Jeffrey Coleman Carlyle

The Ruler of Earth

Jeff's Road Trips

Last updated on 14-Sep-2009 10:58AM CDT.

This web site chronicles the travels of Jeff Carlyle, Ruler of Earth.

Cross Country Road Trip in Four Minutes
[US 51]
Posted: 14-Sep-2009 10:58AM CDT
Topics: [JeffCenter] [Jeff's Road Trips]

A friend sent me a YouTube link of someone's cross country road trip compressed into four minutes. I've thought about doing this in the past, but never made the effort to pull it off. I'm glad someone else did. I also how these guys made Google Map of their trip. Another good idea for next big road trip.

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[US 51]
Posted: 3-Sep-2009 8:42AM CDT
Topics: [JeffCenter] [Jeff's Road Trips]
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Photographs from the 2009 West Coast Roadtrip
Posted: 26-Aug-2009 9:29AM CDT
Topics: [JeffCenter] [Jeff's Road Trips]
2009:06:13 17:57:31 - North Dakota 2009:06:15 10:23:13 - Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park, Montana 2009:06:16 16:34:29 - Grand Coulee Dam, Washington 2009:06:17 15:46:07 - 2009 National N Scale Convention, Layout Tour 2009:06:24 14:51:15 - Crater Lake National Park, Oregon County Counting as of Aug. 26, 2009

In June 2009, I drove to the National N Scale Convention in Portland, Oregon. After the convention I took some time to explore the west coast. In total, I drove over 8000 miles, passed through thirteen states and two Canadian provinces, and visited 10 national parks. I've posted photographs from my 2009 West Coast Road Trip

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2005 Year in Review
[L&N Railroad Logo]
Posted: 6-Mar-2006 3:52AM CST
Topics: [JeffCenter] [Jeff's Road Trips]

So I only updated my website twice in 2005—once in January and once in February; so sue me. I’m lazy.

I guess the biggest news from last year is that I started my first real job on July 18, 2005. I’m now a full time employee of Motorola, Inc. I’m a senior software engineer at Motorola’s design center in Champaign, Illinois. Doesn’t the senior part of the title sound impressive?

I’m also still in school. I’ve completed the class work part of the Ph.D. program; so classes don’t interfere with my full time employment. Essentially I come home from a full day of work at Motorola, and put in several more hours of work on my Ph.D. thesis.

The operating system I’m working with for my thesis, Choices, is beginning to take on more of the aspects you’d expect from an OS.

Between Motorola and schoolwork, I also had time to do lots of other things in 2005.

Presidential Inauguration

Presidential Inauguration (Jan. 20, 2005)

In January, I went to President Bush’s second presidential inauguration with my friends Sarah and Naomi. They had recently moved to the DC area, and somehow managed to get tickets. We were closer than a lot of people, but the only view of the president we had was on a big screen TV. I also visited my friend Ellen who had also recently moved to DC.

Great River Road

Kentucky Monument at Vicksburg National Military Park (March 22, 2005) Venice, Louisiana (March 23, 2005) Interstate 20 Mississippi River Bridge, Vicksburg, Mississippi (March 22, 2005)

For Spring Break, I drove the Great River Road along the eastern bank of the Mississippi River from Cairo, Illinois to Venice, Louisiana. My friend Brent happened to be in New Orleans for a conference about hurricanes—at the time, Brent, was working for the city engineer’s office in Gulfport, Mississippi. Brent had an extra bed in his room at the Hilton in downtown New Orleans, so my stay in New Orleans was free.

I’m thinking about repeating this trip again this year to see how much things have changed. Brent survived the hurricane season just fine and is now working for a private engineering firm.


Miniature Canadian National Train (May 1, 2005) CSX Kentucky Derby Train, Anchorage, Kentucky (May 7, 2005) National Train Show; Cincinnati, Ohio (July 8, 2005)

I went a bit crazy with railroad related things last year—both model and full scale. I visited a number of railroad museums and numerous train shows. Among these shows, I went to the Galesburg Railroad Days in June and the National Train Show in July. I also constructed a small N scale model railroad layout on a two foot by four foot base. Now I need to save some money from my new job so I can buy a house and have a bigger place to put my model trains.

