The Old Red Trail

[mandolin, guitar, & bass play in bright folk rhythm] (man) Borderline to borderline the Old Red Trail (woman) Funding was provided in part by and the members of Prairie Public [guitar, bass, & fiddle play country swing] (female narrator) The Red Trail, the Red Line Trail, the National Parks Highway, North Dakota Highway 3, U.S. Highway 10, the Theodore Roosevelt Badlands Trail, Interstate Highway 94 A succession of names across almost a century, all describing an automobile transportation route extending well beyond the boundaries of North Dakota From east to west, it stretches across the state’s southern half through the Red River Valley up escarpments and plains formed by glaciers Over the nation’s longest river, across rolling plains and through the rugged Badlands it flows From its humble beginnings as a dirt trail to today’s incarnation as Interstate Highway 94, it forms the major east/west route for auto travel across the state (man/country swing) The way to cross the northern plain was horse, of course, or wagon train When the motor car arrived, folks said let’s just drive Someone took a red crayon, drew from Fargo west beyond, the line according to the tale, became the Old Red Trail (Carl Larson) The American Automobile Association, Triple A, was one of the entities that was a strong force in developing better roads and proving the reliability of the automobile But their other major effort had to do with helping to lay out and determine transcontinental routes And so in 1913, they were out deciding on a route from the east coast to the west coast and they were going to lay out 3 major transcontinental routes, a southern, a central and a northern one And the northern one became known as the “Red Trail,” ultimately coming from New York City all the way to Seattle And it came through North Dakota, on what was old highway 10 and is currently the route of Interstate 94 So that trail development was a very, very important part of the story of transportation in this state (man/country swing) East to west, west to east both the best, neither least dot to dot, town to town slip form laid that concrete down come on slide up next to me I’ll crank up my old model T Across the prairie see, we’ll sail and ride the Old Red Trail [engine rumbles] (Carl Larson) In early North Dakota, the cars basically went where the railroad didn’t But as time went on and cars got more reliable, roads got better and signs got put up, why, people chose not only to avoid the train but to deliberately take the car on long trips And so by the teens, a big change is occurring when the railroad is ultimately then going to be replaced in long-distance travel by the automobile [engine starts & rumbles] (woman) “Starting early in the dewy freshness of the morning, we left Bismarck, the capital of North Dakota on the Missouri River over the Red Trail August 3rd on a good dirt road,

making Jamestown, 100 miles east, in time for lunch The glorious day, and our exuberance, kept us there only a little over an hour when we were on the way to Valley City on the Cheyenne, 40 more miles distant What seemed long barren stretches in the past now are infested by the farmer motorist, who finds his circle has widened with the age of the horseless carriage and calls his friend who is fully 50 miles distant his neighbor.” [piano plays in bright rhythm; motor purrs] (Carl Larson)Individual communities across North Dakota and other parts of the country would often name a trail whatever they felt like calling it And so you had different names that sometimes stuck and sometimes didn’t For example, the road that eventually became Highway 2 across North Dakota, was at one time called the “Wonderland Trail,” it was at one time called the “Theodore Roosevelt Trail,” in fact, even the Red Trail, for a while and in some promotions, was known as the “National Parks Trail.” And so there were individual areas that would sort of claim a particular trail and name it, but it didn’t necessarily get accepted nationwide But the Red Trail was one that was a national effort, and therefore that name stuck for a considerable period of time (man/country swing) From the dreamer’s min the final lines drawn through hill and val on the northern tier the far frontier The Old Red Trail (Carl Larson) In July of 1912, A. L. Westgard and his wife and a member of the AAA came through North Dakota as part of their plan to look at possible routes for a northern continental trip (man) East to west, common quest the Old Red Trail In 1914, the Red Trail was officially laid out across North Dakota from Fargo to Beach The original plan had been that at Fargo they would go north and ultimately follow the Great Northern and go out to Helena But when Westgard and some of the others were in this area and found out about Theodore Roosevelt’s association with Medora and the North Dakota Badlands, and the fact that this road was a direct route to Yellowstone, the route was changed And so one might say that it’s a result of Theodore Roosevelt being president that the Red Trial ultimately came through to Medora, rather than going north