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jmacswimmer Roadtrips

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(Renaming this to be a catch-all thread for all my roadtrips & accompanying pictures)

I had mentioned these trips briefly in the "2023 road trip plans" thread & decided to start a thread to discuss them further & share some pics I took.

I made the first trip in August as a "last hurrah" before having to buckle down & start studying for the PE exam, which I took right before Thanksgiving. Then, after finding out I passed & receiving my license, I took the 2nd trip a week ago as a celebratory drive (and to help unwind from the wild few months it had been). While going in the same general directions each time, the goal was to minimize overlap between the 2 routes. Here are the routes I took for each:

Trip #1 in August:
Leave Baltimore area on I-95 SB, then I-495 Outer, I-66 WB, I-81 SB, I-77 NB, I-79 NB, US 48 EB, WV 92 SB, US 33 EB, WV 32 NB, US 48 EB, WV/VA 259 NB, US 50 EB, VA 37 NB, US 11 NB, I-81 NB, and finally return to Baltimore area on I-70 EB

Trip #2 in December:
Leave Baltimore area on I-70 WB, then I-68 WB, I-79 SB, US 19 SB (with a stop at the New River Gorge Bridge overlook), I-64 EB, I-295, I-95 NB, VA 207 EB, US 301 NB (in order to cross the new Nice Bridge for the 1st time), MD 5 NB, I-495 Outer, and finally return to Baltimore area on I-95 NB

I had had the ideas for both routes in the chamber for a while, and finally pulled the trigger on both as fitting (for a roadgeek, anyway) bookends to the preparation process. As a general observation - I knew both routes thru West Virginia would be scenic, and they were absolutely stunning in person. In particular:

-I-77 from Wytheville all the way to Charleston, in particular north of Beckley (though a certain user here might not like the curvature on the WV Turnpike between the Pax & Chelyan toll plazas)
-Corridor H from Davis to Wardensville
-Corridor L north of Summersville (which, speaking of - I was aware of its speedtrap reputation going in & carefully stuck to 50 throughout the area; there wound up being one cruiser parked in a median turnaround about halfway thru the segment but I didn't see them stop anyone)
-The New River Gorge
-I-64 from Beckley to Lexington

Both trips were also the first time I tried taking photos more extensively. Some turned out better than others, and will post some here as I have time to upload.

Trip #1 in August:
Leaving DC on I-66 WB (this photo is already out-of-date with the HOT lanes now being open):

Approaching I-81:

Both ends of the I-64 overlap:

Continuing south to Roanoke:

Blacksburg & VT:

Onward to Wytheville:

The wrong-way overlap:

Over (& thru) the mountains on I-77:

Into West Virginia & the WV Turnpike:

Bluestone Service Plaza:

Base & peak of Flat Top:

Toll Plaza A at Ghent (I remember the cash lanes being rather backed up - E-ZPass really paid off here!):

Approaching Beckley & I-64:

Beckley Service Plaza:

Leaving Beckley:

Toll Plaza B at Pax:

Onward to the tight section following Paint Creek - can confirm I didn't flip my car on any of the curves!

Morton Service Plaza:

Bender Bridge & Memorial Tunnel bypass:

Over to the windy portion following Cabin Creek:

Toll Plaza C at Chelyan (fun fact: was initially billed in the wrong vehicle class, but was able to get it corrected):

Following the Kanawha:

Crossing the Kanawha & reaching the end of the WV Turnpike:

WV Capital building & the end of the I-64/77 overlap:

Beginning of I-79:

Just past the north end of Corridor L:

Onward to Corridor H:

The racetrack:

Back to Corridor H:

Approaching the Allegheny Front & quick stop at the scenic overlook just before the descent:

Onward down the front:

Approaching Moorefield:

Onward to Wardensville:

Re-entering Virginia on WV/VA 259 & then picking up US 50 to Winchester:

Re-entering Maryland on I-81 & then a final stop at the South Mountain Welcome Center on I-70 before returning home:

And trip #2 in December:
Heading west on I-70:

Onto I-68 & Sideling Hill:

Snow beginning to appear at the higher elevations:

Into West Virginia, with a stop at the welcome center:

Southward on I-79:

Picking up Corridor L:

Crossing the Gauley & Meadow Rivers:

Passing US 60 & approaching the New River:

Stopping at the visitor center to check out the gorge overlooks:

Crossing the actual bridge & onward to Beckley:

Approaching the WV Turnpike (and North Beckley toll plaza):

A stop at the Beckley Service Plaza:

Continuing east onto I-64:

Crossing Glade Creek & descending Sandstone Mountain to the New River:

The Greenbrier River & approaching Virginia:

Entering Virginia & stopping at the welcome center:

Covington & the James River sources:

Big House & Little House Mountain, and the Maury River:

I-81 overlap:

Stopping at one of the scenic overlooks on the descent from Rockfish Gap:

I-295, then I-95, then VA 207 (and then US 301):

The new Nice Bridge (with the old Nice Bridge still standing, awaiting demolition):

One final stop at the Crain Memorial welcome center before returning home:

Mentioned briefly in the 2023 road trips thread, but last month my wife & I took a week-and-half-long trip out to Southern California to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. The places we hit included Long Beach, Rancho Palos Verdes, Santa Monica, Avalon/Catalina Island, Joshua Tree National Park, Palm Springs, San Diego, Laguna Beach, Anaheim, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Thousand Oaks, which meant lots and lots of driving  :D The freeways driven included the 5, 8, 10, 15, 56, 60, 91, 101, 105, 110, 163, 215, 405, & 710. Other notable roads included the 1/PCH, 47, 62, 75, & 111.

Planning to gradually post some driving photos day-by-day, but to start off is our outbound flight from BWI to LAX.

BWI Concourse B, featuring one of the newly-renovated restrooms while we all waited for all the food & coffee establishments to open at 5 AM:

On board at gate C8 (boarded on time, but then had to wait 30-40 minutes for the plane to fuel up due to issues with the BWI fueling system overnight):

Climbing out from BWI - MD 32 (and to a lesser extent I-70) is visible on the ground:

Crossing the Rocky Mountains:

Somewhere over Southern Utah (I think):

Reaching the Colorado River & Lake Mead - the Hoover Dam & O'Callaghan-Tillman Bridge are barely visible in the 2nd photo:

Vegas visible in the distance about a half-hour out from LAX:

San Gabriel Mountains above the clouds as we begin our approach to LAX:

Downtown LA visible as we're now lined up for runway 25L:

Taxiing in to Terminal 1:

Congestion on the upper roadway while waiting for our shuttle - waiting for & riding the shuttle to our rental car took far longer than deplaning, walking thru T1, & claiming our luggage:

California Day 1: LAX, Long Beach, Rancho Palos Verdes, & Santa Monica

Departing LAX via Century Blvd, CA 1 thru the Airport Tunnel, I-105, & I-110:

CA 47 & the Vincent Thomas Bridge:

Followed shortly by I-710 & the Long Beach International Gateway:

Ocean Blvd & 2nd St east of downtown Long Beach:

The mouth of the San Gabriel River, as viewed from Ballast Point Brewing:

Back across the Long Beach International Gateway & Vincent Thomas Bridge:

Thru San Pedro towards Rancho Palos Verdes:

The cliffs by Point Vicente Lighthouse, with Catalina & Malibu visible in the distance in the 1st & 2nd photos, respectively:

Back thru San Pedro and up 110 to the 405 to the 10 to Santa Monica to finish off the driving for the day:


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