Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Travel Tales: One Little Change & Sunglasses

The time has come for me to make a decision about this blog. All the interstates with one or two digit numbers have been covered and those with three digits have sixteen posts left.

I have been posting twice a week since December 19, 2011. Although this blog is fun to do, it is also hard work. Since I hate to see the blog be completed by the end of December, I am going to make a change. Starting today, I will post on Tuesdays, but not on Fridays. That change will give me at least five additional months of posts.

(Photo Credit: memyselfandtheinterstate.com)
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When I buy sunglasses, I go to TJ Maxx or The Rack and pick up a pair I like. I also buy extra pairs of the same type since I wear sunglasses everyday. Over the years I had forgotten how important polarized sunglasses are especially when driving in the desert. When I went for my annual exam, the doctor suggested I wear the polarized type especially on my travels since they really cut down on glare. Glancing at shiny chrome triggers migraine headaches for me and that affects my vision. Although I am lucky I have learned the warning signs of a migraine, I still get nervous when those signs appear and I know I have about twenty minutes to eat a chocolate bar and take some Aleve. These sunglasses have really made a difference!!!

(Photo taken in 2014)

Friday, July 25, 2014

Spurs, Bypasses and Beltways: Maryland and Washington, D.C.

Interstate 95 is the main highway running through the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore area. Many auxiliary highways branch off I-95. In the Washington area Interstate 495 is the beltway around the city. This highway is 64 miles long and travels through Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. Traffic is this area is a nightmare at almost all times of the day. Drivers coming in on Interstate 270 will find taking the western side of the bypass to be the shorter option. Cutting across the eastern side of the Beltway is Interstate 295. This eight mile long highway stretches from Exit 2 of I-495/I-95 to I-695. Beginning at US 50 is Interstate 395 which travels for 13 miles to I-95 in Springfield, Virginia. Joining the Beltway north at Bethesda is Interstate 270 that travels 35 from I-70 at Frederick. This highway also has a spur of two miles by Bethesda. Finally, leaving I-270 and heading east for three miles is Interstate 370 which is located near Gaithersburg.

Jefferson Memorial (Photo Credit: memyselfandtheinterstate.com)

The beltway around Baltimore is Interstate 695. This highway of just over 51 miles connects outlying areas such as Carney, Towsen, Pikesville and Catonsville. Connecting Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport to I-95 is Interstate 195. This highway is five miles in length and ends near Catonsville. I-95 is linked to the Inner Harbor area by the two miles of Interstate 395. Joining the Baltimore Beltway to MD 140 in Reisterstown is Interstate 795 which is 9 miles long. Finally, at just over 11 miles, Interstate 895 joins I-95 at Elkridge with I-95 in Baltimore.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

On the Road: Defending Oneself

(Photo: memyselfandtheinterstate.com)
Fortunately, I have never been attacked while traveling, but many have been. In the past I have not carried a weapon of any kind and maybe that was foolish. The following are examples of what steps other travelers I have met on the road have taken to protect themselves.

One man kept a heavy pipe under his seat. He figured if anyone bothered him, he would use the pipe. If he were ever questioned by the police, he would just say he was just on the way to a hardware store to find pipe that was the same size as the one he had. He had never used the pipe, but it gave him peace of mind.

Many women carried pepper spray. Having the spray on their keychains made them feel they had a small chance against an attacker. They also felt that pepper spray was easily available to the public and thought they were well within the boundaries of the law to carry it.

Then I met the those individuals who felt it was necessary to carry a knife or a gun. I was getting my oil changed to return to Ohio last year and a casting agent was at the service station. We were talking about the recent incident of a woman being attacked at a nearby hotel in Los Angeles. The agent mentioned that she carried a gun in her purse. She thought I was foolish because I did not carry one especially since I drove cross country by myself. The woman had never used the gun, but having the gun in her car made her feel more secure.

Another guy from a small town in the South was scared to death to come to Los Angeles and had brought an arsenal of weapons with him. He was at the hotel pool bragging about how well prepared he was. I made it a point to steer clear of that guy!

This year I was once again having my car checked to drive back to Ohio. Another customer, who was a transpo driver in the entertainment industry, overheard the mechanic discussing my trip with me. He asked what I carried with me to defend myself. When I said I did not have anything, he insisted I get some pepper spray at the very least. He was genuinely concerned that I was unprepared to protect myself. His concern spurred me to action and I went to the store and bought pepper spray and a Swiss Army knife. Maybe I was foolish in the past, but now at least I have a little bit of protection. (By the way, the photo is not the best picture of the knife. I took this photo to show the knife and the beautiful flowers on my California guesthouse deck, but mainly to remind myself how great my nails looked on this last trip!)

(Photo taken in 2014)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Spurs, Bypasses and Beltways: Kentucky, Louisiana and Maine

Aerial view of Interstate 275 in the city of S...
Aerial view of Interstate 275 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The two of the three auxiliary highways in Kentucky are in Louisville. Interstate 264 is 23 miles long and links I-64 with I-71. I-264, which forms a loop around the south side of Louisville, is also known as the Georgia Davis Powers Expressway and the Henry Watterson Expressway. To the south of I-264 is Interstate 265. This highway, which is 24.48 miles long and connects I-65 with I-71, runs along the southern section of Louisville. It is also known as the Gene Snyder Expressway. The last route is Interstate 275. This highway of 82 miles is the beltway around Cincinnati, Ohio. The route of I-275 takes it to Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.