Monticello Railway Museum, Monticello, Illinois (Oct. 15, 2005) Monticello Railway Museum, Monticello, Illinois (Oct. 15, 2005) Monticello Railway Museum, Monticello, Illinois (Oct. 15, 2005)

My railroading highlight of the year was Throttle Time at the Monticello Railway Museum in Monticello, Illinois. For a small donation, the museum lets patrons operated one of their locomotives. For my Throttle Time, I ran the museum’s RS-3 locomotive. My train consisted of a gondola, a streamlined passenger car, and a Wabash Railroad caboose. My friends Ellick, Francis, and Moosa joined me on the trip to museum. Francis road in the cab of the locomotive and took pictures while Ellick and Moosa hitched a ride in the caboose.

St. Louis 200B Reunion

St. Louis County Parks and Recreation Museum of Transportation (Sept. 4, 2005) Gateway Arch, St. Louis, Missouri (Sept. 4, 2005) Gateway Arch, St. Louis, Missouri (Sept. 4, 2005)

I got together with my former roommates from 200B several times last year. For Labor Day, I met up with Chris, J.D., Kyle, and Ryan in St. Louis. J.D. and I were the last to leave town; after everyone else left we took a leisurely boat ride on the Mississippi River and toured the Budweiser Brewery.

J.D. joked that he experienced every form of transportation that weekend. He flew into town, rode around town in a car, visited a railroad museum, and took a boat ride.

More Photos

See all of my photos from 2005 in Jeff's 2005 Photo Gallery.


[Analysis of Two Years of Email]

No update to this website would be complete without a graph showing the amount of email I get; so click above for an analysis of two years of email.

Holidays and 2006

Having a full time job had a predictable impact on the amount of time I spent at home in Kentucky for the holiday’s this year. I was barely home at all. I had Thanksgiving Day and the day after Thanksgiving off; as well as two days at Christmas time. I wasn’t able to take any vacation time off from work until the middle of January. I went a road trip to Key West for that vacation. Given my track record, I’ll post my pictures from that sometime in 2007.

It’s almost road trip season again!

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The Lost Highway Moves to
[US 51]
Posted: 25-Feb-2005 7:05AM CST
Topics: [Jeff's Road Trips]

New content has arrived at As of today, I am the new maintainer of The Lost Highway. The Lost Highway is a repository for photographs of and information about abandoned and replaced sections of highways around the United States. The site was started by Andy Field and Alex Nitzman of AARoads.

I will soon by redesigning to feature this new content in a more prominent way.

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Another Fall
Posted: 1-Nov-2004 2:48AM CST
Topics: [JeffCenter] [Jeff's Road Trips]
Bush-Cheney '04 -

Once again itís been much too long since we spoke. My new job is going well, and Iíve made decent progress on my thesis research.

Iíve also done a lot of road tripping. Back on August 7, I traveled down to Southern Illinois to check out the railroad overpass in Benton where the train derailed onto I-57 and to hike a section of a rail-trail. Iíve gone home a couple of times, and each time I took some pictures for And Iíve also followed several rail lines and added pictures to my railroad photography page.

Iíve also taken some trips of which I have no photographic evidence. I explored the Richardson Corn Maze in Spring Grove, Illinois, and I attended the Pumpkin Festival in Morton, Illinois. After the Pumpkin Festival, I followed the Illinois River from Peoria to Alton. I also went to St. Louis on October 8, and stood outside of the debate site to show my support for President Bush.

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I-57 Train Derailment
[Kentucky's New License Plate]
Posted: 10-Jul-2004 7:17PM CDT
Topics: [JeffCenter] [Jeff's Road Trips] [The Unusual and Absurd]

On July 9, 2004, a Union Pacific unit coal train with three locomotives and a consist of 136 cars derailed on an overpass over Interstate 57 near mile marker 71 between the towns of Benton and West City in Illinois. The train, on its way between East St. Louis, Illinois and Paducah, Kentucky was using Canadian National/Illinois Central track and many news outlets have erroneously reported that it was a CN/IC train. The derailment dumped eight train cars carrying a total of 800 tons of coal onto I-57. Though the falling rail cars and coal narrowly missed several vehicles below, reports are that there was only one relatively minor injury. The accident closed the highway in both directions between Benton and West Frankfort—about six miles to the south.

I found out about the incident late in the morning and decided I that I needed to travel the 160 miles south to Benton from Urbana to check out this accident. Variable message signs along the highway beginning at exit 96 on I-57 warned of the highways closure. I decided it would be best not to contribute to the traffic along the detour route (and who wants to sit in a traffic jam anyway), so I planned a course I thought would avoid the diverted traffic. I planned to exit onto Illinois 154 at exit 77 and take Illinois 37 and then local back roads to a railroad crossing just to the west of the railroad overpass; however, just south of exit 83 I began to encounter stopped traffic. So I turned around on the interstate—there was almost no northbound traffic at this point—and exited the highway at exit 83.

