Sunday, January 22, 2017

My New T-Shirt

Yeah.......we've got a lot of gravel roads here.
Gravel roads are a thing here in Iowa. Due to laws passed in the 18th Century here in the US, the foundations were laid for the "grid system"  to be imposed upon the lands that were to be organized for settling by the immigrants coming to the "New World". These gridded out tracts of land were to be accessed by "roads" so that settlers and government officials would have an easier time navigating the vast lands of North America that were to become the United States Of America.

In the end, the roads in Iowa were "paved" with native quarried limestone or "glacial drift" that could be found local to wherever in Iowa roads were to be platted out. Obviously there were geological, political, and practical influences which informed the end result, a matrix of well over 70,000 miles of gravel and dirt roads across "The Beautiful Land".

Saturday I received a t-shirt depicting all the unpaved roadways across the great state of Iowa. All 72.000 plus miles of them. To me this is incredible on several levels.
  • That there are THAT many miles of gravel and unpaved roads.
  • That these roads were imposed upon a bleak, unmapped prairie which was criss-crossed by a meager amount of Native American trails. 
  • That by printing out ONLY the unpaved roads, a recognizable image of the State Of Iowa can be discerned. 
So, tell me, why would you NOT want to ride all these roads, which are mostly devoid of car and truck traffic?

In other words, get out and grind some gravel folks! 

Interested in one of these shirts? Keep a close eye on www.bikeiowa.com for a very limited amount of these to be offered soon. UPDATE: Here is the link to get a pre-order in. Hurry! http://bikeiowa.myshopify.com/products/iowa-gravel-roads

8 comments:

Steven Butcher said...

Cool! Now, you don't need to print cue sheets; just use T-shirts! LOL

Ari said...

God bless the beautiful state of Iowa!

Kevin Collings said...

If whoever did this would be up for making them for other states I'd buy Kansas for sure.

Guitar Ted said...

@Kevin Collings- That would be interesting. It works for Iowa since the density of the gravel/dirt road network gives "shape" which is recognizable as Iowa. I wonder what it would look like for Kansas.

Kate Geisen said...

That's really cool!

Gravelo said...

I've posed this question before. Do you know of a "Holy Grail" gravel road in Iowa? Loosely referring to an unbroken gravel pathway, border to border, either east to west or north to south. Sure, there could be paved roads to cross over, but border to border, that would be incredible. Thoughts? If one exists, it would no doubt hold major mileage!

Guitar Ted said...

@Gravelo= I haven't found anything going across the entire state or even close to that. Too many rivers, limited access roads, cities, and more.

I have found long, unbroken stretches of 20+ miles. the longest I am able to think of off the top of my head is located (mostly) in Grundy County. It actually starts in Black Hawk, traverses the entire county of Grundy from East to West, and then goes for several miles into Hardin County before the Iowa River interrupts it. The Eastern terminus is where the road spills out on the diagonal route of University Avenue/old HWY 57, just east of Cedar Falls. The stretch is right at 30 miles long and other than 1 3/4's of the Eastern end, it is all called 150th St!

There are probably others that rival that, or exceed that length, but I cannot think of them right at the moment.

Gravelo said...

It intrigues me as to how much I could put together out of Boone, and how far it could go. I was researching routes to look at a ride to West Bend (project name Grotto Grinder) and I think that there is a big potential between here and Eagle Grove, but Webster City kinda ruins it for gravel purity. I'll have to keep looking I guess.