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Author Topic: Corco takes a roadtrip  (Read 11168 times)

corco

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Corco takes a roadtrip
« on: March 08, 2014, 11:00:43 PM »

I'm currently on the road. Alps told me to provide a trip report, and I'm a man of the people, so here we go. If I stop doing this in two days or something, I either didn't care, burnt out, or died.

Day 0 - Deer Lodge MT to Glendive MT
Route - I-90 to I-94

This was the shittiest day of the roadtrip. I am only a day in, and I am already reasonably sure that this was the case. The main point of today was to get myself into position for the rest of this trip. The entire trip looks to be about 5,423 miles with only 909 miles of interstate. I busted out a full 480 of those interstate miles today.

Worked all day and hit the road right at 5:00. The roads were good, which was my big fear. As I pulled onto the main drag to head out of town, I snapped this shot of the town mural and a raincloud over Mt Powell. At 10,168 feet, it will be the highest summit I see on the entire trip.



That's the good thing, I suppose, about living in western Montana and heading east. I hit the worst mountain pass I'd hit within the first hour of the drive, as I cleared Homestake Pass over Butte. Headed down Homestake, the truck speed limit drops to 25 for trucks over 12,000 GVW. The car speed limit remains 75. So, that's fun on a four lane, curvy pass that's divided only by a jersey barrier.



Whatever road construction has been going on since I moved here in Bozeman is finally gone- it was nice to get to go 75 all the way by Bozeman.

Got to Billings at around nine and of course stopped at the furthest northwest Steak 'n Shake in America, which opened last December. I've been there twice now, and both times have sat in the drive through line for more than half an hour. Even at 9 PM, I was the 11th car in line.



I-94 east of Billings is incredibly desolate, especially in the dark. I kept myself awake by shouting aloud with the A/C going and listening to radio sermons (I may not fully agree with what they say, but at least it's something to think about and gets the mind exercised). I feel like I'm getting old. The choice was to either sleep in Billings and wake up at 4 AM, or sleep in Glendive and get up at 7 AM. I opted for the latter, but I was pretty tired by the time I got to Glendive.

Anyway, got there and went to sleep.

Day 1 - Glendive MT to Bemidji MN
Route - MT 16 to MT 23 to ND 68 to US 85 to US 2

The plus side of driving to Glendive is that I immediately was on new road when I woke up. I've clinched I-94 in Montana, but hadn't driven any of MT-16 to date.

I was immediately surprised by the use of Regina (haha, Regina) as a control city on 16 headed out of town.



Drove up towards the Bakken region- Montana 23 and North Dakota 68 are in pretty rough shape. Alexander, ND is starting to boom too, and that's making things a bit icky.

I hadn't been to the Bakken before. It's really an interesting region. A few things stood out:

1) Everything is really, really dusty. All the reassurance shields were tinged like this.





2) I felt like nothing in my '01 Accord. Everybody, and I mean everybody up there has a full-sized pickup or SUV.

3) Extended stay housing is expensive up there.


Then I more or less hustled across North Dakota. US 2 isn't my favorite road for roadgeeking- the speed limit is 70 all the way across and it's four lanes divided, which is nice, but it more or less bypasses all city centers. Today was another sort of positioning day, as I can fairly easily access North Dakota from my house in Montana, so I wanted to get across the state fairly quickly. For that, US 2 served its purpose, but it's really not all that interesting.



Stopped for lunch in Minot at Burger Time, a North Dakota chain of fast food restaurants. It was...okay, I guess. The cheese curds were good but I've had better burgers. Certainly not worth the seven car deep drive thru line.

Stopped again in Rugby at the Geographical Center of North America. Not much to say about it, other than it's somewhere around there (they moved it when US 2 was widened). Definitely not as interesting as the center of the lower 48 in Lebanon, Kansas.





I have a friend who used to live in Devil's Lake. She hated it there. I never understood why. Now I understand why. That place...man, it's just cold and windy and the lake is deceptively unawesome.

More Canadian control cities in Grand Forks.