across the northern part of the state (man) Borderline to borderline the Old Red Trail If you’re going to have a national trail, you have to have some means so that the people who are following it can follow it These “trailblazers,” as they were called, ultimately did produce maps and that was one of the major things that AAA did But even those maps would sometimes be quite funny (narrator) Using the Automobile Blue Book of 1915 as your guide, to get to McKenzie for example from a point 21 miles east, the directions were as follows (Henry Mische) We went to Bismarck in 1929 on the Old Red Trail with all the scoria road and I remember that day we stopped on the big bridge across the Missouri and got out and walked around and looked at the river and saw Teddy Roosevelt’s cabin behind the memorial building down there and the old capital building at that time We had a 1926 Paige; it was a big car, a 6-cylinder,

one of the nice cars of the day We didn’t drive too fast It had hydraulic brakes and everything; that was a whole day’s drive We drove about 35 miles an hour, about all you could drive on scoria roads and they were gas guzzlers too I think they made about 15 miles on a gallon, that’s about all they made, those old cars Quite a day, a picnic lunch and all and everything else, especially when you cross the Missouri River on a great big bridge you’d never seen before so you can imagine how excited a person would be (narrator) In 1923, North Dakota adopted a system of designating highways by number And the Red Trail National Parks Highway became State Highway 3 A national system of numerically designating highways was adopted in 1925, and 2 years later North Dakota State Highway 3 became a part of U.S. Highway 10, which began in Ludington, Michigan and terminated in Seattle, Washington When I started with the highway department in June, 1934, practically al of the system was gravel at that t The state highway sysm at that time was about 9,000 miles and probably maybe there wee only 100 miles of it that was actually paved or hard surfaced at that time I can remember going out to Medora and Highway 10 was all gravel from Mandan west, and it just took you all day to go out there and come back You couldn’t go much more than 25 miles an hour and if there happened to e a culvert out or somethin, why, you were in bad troubl (Ed Stern) Highway 10 went right through Valley City, angled back and forth, so that they went through the main part of town The road, as I remember it, they had right-angle turns at section lines The road used to be all gravel, and they graded the road, and there was always a ridge in the center and, of course, you had to be careful You usually straddled that ridge, but then when you were gonna pass a car, you had to get off of it and it was a little bit touchy My father was a best friend of the Buick garage dealer and Dad bought a new car every year for $100 And part of the deal was that he had to leave his car parked on the street every day so that people would see this nice Buick car A lot of times they would take the train, they would drive as far as New Salem and take the train to Mandan and Bismarck ’cause that was much more comfortable, especially if they had to make a trip in the winter, if the roads were bad And I can remember some snow cuts that were single lane for the greater part of the winter and so you’d have to watch for lights on the other end and take turns to go through these snow cuts They were probably like 20 feet deep (Francis Ziegler) About once or twice a year, our family would come to Bismarck, and I’ll never forget old Highway 10 between Bismarck and Sterling The traffic volumes were unbelievable You got in a line of cars and there was no passing So you just took it easy and watched all the taillights and watched all the headlights going by One trip in particular we took with a truck to get coal I’ll never forget crossing the Liberty Memorial Bridge for the first time I was terribly afraid that we were going to go down in that river below (Harold Newman) Prior to the interstate, the main transcontinental highway was Highway 10, a 2-lane road, most of it There were billboards, of course, but there wasn’t really adequate official signing, like the big green signs that we see today that say “Fargo, next exit.” You didn’t have any of that So it was kind of mass confusion when the traveling public wanted to know where to go The only other alternative was to look at a water tower in a small town or a grain elevator and you found out which city you were in (man/light rock) I found a sign I’m lookin’ for “West on 94.” It’s a smooth cruise a smooth cruise (Carl Larson) The interstate highway system as we know it today owes a lot of its existence to President Dwight Eisenhower who signed the initial legislation for making the program possible And it was largely seen as a defense effort He had, of course, been in Europe during World War II

