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Author Topic: If You Had to Stick to Interstates Between Two Metro Areas...  (Read 2790 times)

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Re: If You Had to Stick to Interstates Between Two Metro Areas...
« Reply #25 on: January 11, 2022, 11:29:36 AM »

For some reason, I actually don't mind I-84 from Boise to Salt Lake City too much, even though on paper it's boring. Boise to Mountain Home is probably the worst part. I don't drive to the east as often though, I may feel different if I drove both directions equally often.

I actually really like I-84 between I-86 and I-15. One of my favorite interstates, especially in spring when all those rolling hills are green. I'm just not sure it makes up for the boring parts of I-84 west of Burley. I-15 south of Tremonton is fine, though it does get into "generic urban interstate" pretty fast once you pass Brigham City.


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Re: If You Had to Stick to Interstates Between Two Metro Areas...
« Reply #26 on: January 11, 2022, 02:18:13 PM »

I always liked 90 and 94 between Chicago and the Twin Cities.
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Re: If You Had to Stick to Interstates Between Two Metro Areas...
« Reply #27 on: January 11, 2022, 02:24:35 PM »

I-5 Medford/Ashland to Redding
I-55 - St Louis to Cape Girardeau
I-64 - Charleston to Charlottesville
I-71 - Louisville to Cincinnati
I-90 - Rapid City to Billings
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Re: If You Had to Stick to Interstates Between Two Metro Areas...
« Reply #28 on: January 11, 2022, 03:21:54 PM »

Concerning the Asheville discussions:

  • Unless I-40 is closed through the gorge due to a huge rockslide, why would anyone take I-26 to I-81?
  • Knoxville > Asheville because it has a large land-grant state university, is a crossroads for two major (x0-x5) interstates, and once hosted a World's Fair.
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Re: If You Had to Stick to Interstates Between Two Metro Areas...
« Reply #29 on: January 11, 2022, 04:20:55 PM »

Kansas City to Denver- but only for me who has only been west of the Appalachians twice in my life.

Driven this 50 times.  No thanks.

I have only done it once and have no desire to do it again.
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Re: If You Had to Stick to Interstates Between Two Metro Areas...
« Reply #30 on: January 12, 2022, 12:17:57 AM »

Kansas City to Denver- but only for me who has only been west of the Appalachians twice in my life.

Driven this 50 times.  No thanks.

I have only done it once and have no desire to do it again.

I've also only done it once, but I'd drive the part east of Salina again. The Flint Hills are neat enough.

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Re: If You Had to Stick to Interstates Between Two Metro Areas...
« Reply #31 on: January 12, 2022, 03:05:44 AM »

Kansas City to Denver- but only for me who has only been west of the Appalachians twice in my life.

Driven this 50 times.  No thanks.
I'd get tired of it after a few times to be sure
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Re: If You Had to Stick to Interstates Between Two Metro Areas...
« Reply #32 on: January 12, 2022, 12:13:27 PM »

Concerning the Asheville discussions:

  • Unless I-40 is closed through the gorge due to a huge rockslide, why would anyone take I-26 to I-81?
  • Knoxville > Asheville because it has a large land-grant state university, is a crossroads for two major (x0-x5) interstates, and once hosted a World's Fair.

My bad.  From the examples of the OP it looked like "Stick to Interstates" meant staying on the same one unless you reach the end.  He has since clarified this, but it wasn't discussed in detail.
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Re: If You Had to Stick to Interstates Between Two Metro Areas...
« Reply #33 on: January 12, 2022, 02:37:48 PM »

The only real "rule" I can think of is that you can't pass through a metro area larger than your endpoints. 

Others of note:
Greenville/Spartanburg - Knoxville

Sorry for mincing here, but even though Greenville/Spartanburg MSA (1,425,235, 2019) is larger than Asheville (542,821, 2019), this pair still doesn't make sense.

