Road trip thru 7 states! I’m back.

English: The busiest thoroughfare in Chicago.
Chicago. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I still feel the road, instead of jet lagged I’m car lagged. Even though I only got realigned by one hour of Eastern time zone by spending eight days there, my body’s confused today.  Rise and shine, it’s 5:30 am. Coming off of 24-hours of driving is like caffeinated partying too much, with odd aches and headache.

I drove I-90 almost the whole trip starting on May 8 traveling south in Wisconsin – toll road from Illinois to Massachusetts and back, driving matching the other traffic, the roar of the wind, the trucks, the radio trying to out shout the trucks. I can still feel the thump, thump of the wheels hitting the seams in the highway. My ears aren’t used to quiet, they feel like I was at a rock concert.triptoMasswithObe2013 002

This was a get there as fast as possible, a couple brief family visits in Omro, Wis., “hi, can I sleep here?” and Wadsworth, Ill., “hi, how’s everything, time to leave,” and Cambridge, Mass., “great photos of your Spain trip, wow, I wish I could stay and see the beach front property, let’s eat!” otherwise no sight-seeing along the way, then do the same on the return without the family stops. The purpose of the trip was the time in the middle in Northampton, Mass., visiting my daughter and getting her set up with the puppy guard dog I brought her – not the journey. Although on the journey I listened to books on tape to occupy my mind with vampire fiction, humorous relationship fiction, a couple of classics I dismissed before the first CD was over, beyond the mindlessness of continual driving.

There are no toll roads in Wisconsin. Illinois has toll roads and the system there is mostly yucky and awful; pay, get going briefly zooming in a pack of cars through underpasses and overpasses, slow down and pay, get going briefly until oops someone 4-miles ahead had an accident and now creep along at stop-start turtle’s pace for….and the lanes closed for construction make narrow passages threatening orange, smashed cones and fines for speeding, speeding, everyone’s speeding.  The minimum fine for speeding in a road work zone is $350 and so what. They like to threaten ya in Chicago. The information signs advertise how many deaths have happened so far this year, 348 on the way out and 352 on the way back. Oh ya hey, I wasn’t one of them.

In Chicago on the Dan Ryan Expressway I was in the far left lane, getting ready for a I’m not sure, but it’s coming up left going exit when a cop car zoomed up on my tail. Hung there for a little while, flashed and whooped momentarily, I’m thinking oh, oh why is he doing that? So I moved out of the lane to the open lane to the right and ended up in the process missing my exit. He just zoomed on by going ? 80?. I had to loop back to re-catch the exit, I looped — oops not quite, looped again, eek need to go further back, looped again – ya got it. By the time I re-found my way I was wishing for automatic video…I wanted someone else to see what he was doing – really what was he doing?

Indiana next has rough roads and looks like rough life cities and $4.11 per gallon gas, hmm when here in northern Wisconsin we’re paying #3.89. In Indiana the signs were inaccurate and so when 2 miles were up and I took the exit, it was not the right one. I drove around in some pretty countryside, under the toll road – well that’s it but no way to get on, then in Gary for a while, thought about just driving Hwy 20 east, but then I did find a way back on the I-90.

Ohio has good, smooth toll road, easy to get on, easy to get off, 70 mph limit, with nice and clean wayside rest areas and I stayed overnight at a lovely, apple blossomed, lilac blooming small hotel next to a beautiful treed walking area. Friendly people, flat farmed countryside, I think $11.50 for the toll road ride.

Then Pennsylvania, but only briefly –  I was passed and flipped off for only going 5-miles over the 65 mph limit – not fast enough, it made me laugh. Oh the ridiculousness of illegal but ‘righteous’ anger.

New York state toll roads, zooming through beautiful tree covered hills. I picked up a toll pass at one side of the state and paid $12 for the ride at the other, seemed very efficient. The clothing and the people changed, more hats and hiking apparel on older more fit looking women travelers.

Next Massachusetts, my destination state. The hills were steeper, the road more winding but very beautiful, I picked up my pass and when I got off the toll, the toll booth keeper took it and said thank you, no charge.

Reverse; Massachusetts toll road across the state, no charge – it wasn’t a fluke! Or maybe I’m special.

If I were to do it again I’d get an Epass. In Ohio I saw that they were cheaper and faster than paying cash – who knew? Well I knew they were faster because I wouldn’t have to stop, just slow down. And they work in all states except Illinois, there it’s Ipass.  And I’d pack more cold drinking water, somehow paying $1.69 for 20 oz. seemed very wrong and if only there was a way to avoid Chicago…

List of toll roads in the United States
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The worst speeding? Just outside of Boston on a road marked 40 mph all the traffic was going 70, this was matched in Chicago. Just think of the fines if blocks of traffic were pulled over and ticketed :), wow! But really, it would be unfair, as trying to go the speed limit could get you killed, run down, mowed over…thump, thump, thump and then the sign would have 353 written in lights.


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