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Travels Down I-85: A MD of the North Carolina Piedmont (Update 9.15.07)

Started by pickled_pig, March 23, 2007, 07:48:48 AM

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After some heated internal debate, I have decided to create a sister (or brother, if you wish) location of Travels Down I-85 here at SC4Devotion.  Briefly, on the original thread over at Simtropolis, I made a brief rant about the state of CJing over at ST:

QuoteBasically this seems not to be the best CJing climate for a realism-based CJ.  I have no idea if this is a Cjing drought, per se, or a shift in the CJing medium as a whole from realism to the pursuit of other goals.

Of course, it would be rather hypocritical to complain about that yet pack my bags and sail across the Atlantic Ocean towards the metaphoric New World.  Ergo, I will be for the moment putting the same content here and on ST.  Of course, that could always change, but it's best not to make plans for the distant future.

On creating a second location here, I want to reference the following quote over at 3RR:

Quote from: Zaphod on March 22, 2007, 09:48:15 PM
I like that youve got your cj in some form or other on ST as well as here. If anything It might entice people to visit this place... I decided to do my cj on both sites at the same time. There are enough people who only visit one or the other regularly enough, so you by doing it on both your only increasing the number of potential viewers...

Which sounds like a good plan.  It might take more time per update, but you get your stuff out to a wider range of people.  There look like some great, very serious, and very experienced players and CJers...
...uh, how am I going to say this - MDers, perhaps...?

It happens that I've picked a good starting point to create this second home for Travels Down I-85.  Yesterday I posted an update consisting exclusively of Hand Drawn Maps (link) of an entirely new section of the region.

Now, because this means, in essence, that we will be starting at update #13, some backstory would be appropriate to answer the question, "Why does this CJ exist in the first place?"

Originally posted on 12.29.2006
QuoteA teaser here, there... but never did I begin this journal until now.

Simply enough, I plan to create a journal that documents the creation of a fictitious metropolitan area – the Graham-Wellington MSA – in the North Carolina Piedmont.  In my creation there is going to be a LOT of roadgeekery – hopefully more than my previous two city journals.

I am drawing inspiration from both my current home of Charlotte, its outlying bedroom communities (such as Gastonia and Kannapolis), and other Piedmont cities (such as Winston-Salem).

The first twelve updates, which are viewable Here (link), concern themselves with a medium-sized city in North Carolina called Graham.  Upon creating the city, I was informed (by ST member Ginchael) that there is a real city on the I-85 corridor around the Piedmont Triad area called Graham:

However, this city of Graham is not the same Graham as exists in RL.

In the spirit of not excluding the SC4D community from participating, the first couple updates are going to be a brief "best of" of the first twelve updates.

Hope this is successful and see you around SC4D


This is truly a pleasure to be the first to comment in your great CJ/MD over here at SC4D, my friend.

Great words from you, a great start- big things to come, I'm sure.

Good Luck!

D. Edgren

Please call me David...

Three Rivers Region- A collaborative development of the SC4 community
The 3RR Quick Finder [linkie]

I aten't dead.  —  R.I.P. Granny Weatherwax

Skype: davidredgren


Even with a profound philosophical statement on the nature of MDing, a Mayor's Diary really serves no purpose without any pictures.

And with that we'll begin our look at our Readers Digest of the first twelve updates: the Best of Travels Down I-85

Basically, this first time around, we'll be looking at the growth of the region through region pics taken as the MD progresses.  In the name of getting y'all caught up, I'll provide some semi-informative analysis on how each picture fits into the grand scheme of things.

This was the first region pic in the original CJ:

As you can see, this was the city of Graham before the Federal Government went and constructed I-85.
Please note the presence of a CR-107 (CR stands for county route, which in the United States is generally represented by a blue pentagon).  This route eventualyl gets changed to CR-300 because of conflicts with a North Carolina route 107.

From update 2

I-85 has been built.  The grid pattern gets broken around the area of the highway, representing the change to suburban sprawl.