Greenville 70,720 (2020)
Spartanburg 38,732 (2020)
Asheville 94,589 (2020)
Johnson City 71,076 (2020)
Kingsport (barely), 55,442 (2020) 
Knoxville 190,740 (2020)

I'm confused why not.  Greenville/Spartanburg and Knoxville are both larger than Asheville or anything else in between.  Are you saying it's not scenic?

Not at all.  But it is arbitrary that Greenville/Spartanburg belong together so as to make it bigger than Asheville.  No matter how you slice it, Greenville is still smaller than Asheville and roughly the same size as Johnson City (which could have been avoided by using I-40, certainly just as scenic).  It also doesn't help that Greenville it is some 30 miles off of I-26.  It's kind of like me saying the same about Raleigh/Durham to Washington DC and skipping over Richmond (which by the way Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill were once all in their own combined statistical area - also arbitrary).

How are metro areas any more arbitrary than city limit lines? Especially in the Southeast.

The only thing arbitrary about determining metro areas is the cutoff used to determine whether a place is or is not in the metro area of a larger place. But at least all places in the US are analyzed according to that same cutoff.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2022, 02:41:46 PM by ran4sh »
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Re: If You Had to Stick to Interstates Between Two Metro Areas...
« Reply #34 on: January 12, 2022, 02:57:08 PM »

How are metro areas any more arbitrary than city limit lines? Especially in the Southeast.

City limit lines are at least determined by a body of elected officials, like a city council. Usually the people who live in that area have a say in whether they're included in a particular city or not, as well. So they at least reflect some degree of political consensus, and have actual effects on the ground (who is responsible for your trash and water, what laws apply to you, which law enforcement officers show up to enforce those laws, etc.)

Metro area definitions are created by unelected civil servants working primarily for the US federal government. I don't know whether they are required to consult with people local to the area or not. And these definitions are used primarily for statistical purposes, not for anything that actually affects people in their day-to-day life.
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Re: If You Had to Stick to Interstates Between Two Metro Areas...
« Reply #35 on: January 12, 2022, 03:29:05 PM »

How are metro areas any more arbitrary than city limit lines? Especially in the Southeast.

City limit lines are at least determined by a body of elected officials, like a city council. Usually the people who live in that area have a say in whether they're included in a particular city or not, as well. So they at least reflect some degree of political consensus, and have actual effects on the ground (who is responsible for your trash and water, what laws apply to you, which law enforcement officers show up to enforce those laws, etc.)

Metro area definitions are created by unelected civil servants working primarily for the US federal government. I don't know whether they are required to consult with people local to the area or not. And these definitions are used primarily for statistical purposes, not for anything that actually affects people in their day-to-day life.

You're assuming that those lines are exactly where people think they should be, which is usually not true for most of the country. Those are lines drawn on a map by politicians and possibly for political reasons rather than to actually serve the people. Whereas most people would still consider nearby unincorporated areas as places that should count toward how large a given place is, and thus the census metropolitan and urban area definitions are more accurate because they actually reflect that.

Asheville is not "large" just because its city limits are more expansive than Greenville's. The correct conclusion is that Greenville is a larger place than Asheville, because city limits are arbitrary and metro/urban areas are not.

Maybe in the West where counties are large and unincorporated areas are uninhabitable, would city limits be more accurate than Census metro areas. But both would still be less accurate than Census *urban* areas, which are not required to use whole counties.
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Re: If You Had to Stick to Interstates Between Two Metro Areas...
« Reply #36 on: January 12, 2022, 04:46:15 PM »

How are metro areas any more arbitrary than city limit lines? Especially in the Southeast.

City limit lines are at least determined by a body of elected officials, like a city council. Usually the people who live in that area have a say in whether they're included in a particular city or not, as well. So they at least reflect some degree of political consensus, and have actual effects on the ground (who is responsible for your trash and water, what laws apply to you, which law enforcement officers show up to enforce those laws, etc.)

