Just another… brick in the road

A crisp, clear January day was the impetus to explore the Old Brick Road. There is a ten-ish mile section of Old Dixie Highway that is a drop off the beaten path, bordered by a scrub forest in Flagler County, Florida.The original  Dixie Highway project brought together private industry and state governments to create a network of roads which would connect ten states with more than 5,000 miles of paved road. The portion of the original Dixie Highway we visited was completed in 1916. It is a stretch of red-brick road that brought a stream of tourists from as far as Chicago to the tropics of Florida. By 1926 however, US Highway 1, a more efficient, paved multi-lane road, was completed and the Old Brick Road instantly became obsolete.Today, it is one of the few remaining original sections of highway and it attracts very few tourists. It is nine feet wide and it is a rugged off-road experience filled with potholes and sand-covered bricks; a very slow way to travel.The highway’s vitrified bricks are marked with GRAVES B’HAMALA. They were glazed at a high temperature making them impervious to water and resistant to corrosion. They were produced by the Graves Brick Company in Birmingham, Alabama. Because of their use primarily in roads, most were not salvageable, causing any intact bricks to be very rare today.Our ten mile journey took about 45 minutes as we carefully circumvented flooded potholes and washed out sandy areas. We imagined the travelers in their Model T Fords one hundred years ago on the same road.

What is a road trip without a stop for a bite to eat? Bantam Chef, less than five miles on a modern road from the exit of the Old Brick Road in Bunnell, Fl. is a roadside restaurant that makes an amazing fish sandwich.The sandwich is stacked with a pound of fish and it is filling and delicious!

What lies beyond the red brick road? Will we hit the bricks and pave the way to a new adventure soon.

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