Lots of history is hidden on the Ridge Route… you just have to keep an eye out for it! Here are some of the cool things I’ve found on my most recent trip.
Liebre State Maintenance Camp
While at first glance it looks like and empty dirt clearing, there’s a lot hidden in plain sight. Paw prints and a horseshoe imprinted in the concrete of the road. Foundations hanging over the edge. 100+ year old nails and a pipeline!
Some old striping on one of the 1920’s realignments.
It may seem like common sense, but roads were not divided by lines back in the days of the Ridge Route. One of my favorite road nerd stories is of how the striping on roads was invented.
In short, a traveling doctor was tired of being run off the road. Now this doctor was a woman, and incredible for a number of reasons (you can read more about her here) but one night in 1917, she was run off the road and decided to put an end to this madness! Dr. June McCarroll was a no-nonsense woman approached Riverside County Board of Supervisors and the Chamber of Commerce with the idea of painting a stripe down the center of the road. Well nothing was done.
June wasn’t here to take no for an answer. In front of her house on Indio Boulevard, she painted a 2 mile long, 4 inch wide white stripe down the center of the road to prove it’s effectivness.
It wasn’t until 1924 that the State Highway Commission was authorized to paint lines down the center of highways. After 7 years of petitioning and finally with the help of Indio Women’s Club and the California Federation of Women’s Clubs, she finally succeeded!
One of the more prominent stops on the Ridge Route, the Tumble Inn’s arch will catch you eye, but did you know there was a couple buildings there also? I set out looking for foundations of the building that was once the house and restaurant. They had been cleared to make a fire road but bits and pieces remain scattered along the edge and pushed over the side. When we get past rattlesnake season, I’ll venture down the hill to get a better look at the large chunks below.