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Preserving the Road… One Photo at a Time

A stark reminder of why I document this road so heavily…

My heart sank as I pulled up to Sandberg’s. It has been a few weeks since I have been up and the first thing I noticed was a chunk of barren dirt above the old retaining wall.

A fire had come through this area last year, leaving most of the area exposed. Wonderful for discovering little artifacts, but the lack of vegetation leaves the soil vulnerable to washing away. My fear was that in the recent little rain storm, a part of the wall had washed away.

Now, we all fear at some point these remnants of the road and its many stops will one day cease to exist… wash off the side of the mountain, reclaimed by nature. All that will remain are the stories passed down and the photos travelers have taken.

A huge part of California history would simply become part of the past. That’s what’s so unique about this road. It’s still here, very much in it’s original form. Something very hard to find. You can go and walk along the same concrete that a Model T rolled down over a hundred years ago. To lose that would be devastating.

When I suspected the wall had washed away, I pulled up some photos from the large collection I have – tens of thousands of photos of even the smallest details from the last 5 years – and found it luckily had not washed away, but instead used to have brush there. Whew! I was so thankful to have this log of photos!

Part of my mission is to document every inch of this road. Every bit of history, every piece or concrete and steel, every foundation for historic reference. The second part is to make this collection accessible to anyone. So anyone – no matter where they are in the world – can see the Ridge Route. Learn about its history, take in its beauty and hear its stories.

The same location, March 17th 2021, before the fire.

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