From update 6

A homebrew map showing an area south of downtown Graham.  YOu can see the aformentioned NC-107...

From Update 7

Distinctly suburban areas surround distinctly urban areas...

From around update 10

From update 12

This is Graham at the moment...

I'll probably get the next Best Of section assembled by tonight or tomorrow.  If you wish to see the entire thing in context, visit this link.



I like your style, Aaron. :) Can't wait to see you show us more here.

Owen Luby

Hey Aaron, haven't caught up with Travles down 1-85 for a while...

But so far it is looking great! The region views are mouth watering... It is very realistic and It looks like a real satellite photo...

I am looking forward to what the region will look like once the whole thing is developed...

Also, I know you are not a fan of rail, but is there any in this region?
Because I love rail... &apls
I want SC4 back!!


Looking great, Aaron! I lurked for a while in your CJ over at ST, but now I figured I let you know that it's looking great! I love the maps and the regions shots. I can't wait to see some more, my friend!

Take care,



hello aaron! nice to see the region as it grows! very good sense of realism. will be driving through your I-85. see you around!


Great that you decided to post here... I was reading your CJ at ST yesterday but at the time I finished and wanted to leave a comment the site went down... So be told now: your CJ/MD is worth going thru all the pages: your region views, the maps you add and the roads that you lay are a pleasure to the eye   &apls and very inspiring!
Check my MD:               


Thenk you, everyone, for the comments.  I'll reply to them after the "Best Of" is finished.

This time, we'll look at the best pictures from the currently largest city in the Graham-Wellington MSA, in which this MD is situated - Graham.

As with the previous update, pictures are arranged in chronological order.

You will notice that this update is completely devoid of highway-area pictures, yet this CJ is named after the najor interstate that goes through this region.  That's because I'm giving highway pictures their own best-of update...

From update 1:

From update 2

From update 3

From update 5

From Update 6

From Update 7

From Update 10

From Update 12



Nothing to say here this time.

From Update 3

From Update 4:

From Update 8

From Update 9

From Update 11

With this, we can begin the new stuff in a few days or so.  I'll be on hiatus for a couple weeks in April around Spring Break - I'll be going up to Rhode Island and will probably have no access to the Internet unless I find myself at Panera Bread.




Wow im totaly shocked by my drive threw here tonight i do have to say its a wonderful county,
looking forward to coming back soon - pat

Don't forget the SC4D Podcast is back and live on Saturdays @ 12 noon CST!! -- The Podcast soon to Return Here Linkie


This is going to be really cool to follow. A distinctly classic look with an extremly intricate transit network. I like it. :thumbsup:

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Aaron, wow. I love suburban paradises (paradii? ;)) and yours are very well done indeed. Moreover, you have a unique style of presentation which really adds to things.  :thumbsup:

One query: In the last pic there, the large building in the top right-hand corner ... what is it?


David (dedgren) Thanks for being the first one to comment.  We'll see about whether great things indeed come.  I'm hoping so as well.

Flipside - It's always great to see faces whom I don't recall from ST - it makes it seem as if I'm doing this for a purpose.  Thanks for commenting!

Owen (Owen Luby) - When you speak of rail, are you looking for stuff like this...?

For the record, that is a piece of rail traveling through an industrial park outside of Germania.  There are rail lines all over the place in the South, especially those dedicated to freight, but I've so far kept rail in moderation in Graham.

zniehadajet - Hope to see you around both Travels Down I-85 as well as the rest of SC4D.

sebes - I understand what you are saying about ST - Many a potential post has gone down the drain due to that Jrun Server Error or whatever it's called.  I eventually ended up writing all my longer posts in MS Word so if such an error came, I could try a second time. Thanks for commenting!

Pat (patfirefghtr) - Hey, thanks.  As with everyone else, I hope to see you around SC4D.

Emilin - I've read through quite a number of quality CJs over here but haven't seen any roadgeek ones - or any that focus on a road network.  So I guess I carved my niche there.  Thanks!