and had seen the role of the German autobahn and the military potential that it had, and he of course, in 1919 had been part of the army truck expedition that went from Maryland to San Francisco And they had such a terrible time getting across the United States that that experience made an indelible impression on President Eisenhower and he realized the value of significant improvements in transportation The interstate era started in 1956 when President Eisenhower signed the Federal Aid Highway Act In 1956, the first construction contracts for I-94 in North Dakota were awarded for the 39.7 mile segment between Valley City and Jamestown Interstate came along, they started construction in May of 1958 and the first connection was between Valley City and Jamestown And they had this opening ceremony of it in, I believe, October of 1958 at Eckleson, halfway between Jamestown and Valley City So kind of appropriate; got the two towns together and marked a major change in transportation for our area because suddenly it wasn’t going through downtown anymore, it was going around The governor was out here, and I believe some more government officials were out here and yeah, very much a big deal There was a lot going on in the ’50’s at that time (man) Stars are shinin’ bright This highway’s mine tonight There’s a full moon I can use if my plans are right I’ll be home by late midnight On a smooth cruise smooth cruise The funding was really unique because Congress in its wisdom said you know, we’ve got to create a trust fund where the use of these taxes that are collected on gasoline and tires and so on, can only be used for the building and maintenance of the highway system The interstate, typically, when it was being constructed was not what they call 90/10– 90% of the funding was federal funds, 10% of the money was state matched, so the states have a stake in it too (man) I’m out among my friends 18-wheeler lets me in on a smooth cruise on a smooth cruise The interstate system was a big improvement but for the people living out in the country, it was other improvements that made a big change in your life You had to be able to get to the interstate too In the 50’s and 60’s there was a big change in the highway program The interstate program was developed, but the rest of the system was being attacked aggressively, taking it from some really poor geometric roads with sharp horizontal curves and sharp vertical curves and improving them and taking them from gravel and putting pavement on them And of course, that was the biggest improvement welcomed by the people all the time So if you were out on a construction project to do some asphalt surfacing on a road, you were welcomed into that community with open arms because you were taking them out of the dust and the dirt and the mud and putting them on a nice smooth road (man) On a smooth cruise smooth cruise If you look at how our system of highways evolved and developed, if you can think of say, from 1900 to 1950, it was more about getting them out of the mud, which we’re all familiar with in North Dakota Then the next phase was, say 1950 until really, the completion of the interstate system That was all about the interconnectivity of cities (narrator) There’s a saying that “there are only 2 seasons in North Dakota, winter and road construction.” Dealing with reconstruction and detours are a part of your life if you travel I-94 through North Dakota with any frequency The next time you’re forced to slowly follow an 18-wheeler through a construction zone, you can take some solace in the fact that road construction techniques have improved dramatically in the last half century (Ron Swanson) The dirt work would be done the year before so it could settle After it sat there, we’d move in and you’d level it to the point where you could put the forms in there, then the forms are to be leveled to the grade of the road that’s supposed to be I think they’re about 11-inch forms about 260 pounds apiece They were called “man killers” because of their weight

And they’d set them in a line and put 2 inches of gravel or sand on that And they’d have a crew tamping on the forms and fine grading I imagine there was 50 people on that crew Figure there was probably 200, 250 people on a crew back in the earlier days When we hauled concrete in we had what they called 34E mixers and they’d dump into them, a yard-and-a-half or so And they’d mix it up and dump it out with a big old trolley kind of thing They’d shoot it out on the road and there’s be flex planes and spreaders that would spread it out and there’d be finishers behind that We did one mile a day on I-94 in 1959 We were one of the first companies to do one mile in a day And this is when you had to set the steel forms So this was a lot more labor-intensive as opposed to today where you have the big central mix plants and the slip form pavers where a mile a day is nothing exceptional It was very exceptional back in 1959 (man/2-step rhythm) I skin 18 mules, got my workin’ tools and I sleep in the shak with the workin’ fools Can’t go to town, spend my pay, dig me a hole and pack it away Nobody lucky like a mucker like me Nobody lucky like a mucker like me Nobody lucky like a mucker like me No other lucky sucker I can see Nobody lucky like a mucker like me (Adrian Feser) Now it’s slip-form