It turned out that southbound traffic was being diverted from the I-57 at exit 77—one exit north of the interchange nearest interchange to the accident. From exit 83, I made my way over to Illinois 37 and took back roads through the northern extremes of Benton and West City over to the railroad as I had originally planned. Despite the fact that traffic was being diverted from I-57 to part of Illinois 37, I encountered only very light traffic—aside from the tail end of a massive traffic jam leading into downtown Benton.

I had spotted the railroad crossing nearest the overpass on a map of the area. When I arrived at the crossing, I found it to be located in a rail yard storing hundreds of empty coal carrying rail cars. A Union Pacific locomotive was also in the yard; it appeared to be pulling cars from the tail end of the train that had derailed. The overpass over I-57, along with several derailed cars, was clearly visible from the crossing. Dozens of CN/IC employees and several pieces of heavy equipment were operating in the area. I spoke briefly to a local teenager who had ridden his bicycle to the crossing; we walked along the rails about a quarter of the way to the overpass before deciding we’d better not go much further.

View of the accident scene from a railroad crossing just to the west of the overpass. View of the accident scene from a railroad crossing just to the west of the overpass.

After spending a few minutes at this crossing, I traveled to a street overpass over I-57 that was about a quarter of a mile north of the railroad overpass. The bridge was crowded with onlookers watching work on the highway below. Crews were working to remove the coal from the highway and load it on to waiting coal trucks. Vans from several television stations were parked on the highway along with a number of emergency vehicles and various other vehicles. From the bridge, I walked down a local street along the interstate to get closer to the bridge.

I-57 railroad overpass viewed from Webster St. overpass. Eastern end of the railroad overpass. Derailed car just to the east of the overpass. A railroad employee surveys the coal that has been dumped onto I-57. A derailed car on the west end of the overpass. Work underneath the I-57 overpass. Work underneath the I-57 overpass. A derailed car on the west end of the overpass. UP 6076 and UP 6619 had been at the lead of the train.

After awhile, I returned to the crossing that had been my original destination. By this time, a truck carrying two forty foot sections of railroad track had arrived. I found the driver and spoke to him for sometime. He had brought the load in from a yard in St. Louis. It was now nearly 7:00pm; he said that the railroad had asked him to be there by 6:00pm and now he was getting paid overtime.

This truck brought in two forty foot sections of track from St. Louis. This truck brought in two forty foot sections of track from St. Louis. View of the accident scene from a railroad crossing just to the west of the overpass. I-57 railroad overpass viewed from Webster St. overpass. I-57 railroad overpass viewed from Webster St. overpass.

I stayed in the area of the overpass for a few more hours waiting to see how the track was to be removed from this flatbed truck. In the meantime, CN/IC worked had positioned two derailed cars back onto the track, and the Union Pacific locomotive that had been in the yard pulled those and several other cars out of the area, clearing the main track into the area. Finally, around 9:30pm a railroad crane pulling a flat car and a short equipment train entered the area. There were some complications—power lines blocked the area the crane operator had originally planned to use and the truck driver had some trouble finding a way to position his trailer on the tracks; however, by 10:15pm the crane had lifted the two track sections onto it flat car.

After this, I left for Urbana. I figured that operation was probably the most interesting operation I could see up close. At exit 71, I found the local police still blocking the south bound entrance to the I-57; however, the northbound ramps were open. I-57 between exits 71 and 77 was a dark and desolate highway. The southbound lanes were still closed at exit 77, so the only cars I encountered were two northbound vehicles. Traffic that had been diverted along Illinois 37 re-entered the northbound lanes at exit 77. The local news had been reporting that the intent was to reopen the highway by midnight.

99,999 miles. 100,000 miles.

On the way back to Urbana, a large thunderstorm far to the north of I-70 provided a spectacular late show. I finally encountered the rain associated with this storm at exit 190; however, I had been seeing the lightning from the storm ever since I left Benton—120 highway miles to the south. Another somewhat momentous event occurred on the drive back: just short of the northbound rest area on I-57 at mile marker 166, my car reached 100,000 miles. When I took possession of the car back on April 21, 2001 it had a mere 120 miles on it. I am planning on it lasting at least another 100,000 miles.

More information on the derailment:

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Finally, A Time to Relax
[Kentucky's New License Plate]
Posted: 25-May-2004 12:09PM CDT
Topics: [JeffCenter] [Jeff's Road Trips]

Rock on.