Flipside - Actually, I don't know what the plural of paradise is, but it could be paradii.  But then, the plural of circus isn't circi, but circuses...
...If you've ever been to Central North Carolina, which is the focus of this CJ, you'd notice that there are very few row homes or apartment homes surrounding the downtown, like most Northern or European cities.  Immediately after you leave downtown, you enter suburban neighborhoods with quarter-acre lots (though in Charlotte, that's changing...)  So that's what I'm trying to recreate.
I think the building you want is the NDEX Greystone Church (link).  Rather fitting for a Southern-themed CJ...

Simcity has crashed to the desktop twice in the past two days at seemingly random intervals - making this the first time while working on this region, so the picture that's in my reply to Owen's comment is the ony picture I have shot in the past week.  But there's one last update of already-made stuff that we need to get through.

Eariler in this CJ, I said:
QuoteIt happens that I've picked a good starting point to create this second home for Travels Down I-85.  Yesterday I posted an update consisting exclusively of Hand-drawn Maps of an entirely new section of the region.
So we'll look at those maps.  All text below is copied directly from the original update, with minor adjustments.

If one travels west on NC-41, passing through Graham and its suburbs, one will eventually find the small town of Germania.  About the same size as Needham (a small town of 7,000 that we skipped over here at SC4D), Germania is overall in better condition.  The downtown, though eaten up by neglect, still is home to a few businesses, both of essential and trendy varieties - the espresso bar that plays a constant soundtrack of experimental post-rock from the Montreal area is situated right near the independently-owned drugstore, which is amazingly still in business despite competition from an Eckerd two blocks away.

After NC-41 travels through downtown, it meets US-174, at that moment a four-lane divided highway surrounded by (relatively) older commercial sprawl development:

NC-41 is the up-and-down two lane highway.

To end this brief preliminary tour of Germania, here is a rough map of the street network of Germania:

Remember - this is a rough map of the streets and roads of Germania - and thus, I have the right to change it however I want to (which I since have).
You may be looking at the box in the top-right corner that says:

Travels Down I-85
Planning Map #3

and wondering,  "where in the hell are map #1 and map # 2?"  To answer, simply, map #1 is in the opening post of this CJ and has a rough sketch of the roads of Graham.  Map #2 is titled "Oilton/Germania" and covers the area directly south of map #3., where I-85 and US- 174 meet. As I'm not going to build that area yet, we'll save that map for a few updates down.




I love the paper maps.  I used to draw huge freeway interchanges (9 or 10 divided highways converging on the same point).  Used to have a whole sheaf of them- I've misplaced it along the way but will keep my eye out...

I-85 appears to have immediately attracted the following that I expected.  Everytime I've buzzed through here in the past little bit you've had folks looking at it.

Have a great day- watching for more!

D. Edgren

Please call me David...

Three Rivers Region- A collaborative development of the SC4 community
The 3RR Quick Finder [linkie]

I aten't dead.  —  R.I.P. Granny Weatherwax

Skype: davidredgren


The handwritten maps are just awesome.. so much detail in it  :thumbsup:   I cannot wait how this will look in "RL" after you did your thing in the game!
Check my MD:               


I love the hand-drawn maps, Aaron. I've done a few of those myself, but always ended up throwing them out in disgust! You, however, have been able to take your vision and transplant it into the game! Great job!


Quotezniehadajet - Hope to see you around both Travels Down I-85 as well as the rest of SC4D.

amen to that, my man. i try to visit all the MDs i can in a day and yours has been a treat. your dedication with the hand drawn maps and careful planning have got me hooked. in my brief experiences with suburbs in the States, i believe your MD is realistic... and that's good. would love to see more. hope you get internet access during the break. see you around


Pickled those hand drawn maps are awsome i so like them, great work looking forward to coming back soon - pat

Don't forget the SC4D Podcast is back and live on Saturdays @ 12 noon CST!! -- The Podcast soon to Return Here Linkie


wonderful regions and great maps! Also fantastic pictures and great work! :thumbsup: &apls