paving The concrete is mixed in a central plant, hauled out there in trucks and dumped between the forms and this paver It doesn’t run on forms; it runs just on a track and on a string line as graded, so it’s extruding this concrete out behind the machine It’s an extrusion process So that saved a lot of time and saved a lot of money over the years (man/2-step rhythm) I run that mucker to build the grade if I need to, use my pick and spade I worked in dirt since the day I’s born Mama bore me a’plantin’ corn Nobody lucky like a mucker like me (Mark Richman) With the construction of the interstate, brought in a lot of different families and new people Some were temporary; they live in trailers and rent houses and such and because they were with the road construction people So they were there from 3 months to 6 months to maybe a little over a year Some of them ended up staying, and it did change the culture of our community and brought some new families in Nobody lucky like a mucker like me A lot of the bridges and a lot of the work in Mandan and the Grant Marsh Bridge was done in ’63 and ’64 The bridge was actually built on dry land because the river channel was on the west bank of the Missouri River That’s where the main flow was So that project included closing the river off, excavating a pilot channel underneath the new bridge location and then turning the river loose and let it wash that out It was right around 2 million yards of material that come out of the cut east of the bridge that had to go across the river to build the embankments on the east side It had to be done that way When we started construction in the 1960’s the cost was $400,000 per mile and that was for the entire system that included 4 lanes, all the bridges and the land that we bought to put the interstate on Today, when we rebuilt the interstate, we spend $1.8 million for just 2 lanes in one direction Some of that cost obviously is attributable to the normal inflation factors, but at the same time, we are building the roads to last longer The earlier designs had a 20-year life Today’s standard design is a 30-year life for the pavement What we’re trying to do is accommodate the larger volume of trucks and the heavier trucks that use the interstate system All traffic has increased dramatically On an average, traffic increased by over 250% here in North Dakota As an example, here in the Bismarck area, there were about 1500 cars a day that used old 10 Today, we’re at 40,000 vehicles a day on the interstate here in the Bismarck area (Bill Richman) Old Highway 10, going by with lots and lots of trucks

and cars, the traffic is quite slow, to try to get to Fargo, quite cumbersome Of course, then it comes in the newspaper that they’re going to construct an interstate highway across North Dakota This is not going to be good Right across people’s farms, some got their barn in the way and that’s going to have to be on one side and the house will be…terrible, just terrible So this went on for 2 years or whatever prior to any construction ever beginning (Bob Bradley) I think that for the most part people in North Dakota, they wanted good roads In North Dakota, up until World War II and even after World War II, the system in North Dakota was a pretty soy mess as fars we didn’t have very many paved roads And so people were very conscious of the need for good road So some of the people resisted it; we decided to put the interstate down this road Here’s he’s got a road He can get on the road anyplace he wants to Then we come along, we tae 400 feet of right-of-way from him, see, then he can’t get on He says, “Here I’ve got the doggone road in front of me, I can’t even get on the thing!” (Harvey Melsatd) On the interstate system, it’s a controlled access highway, and so we try to prevent anyone having open conflict with another vehicle You have interchanges where people can have access to the highway You have grade separations where they cannot have access to the highway but they can go under it or over it in those main ones and then we have some cattle or machinery passages I-94 crossed about 2 miles south of Hebron, so it cut off a lot of the rural roads There were only 2 farm-to-market roads in the area This area around here is a large drainage area and had heavy water or rain coming in You have a lot of water coming in close to the interstate and it was impossible to cross these waterways at one time or another My uncle, George Driver, he wanted to cross over the interstate bridge, of course, they’d never allow it And so the highway department considered that they’d put a large culvert through the interstate where they could drive through underneath We’d gone out in the spring and we had staked the right-of-ways, slope-staked it for construction and we come out one morning and the stakes were all neatly piled, were all pulled and neatly piled on a couple piles along the job So we questioned the guy and he said his dog did it! He was still unhappy about the settlement that was made over it, but after the job got going and stuff, he settled down and there was no problem again I can remember coming to NDSU going