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.
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.
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.
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.
Here’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?