Interstate 220 in Louisiana is 18 miles in length and provides a bypass for traffic in Shreveport. It leaves I-20 at Exit 11 and travels north and east of I-20 before rejoining that interstate at Exit 26. Interstate 10 has several auxiliary highways. Interstate 110 is nine miles long and travels in a north-south direction. It begins at US 61 in Baton Rouge and runs south to I-10 joining it at Exit 155B. Providing a bypass of just over 12 miles in Lake Charles is Interstate 210. This highway travels south of I-10. Interstate 310, which is just over 11 miles long, begins at US 90 and ends at I-10 near Kenner. In New Orleans are several short highways that connect to I-10. Interstate 510, which is five miles long, connects LA 47 to I-10. At a length of just over four miles Interstate 610 provides an alternate route when I-10 dips to the south. Interstate 910 begins its journey of ten miles at US 90 Bus in Marrero and ends at I-10 in New Orleans.

Three of Maine's auxiliary highways are five miles or less each. Interstate 195 uses its two miles to connect I-95 to SR 5 in Saco. The five miles of Interstate 395 join I-95 to US 1 in Brewer. Interstate 495 is almost four miles and connects I-95 in Portland with I-295 in Falmouth. Finally, Interstate 295  provides an alternative to the Maine Turnpike. I-295 runs parallel to the southeast of the turnpike for 52 miles.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

On the Road: Love for the Honda Civic

Honda Civic
Honda Civic (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Driving cross country is not easy. I have to be vigilant about weather conditions, road conditions and the actions of other drivers. I really put my car through a lot. However, the real stress for my car begins when I arrive in the Los Angeles area. The question is will my Honda Civic return with me to Ohio?

One day this past winter it happened again. As I walked to my car, I noticed the note. I did not have to read it. I already knew what it said. The message was the same as all the other notes. The individual wanted to know if I would sell the Civic to him. I am grateful these people always respectfully ask to buy the car and they do not decide to steal it.

At first I was confused when I first got the notes. Why would anyone be interested in a Civic? I went from two Mustangs to a VW bug convertible to a minivan to an Explorer. After losing the Explorer in an accident, I wanted to get a more fuel efficient vehicle. The best cars at that time for that purpose were the Corolla and the Civic. I found a really good price on the Civic and the car had a sunroof which was important to me since our dog would be traveling with us. I remember when I bought the car that I was disappointed because the car seemed so plain. I wished it had been sportier looking, but at least I was saving money on gas. The hardest part of finding the car was getting a color other than white or silver, but after a lengthy search, I was successful in finding an extremely low mileage one in a nice color.

On every trip to California I would find notes on the car from people who wished to purchase the Civic. I could not understand why they would want it. When one person at my hotel saw me with my car, he asked if I minded if he drove it. Really? I hardly know you and you want me to just hand over the keys? He said he just wanted the opportunity to drive a Honda Civic on the highways in Los Angeles.

The notes and the requests happened so often that I decided to google to find out the attraction of the Civic....and there it was. The fans of The Fast and the Furious love the Honda Civic. Racing Civics is a big activity in California. I am glad I researched this because now I know if I need someone to shoot at a car behind me, all I have to do is open the sunroof for the passenger to fire. I also did not realize the Civic could fit under a semi. Learn something new everyday. Now I appreciate the coolness factor of the car.

I do want to point out that the Civic in the photo is not my car. My Civic has been an amazing car on my trips and I hope to keep it for several more years. Even though it is not a flashy car, the Civic is the best car I have ever owned. Over the years this car has saved me a lot of money on gas. On the highway I get 40 mpg. During the time I have owned this car, I have learned that the gas mileage is more important the the appearance of the car. My next car will also be as fuel efficient as possible. Someday I may decide to call the phone number on the next note that is left on the car. With my luck I feel fairly sure that when I finally decide to sell my car, no one will leave a note and I will just have to trade in the car!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Spurs, Bypasses and Beltways: Kansas

English: Exit 42 from the Kansas Turnpike. Esp...
English: Exit 42 from the Kansas Turnpike. EspaƱol: Salida 42 del Kansas Turnpike. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
All of the highways mentioned in this post are in the eastern half of Kansas. Interstate 70 has two auxiliaries. Interstate 470 is located in Topeka and has a length of almost 14 miles. It leaves I-70 at Exit 355 and dips south and then east to provide a route to the southern part of Topeka. It rejoins I-70 at Exit 183 as part of the Kansas Turnpike. Interstate 670 is a three mile long highway that links the Kansas City section in Kansas with the Kansas City section in Missouri. Also in Kansas City are two auxiliary highways for I-35. Interstate 435, which is the beltway around both sections of Kansas City, is 81 miles long. If the traffic is slow, taking the main interstate is the better option. Leaving I-29 in Missouri and traveling south for 13 miles is Interstate 635, which joins I-35 in Overland Park, Kansas.

