Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Spurs, Bypasses and Beltways: Ohio for Akron, Cincinnati and Cleveland

English: Blue Hen Falls in the Cuyahoga Valley...
English: Blue Hen Falls in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Ohio has twelve auxiliary highways divided among five interstates. In Akron Interstate 76 joins Interstate 77 for their journey together through the city. Before those two highways join, Interstate 277 leaves I-77 south of Akron from Exit 122 and travels west to join I-76 at Exit 18. Those drivers who wish to avoid any traffic in Akron can use the four miles of I-277 as an alternate route. In Cincinnati the 84 miles of Interstate 275 provide the beltway for the city. This interstate also travels to Kentucky and Indiana. The eastern side of the beltway is shorter; however, taking I-74, I-75 or I-71 during slow traffic times provides the faster route. Also in Cincinnati is Interstate 471 which uses its six miles to join I-71 to I-275. After leaving I-71 this highway crosses the Ohio River and travels into Kentucky.

Cleveland has three major highways traveling in a north-south direction. On the western side of the city is I-71. To the east of that road is I-77 which runs down the center of the city. East of those two highways is Interstate 271. The 40 miles of I-271 connect I-71 in Medina with I-90 in Willoughby. This interstate has a special feature for those driving through the area who do not wish to use any exit. Express lanes are the left lanes of each side as the highway travels through Cleveland. Drivers who utilize these lanes do not have to be bothered with the many vehicles coming on the road. Interstate 480 provides an east-west route along the southern part of Cleveland and its suburbs. Beginning at I-80, which is the Ohio Turnpike near Streetsboro, I-480 travels 42 miles and ends at I-80 which is the Ohio Turnpike near North Ridgeville.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

On the Road: Respect the Heat

On my trips to California I travel through the Mojave Desert and that is my favorite section of the trip. I try to travel through the desert early in the day because I do not want my poor Civic to have to work harder than it already has to do. Also the Mojave section of the trip west comes at the end of a cross country journey and I am unwilling to push the car more than is necessary.

Although driving through the desert is rough on the car, the experience can also have adverse effects the person driving the car. I try to be prepared for the heat. I dress in layers for the Mojave because I depart in the morning from Flagstaff which sometimes has snow on the ground. Even though I carry a lot of water in the car, I always stop to get some large cold bottles before I enter the desert. Since I get so dehydrated, I consume all the water by the time I get to Barstow.

As prepared as I am for this section of my journey, I do not exhibit such caution in regular life situations and I need to be better about that. I really try to keep hydrated, but sometimes I get caught up in projects and forget to have a drink. To solve this, I have taken to having bottles of diet green tea in the trunk of my car at all times. I prefer to drink cold tea, but if the bottle gets warm in the trunk, I can handle drinking warm tea better than I can handle drinking warm water. I also try to carry an energy bar with me. Sometimes I get involved in errands and forget to eat lunch. The bar is in my purse in case I need a small snack.

(Photo credit:

A couple months ago I was mowing the lawn and decided not to use the riding mower. I wanted to get some exercise and the breeze was nice. Near the end of the hour that I spent mowing I started to get sick and I could not imagine what was happening. My neighbor thought it might be heat exhaustion. When I researched the topic on the internet, I found my symptoms matched those for heat exhaustion. I forgot about that condition. I was prepared for the Mojave, but not for my own back yard!! The physical effects of dehydration and heat exhaustion are not limited to desert areas. These conditions can affect anyone at anytime if the person is not careful.

As I have mentioned many times, I also suffer from migraines related to glancing at the glare on the chrome of cars. That is the only time I ever get a headache. After I wrote my last entry about migraines, I received a message from a woman who told me the name of that type of headache is an ocular migraine. No doctor had ever given me that term in all these years! She told me where she found the information, so I will include a link to Healthline for those who are interested.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Spurs, Bypasses and Beltways: North Carolina

(Photo credit:
Interstate 40 in North Carolina has five auxiliary highways. Interstate 140 is seven miles long and is located in Wilmington. It connects US 17 to I-40. In Asheville Interstate 240 uses its nine miles to provide an alternate route through the city. I-240, which departs I-40 at Exit 46 and rejoins it at Exit 53, runs north of I-40.  Interstate 440 encircles most of Raleigh to form a bypass. It leaves I-40 near Cary and rejoins it in Raleigh after a trip of 16 miles. Interstate 40 forms the southern part of this circle. Running north of I-440 is the half circle of Interstate 540. It departs I-40 at Exit 283 and runs to the north and then to the east for 26 miles before joining US 64 at Knightdale. Almost six miles in length, Interstate 840, running in a north-south direction, joins I-40/I73 with I-40/I-85 in Greensboro.

Joining Interstate 85 in Charlotte with NC 115 in Huntersville is Interstate 485. This highway of 62 miles does not form a complete circle around Charlotte. It does not cover the northern section. Interstate 785 is just over two miles long and joins I-40 to US 70 in Greensboro. Leaving I-95 and traveling west is Interstate 295. It departs I-95 at Exit 58 and runs west to US 401. Interstate 495 is four miles long and joins I-440 in Raleigh to I-540 near Knightdale. Finally, Interstate 795, which is just over 25 miles long, connects US 70 in Goldsboro to I-95/US 264 in Wilson.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

On the Road: Stay Connected

People always ask me if I get lonely while I am driving by myself for 2500 miles. Oddly enough, I never have. I listen to music most of the time. When I stop for the night, I spend my time at the hotel in several ways.  I call people to let them know I have arrived safely at that day's destination. In addition, I check the internet to find out what I have missed in the news and just relax after a long drive. I am so connected to friends that I feel like they are with me.

I always take my laptop and my iPad with me when I travel. Plenty of places that have free Wi-Fi post a sign so travelers will know that it is available. When I am on the road, I do not take the time to stop during the day to try and find a signal. Since most hotels have free Wi-Fi, I check my computer when I stop for the night. When they need to contact me during the day, people usually call.

(Photo credit:

When I travel, I take my Mac so I can work on the blog and send email. I also have an iPad and use that for my HBO Go, books and games. I still take my Kindle because I can use it to read in the sun and at the beach. I would never leave any of them at home. Staying connected not only keeps me in contact with people, it also provides a valuable resource for me in researching my surroundings. For example, if I am not feeling well and need to figure what the problem is, I look up my symptoms on sites like Healthline or Livestrong. I also utilize sites like TripAdvisor to read the reviews of hotels I am considering. Google Maps lets me view areas where I want to walk, hike or shop.

I also have a smartphone, so I can use that if I need to check anything online when I stop for gas. When I first got an iPhone and was making a trip years ago, I did not have a car charger for the phone because Apple had not released them yet for that model. Fortunately, USA Today had an article about what to do with an old smart phone and offered a great suggestion. Since any old cell phone is capable of making 911 calls, I took my old phone and its charger with me. If I had been in an emergency situation, all I would have had to do is plug in the old cell and call 911 if my iPhone ran out of juice. Since my trip, Apple has now released the car charger, but I will still have the old cell phone with me on trips just in case.

(Photo taken in 2014)