I'd never been to Minnesota before. As soon as I entered the state and passed out of East Grand Forks, my perception of Minnesota yea-hoos was reinforced when I came upon this snowmobiler going about 69 MPH on what I estimate to be about 4 inches of snow. Crazy bastard. Also saw people snowmobile across streets with no snow on them to get from one trail to another. That's something that just doesn't happen in Idaho. These guys take it to another level.



I like 2 in Minnesota moreso than North Dakota. 2 in Minnesota is divided highway at least to Bemidji, with a 65 MPH speed limit, but it forces its way into towns, so you get to see towns too. That's kind of my preferred type of road, as it balances fast travel with getting to see stuff.

A couple hours later, I made it to Bemidji.


I'm here now. Tomorrow, it's US 2->WIS 13->US 2->M-64->M-38->M-26->US 41->Copper Harbor->US 41->Houghton. Pretty excited to check out the U.P. and the Keenesaw Peninsula, even if it's in that state up north. Should be a more relaxed day of driving.


NE2

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Re: Corco takes a roadtrip
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2014, 11:05:42 PM »

I was immediately surprised by the use of Regina (haha, Regina) as a control city on 16 headed out of town.
Very sensical control city, though I'd add a middle line with Williston.

Be sure to post pics of your failed tindering.
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Re: Corco takes a roadtrip
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2014, 11:18:34 PM »

What a great read to go with the pix!  I have never been in those areas.  Thanks for taking the time to post up and I hope you continue to do so Corco.

Rick
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Re: Corco takes a roadtrip
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2014, 08:42:46 AM »

Quote
I like 2 in Minnesota moreso than North Dakota. 2 in Minnesota is divided highway at least to Bemidji, with a 65 MPH speed limit, but it forces its way into towns, so you get to see towns too. That's kind of my preferred type of road, as it balances fast travel with getting to see stuff.

MnDOT did have plans at one point for bypasses of Crookston and Bagley, but they fell by the wayside.  At one point, they also proposed 4-laning US 2 across the entire state, but traffic volumes just don't justify it.  Which is why you'll see occasional passing lanes here and there today.  They did make it 4 lanes from Deer River into Grand Rapids though, but it's been that way for decades.
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Re: Corco takes a roadtrip
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2014, 09:04:47 AM »

I'm here now. Tomorrow, it's US 2->WIS 13->US 2->M-64->M-38->M-26->US 41->Copper Harbor->US 41->Houghton. Pretty excited to check out the U.P. and the Keweenaw Peninsula, even if it's in that state up north. Should be a more relaxed day of driving.

Maybe.  Houghton does get more than it's fair share of snow, and watch out for the snowmobilists.  If you thought the one in Minnesota was nuts, wait for the drunk ones in da UP.  Also, they do not plow down to pavement in the Keweenaw Peninsula.
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corco

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Re: Corco takes a roadtrip
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2014, 10:01:42 PM »

Day 2 - Bemidji, MN to Houghton, MI
Route - US 2 to WIS 13 to US 2 to M-28 to M-64 to M-38 to M-26 to US 41 to Copper Harbor to US 41

That was fun.

US 2 is a pleasant drive east of Bemidji, narrowing down to a two lane road shortly east of town and winding its way across northern Minnesota. It's an interesting landscape, but a monotonous one, with a nice mix of deciduous and evergreen trees. There's a little bit of terrain, but not too terribly much.



The best view probably occurs during the descent to Duluth. As 2 get on I-35 and then gets ready to leave, we get some control state action.


After we cross the bridge into Wisconsin, we're greeted by the town of Superior, which...uh, okay. I guess that's why Superior is named Superior, because it's a superior city, not because it's on Lake Superior.


Took 2 out of Superior and then bid farewell to it as I headed up WIS 13 towards Bayfield. I have to admire Wisconsin's commitment to directionality. Even though 13 heads north and east for a good 75 miles before turning south in Bayfield, the route is consistently signed as "13 South"


The town of Cornucopia provides probably the first best views of Lake Superior, which is still frozen as far out as the eye can see.