Interstate 335 travels south from Topeka to Emporia. On the map I-35 appears to link the two cities; however, I-35 turns east at Emporia and continues to Kansas City. I-335 takes over the journey of 50 miles to Topeka. The major route between Salina and Wichita is Interstate 135 which runs north to south for 96 miles. It begins at I-70 in Salina and ends at the Kansas Turnpike (I-35) in Wichita. Finally, Interstate 235 runs along the western side of Wichita for just over 16 miles and then rejoins I-135.

Monday, July 7, 2014

On the Road: Prescriptions

(Photo credit: memyselfandtheinterstate.com)
Having medicines run out on a long trip can be a problem for travelers. My medicines are filled at the Target pharmacy. If I need a refill while I am on the road, I simply go to any Target pharmacy and give them the number on the prescription bottle. They will refill it without a problem. Be advised that the cost of the prescription may vary with the state. For example, one medicine I buy in Ohio is $10 for a three month supply. The same medicine is $24 in California. Nothing can be done about this. Check for details on the Target website before leaving on a trip.

Another reason why I get my medicines from Target is if I lose my medications or need another medication while I am on vacation, my doctor can call the local Target and since it is a national chain I can purchase that prescription at a Target near me.

If a traveler receives his medications through a mail order pharmacy, he should be sure to have them sent to a safe location. Some delivery services leave the package at the door when the person is not in the room. When I walk around town, I see packages left on porches and wonder if anyone ever steals them. At the hotel where I used to stay, guests had their packages stolen frequently. Be sure to make secure arrangements and know what the policy is if a hotel guest or tenant is not present to receive the package.

(Photo taken in 2014)

Friday, July 4, 2014

Spurs, Bypasses and Beltways: Indiana and Iowa

Interstate 80, western Iowa.
Interstate 80, western Iowa. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Interstate 65 has three auxiliary highways in Indiana. Interstate 265, which leaves I-64 and travels 32 miles east crosses I-65 to SR 62. I-265 is north of Louisville, Kentucky. Interstate 465 is the 53 mile long beltway around Indianapolis. For the I-70 travelers, the northern part of this bypass is the longest. The western side is shortest for I-65 drivers. I-70 and I-65 seem to form an "X" across Indianapolis. Although taking the bypass is a good choice for drivers on either of those two interstates during rush hour, driving on the main interstates during slow traffic times is the faster option. At the northwest corner of I-465 is Interstate 865. This highway of five miles links the bypass to I-65. In the southwest corner of the state is Interstate 164 which departs I-64 at Exit 29 and heads south for just over 21 miles into Evansville. The last highway is Interstate 469 which curves to the east of I-69 to form a half circle of 31 miles around Fort Wayne.

Three of the auxiliary highways in Iowa are connected to Interstate 80. Having its beginning in Illinois, Interstate 280 forms the western and southern interstate routes around the Quad Cities. It leaves I-80 at Exit 290 and travels south and then east across the Mississippi River into Illinois where it ends at I-80 outside Colona. Interstate 380 begins near Waterloo and travels south for 73 miles until ending at I-80 near Iowa City. Two highways have their beginnings in Iowa, but end in Nebraska. Interstate 480 is less than five miles long and leaves I-80 in Omaha, crosses the Missouri River into Iowa and ends at I-29 in Council Bluffs. North of that is Interstate 680 which forms an alternate route around Omaha to the west and north. Exit 446 is the departure point from I-80 in Nebraska and Exit 61 on I-29 in Iowa is where the 43 miles of this highway end. The last is Interstate 235 which provides a route through Des Moines of 14 miles. Exit 123 on I-35 is the beginning of this run and Exit 138 on I-80 is the end.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

On the Road: RVs and Campers

English: Caravan of Heartland Bighorns on the ...
English: Caravan of Heartland Bighorns on the way to the Summer 2009 Oregon Rally in Winchester, OR. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The most knowledgeable people of the interstates are the RV campers and truckers. I have learned so much from them! Never has there been a time that I have regretted asking any of these people for advice or information while I travel. They have always been kind and helpful.

These experienced travelers know the camping areas, but they are also familiar with the hotels, so do not be afraid to ask them questions. They are also knowledgeable about the best restaurants and gas stations. I always make sure that when I am asking someone I do not know a question, I do it in a place where many other people are - like a rest area during the day or a travel center. I never talk to people when it is on a one-to-one basis or at night.

When I am unsure of which route would be the best one for me to drive on a trip, I search the internet for the message boards for RV drivers, who have to tow a large load along the roads. The travelers who post on the message boards will give their experiences and difficulties with certain interstates. These drivers describe the conditions of the road and the difficulties of hauling trailers up the mountains on certain highways. A map or atlas will show the direction of the routes, but not the challenges those roads present to drivers. Some of the message boards will debate topics such as whether I-70, I-80 or I-90 is the best way west for the northern route. These boards are an interesting source of information for drivers of any type of vehicle.