Metro area definitions are created by unelected civil servants working primarily for the US federal government. I don't know whether they are required to consult with people local to the area or not. And these definitions are used primarily for statistical purposes, not for anything that actually affects people in their day-to-day life.

You're assuming that those lines are exactly where people think they should be, which is usually not true for most of the country. Those are lines drawn on a map by politicians and possibly for political reasons rather than to actually serve the people. Whereas most people would still consider nearby unincorporated areas as places that should count toward how large a given place is, and thus the census metropolitan and urban area definitions are more accurate because they actually reflect that.

Asheville is not "large" just because its city limits are more expansive than Greenville's. The correct conclusion is that Greenville is a larger place than Asheville, because city limits are arbitrary and metro/urban areas are not.

Maybe in the West where counties are large and unincorporated areas are uninhabitable, would city limits be more accurate than Census metro areas. But both would still be less accurate than Census *urban* areas, which are not required to use whole counties.

But it is not correct that the city of Greenville (pop 70,720, 2020) is larger than the city of Asheville (pop 94,589, 2020).  I was surprised to see that Asheville is also larger in land mass, because much of the "city" (urban core) is fairly dense and compact.  Perhaps a better example of my concern is the following:

Sarasota/Bradenton to Miami (skipping over Ft. Myers/Cape Coral)

Indeed, the population of Sarasota/Bradenton CBSA (836,935, 2020) is larger than Ft. Myers/Cape Coral (770,570, 2020) such that this routing meets the intent of the OP's clarification.  But both Cape Coral and Ft. Myers are larger than either Sarasota or Bradenton, and in this case Cape Coral is way bigger than any of the other more well-known cities.  But locals would never say that Ft. Myers is smaller than its suburb Cape Coral, even though that would be a true statement.  And they are certainly offended when folks from Sarasota "skip over" Ft. Myers on the way to Miami because it is smaller, which indeed does happen.  There are probably some much better examples.

By the way, I do love that entire routing of I-75, particular when the wildlife is in full force.
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Re: If You Had to Stick to Interstates Between Two Metro Areas...
« Reply #37 on: January 12, 2022, 09:57:50 PM »

You're the only one complaining about that, OP had specifically titled the thread "metro areas".

And they didn't say skipping wasn't allowed, they just said that the endpoints had to be larger than any point in the middle that gets "skipped over" (again something that only you pointed out and not the OP).

"I was surprised to see that Asheville is also larger in land mass"

That is precisely the type of arbitrary boundary I was referring to. City limits end according to whatever the politicians in charge decided. Metro and urban areas end according to specific rules which, while the rules may be arbitrary they are applied consistently everywhere.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2022, 10:00:46 PM by ran4sh »
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Re: If You Had to Stick to Interstates Between Two Metro Areas...
« Reply #38 on: January 12, 2022, 10:11:30 PM »

I was going to mention Knoxville to Asheville myself. Re:
Concerning the Asheville discussions:

  • Unless I-40 is closed through the gorge due to a huge rockslide, why would anyone take I-26 to I-81?
  • Knoxville > Asheville because it has a large land-grant state university, is a crossroads for two major (x0-x5) interstates, and once hosted a World's Fair.

My favorite stretch of Interstate in the whole country is I-70 west of Denver, so I agree with the Las Vegas-to-Denver route proposed in the OP.  I also like the Portland to Boise route; though I-84 has some boring semiarid sections, there are also some exciting mountains thrown in there. I like the added challenge of trying to find something exciting in the Midwest, though.  Maybe St. Louis to Tulsa via I-44?
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Re: If You Had to Stick to Interstates Between Two Metro Areas...
« Reply #39 on: January 13, 2022, 01:00:06 PM »

I was going to mention Knoxville to Asheville myself. Re:
Concerning the Asheville discussions:

  • Unless I-40 is closed through the gorge due to a huge rockslide, why would anyone take I-26 to I-81?
  • Knoxville > Asheville because it has a large land-grant state university, is a crossroads for two major (x0-x5) interstates, and once hosted a World's Fair.

