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What’s All This?

From January 2009 to September 2010, I embarked to drive every mile of state highway in Wyoming. I photographed navigational signs along the entire journey and this site mainly serves as a dumping ground for those photos. Included within it is what I know to be a very accurate route log since it has been entirely field-verified. Unlike the last state I drove, Washington, there are a lot of discrepancies on the internet about the Wyoming highway system, and it is my hope that this site can provide answers supported with photographic evidence to some of those questions.

Since I did this on a…tight schedule, where the goal was more the journey itself than the photographs of every single sign, the photos may not be up to the quality that some would strive for. I did my best, but on a tight schedule when you’re in the middle of nowhere Wyoming you don’t wait around for lighting conditions to improve, and you definitely don’t drive another 50 miles to get that shot again. You do your best to minimize the amount of driving west at sunset/east at sunrise and try not to drive when it’s precipitating, but things are unavoidable sometimes.  I do feel like I made good progress in my ability to take quality photos- certainly if you compared the Washington photos to the Wyoming photos you would see the Wyoming photos are better without comparison.

Anyway, Wyoming was a fun state. It was not as diverse as Washington (there’s no big cities, for one. The driving is 95% super-rural), but it presented its own challenges and interesting situations. Unlike a state like Washington, where I’d bet a lot of people have at least driven a good chunk of the system, I’d hazard that very few have driven a good chunk of the Wyoming system. A large percentage of the system consists of spurs that involve driving five to fifty miles down a road with no other traffic on it, coming to a dirt road that doesn’t connect to anything with a sign that says “End State Maintenance,” turning around, and driving back. I drove most of the system twice as a result. This was challenging, and on a few occasions I contemplated giving up, because driving a bunch of random spurs that don’t go anywhere really is not all that fun.

That said, Wyoming was relaxing. Unlike Washington where there were other cars, I could pretty much crank up the tunes, turn on the cruise, relax, and contemplate life. Driving really emerged as a destressing vehicle for me in the last two years- whenever I would feel tense I’d just go drive some Wyoming highways and I’d come back relaxed. The only danger to driving in Wyoming is hitting an animal, something I can quite proudly say I managed to not do in an entire system full of roads (including many with no traffic where the deer are completely content to just hang out- I’d say I had about 30 reasonably close calls).

Unlike with Washington, I don’t really feel compelled to point out my favorite highways. Wyoming is really diverse- pretty much all the through routes were in some way my favorite. Gun to my head, I’d say US-14 is my favorite- it traverses a great variety of terrain in what is generally the more treed part of the state. My least favorite routes were for the most part the spurs- 430 and 136 come to mind as being really really long and therefore no fun (430, though, turns into Moffat County Colorado Route 10N, which is a pretty fun and scenic dirt road). I do feel compelled to say that for non-spurs, Wyoming 450 is really, really bad. That’s a horribly boring drive.

So, now that I’ve finished Wyoming it’s time to move on. In a last minute turn of the wagon, I’m headed to the Arizona desert. This should be a fun highway system. It will be the smallest I’ve done despite being in the largest state, but given the fact that I’ll be a poor grad student, a small system is probably a good thing. Anyway, join me at arizonaroutes.org which is where all further updates will be posted.

I thank everyone who has supported me through this endeavor and hope that somebody somewhere finds this site useful. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to shoot me an email at davidjcorcoran (at) gmail!com (replace (at) with @ and ! with .). If you feel like you have or know of a website that provides useful information on Wyoming’s highways, shoot me an email as well and I’ll add you to the sidebar.

    I’ve Finished the System (updated 9/18/2010)

    I have driven every mile of state highway in Wyoming. I’m working on getting the pages up on the air this weekend. I do not know what my next state will be yet, but I expect to know in a few weeks. I am also heading to Nebraska this coming week, so the inflated queue will continue to grow.

    Drive coming up – 8/12/2010

    I’m headed back to Wyoming for the next semester here in a week. On the way back to Wyoming, I’ll clinch WYO 150, WYO 235, WYO 350, US-189, WYO 351, WYO 28, and WYO 220, finishing up western Wyoming. In addition, I’ll clinch US-20 in Idaho from Mountain Home to Idaho Falls, the entirety of US-91, US-89 in Utah from Logan to N. Salt Lake and from Lehi to Provo, I-15 in Utah from UT-93 to I-80, UT-71, and US-189 from I-15 to US-40 (giving me the entire route nationally). I’m hoping I can clear the queue before then, but it’ll be tough.

    Pardon the Mess – 7/31/2010

    I had a massive database crash from generating too many static pages on this wordpress install (because I drove too much!), so I’m having to totally redo everything (especially the way I manage data). The trusty old theme (see washingtonhighways, which is still running the old wordpress and the old system) kicked the bucket as well and can’t support that much data, so I’m working on getting everything back up again. I’d been meaning to redo the site for some time now to make it more website-y and less bloggy, so this is as good a chance as any. Fortunately, I’d been testing a new one in the wee hours, so it shouldn’t take a whole lot of work to get it up to snuff. Look for some neat changes in the coming days.