Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Spurs, Bypasses and Beltways: New Hampshire and New Jersey

English: A view of the city of Manchester, New...
English: A view of the city of Manchester, New Hampshire when traveling southbound on I-293 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When it journeys south in New Hampshire, Interstate 93 veers to the east to travel on the east side of Manchester and then returns to its original path. Taking its place for 12 miles is Interstate 293. This highway is part of the F. E. Everett Turnpike. When it becomes I-293, the turnpike does not have a toll. Interstate 393 is in Concord and its five miles connects I-93 with NH 9 in Pembroke.

In New Jersey three auxiliaries for three main interstates are located in the Newark area. Interstate 278 begins its journey east in Linden, New Jersey. It travels 35.6 miles to the Bronx, New York. The 18 miles of Interstate 280 run from I-80 east to I-95 and the Jersey Turnpike near Newark. Forming a partial beltway around New York City is Interstate 287. It begins at I-95 in Edison, New Jersey and travels 98 miles to I-95 in Rye, New York.

Interstate 195 travels across the state of New Jersey. This highway begins at I-295 near White Horse and runs east for 98 miles before ending at Route 34. The final auxiliary is Interstate 295 which begins at I-95 and US 1 and ends in Delaware in New Castle at I-95 and I-495. The length of this highway is 73.50 miles.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Travel Tales: Shopping in West San Fernando Valley

This year I had the opportunity to stay in the west San Fernando Valley. I used to shop in this area about once every six weeks when I stayed in Burbank, but now I had the opportunity to really explore it. The main mall in this area is Westfield Topanga which is a double-decker mall in Canoga Park that went through a major renovation about six years ago. Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Macy's and Target anchor the complex. Also located conveniently across the street is a Nordstrom Rack. When future expansion plans for this complex to link to others are completed, Topanga will be the largest mall area in California.

(Photo Credit: memyselfandtheinterstate.com)

Traveling west on Victory away from this mall, shoppers will encounter the Fallbrook shopping area. This is not as fancy as the mall, but it does have probably the largest TJ Maxx in the Valley. Trader Joe's, Kohl's, Ulta, Walmart, Burlington, Home Depot and Target are also located in this complex. Home Goods is located across the street.

One of the cool aspects of the Woodland Hills side of the Valley is that Goodwill has taken their considerable number of books and put them in stores devoted entirely to books, cds and dvds. Three of these stores are located near the mall. The best of these is at 6415 Platt at the intersection of Platt and Victory. Travel west on Victory away from the mall. At the intersection of Platt, drive through the intersection and turn into the small plaza on the corner. The store is nicely designed and organized as a small bookstore and is a delight for shopping for books.

For those who desire an outlet mall experience, drive west through Calabasas and Thousand Oaks on the 101. Get off on the Las Posas Road exit and turn left and go over the bridge. At Ventura take a right and the Camarillo Premium Outlet buildings will be on the right. We always park at the newer section that has the Neiman Marcus Outlet and walk over to the older section. On a crowded day the older section which is designed like a figure eight is a nightmare for parking.

Ventura Blvd. has many unique shops along its entire length. Major stores like Marshall's are also located on Ventura. The T.J. Maxx in Tarzana is in a great complex with Whole Foods and has a convenient parking deck with free parking in the back.

Driving south on Topanga as it winds its way to the Pacific, one will encounter some small and unusual shops in the canyon. Topanga ends at Pacific Coast Highway and vacationers can visit the many shops in Malibu and along the coast.

(Photo taken in 2014 in Santa Monica Mountains)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Spurs, Bypasses and Beltways: Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska and Nevada

The Missouri River at Omaha, Nebraska, USA Pho...
The Missouri River at Omaha, Nebraska, USA Photo by Scott Redd (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Mississippi has two short auxiliary highways. Interstate 110 uses its four miles to connect Interstate 10 to Biloxi. In Jackson Interstate 220 leaves I-20 at Exit 41 and travels north for 12 miles to I-55 at Exit 104.

Interstate 115 in Montana is just over one mile in length and joins I-15/I-90 to Iron Street in Butte. Connecting I-15 to Business I-15/US 89 is the mile of Interstate 315 in Great Falls.

The three auxiliaries of Interstate 80 are in Nebraska. Just over three miles of Interstate 180 depart I-80 at Exit 401 and travel south to Lincoln. Interstate 480 leaves I-80 at Exit 452 in Omaha and travels north and then east for five miles to end at I-29 in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The longest of these three is Interstate 680. It leaves I-80 in Omaha at Exit 446 and travels north and then east for 43 miles before crossing the Missouri River and ending at Exit 61 on I-29 in Iowa.