to school as a young student and parts of the system were interstate and 94 and part of it was old U.S. 10 The first thing you said after you got on an interstate and then you had to go back on 10, “Well, I wonder when they’re going to finish this thing.” I have to tell you a story about my dad He could drive all the 2-lane highways in the state, but he hated the interstate because he just wasn’t very good at merging and he didn’t like the speed He was a slow driver, was a very careful driver 55, that was kind of topped out for him So when people were driving past him at 70 miles an hour it just kind of unnerved him, so he did not drive the interstate system He took old Highway 10 to get from Sterling to Bismarck all his life When they got this built, the first year or so they had pilot cars They were a big orange van and they had people out there making sure that people knew how to use the interchanges and so forth So they would trek back and forth, go up one side and back the other and help people out that were having a problem We start out with the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program That is a 5-year program; we look at projects 5 years ahead of the time when they’re going to be built We make sure the STIP, which is a Statewide Transportation Improvement Program, addresses the needs of the traveling public and the safety issues As we finish the STIP process, we need to make sure that the budget matches the needs When they put out a section of highway for bidding purposes,

we’d provide the contractors with a list of various items such as cubic yards of dirt, so many feet of certain size culvert, so many acres of seeding, so many feet of fencing and each contractor would bid a price for each of those items that the state would have in their bid proposal And the contractor with the lowest bid would be awarded the contract 99% of our work is bid, and we have to be the low bidder to get the job Our main bidding season with the North Dakota DOT, we do the bulk of our work in North Dakota, they have big lettings usually in November, February, March, maybe October, maybe April Of course, their scheduling may run several years in advance where they have to get the right-of-way, and they have to design the job, and they have to do different things But as far as Northern Improvement, almost all our work is 1-year projects I think nationally, North Dakota’s regarded as one of the toughest states, lowest margins, toughest competition; there’s several other family-owned businesses in this state and it’s just a very, very competitive market Every project with the DOT has a penalty for liquidated damages All projects have penalties; very few have bonuses I mean, we wish they had more bonuses That’s nice if you get out and get the job done early you get an extra bonus, but in most cases, there’s no bonus for early completion Environmental concerns have changed dramatically There really weren’t any other than to make sure that we addressed stream crossings and in some of the wetlands that were put back the way they were By today’s standards, we mitigate for every acre of wetland that we disturb, we mitigate that either onsite or offsite But from an environmental perspective, we do a lot more to make sure that we’re not affecting the environment You’re trying to make a road that drains well and that you have snow storage in the ditches and have some safe slopes so if you do run off, that’s the goal on all the roads to do that They’re real conscious of blending it in with the Badlands, so ditch sections, etc., which normally out in this open country are pretty flat slopes, in that area would actually build some ditches with washouts in it that blended in with the natural terrain That’s the way it was built through the Badlands [fiddle, bass & guitar play country swing] (man) On old U.S. 10 around ‘5 in a straight-8 Olds readin’ road signs through the backseat windo, a big-eyed kid memorizin’ signs so read rocked with the wisdom, wit, grin they taught him how to shave his chin! Burma Shave Burma Shave 15 miles for every smile you gave (Harold Newman) Prior to the Highway Beautification Act of 1965, you could virtually put the signs anyplace you wanted to you’d go out and see the landowner and either lease the land from him for so much a year or buy the land from him and then you could put the sign up without a permit Then the Highway Beautification Act was passed, I think it was ’64, that meant that you could only erect the signs in commercial or industrially-zoned areas In other words, where commerce was, you could have billboards That revolutionized the whole billboard industry We literally removed about 1700 billboards in 1983 in compliance with the Highway Beautification Act and reinstalled them in a conforming spot There’s 2 standard sizes; there’s a regular poster, the type you see them putting the paper up That’s 12 feet high by 25 feet wide And then the one that’s the other size is virtually twice that size The big ones would be 12 pieces of plywood, 14 feet high by 4 foot wide Those weren’t covered with paper; they were paint and you actually painted them like you’d paint your house with the copy painted on them Now it’s all computerized We paint the billboard with an inkjet printer in less than an hour, but it’s all put up by vinyl and it’s really revolutionized the industry And another thing that’s revolutionized the industry

