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Wide White: Don't knock the freeway

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Don't knock the freeway

Having driven through all 50 states, 8 Canadian provinces and territories, and 6 Mexican states, I've driven well over 100,000 miles of highway. One thing I've heard a number of times from other road-trippers is how awful freeways are. The freeway, they say, makes you drive past America, missing quaint towns with old character, taking fewer stops to get out and really take in the scenery and local charm. Ironically, most of these people also travel by freeway more often than not, but that's a separate issue.

I don't get it. Sure, you see more of a town's character when you get off the freeway. You tend to pull over a few more times than you would otherwise because when you're already slowing down to 25 MPH through a town, why not just make a pit stop?

Mt. Hood from Hwy 26 in Oregon. 6-8-08

But you'd never make it from Minnesota to California in 30 hours without a freeway. Freeways allow us to see so much more than you could see if your cross-country speed limit were 55 with 25 MPH towns every 20-30 miles. Of course, that's not to mention the safety factor of a 4-lane divided highway over a 2-lane.

Additionally, I've taken a number of 2-lane highways. I try not to take the same route twice if I can help it on a road trip. I've criss-crossed the state of Nevada almost every way possible. Trust me, you're not missing much by taking the freeway through Nevada. The same goes for large portions of Nebraska, North Dakota, and Montana. I've crossed all of these states on both 2-lane highways and 4-lane freeways and honestly, there's absolutely no reason not to take a freeway if it's an option.

I-75 in Michigan 50 miles south of the Mackinac Bridge. 10-3-06

A 2-lane highway is great if you have the time and are able to make it a part of your trip, especially if that trip is through a place like the Ozarks instead of central Kansas.

But you're not taking some high road (no pun intended, but I like it so I'm' leaving it) by tacking on 5 hours, a general store, an antique shop and 2 Subways to your journey. You're just giving yourself less time at your destination than the guy on the freeway. Sometimes that's okay. But sometimes you just need to get there and see what you can from the freeway. At 70 MPH.


Blogger watchman declared,

Love the pic of the Pigeon River Forest, north of Gaylord! Ah... Michigan - God's Country.

9/03/2010 10:16 AM  
Blogger Brent and Lisa declared,

Agree. The Interstate system is one of the best things to come out of the Eisenhower administration.

9/08/2010 10:58 PM  

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