The Las Vegas area has the two auxiliaries of Interstate 15. Joining I-15 at Exit 34 in Paradise with I-515 at Exit 61 in Henderson is the 13 miles of Interstate 215. It travels in an east-west direction. The 21 miles of Interstate 515 connect US 93 in Henderson with I-15 in Las Vegas.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Travel Tales: Shopping around the East San Fernando Valley area

For the last ten years, I have been staying in Burbank or Los Angeles when I vacation in California, so I have done a lot of shopping in the eastern San Fernando Valley area. Other travelers always ask me where to shop to save money, so I thought I would provide a quick guide.

I shop at three places for groceries. First is Trader Joe's on Riverside in Toluca Lake. The parking lot is small, so I park on Forman, which is the next street to the west. This grocery store is within walking distance of the hotel where I stay and I get most of my food here. Another place where I buy groceries is Sam's Club. The best Sam's Club is located in Santa Clarita which is north of Burbank. It is right next to a WalMart SuperCenter. (Go north on the 5 and then take the 14. Get off on Golden Valley and turn left. Eventually it will be on the left.) The final place I get groceries is Target. The selection of groceries at the Targets in this area is much better than what we have in some of the  Targets in Ohio.

Santa Clarita (Photo Credit: memyselfandtheinterstate.com)

My main place to shop for most things I need is Target. Many locations are available in this area, but the one with the most beautiful view is located in Santa Clarita. (Use the same directions given above, but turn right at the Golden Valley exit. Target is in the shopping complex to the left.) The view of the mountains from the Target parking lot is amazing and benches are provided. The above photo was taken in that parking area. This is one of two Targets in the Santa Clarita area. In Burbank the Target is located in the Empire Center. This one is convenient, but also the most expensive one. A triple decker Target is located in the Glendale Galleria mall. Another store that is located at Victory and Vineland is not as crowded as some of the other Targets. Finally, a double decker Target is located on Van Nuys just north of the Burbank Blvd. exit on the 405.

Our favorite place for clothes is Nordstrom Rack, which is the outlet for Nordstrom. One is located at the Empire Center. Target, Lowe's, Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Nordstrom Rack, Best Buy, Ulta and Michael's are all located at the Empire Center and that is very convenient. One word of caution for this center is to expect problems with parking. Finding a spot can be nearly impossible on the weekends. Also the traffic in and around the area is heavy and slow on Saturday and Sunday.

Those in the mood for shopping at a mall should head for the Glendale Galleria. This mall has been recently renovated and is home to Bloomingdales, Macy's, Penny's and the triple decker Target. Across the street from the mall is the Americana. This upscale shopping area has a beautiful fountain with water that dances to the music and a trolley car that runs on a track around the area. Kate Spade, Nordstrom and Tiffany's are some of the stores in this beautiful complex. Shoppers pay for parking at the Americana, but parking is free at the Galleria which is just across the street.

I always make sure I check directions before I go shopping in any large city and travel at a time when I can avoid the heaviest traffic. I like to keep shopping as stress-free as possible, so I am willing to research the situation ahead of time.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Spurs, Bypasses and Beltways: Missouri

English: Aerial view of Kansas City, Kansas, l...
English: Aerial view of Kansas City, Kansas, looking southwest. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The auxiliary interstates in the state of Missouri are located in the St. Louis area and in the Kansas City area. Interstate 170 in St. Louis is just over 11 miles long and leaves I-270 at Exit 26A to travel south to I-64 in Richmond Heights.

Providing a bypass for St. Louis is Interstate 270. Interstate 70 dips south into St. Louis. Those drivers who are passing through the area and wish to avoid the city should travel I-270 which runs north of the city from Exit 232 on I-70 in Missouri to Exit 15 at I-70 in Illinois. That is not all for this highway. At Exit 232 I-270 also continues south completing its 51 miles at the juncture of I-55 and I-255 near Mehlville. Another highway that joins I-270 to complete a beltway around St. Louis is Interstate 255. It travels 31 miles from I-55/I-270 near Mehlville to I-270 near Pontoon Beach, Illinois.

Kansas City is crossed by many interstates in both Kansas and Missouri. Interstate 470 leaves I-70 at Exit 15 A/B and travels south and then west for 17 miles before ending at I-435. With less than three miles Interstate 670 joins I-70 in Kansas City, Missouri with Kansas City, Kansas to provide another route across the Kansas River near the Kemper Arena.  Interstate 635 is 13 miles long and connects I-35 with I-29. Forming the beltway around Kansas City in both Kansas and Missouri is Interstate 435 which is 81 miles in length. Finally, north of Kansas City Interstate 229  forms a 15-mile bypass for St. Joseph.