is the structure itself If you go by a sign and really look at it, it’s one 36-inch pipe supports it 30 feet in the air, 60 feet of concrete, and used to be wood poles that had a lot of maintenance to ’em 2/3rds of our business is traffic signs and 1/3 is billboards The basic change is the increase in size, more legible They’re installed in what we call a “breakaway post” so that when a car hits it, the design of the sign is to flip over the car so it isn’t like hitting a brick wall (man) These signs we dedicate to men who had no date of late a peach looks good with lots of fuzz man’s no peach– never was I proposed to Ida, Ida refused I’da won my Ida if I had used Burma Shave (Harold Newman) The tourist industry, gas, food, and lodging, those are usually 5-year contracts and motels the same thing Our product is an awareness issue of somebody new to the territory likes to be informed Former Lieutenant Governor Lloyd Omdahl, he came up with this idea in one of his articles “Stay in North Dakota, Montana closed for the weekend.” The governor of Montana didn’t like that one too well Probably the most effective one was “Stay in North Dakota, Custer was healthy when he left.” [laughs] (narrator) Roadside rest areas became an important accommodation for travelers along the newly-constructed Interstate 94 in the year 1959 The early rest areas were much different than the current visitor centers Sparse by today’s standards, they offered toilets and picnic areas for the convenience of the traveler Facilities beyond the basic necessities were not available The rest areas were rebuilt and improved starting in the late 1980’s Today, there are 13 customer-focused visitor centers located on I-94 between Beach and Fargo The centers are often decorated in themes with important historical information related to the surrounding area These travel rest stops provide clean restrooms, tourist information, picnic shelters and vending machines Did you see in that one corner where there was a great big board, a 4 X 8 board in the corner between the gas station and the café? That was our menus out there, and people would drive in around and they’d look at the menu, what they liked or didn’t like If they liked it, they came in, if they didn’t, they went on And that brought a lot of people in They’d see what they liked and they stopped and they had it that way But we always meat, potatoes and gravy and salad and soup, bread and always dessert The people there waited for dessert, you know? Years ago we had a Maytag wash machine, had a wringer on You didn’t have no spray like you do with windows And we’d take that rag, run it through the wringer and we’d get the car windows, inside and out We even got the lights in front Once in a while had to do it 3, 4 times when there was a lot of mud and a lot of cow stuff on ’em, you know And of course, checked all under hood, that’s where you made the money to sell batteries and hoses and stuff (narrator) The popularity of the automobile at the beginning of the 20th century created a whole new culture for American citizens Before the advent of the automobile, tourists were relegated to the rigid schedule and restrictive form of travel offered by the railroad The automobile allowed travelers to slow down and enjoy the process of traveling Around 1920, free municipal campgrounds were set up in many towns along the Red Trail to accommodate auto travelers Local towns were encouraged to beautify the highway into their town, claiming a nice clean or even artistic entrance on the highway entering the city creates a good impression

of the character of the people who live there According to the “Official Road Guide,” published by the Lincoln Highway Association, for campers, the single most expensive item was gasoline, which ranged from 20 cents a gallon in metropolitan areas to 50 cents a gallon in the desert On good roads, the average car might get 20 miles to the gallon, but much less in mud and on rough grades Oil cost 15 to 40 cents a quart and was used profusely Tires were expensive and wore out easily The tourist camp soon evolved into tourist cabins or tourist cottages Auto camping proved to be a fad as travelers desired more convenience with less work Many of the early auto cabins were simply wooden tents with dirt floors in which travelers would provide their own amenities Tourists soon learned accommodations that were affordable and comfortable were much more desirable than packing and unpacking at each daily destination Motor courts or motels soon started competing with cottage cabins The motor court maintained local charm and individuality while having all rooms under one roof Brand name consciousness started during the Great Depression as entrepreneurs entered the hospitality business By standardizing amenities, such as name brand mattresses, guests felt at home