the Ocean to Ocean
Dixie Overland Highway, the Old Spanish Trail; the Southern
National, the Lone Star Route,
the Pinal Pioneer
Parkway and even the Lee Highway. Whew! I know of no other
highway that evens come close to being an integral part of so many of the
early auto trails. However, as the need for ever faster transportation
became apparent, Highway 80, like its other brethren, found itself being
bypassed and decommissioned as the new interstates took an increasingly larger
share of the traffic and business.
Unlike Route 66, U.S. 80
still exists today, though severely truncated. Replaced by the
asphalt mega-ways of
I-30, I-20; I-10 & I-8 in the American SW, its starting point remains in Georgia, but
this once sea-to-sea roadway now
officially ends in Dallas, Texas. It's demise in the Southwest began
in California when it was decommissioned in 1974, then in in the Seventies, it was truncated to Benson,
AZ. Completely decommissioned in Arizona in the late 80's, the old
highway struggled for a little longer in New Mexico, but gave up the ghost
there as well in '91
courtesy of Rob Droz's great U.S. Highway pages).
I'll try to capture here for you, the inquisitive roadie, those
portions of old U.S. 80 that I've had the pleasure of driving. As I
learn more, I'm sure I'll have more to add, so please check back every now
& then! But for now, check out some of my Highway 80
experiences in the intriguing states of Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.
Click on the map for
"no-nonsense" driving directions for each state!
for your approval..."
it's HERE! Drive the Broadway of America by Jeff
Click on the image below to see a
sample of the text, the tours, and most importantly, my turn by turn maps!
one who has spent two decades exploring, charting, and documenting Route
66, I can say without hesitation that Jeff Jensen has elevated
himself into the upper echelon of road scholars with Broadway of America.
His exceptional accounting of the old US 80 and Bankhead Highway corridor
leaves no stone unturned, revealing a marvelous grab bag of ruins, old
roadbed, and other roadside attractions. The maps are dead-on and the
images mouth-watering. I've made the trip twice and can't wait to do
Co-author and Publisher, Roadside
Georgia. From the beginning, Highway
80's long trek across the continent on 80 began here. Come explore a
little bit of those origins courtesy of fellow roadie Chris Hunger of
Savanna, Georgia. This just wets your appetite for more from the
Louisiana. Like a southern
afternoon after a plate of crawfish and creole, ol' 80 wanders through the
delta, bayous and woods of the state in a leisurely manner. The old
road doesn't seem to be in a hurry to get to where its going, and neither
should you be. Follow along and enjoy the hospitality and
peacefulness of the old Dixie Overland through Louisiana.
Texas. A whooole lot of it
too! Stock up on the fixin's, 'cuz there's over 800 miles of the
Dixie Overland Trail and Bankhead Highway to be explored through these here parts.
Heck, that doesn't even include the historic or alternate! Though
today's U.S. 80 officially ends in Dallas, there exist many bypassed
segments of yesterday's 80 for your cruising enjoyment.
Mexico. Bolting across southern New Mexico like a jackrabbit,
old Highway 80 used to zip across open rangeland on its dash to the west
coast. Decommissioned here in '91, there doesn't appear to be much
left along the newer segments now. However, there are a few gems to be
found along some of the older segments in the center part of the
state. Come on in, and I'll show you what I've found!
Arizona. Twisting through
Arizona like a serpent, old 80 once tied together such far-flung towns
such as Douglas and Yuma with the more urbanized centers of Phoenix and
Tucson. Although completely decommissioned in Arizona, most of old
80 still exists as state or county highways.
California. Paralleled (mostly) or overlaid by I-8 across the
entire bottom of the state, Highway 80 still remains in drivable
condition in several long segments. The stretches of old 80
between El Centro past Plaster City to In-Ko-Pah Gorge and the road through Jacumba
on into Pine Valley/Descanso Junction are particularly historic and scenic
drives. Real time capsules...not
to be missed.