Bayfield is neat. In the summer months, these ferries connect Bayfield to Madeline Island.


In the winter months, though, holy baloney! That is what you think it is.


Downtown Bayfield has charm, I get why rich people have "cabins" (by cabin I'm referring to a 3000 square foot old Victorian) here.


After that, I got back on US 2 to head into the Upper Peninsula. The UP is a neat area. I have to say, I am fascinated by the snowmobile culture in this part of the country. Where I'm from in the snow country of Idaho (which gets about as much snow as this area), lots of people have snowmobiles. In Idaho, though, you trailer them up to a national forest and then go motor around up there. In this area, people use their sleds like cars.

The Keweenaw Peninsula is a peninsula's peninsula, and Ontonagon is a nice town.



And then there's these beauties further up the U.P. Looks like an arrow has disappeared.


The roads were good until M-26 north of Eagle Rock. As Brandon noted, they don't plow to pavement, but I'm used to that as that's SOP in both Idaho and Montana. One thing the UP does that Idaho also does that's really annoying is that they put centerline rumblestrips on roads with frequent precipitation. If I can't see the road surface, my preference is to drive closer to the center of the road (because plows sometimes miss spots on the edges or snow falls down from the bank onto the road) and move over when I see oncoming traffic. It's annoying when there's a rumble strip there for that reason.

I hadn't driven in a salt-heavy state like this before, really. It's amazing how much rust is on cars. My family is from Ohio, but my folks have lived in Idaho for 17 years now, and my Dad often remarks how cars just don't rust like they used to. Turns out they do, you just have to be in the right part of the country. Snow acts weird when there's salt, too. I didn't identify any real black ice, and then there's random patches of clear road that don't even make up the entire road width. You just don't see that out west to the degree you do out here. This is easier to drive in, I think, but I'll probably get my car washed as soon as I get out of here.

The northern terminus of US 41 has a fancy sign at the cul-de-sac, but they appear to remove it in the winter and use the area for snow storage. Here is a picture of my car at the top of US 41 instead.




Tomorrow it's over to the other peninsula- US 41->US 2->I-75->US 31->M-66->Battle Creek.
 
« Last Edit: March 09, 2014, 10:33:32 PM by corco »
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OracleUsr

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Re: Corco takes a roadtrip
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2014, 11:45:25 PM »

I was just in Calumet last summer and actually photographed the Copper Harbor Lighthouse across the lake.  Was an unpleasant surprise when I realized how far from Detroit (despite being in the same state) I was. 
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Re: Corco takes a roadtrip
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2014, 05:20:45 AM »

Did you stop to hike out to the Ice Caves while you were near Bayfield?  If not, you missed out on a rare opportunity.  This winter's the first time in 5 years that folks have been able to walk out to the caves.
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Re: Corco takes a roadtrip
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2014, 05:41:24 AM »

Did you stop to hike out to the Ice Caves while you were near Bayfield?  If not, you missed out on a rare opportunity.  This winter's the first time in 5 years that folks have been able to walk out to the caves.
Hahahahaha. Moland was just telling him in chat that it's overrated and not worth waiting an hour or whatever for.
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corco

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Re: Corco takes a roadtrip
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2014, 07:18:34 AM »

Did you stop to hike out to the Ice Caves while you were near Bayfield?  If not, you missed out on a rare opportunity.  This winter's the first time in 5 years that folks have been able to walk out to the caves.

Yeah, I would have thought about doing it if I passed by on a Tuesday or something. As it was, there were cars parked for over a mile down the road in both directions and somebody was even operating a shuttle from the two nearby towns, so

A) It would have taken too long
and
B) My enjoyment of natural sights tends to be inversely proportional to the number of people at said natural sights, so I may not have enjoyed it that much, though they do look quite cool. 

