Zane's Trace Locator map

Day 1
The South End

Day 2
Two Capitals

Day 3
Birthday Party

March 26, 2006
I blew getting on some Zane's Trace remnants east of Zanesville but did drive to Wheeling and back in time to get in on the well attended doings at the museum.

March 25, 2006
Real snow in the morning then real rain and real sleet and real sun but it never got real nice. I passed through two former Ohio Capitals and ended the day across the road from the National Road Museum.

March 24, 2006
It looks like my comment on temperature range was right on. I said 70 to 20 and it appears that 45, right in the middle, is going to be the norm for this trip. And we have sun and snow. For most of the first day's drive the skies were just dull gray but there were periods of rain and glimpses of sunlight. Once, the rain seemed like it wanted to turn into sleet or snow but it never quite made it. As I write this Saturday morning, a dusting of actual snow can be seen on roofs.

BabyBoomerBob held out hope until Wednesday but weather predictions just kept getting worse. I decided to go for it since I'll never be more than two or three hours from home and I have no one to apologize to. Bringing your wife across a state and a half to drive in the snow is a different thing altogether.

I decided to burn some vacation instead of trying to dash to Aberdeen before dark so I got in a little (mostly indoor) sightseeing in Maysville then on to West Union. I don't know what changes weather will force on the rest of the trip but I don't things will get bad enough to trigger a full abort. We shall see.

The trace that Ebenezer Zane cut between Wheeling Virginia and Maysville Kentucky was the first road in the state of Ohio and that, by itself, should be enough to put it on any Ohio roadie's "to do" list. Of course, no automobiles ever passed over Zane's Trace. It was blazed in 1797 as a post road which would allow a rider on horseback to pass with a couple of saddlebags filled with mail. Then, almost as soon as Ohio became a state, the trace was turned into a wagon road by widening it to twenty feet and limiting tree stumps in the roadway to a mere fifteen inches. The existence of Zane's Trace was clearly considered when the first leg of the National Road was routed to Wheeling and the eastern portion of the trace was actually used by the National Road when it crossed the Ohio River.

I've long thought of retracing Ohio's first road but plans never went very far. This year is the 200th anniversary of the formal beginning of the National Road and, in recognition of this, the National Road Museum near Zanesville, normally closed until Memorial Day, will be open briefly on March 26. I'm planning on driving the Historic National Road later in the year so thought that attending this "open house" at the museum might make a nice preview. Particularly if I used Zane's Trace to get there. Another roadie, Baby Boomer Bob, had previously mentioned his own desire to retrace the trace so I let him know what I was thinking. As things now stand, it looks like I'll hook up with Bob, bride, and buddy in Aberdeen, OH, and we'll all spend a weekend on Zane's Trace. Of course it is March and it is Ohio. It could be 70 degrees & sunny or 20 degrees & snowing. Plans subject to change.

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