away from home Service stations, offering gas, repair services, clean restrooms, and even some home cooking were a major part of the Highway 10 landscape (Mark Richman) My dad, Willard Richman, grew up in Tower City One of the things that intrigued him when that interstate got built was that interchange going in and the opportunity that that might be for a new service station Fun story about how a traveling salesman from Minneapolis came in and convinced him that he should have a carpeted dining room on the end of this truck stop, which they had no intention of doing They thought, Yeah, maybe we’ll have 5 stools to serve some coffee while we’re selling fuel to the truckers So it was a huge change from the way gas and food had been marketed in that area Uff da! Uff da! It was a very scary time whether that would work or wouldn’t work (Beverly Richman Farner) A blizzard hit We had the equipment and such but no cookers were going or anything So Dad got the gals who were going to be cooks up there and they made sandwiches and it was basically for the power line people who were there to try to get the the electricity going within the area And then on November 28th, a huge storm hit and so again, they went into this same mode and started providing sandwiches and coffee So it got baptized much sooner than it was supposed to, but then I don’t think it ever shut again, it just crept into into existence that way Well, the café got noted for its pie Caramel rolls in the morning, but mainly it’s gotten the reputation as being the pie place People traveling from Bismarck to Fargo, Fargo to Bismarck, boy, they’d look to that for a stopping off place Old Byron Dorgan always stops in I’ll tell you, he’ll stop and get gas and run to that café He wants those peanut butter cookies and man, that’s been for a long time That truck stop provided a lot of part-time jobs for a lot of families and a lot of families worked hard there, made that place go and were instrumental in its success It was probably the biggest industry in the town for a long, long time That was kind of a net result of having that new road go by your door (Beverly Richman Farner) We could never walk back there and grab a candy bar or get ourselves a Coke or anything It was always treated as a business and if we were there sitting in a booth, we were a customer and we paid for our food I can remember being sometimes kind of upset that we couldn’t just go over there and eat supper at night My mom would come home and we would cook a regular family meal and we’d sit around the table and a lot of times if we we were really busy, I was like, “Why can’t we just eat over there? There’s somebody over there cooking all the time!”

North Dakota, everything moves by truck The interstates have literally become a warehouse with all the semis loaded with goods that are being moved to their destinations The interstate system has made it possible to where you could go from one end of the country to the other The efficiencies that were brought about in the trucking end of the transportation world, they could load a load of produce in California and deliver it on the East Coast and have it unloaded in 3 days, where the rail was not competitive on produce or products that were very time sensitive There was a lot of improvements that the interstate system helped the whole economy, not just the trucking industry, but the whole economy from the produce growers in California and the sawmills in the Northwest to the end user in whatever part of the country These new trucks are very powerful and comfortable to drive and when you’re on the interstate, you just get it up to speed and set your cruise control, maintain 60, 65, 70 miles an hour for hours on end, where on a 2-lane road, you’re slowing down to 25 miles an hour every 10, 15 miles, or every town At the end of every day, you’ve put on 400 miles vs. 700 miles and your fuel economy is 4-1/2 miles to the gallon instead of 5-1/2 miles to the gallon It’s made a lot of improvements that way, and you put in a day’s work driving down the interstate and you’re not beat at the end of the day I think it had a huge impact on the trucking industry As a matter of fact, if you look at how the interstate system was designed in terms of the acceptable grades and weight limits and width of the road and everything, it was designed to accommodate a vibrant trucking industry But it wasn’t to help the trucking industry It was to help the economy evolve into what we see today and I think that’s what many people forget They focus on the truck The truck is just a facilitator of our economy (narrator) In 1977, North Dakota became the first state in the Union to complete its portion of the interstate system And its completion had brought with it many changes along the Old Red Trail You think the safety aspects of an interstate versus the old 2-lane system where many people have seen people do not so bright things like passing on hills and things like that This has really had a big impact on that too (Francis G. Ziegler) Traffic fatalities have decreased dramatically In the 60’s we had over 200 fatalities per