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Re: Corco takes a roadtrip
« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2014, 08:06:10 AM »

Quote
Hahahahaha. Moland was just telling him in chat that it's overrated and not worth waiting an hour or whatever for

I would vehemently disagree that it's "overrated".  The time thing I can understand since he apparently was "on a schedule".  Still something that he missed, though.
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Re: Corco takes a roadtrip
« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2014, 09:48:52 AM »

Odd seeing the word "Miami" in Clearview.

Great report, enjoying the read for places I've not driven yet.

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Re: Corco takes a roadtrip
« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2014, 07:44:36 PM »

Odd seeing the word "Miami" in Clearview.
We may be seeing it soon when the ramp from SR 417 to the southbound Turnpike opens.
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Re: Corco takes a roadtrip
« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2014, 07:59:02 PM »

Odd seeing the word "Miami" in Clearview.
We may be seeing it soon when the ramp from SR 417 to the southbound Turnpike opens.

FDOT is going to adopt Clearview?  :banghead:
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Re: Corco takes a roadtrip
« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2014, 08:42:10 PM »

FDOT is going to adopt Clearview?  :banghead:

I did see a Clearview services sign on I-10 westbound in Tallahassee today...
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Re: Corco takes a roadtrip
« Reply #15 on: March 10, 2014, 08:52:15 PM »

Odd seeing the word "Miami" in Clearview.
We may be seeing it soon when the ramp from SR 417 to the southbound Turnpike opens.

FDOT is going to adopt Clearview?  :banghead:

Um. SR 417 is OOCEA, which has adopted Clearview.
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Re: Corco takes a roadtrip
« Reply #16 on: March 10, 2014, 10:29:50 PM »

Day 2 - Houghton, MI to Battle Creek, MI
Route - US 41 to US 2 to I-75 to US 31 to M-66

It's a long way from Houghton to Battle Creek, despite all being in one state.

Anyway, woke up this morning, went to look at the Houghton bridge.


Took US 41 south, through Marquette. Marquette's a really neat town.



Travelling further east, the UP becomes kind of touristy. There definitely seem to be two upper peninsulas, the "real" one and the "tourist" one. The Keweenaw part of the peninsula feels genuine. There's lots of tourists there, but it seems like people actually live there. It doesn't seem like anybody lives in Manistique or Epoulette to do anything other than cater to tourists.




Anyway, got to see the Mackinac Bridge and that was quite cool. I'm told it's the single most valuable physical asset in Michigan.





The Lower Peninsula is interesting. North of about US 10, it's very forested and feels almost like an extension of the U.P. South of US 10, it looks like Indiana with a few more evergreens.

A couple cities call M-66 "Michigan's Route 66"



Using US 2 more or less is really a weird way to get from Montana to the midwest. I've done the same general (Idaho to Ohioish) drive a few times, but always via interstate and always south of the Great Lakes. That path features a more gradual change, at least to my eyes, where you slowly transition into the "east." A lot of cultural geographers argue that culture difference in the US is just as prominent north-south as it is east-west, and that's definitely the case here. The U.P. just feels like a weird northern Idaho, but then you get down to Ionia and you're definitely somewhere else. I guess because I've never done the drive from this direction before, I noticed the change more, but it was weird to be in what felt like a familiar environment (wide open spaces, evergreen trees, snow) and then boom, you're dropped into midwestern farmland dotted by Sunocos and Fifth Third Banks.

I do feel a bit of an urge to rant a bit about driving in Michigan.


Rant #1:
People really tailgate here. Three times today, I had somebody just riding my ass, and then we'd get to a passing lane. I kept waiting for them to get over and just pass me, but they kept just tailgating me (before some wiseacre chimes in, I was in the right lane). Am I supposed to slow down or something to let them get around with exceeding the speed limit by too much or something and I'm missing the clue? Out west, we use passing lanes to get the hell away from each other, even if we're driving about the same speed. People here don't seem to have that desire.



Rant #2:
Good heavens, Michigan needs to look at their speed limits. The speed limit is 55 on a road like the road above, when a folks can easily drive 65-70 safely on a road of that standard in that rural of an area. On the flipside, the road can have barely any shoulder and houses on both sides, and the speed limit is still 55. It might be time to re-evaluate that- there's just no way to argue that these semi-urban roads with stuff along them can be travelled safely at the same speed as roads like the one pictured above.

