Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Your Favorite Interstate Exits: I-70 in Maryland & Pennsylvania

English: One of several monuments at the tempo...
English: One of several monuments at the temporary memorial names the passengers and crew killed when Flight 93 crashed in Shanksville, Pa. fromhttp://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=15039 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Interstate 70 is one highway that I can say I have traveled every mile in both directions. I-70, which begins outside Baltimore just east of its juncture with I-695, travels through beautiful forests and mountainous areas. Frederick and Hagerstown are linked to Baltimore by this interstate.

At Hancock, Interstate 70 turns north and enters Pennsylvania. At Breezewood it merges with I-76 as part of the Pennsylvania Turnpike though Somerset until Exit 75 where it leaves the turnpike and continues its journey west south of Pittsburgh and through Washington. Attractions near this interstate include the Laurel Caverns, Ohiopyle Falls and the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, which is open, but still under construction.

Please share with other drivers your experiences as to which exits are best for single travelers or anyone for that matter. Reasons for the choice may include the safety of the surrounding area, the availability of good hotels and restaurants or proximity to the interstate. Please make sure to give the exit number or a description of the location. For example, when I discuss I-40, I would recommend Exit 145 in Oklahoma City. Many hotels and restaurants were located at this exit and I felt safe in the area. This exit was very convenient for easily continuing west without the hassle of dealing with early morning rush hour traffic.


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Friday, April 26, 2013

Your Favorite Interstate Exits: I-69 in Michigan & Indiana

Photo of 2nd Blue Water Bridge From the U.S. D...
Photo of 2nd Blue Water Bridge From the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration Excellence in Highway Design 1998 Biennial Awards (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Interstate 69 begins in Michigan in Port Huron at the Blue Water Bridge and travels west to Flint and Lansing before it  turns south and goes through Coldwater. In Indiana I-69 travels on a diagonal through Fort Wayne and to the west of Muncie and east of Anderson before ending  at I-465 in Indianapolis. Attractions near this highway include Lake Huron and its many activities and Chain O' Lakes northwest of Fort Wayne.

Please share with other drivers your experiences as to which exits are best for single travelers or anyone for that matter. Reasons for the choice may include the safety of the surrounding area, the availability of good hotels and restaurants or proximity to the interstate. Please make sure to give the exit number or a description of the location. For example, when I discuss I-40, I would recommend Exit 145 in Oklahoma City. Many hotels and restaurants were located at this exit and I felt safe in the area. This exit was very convenient for easily continuing west without the hassle of dealing with early morning rush hour traffic.


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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Travel Tales: Days Two and Three of LA to Akron 2013

After eleven hours of sleep at the Sandia Peak Inn Motel, I was thoroughly rested and ready to continue my journey. I was bothered by the fact that the weather forecast had changed and now rain was expected for almost all of the third day. That meant I would have rain from St. Louis to Akron and I was not happy about it.

This was another beautiful day. I did not get on the road until 8:30 because I took my time leaving the motel. When I travel, I keep the car clock on Eastern time. I rely on the cell phone to give me the accurate time for the particular area. This is handy especially when some areas do not observe Daylight Savings Time. Today's book on cd was Goodnight Nobody. Once again this was a light-hearted book that was okay to pass the time on a long-distance trip. When I finished the book, I decided to just listen to music for the rest of the day.

The miles went by quickly. I got gas in Amarillo and Oklahoma City. The shocking aspect of driving this section was to see the damage the drought has done in this area. I used the turnpike bypass around OKC since it was rush hour. Darkness fell while I was driving the Oklahoma Turnpike. I told myself I would stop when I got tired.

On Day Three I drove through St. Louis in the early morning darkness. I do not like to take the bypass in St. Louis or in Indianapolis, but it is necessary to do so during rush hour. I got gas in Effingham and was not in the least bit tired.

I had forgotten that when I drove west in November, I noticed a lot of construction on I-70E. If I had driven through this section during the daylight, I would have had considerable delays, so I was happy to travel it before the workday began.