year We’re down to just under 100 And, of course, the safety appurtenances that we’ve put onto roadways have made a big difference We have guardrails and we have smoother in slopes, but at the same time, the manufacturers have helped a lot We’re now using seat belts; we have air bags Our rollover protection is much better than it was before (Gene Griffin) Tourism without question has become a major economic sector that it wasn’t before the interstate system, so I think it had a positive impact there If you think of emergency services, I’m sure that the the interstate system has saved lives because you could get people to hospitals quicker, provide emergency services better And so I think it’s had a positive impact there as well (man) Faces of main street where the highway slows down time’s little islands each little town Faces of main street they live and they die on a river of asphalt they hope don’t run dry (Carl Larson) With the arrival of the interstate, that radically changed the economies of towns I live a block-and-a-half from old Highway 10, the Red Trail,

and there’s only one motel left along this street in Dickinson They’re all now up along the interstate When I came to town in 1963, the interstate was not here and that was prairie at the north edge of town All the economy has gone up there; the mall, the businesses And so the interstate system, when it came into play, radically changed the countryside physically, economically and I guess culturally as well (man) Christmas on main street lights red and green store-to-store shoppin door-to-door dreams Faces of main street where the highway slows down (Robin Reynolds) The Old Red Trail is near and dear to my heart because I live right on this road I’m running a business on this road and I’ve felt a little bit like what Pierre Trudeau had to say about living next door to the United States and it’s “living next door to I-94 is a little bit like being in bed with an elephant.” And it’s just difficult to comprehend that there’s so much out there and it’s not coming by my door (man) Faces of main street Do roads have an impact? Absolutely Are they the sole determinant? No There are other factors at work that have equal importance in terms of how they influence whether a community survives and grows and is successful or whether it declines In any public works project of this scope and nature, you’re going to have winners and you’re going to have losers One of the things that I think that has been extremely important to us both in North Dakota but nationally as well is, it increased the level of competition among businesses domestically Instead of having localized monopolies because you didn’t have the mobility of people or the mobility of bringing goods in and so on, which allows you to charge higher prices, it increased competition among cities for the business of customers, resulting in lower prices, more choices, better opportunities to purchase goods and services [fiddle, guitar, bass, & steel guitar play country swing] It virtually changed how we live and work and play It changed our economy It made us competitive globally And what we have now is, we have a system that allows us to move goods and people in a relatively cheap way that is far superior to most other countries Well, so many of us take the interstate system for granted Many don’t even remember not having an interstate system in America, just can’t even remember America without it It just really gives everybody and myself the opportunity to travel wherever you want to go I mean, in comfort, a short time I can remember making trips out to Billings when the old number 10 was still the mode of transportation You’d get behind some trucks and on an upgrade you were down to 30 miles an hour, that is a long way to get to the top of the hill and stuff you’ll be able to get by them and pass them Well, you have to have an opening to pass and of course, then they would speed up and you’d never get to pass them again So it cut the time from traveling from Bismarck to Billings, which is about 425 miles, it probably cut it into a 3rd from what it was years ago Think of the interstate– you can drive from 2 state capitols, Bismarck to St. Paul, in 6 hours Prior to interstate, it took you 12 hours And there isn’t one stop sign, one light, one stop-and-go light between Seattle and Boston That’s a pretty nice way to travel (man) The way to cross the northern plain was horse, of course, or wagon train

When the motor car arrived, folks said “Let’s just drive.” Someone took a red crayon, drew from Fargo west beyond, the line according to the tale, became the Old Red Trail East to west, west to east both the best, neither least dot to dot, town to town slip form laid that concrete down come on slide up next to me We’ll take my Daddy’s model T Across the prairie see, we’ll sail and ride the Old Red Trail Dust to mud to graveled oil concrete was their toughest toil floating ‘cross the prairie plain 1, 2, 3, 4, lanes East to west, west to east both the best, neither least dot to dot, town to town (woman) Funding was provided in part by and the members of Prairie Public