My favorite stretch of Interstate in the whole country is I-70 west of Denver, so I agree with the Las Vegas-to-Denver route proposed in the OP.  I also like the Portland to Boise route; though I-84 has some boring semiarid sections, there are also some exciting mountains thrown in there. I like the added challenge of trying to find something exciting in the Midwest, though.  Maybe St. Louis to Tulsa via I-44?

For the Midwest, I actually kind of like the drive between Minneapolis/St. Paul and Duluth.  Might be about a good of an option as I've been on.

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Re: If You Had to Stick to Interstates Between Two Metro Areas...
« Reply #40 on: January 13, 2022, 06:03:29 PM »

I like the added challenge of trying to find something exciting in the Midwest, though.  Maybe St. Louis to Tulsa via I-44?

Maybe I'm the outlier, but the one time I was on I-44, I didn't find it particularly exciting. I remember the Springfield-STL section is being long, uninspiring, and full of cops running radar and laser from overpasses on a Sunday morning. That trip seemed longer to me than Denver-KCK.
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Re: If You Had to Stick to Interstates Between Two Metro Areas...
« Reply #41 on: January 15, 2022, 05:28:22 PM »

There's really nothing in the Midwest that fits this. You're either in a congested urban area or flat cornfields.

64 between Louisville and St. Louis is probably the closest thing to interesting in the Midwest that I've driven.
I would submit 57 between Chicago and Memphis through the Shawnee National Forest is a cool drive.
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Re: If You Had to Stick to Interstates Between Two Metro Areas...
« Reply #42 on: January 16, 2022, 08:56:43 PM »

For long stretches, I know Miami - Atlanta and Cincinnati - Atlanta have already been mentioned, but I LOVED the drive between Orlando and  Chattanooga when I used to make it when I lived in Orlando.  I miss it.  :(  Mostly I miss living in Florida I will admit, lol.

I made that drive to visit my mother, late sister, and younger brother before Allegiant Air started flying that route every six weeks.

South of Atlanta:  Even though the route was VERY heavily travelled, you could dependably count on finding a convoy driving 85 - 90 mph.  Trucks were required to stay in the right two lanes on I-75 and I-475, and the Florida Turnpike was (slightly) less congested than I-75 despite being only 4 lanes (not much).  And I was a Sunpass customer, so I did not have to wait at the Leesburg plaza, I was able to sail right through (albeit at 30 mph, but still better than stopping and waiting) and my exit was Sunpass-only.

Atlanta itself:  FUN!  I had a small car, so if I was travelling solo, I was able to switch lanes easily.  If my late sister and / or younger brother decided to fly one way to visit me to visit theme parks and fly the other way, I could use the HOV lanes one way.

North metro Atlanta (namely I-575 - Cartersville):  The ONLY part I did NOT like.  Not enough lanes for the congestion, moved very slow usually.

Cartersville - Chattanooga:  Alright, I didn't like it as well as I did south of Atlanta (or Atlanta itself), but certainly better than North metro Atlanta (especially I-575 - Cartersville!)



For scenic stretches, few can beat I-840 between I-40 west and I-65 (the westernmost arc).  Goes over the Natchez Trace Parkway.  And it's lightly travelled, especially for going through a metropolitan area of 2.1 million.
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Re: If You Had to Stick to Interstates Between Two Metro Areas...
« Reply #43 on: February 02, 2022, 12:07:57 AM »

For long stretches, I know Miami - Atlanta and Cincinnati - Atlanta have already been mentioned, but I LOVED the drive between Orlando and  Chattanooga when I used to make it when I lived in Orlando.

Maybe Iím missing something here. Dig driving through Chattanooga and Atlanta, and the road in between is ok, but south of ATL on 75 is awful. 75 through Florida is one of the most boring roads imo, nothing but trees and traffic.

