Reasons I love the Interstate

Reasons I Love the Interstate

I love the expressway and interstate highways. That’s probably not a statement you hear from many road trip travelers. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m all about the back roads and the local places and finding the neat little points of inspiration. However, there’s something about the expressway and the speed of getting to where I’m going that excites me.

 

I know.

 

I know.

 

It’s miles and miles of strip malls and chain restaurants and what have you.

 

But it’s the organization of the expressway that excites me. Did you know that all the interstates going east to west are even numbers and all of them going north to south are odd numbers. The major expressways  traversing the country are 2-digits ending in 0 or 5. Numerically it’s also organized west to east and south to north. For example, I-5 goes through California while I-95 travels the Eastern Seaboard. I-10 goes from the Atlantic Ocean in Jacksonville, Florida to the Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica. What a road trip that would be!

Who’s still with me? I know I geeked out a little bit there. (For more geekiness over the interstate, read the wikipedia article.)

The other thing I like about the expressways is the mile markers. These also count up south to north or west to east, within the state. Cross state lines and it starts all over. Again, is just something about the organization the excitement of counting off the miles until I get to my exit or the next state. That is why I love the interstate.

Scenery on the Interstate

So you might say there’s nothing to look at through miles of endless asphalt, but I beg to differ. Some of my favorite views occurred on the interstate. Two years ago I drove through North Carolina to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. There’s a part of the interstate there called the snake. It’s a bit hair-brained for the first time, but the views were incredible. I wish I had stopped to take pictures here, but we were late and needed to keep going. We haven’t driven out west yet, but I imagine the feeling is just as awe-inspiring.

Tennessee Interstate Snake Highway

 

Another of my favorite views might seem a bit oddball. Ordinarily, I hate driving through Indiana (sorry Hoosiers!) It’s flat, it’s farmland, it’s sameness and did I mention flat? But there’s a spot just north of Indianapolis that is full of industrial  size windmills. I love this for so many reasons. One because, hey, it’s amazing for the environment. Two, it’s just a very cool way to break up the flatness that is Indiana.

Indiana Interstate windmillsIndiana Interstate Windmills

Welcome Centers

I also get a little geeked out about the Welcome Centers on the interstate. Depending on which state you enter, they may not be more than glorified rest stops (which are still better than a gas station any day.) But other welcome centers may be full on attractions in themselves. (Hey, Florida offers free juice!) I like to stop and take pictures by the signs, which is definitely safer than pulling over to the side of the road. But I also like to grab some reading materials. You know those racks of brochures full of tourist attractions. Sometimes you can find hidden gems you may not have known about or even coupons or discount codes enticing you to visit. I’ll admit half the time I don’t go to the places I grab, but they still provide me a little bit of insight into the area and items to add to my wanderlust list.

North Carolina Welcome Center South Carolina Welcome Sign

 

 DOT200Here’s the DOT –

There’s more I could say about the interstate system, but I think I’ve gone on long enough. For more road trip ideas, hacks and things for kids to do on the road, check out my Pinterest Road Trip Board.

What about you? Do you have a love affair with the interstate?

Reasons I love the Interstate

 

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Reasons I love the Interstate

Comments

  1. This is awesome! Love traveling the interstate highway. My family and I do it several times from Colorado to New York.

  2. I love road trips! I have driven all over the country and back again. My most recent sojourn was from Denver to Miami. Like you, I love watching the mile markers go down, letting me know how close I am to the next state. And there’s something blissfully amazing about getting fast food at, as you call them, the glorified rest stops. Thanks for reigniting my road trip bug!

    1. Author

      Denver to Miami had to be quite a haul! We did Orlando to Oklahoma once and that was fun crossing the Mississippi for the first time.

  3. I SO get this post, Tonya! I bet your explanation about the “numbering” makes our system make more sense to lots of people. We’ve met quite a few Europeans who tell us their favorite things about US travel are the amazing national parks and clean rest areas 🙂 On a road trip thru Texas (from Colorado) right now and smiling at your story.

    As much as we love to explore the back roads and smaller towns, having our interstate system makes our country so accessible!

    1. Author

      Sheila it’s so nice to hear I’m not alone in my geekiness about the numbers. Good to hear too about the Europeans liking our highways. As they say, see the USA in a Chevrolet! It’s a very American thing to take a road trip!

  4. Love this! Being in Canada I haven’t done a lot of Interstate driving, but finding hidden gems when you least expect them are always the best! Hopefully once the Canadian dollar rebounds a bit I can plan for a few trips to do some interstate exploring. Great post!

    1. Author

      Which side of Canada are you on? I would imagine there’s some great road trips traversing your country as well! I hope to get up to Calgary when we do a Western Road Trip possibly next year.

  5. Love this post. I have never stopped at a Welcome Centers. Now I need to do it!

  6. I hadn’t really thought about the interstate until this post. My kids love stopping at all the welcome centres on road trips! Interesting perspective.

  7. I have to say that, being from Europe, I usually love to drive through little villages and some little paths than only the big roads, but if I ever lived in the US, who knows?

    1. Author

      I agree with you Michaela, but sometimes here it’s so expansive, I just want to get to where I’m going! 🙂 I would love to meander through the villages near you, I’m sure!

  8. Great post, I have never driven on the interstate but saving up to ride from one coast to the other so will hopefully experience it soon!

    1. Author

      Sarah that would be a dream for me too. I would have to do a circle trip as there’s so much to see both north and south!

  9. It’s my dream to do a roadtrip of the States – Ilove this article! Sharing it to my Travel Pinterest board 🙂

  10. Hey, thanks for introducing a part of traveling in the US. It was really interesting for me since I have never been there (yet :).

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