Many years ago, during the 1950s, I owned and operated a Ford dump truck and hired on to help move US 101 from a hillside route down to the Oregon beach. The road we were replacing climbed a steep and crooked grade over Humbug Mountain. At the summit sat a restaurant that offered a view of the Pacific from an altitude of about three-thousand feet. I always made a point of having lunch there.
One day I met the owner, the aging fellow who had built this fine place. He told me he built it prior to the Great Depression, many years before the advent of heavy construction equipment.
He explained how a small steam shovel was brought into play, digging out the original US 101 right-of-way, which was gravel, of course. After cutting the fir and cedar trees blocking their way, they used cables to anchor the shovel to the stumps to keep it from tumbling into the ocean. Of course, wood and water had to be brought up Humbug Mountain in order to keep this shovel working.
Before the summer was over the new route was opened, leaving behind a slow, crooked road leading to this fine restaurant and the small village.
Though the new route was smoother and straighter, the progress left us all a bit poorer.