 
Looking forward to tomorrow, should be a fairly nostalgic day for me as I visit some elderly relatives I haven't seen in many years and see some sights that were hugely important in earlier parts of my life, making tomorrow kind of a tricky day. It'll also be my first time roadgeeking in Ohio, and there's some stuff I want to check out more carefully (namely a covered bridge by my late Grandfather's farmhouse that I've been over countless times but never really stopped to appreciate).

The route right now looks like M-66->IN 9->US 30->IN 930->US 30->OH 309->OH 95->OH 13->OH 586->US 62->OH 41->OH 73->OH 772->OH 220->OH 124->Jackson, with stops at the de facto family cemetery in Knox County, Columbus to briefly visit with a relative who I haven't seen in seven years, my late other Grandfather's farmhouse in Ross County where I spent a good chunk of my childhood, and then onto Jackson to stay with relatives. So I may have to cut chunks out and take more direct routes between those stops, we'll see. I also may not update tomorrow night, but I'll do so on Wednesday night.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2014, 10:42:06 PM by corco »
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Brandon

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Re: Corco takes a roadtrip
« Reply #17 on: March 10, 2014, 11:28:18 PM »

If you noticed, the limit on the 2-lanes may be 55, but people generally ignore it and go 65-70 anyway.
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Re: Corco takes a roadtrip
« Reply #18 on: March 10, 2014, 11:50:09 PM »

Loving these photos Corco, thanks for sharing!
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Re: Corco takes a roadtrip
« Reply #19 on: March 11, 2014, 02:28:47 AM »

Quote from: NE2
Hahahahaha. Moland was just telling him in chat that it's overrated and not worth waiting an hour or whatever for

I would vehemently disagree that it's "overrated".  The time thing I can understand since he apparently was "on a schedule".  Still something that he missed, though.
Meh... I would like to have gone there before the hype. Every single icicle was broken off by someone, and people were inconsiderate enough to walk straight in front of my shots. It was pretty cool, but far too touristy for my taste.

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Re: Corco takes a roadtrip
« Reply #20 on: March 11, 2014, 11:03:11 PM »

Day 3 - Battle Creek, MI to Jackson, OH
Route - M-66 to IN 9 to US 33 to IN 930 to US 30 to OH 309 to OH 95 to OH 13 to OH 586 to US 62 to OH 41 to OH 124 to Jackson

Crazy day today.

Left Battle Creek at sunup and finally left Michigan. Came across this Indiana Toll Road trailblazer in Michigan.


Northeast Indiana isn't terribly exciting...I was surprised at how well Indiana 930 is signed though. I thought those 9xx routes were turnback candidates, and didn't expect them to be much use for navigating. Evidently I was wrong.


Not too much later, I entered Ohio on US 30. Northwest Ohio is quite boring...I hadn't really been there before in my life (spent a lot of time in Ohio, but mostly east of I-71 or south of I-70). I now see why people think Ohio is boring. They haven't been to the right parts, though.


My first stop in Ohio was at Bladensburg, but not before I stopped in Lima to stop at Kewpee. Kewpee is one of the older fast food chains, and used to be quite large before the franchising fell apart. Supposedly, Wendy's was inspired by Kewpee, and I can see that (square burgers, very frosty-like malts).


Spotted my first error shield on the trip in Marion, for US 23


North-central Ohio is definitely Amish country


Made it to Bladensburg and paid my respects to family. My grandparents, my grandmother's parents, her parents, both sets of their parents, and three of the four sets of their parents are all buried there, dating back to my great-great-great grandparents.



Then I headed down 62 to Columbus, briefly stopping in Gahanna to visit a relative in a nursing home. Following 62 through Columbus is quite tricky, it turns out. I got confused as to the exact routing on a couple occasions. Also didn't realize what a bad neighborhood 5th Ave is near the 670 interchange (I accidentally followed 5th from 670 before realizing that wasn't US 62). The drive into Columbus on Broad St is pretty cool though.