Finally I crossed the Ohio state line and got gas one last time on I-70, but I regretted doing that when I noticed the gas was cheaper north of Columbus on I-71 where I usually stop for it. I will keep that in mind for the next trip. Fortunately, I did not encounter any rain. I arrived home safely on a sunny afternoon. I like to arrive during daylight because I have time to handle any situation that needs my attention. I made the right decision to leave when I did. The weather since my trip has produced severe weather in the central United States and I do not know when I would have had such clear weather. As always, I am so relieved and blessed to complete another safe trip!!

(Photos taken in 2013)


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Friday, April 19, 2013

Your Favorite Interstate Exits: I-68 In Maryland & West Virginia

I was unfamiliar with Interstate 68 until six months ago. This highway, measuring 112.6 miles, is a beautiful interstate and a great alternative to driving the Pennsylvania Turnpike. I-68, which provides scenic views of the Savage River State Forest and Green Ridge State Forest in Maryland,  joins Cumberland and Frostburg in Maryland with Morgantown in West Virginia. In addition to the amazing forests and mountains along I-68 is the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park.


Please share with other drivers your experiences as to which exits are best for single travelers or anyone for that matter. Reasons for the choice may include the safety of the surrounding area, the availability of good hotels and restaurants or proximity to the interstate. Please make sure to give the exit number or a description of the location. For example, when I discuss I-40, I would recommend Exit 145 in Oklahoma City. Many hotels and restaurants were located at this exit and I felt safe in the area. This exit was very convenient for easily continuing west without the hassle of dealing with early morning rush hour traffic.

(Photo taken in 2012)


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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Travel Tales: Sandia Peak Inn Motel

As I have mentioned several times on this blog, I have never had luck in finding a place to stay in Albuquerque. I will go to Gallup if I am traveling west or Amarillo if I am traveling east. This time I thought it would be a good idea to try again to find a nice place to stay. I spent time on TripAdvisor and noticed one motel that was highly rated but was not part of a corporate chain. I remembered seeing coupons for this place in the Hotel Discount Coupon books. Usually I like to stay in a hotel with interior corridors, but I thought I would make an exception.

The first thing I noticed when I pulled onto the property of the Sandia Peak Inn Motel was how clean everything was. Even the trash cans were so clean, they looked brand new. The building was painted in bright colors and had a unique personality. I had always joked with people that my dream would be to find a place to stay that had a fence around the parking lot that could close at night. This place had it!


Then I encountered the most amazing aspect of the Sandia Peak Inn Motel - its owner Kay. She took me on a tour of the various options for rooms and made sure I was happy with my choice. She also made sure I was properly settled and had everything I needed. From the very beginning I felt like I had known her all my life. She treated me like I was part of her family. The next morning when I came to breakfast, she gave me a hug and wanted to know if I had been comfortable in the room.

The room was great. The bed was so comfortable that I slept for eleven hours!! Usually when I stay at a hotel, I want to get on my way and leave very early, but not that morning. A couple who worked with Kay on the upkeep of the motel stopped me as I walked by them to see if I had enjoyed my stay and even offered to help me with my bags. We watched six hot air balloons fly by as we talked on the hotel balcony. I actually considered staying here an extra day, but I could not press my luck with the weather.

When I returned to Ohio, I went back on TripAdvisor and this time read the reviews for the Sandia Peak Inn Motel. They were really interesting. Kay's kindness to travelers is well known. The reviews contained many examples of how helpful Kay is to her guests. (Notice I said guests and not customers!)

I look forward to staying at the Sandia Peak Inn Motel again and again and again. Thanks for everything, Kay!!!!!

(Photo taken in 2013)

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Friday, April 12, 2013

Your Favorite Interstate Exits: I-66 in Virginia


Interstate 66, which is just over 76 miles long, begins in the District of Columbia and ends at Interstate 81 in Virginia. This is Interstate 66, not the famous Route 66 which is further west. This highway joins Washington, D.C. with Falls Church and Front Royal. Shenandoah National Park, the Skyline Caverns, the Manassas National Battlefield Park, the National Firearms Museum and Arlington National Cemetery with the Tomb of the Unknowns are connected by this interstate. Motorists should be aware that traffic can be a nightmare during rush hour on this Interstate 66.