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Re: If You Had to Stick to Interstates Between Two Metro Areas...
« Reply #44 on: February 02, 2022, 12:50:36 AM »

I would submit 57 between Chicago and Memphis through the Shawnee National Forest is a cool drive.
As a kid, I was fascinated with the ghost ramp on I-57 NB near Dongola (I think it finally got used when the US 51 connection was completed in the 90s). Chicago-Memphis itself was more interesting when it was being built, all the detours you'd have to take to get to the next built section. I noticed how cheaply built everything in Arkansas was along I-55 with the slip ramps to the gas stations along the frontage roads. Driving thru Cairo. Seeing at grade RR crossings on the not-yet finished section of I-55 in southern MO.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2022, 12:52:46 AM by Rick Powell »
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Re: If You Had to Stick to Interstates Between Two Metro Areas...
« Reply #45 on: February 02, 2022, 02:17:22 AM »

Las Vegas to SLC;
Phoenix to Flagstaff
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Re: If You Had to Stick to Interstates Between Two Metro Areas...
« Reply #46 on: February 02, 2022, 06:03:59 AM »

Nashville to Atlanta gets a bad rap due to traffic volumes, but you really canít beat the scenery along I-24.  Starts out kinda flat and boring once past Murfreesboro where suburbia ends, but one ridge cut before getting into Manchester, then you start seeing Monteagle Mountain off in the distance and eventually start climbing it, drive on top of it for a mile or so, then start the descent.  Then itís hollows and hills and crossing and then following the Tennessee River up until Downtown Chattanooga.  And in Chattanooga proper is the Missionary Ridge hill climb not long before I-24ís eastern terminus at I-75.  The scenery along I-75 isnít quite as varied as along I-24 and is less scenic, but itís never boring.

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Re: If You Had to Stick to Interstates Between Two Metro Areas...
« Reply #47 on: February 02, 2022, 09:10:24 AM »

Nashville to Atlanta gets a bad rap due to traffic volumes, but you really canít beat the scenery along I-24.  Starts out kinda flat and boring once past Murfreesboro where suburbia ends, but one ridge cut before getting into Manchester, then you start seeing Monteagle Mountain off in the distance and eventually start climbing it, drive on top of it for a mile or so, then start the descent.  Then itís hollows and hills and crossing and then following the Tennessee River up until Downtown Chattanooga.  And in Chattanooga proper is the Missionary Ridge hill climb not long before I-24ís eastern terminus at I-75.  The scenery along I-75 isnít quite as varied as along I-24 and is less scenic, but itís never boring.

My thoughts exactly. 24 is very nice by southeastern standards, and 75 definitely isn't bad. Other than the short bits of 24 or 59 in the northwest corner, I-75 north of Atlanta is probably the best long-distance interstate in Georgia, especially the part around Cartersville where you go through the Blue Ridge foothill terrain (which DF hates for some reason). Certainly better than anything you'll find on I-20 or 85 or 16 or 95.

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Re: If You Had to Stick to Interstates Between Two Metro Areas...
« Reply #48 on: February 08, 2022, 10:56:33 AM »

I-10 from New Orleans to Mobile
I-65 from Birmingham to Nashville
I-5 from San Diego to Los Angeles
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Re: If You Had to Stick to Interstates Between Two Metro Areas...
« Reply #49 on: February 08, 2022, 01:52:13 PM »

The most direct routing between Tucson and San Diego is a short jog north on I-10 to westbound I-8.  I-8 starts to get more and more interesting from the Telegraph Pass westward into California.  The Algodones Dunes, the dip below sea level and Mountain Springs Grade are all nice.  West of the Mountain Springs Grade the alignment of I-8 is all mountain until you get to San Diego.

If we are limiting this to a single Interstate make my post I-8 from Yuma west to San Diego.

I-5 from Los Angeles to Bakersfield is a pretty nice drive over Tejon Pass.  Trouble is youíll be on the far western outskirts of Bakersfield on I-5 and would have to double back into the heart of the city.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2022, 01:54:23 PM by Max Rockatansky »
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