School is finally over for the spring, and once again I can relax.

This summer should be interesting. I’m teaching my first class: CS 231—Software Architecture I. That starts on June 14th, so I have to find a way to entertain myself until then.

I’ve finally posted photographs from several road trips I’ve taken, some of which date to as far back as February 22nd. You can find these photos here:

Also, I’ve become somewhat obsessed with railroads recently. I’ve started a new photo gallery devoted to my railroad photographs here.

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New Ground Broken: Spring Break 2004
[Kentucky's New License Plate]
Posted: 14-Apr-2004 8:56AM CDT
Topics: [JeffCenter] [Jeff's Road Trips]

My Spring Break this year (March 20-March 28) consisted of a couple of brief road trips, a visit home, and an ophthalmologist appointment.

I devoted the first Sunday of Spring Break to visiting the last few counties in Kentucky I hadn’t yet visited, so now I’ve visited all 120 of Kentucky’s counties. You can keep track of the counties I’ve visited over at As of today, I’ve visited 33.1% of the counties in the United States.

On Monday, I found out that I don’t necessarily need new glasses, but I’ve had my current pair for four years and they are starting to wear out. So it’s new glasses time for me.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, I headed out west to Oklahoma. I had the desire to go on a longer road trip, and Oklahoma was the nearest state I had never visited before. I covered lots of a ground those two days and saw a number of interesting things: Little Rock at rush hour, the Sonic made famous by the Simple Life, the Oklahoma City National Memorial, parts of the Oklahoma turnpike system, Wal-Mart’s corporate headquarters, Branson, and Bass Pro Shops’ largest store (in Springfield, Missouri). You can browse a few pictures from my journeys below.

[Covington, TN] [Sonic in Ozark, Arkansas] [Someone Doesn't Like Oprah] [Oklahoma City Bombing Site] [Oklahoma City Bombing Site] [Oklahoma City Bombing Site] [Oklahoma City Bombing Site] [Oklahoma City Bombing Site]

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Southern Illinois Road Trip
[US 51]
Posted: 22-Feb-2004 1:48AM CST
Topics: [JeffCenter] [Jeff's Road Trips]

Today, I took a road trip with the intention to take in some Illinois history. I headed through Decatur and took US 51 south from there. The US 51 corridor, like the rest of central Illinois, is incredibly flat and boring, I happened to pass the Vandalia Correctional Center on the same day Gov. Blagojevich proposed closing it: there was a TV news van from WAND-25 there; however, what I went to Vandalia to see was one of Illinois’ old state houses. A stone building in downtown Vandalia served as Illinois’ state capital for three legislative sessions from 1836 through 1839 before the capital was moved to Springfield. Vandalia had been home to the state capital since 1820. It turns out that Abraham Lincoln had lead the effort to move the capital.

Illinois' State Capital (1836-1839)
Old Illinois State House

I continued further south and west from Vandalia to Kaskaskia. Kaskaskia is one of the oldest towns in the Illinois country. It was founded by the French on the bank of the Mississippi River during the late 1600s or early 1700s. In 1703 the Mission Church of the Immaculate Conception was founded there. In July 4, 1778, General George Rogers Clark captured the town from the British for the American cause. This was his first victory in his campaign to take the western frontier from the British. For years afterwards, Kaskaskians rang a bell donated by the King of France every July 4 to celebrate Clark’s victory. This bell became known as the Liberty Bell of the West. When Illinois was organized as the Illinois Territory in 1818, Kaskaskia was named as its capital. Kaskaskia remained capital when Illinois became a state in 1818; however, the capital was moved to Vandalia in 1820.

Today Kaskaskia lies on the west side of the Mississippi. It can only be reached from Illinois by traveling into Missouri. A flood in 1881 caused the Mississippi River to cut through a strip of land separating it from the Kaskaskia River. This moved the course of the river eastward and forever cut off Kaskaskia from the rest of Illinois. Today, Kaskaskia is home to only 18 residents.

Kaskaskia Bell Mission Church of the Immaculate Conception, Kaskaskia, Illinois Kaskaskia, Illinois Kaskaskia, Illinois [Illinois State Line]
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Additional Resources

Additional Information

The original intent of was to create a portal to roadgeek web sites. It appears unlikely that time will ever be found to complete that; however, Jeff is still willing to setup DNS forwarding for roads websites. If you would like to setup a shorter URL for your roads website, please contact Jeff.


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