Please share with other drivers your experiences as to which exits are best for single travelers or anyone for that matter. Reasons for the choice may include the safety of the surrounding area, the availability of good hotels and restaurants or proximity to the interstate. Please make sure to give the exit number or a description of the location. For example, when I discuss I-40, I would recommend Exit 145 in Oklahoma City. Many hotels and restaurants were located at this exit and I felt safe in the area. This exit was very convenient for easily continuing west without the hassle of dealing with early morning rush hour traffic.

(Photo taken in 2012)


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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Travel Tales: Day One of LA to Akron 2013

After watching the Weekly Planner on the Weather Channel, I finally saw my window of opportunity. After weeks of blizzards I had an opening of four clear days to make the trip to Akron. My daughter had flown in to LA for a week and would leave on a Monday night. After her departure I closed down her apartment and went to bed at midnight. After a fitful sleep I decided at 3:30 to start packing the car. At 4:30 I got on the road so I could avoid the LA rush traffic, but I was tired.

Tuesday was a beautiful cloudless day. The book on cd for that day was Certain Girls, which was a light-hearted story that was fine to pass the time. The weather was really windy, but I stopped several times to take photos of the Mojave Desert in the morning light.

Two things made this an incredible day for driving. The first was the Mojave Desert. I love the beauty of this place and driving through it is the favorite part of my trip. The second aspect was the fact that I can drive 75 mph. I can travel a long way at that speed.

By driving this section in the morning I avoided the heat of the desert in the afternoon. I also avoided any construction that would be happening on the interstate.

After hours of looking at the sand of the desert I enjoyed seeing the green of the pine trees near Flagstaff. The San Francisco Peaks, the highest mountain range in Arizona, are near the town and this year they were covered with snow.



I was coming into Albuquerque at rush hour....as always. Since I was tired, I decided to try once again to try to find a place to stay that I would like. On TripAdvisor I saw a highly rated place - Sandia Peak Motel. Even though I did not read the reviews themselves, I decided to stay there for the night.

(Photos taken in 2013)
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Friday, April 5, 2013

Your Favorite Interstate Exits: I-65 in Alabama

English: Mostly manned rockets on display outd...
English: Mostly manned rockets on display outdoors within the United States Space & Rocket Center. Saturn I at left.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Interstate 65 completes its journey south in the state of Alabama. I-65 cuts down the middle of the state joining the cities of Decatur, Birmingham and Montgomery with Mobile where the highway has its junction with I-10. Other interstates intersected by I-65 include I-20, I-59 and I-85. Attractions along the way include the Cathedral Caverns, the Natural Bridge, The U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, the Gulf Islands National Seashore and numerous memorials to the Civil Rights movement.

Please share with other drivers your experiences as to which exits are best for single travelers or anyone for that matter. Reasons for the choice may include the safety of the surrounding area, the availability of good hotels and restaurants or proximity to the interstate. Please make sure to give the exit number or a description of the location. For example, when I discuss I-40, I would recommend Exit 145 in Oklahoma City. Many hotels and restaurants were located at this exit and I felt safe in the area. This exit was very convenient for easily continuing west without the hassle of dealing with early morning rush hour traffic.


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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

On the Road: Rush Hour on the Interstate

Evening Rush Hour
Evening Rush Hour (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When I plan my trip, I take into account the rush hour traffic of the cities I encounter. For some major cities the traffic problems begin around 3:30-4:00 in the afternoon and continue until 7:00. Even when I use the bypass, I still encounter traffic back-ups that are time-consuming. For example, I know if I leave my house at 6:00 in the morning, I will encounter rush hour traffic in Columbus, so I will leave earlier or later to avoid that situation. The last thing I want to do is spend my time sitting in traffic when I want to get to a destination that is hundreds of miles away.

Since my trip takes 2 1/2 to 3 days to complete, I also take care in determining my departure time on day two and day three. Whether I am traveling east or west, I always have the misfortune of hitting rush hour in Albuquerque! Someday I will figure out that one!!

I also keep the rush hour problems in mind when I am choosing a hotel. If I am heading west, I stay on the west side of town. That way I can quickly depart in the morning and not worry about sitting in traffic. I feel a little planning will help to avoid the kind of frustration that rush hour traffic brings with it.
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