The End of Interstates

IMG_1041We became bored with I-45 between Houston and Dallas so did the same thing we did with Kansas.  We vowed to stop in every town to find something to look at.  As a result, we have stood under a 67 feet tall statue of Sam Houston near Huntsville, eaten fruitcake in Corsicana, and seen Texas Bluebells at Ennis.  We did some serious stuff too, but we still haven’t seen the Texas towns of Gun Barrel City and Cut and Shoot.

I-84 between Pendleton and Baker City, OR has its moments, especially the part that traverses the Umatilla National Forest.  This drive includes Blue Mountain Summit, the highest Interstate passage I have ever been through that is often closed or troublesome in the winter, so it’s best to drive this stretch in the good weather time of any year.  There’s an excellent pull-off-the-Interstate viewpoint on the Pendleton side that provides a spectacularly high look at all below and across the valley you will be entering.  Truthfully, I-84 before Pendleton and after Baker City is fairly boring.  This does not include any part of the Columbia River Gorge that you will see a lot of on I-84 past the John Day Dam going west.  There are even a couple of glimpses of Mount Hood if you’re lucky, know where to look, and have good weather.

IMG_2033 The scenic view just above is off of I-40 in central Utah.  I have no idea what the lead photo is, and the one below is of the Interstate-like Avenue of the Saints in northern Iowa.  Not yet an Interstate, the Avenue incorporates parts of 6 of them.

I like I-17 between Flagstaff and Phoenix because of its curves and grand descents.  You can do side trips to Sedona, stop briefly to see the Montezuma Castle National Monument, and pass the relatively new Agua Fria National Monument just past Cordes Lakes.  Don’t try to see it, however, if you’re in a passenger car or rental.  It does not have paved roads, a visitor center, or many services yet.  I know because we have tried to explore it.

And finally I recommend driving I-280 between West Menlo Park and San Bruno, home to San Francisco International Airport, in California.  The main reason to do this is to visit Filoli near San Carlos.  This estate is well known locally but not so much to outsiders.  Northwest of Filoli this Interstate travels through the eerie San Andreas Rift Zone.  It was the historic 1906 earthquake in San Francisco that caused a family living there at the time to build this estate south of the city on the fault.  I find this story and Filoli fascinating.

DSC05197Speaking of fascination, if you know of a particularly view-worthy Interstate stretch of highway, please let me know about it.


About roads-rus

Since the beginning, I've had to avoid writing about the downside of travel in order to sell more than 100 articles. Just because something negative happened doesn't mean your trip was ruined. But tell that to publishers who are into 5-star cruise and tropical beach fantasies. I want to tell what happened on my way to the beach, and it may not have been all that pleasant. My number one rule of the road's disaster is tomorrow's great story. My travel experiences have appeared in about twenty magazines and newspapers. I've been in all 50 states more than once and more than 50 countries. Ruth and I love to travel internationally--Japan, Canada, China, Argentina, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, etc. Within the next 2 years we will have visited all of the European countries. But our favorite destination is Australia. Ruth and I have been there 9 times. I've written a book about Australia's Outback, ALONE NEAR ALICE, which is available through both Amazon & Barnes & Noble. My first fictional work, MOVING FORWARD, GETTING NOWHERE, has recently been posted on Amazon. It's a contemporary, hopefully funny re-telling of The Odyssey. View all posts by roads-rus

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