The Lincoln-Leveque from Broad heading east into downtown Columbus, Columbus's first real skyscraper.


More error shields on 62 just outside the outerbelt.


The top of the Fayette County Courthouse in Washington CH


From there I cruised on down to South Salem and I think learned a lesson about leaving the past in the past. I went to my Grandfather's farmhouse. He passed away in '06, and the land was sold to a neighbor for the land, not so much for the house. The house is a beautiful 1826 home, the first in its township (this wasn't a family homestead though, my grandparents bought it in 1970 as a fixer-upper/retirement project/place to entice grandkids to come visit, and lived there until they died). I'm not going to lie and say it was in great shape 8 years ago, but you build an image in your head of the good times, and then you get there and pull up and have to jump a locked gate, walk up the hill, and see that it's even way more run down than it was before. The house still looks structurally okay, so hopefully somebody can fix it up. That was just a shocking moment for me, and one I kind of wish I could take back.






Every once in a while, it would come up in conversation at the dinner table with family "I wonder what the farm looks like now" and people with more life experience than me would say "best just to remember it in the past." I didn't tell anybody in my family that I went down there (in case the worst was there and it was torn down or something, so that they might preserve their own good memory), and I'm not sure that I'm going to, just because it really was a sad sight.

In happier news, they painted and fixed up the old covered bridge up the road.


People who hate Ohio...I don't know, they're just not seeing the right parts. I truly miss this state being a significant part of my life, and would like to find a way to change that. Today really reinforced that for me. Maybe I move back here, I don't know.


Tomorrow it's back into unfamiliar territory, as I push forth to Boone, NC. Planning OH 124->OH 833->WV 62->US 33->WV 16->US 19->VA 91->SR 745->SR 700->US 19->US 421->Boone
 




« Last Edit: March 11, 2014, 11:22:46 PM by corco »
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hbelkins

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Re: Corco takes a roadtrip
« Reply #21 on: March 12, 2014, 01:45:32 PM »

I've been enjoying these shots from your trip across the country. It's something I've long wanted to do, but probably will never be able to.

Are these the only photos you have, or will there be a more full collection posted online once you get back home?
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jpi

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Re: Corco takes a roadtrip
« Reply #22 on: March 12, 2014, 09:39:09 PM »

These are nice pics, I have taken 3 trips in the last 5 years to the southwestern part of the country, primarly New Mexico but stayed mostly on the interstates, about 75% interstates 25% 2 lane highways. BTW, are coming to the St. Louis road meet this weekend?
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Jason Ilyes
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corco

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Re: Corco takes a roadtrip
« Reply #23 on: March 12, 2014, 09:58:47 PM »

I've been enjoying these shots from your trip across the country. It's something I've long wanted to do, but probably will never be able to.

Are these the only photos you have, or will there be a more full collection posted online once you get back home?

Yes. This is a good chunk of my non-road photos, but I've already got almost 2,000 road photos that I will post online at some point.

These are nice pics, I have taken 3 trips in the last 5 years to the southwestern part of the country, primarly New Mexico but stayed mostly on the interstates, about 75% interstates 25% 2 lane highways. BTW, are coming to the St. Louis road meet this weekend?
Yes! That was the impetus for the trip...started as "I'll take Thursday/Friday/Monday off to drive out" and then I decided to add Wednesday so I could drive around the upper peninsula, and then I began thinking about adding Tuesday too for some reason, and at that point it made sense to also take Monday off as that would add three extra days. So much like the St. Louis meet itself, my trip to the meet kind of spiraled out of control.

jpi

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Re: Corco takes a roadtrip
« Reply #24 on: March 12, 2014, 10:07:13 PM »

Wow! You will probably set the record for the longest a person has driven to get to a road meet :-) Me I am only about 350 miles\ 5 and a half hours and thats over 2 days because of work and a rock concert Friday night.
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Jason Ilyes
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