Thursday, December 31, 2009
Dancing Joshua Trees Under a Blue Moon for the New Year and New Decade
Dec. 31st, 2009
To begin the new decade and the New Year and to say goodbye to the last, the metaphysical powers-that-be have given us a blue moon to mark the event. If you happen to be anywhere near the region where the Mohave Desert meets and mingles with the Colorado Desert in the southwestern United States, beware of the tribes of dancing Joshua trees and the huge clusters of partying rocks. It has been said that in this mystical and magical region of the earth that the Joshua trees and the rocks seem to animate themselves and come-to-life under a full moon. After all, the early settlers passing through this region didn’t name these trees after a person for no reason, let alone that person being their prophet. So, given it is a no less a blue moon for the passing of the decade, one would think that if the rocks and Joshua trees were to ever come to life, such would happen on this cusp of calendar years that we will call New Years Eve 2010. I hope to be given the chance to blog more on this subject in the decade to follow. And, I hope that we are all here in good health to enjoy life and my blog in the new decade as well. :)
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Monday, October 19, 2009
California, Mohave / Mojave Desert Ride, I-15, Los Angeles Freeway System
October 24, 2009
In my opinion, one of the best rides anywhere is driving into and across the Mojave / Mohave Desert during the night – it’s a pretty good ride during the day too, especially if you can go off-road to the dry lake beds. It is a truly magical place as are many places in California and the rest of the nation as well. These experiences can not be had at 30,000 feet in a plane in the air. The Los Angeles Freeway System is probably one of the best in the world, as much of the development in the Los Angeles Basin followed the development of the freeways. However, as with many other roads in the United States, the Los Angeles Freeway System often can not handle the amount of traffic it typically serves during peak travel times in the day/week. Given the excessively large volume of traffic to which most California freeways are exposed, I would give the California freeways a grade of 'B-' for their condition - if it were not for the obvious excuse of excessive volume on these roadways, the grade for the conditions of these roads would be considerably less.
Nevada, Loving the Desert Ride, I-15
Nevada is a good state for a car ride. The weather and heat can have a bearing on how enjoyable such a ride is to many, I'm sure, however. Personally, I really enjoy the desert rides and if there are Joshua Trees along the way - as there is in Nevada - the desert ride is even better. There are alot of cool places to see in the desert, especially if one is driving a pick-up type of truck or SUV that allows greater access to off-road regions of the desert. Watch out for any rain, if you are off-road, get back to the road and avoid any washes if it should begin to rain on you while in the desert. Believe it or not, it is said that most deaths occur in the desert as a result of drowning - so watch out for rain fall and dont take anything for granted when isolated in the middle of nowhere in the desert.
If you are to ever ride in Nevada, I suggest waiting until after dark to approach Las Vegas. Vegas is most impressive in the dark when all the lights illuminate the sky and the enormity of the city is clearly shown.
This roadtrip I only drove along I-15 and some city streets of Las Vegas. The construction on Vegas city streets can really be a disruption to moving about the city. Interstate 15 was in "ok" condition and I give the state a grade of "B-" for its roadways, from what I know of them.
Arizona, Virgin River Region, I-15
Arizona is another interesting desert ride. Again, however, the heat can have an effect on how much one enjoys this portion of the ride through the desert and southwestern U.S. The Virgin River region and section of the roadtrip enroute to Las Vegas is impressive.
Given the environment, Arizona's roads are in good condition. I would give the roadways of Arizona a "B+" from what I know of them.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Utah, Lots of Great National Parks, I-70, I-15, US-191, US-666 / 491, SR-128, SR-95, SR-24, SR-17, SR-9
Utah is a great ride, no matter where in the state you are driving. Utah is among the most photogenic states in the nation. Around every corner is another good photo opportunity. Just make sure you dont run low on gasoline when you are out for a ride in this state. The national parks in Utah are also well worth any detour that may be required to see them.
Why anyone would number a roadway "666", I dont really know. Regardless, U.S. Hwy. 666 in southeastern Utah is no longer. U.S. Hwy. 666 has since been renamed U.S. Hwy. 491.
Utah's roads are in fantastic condition for whatever the reason. From what I saw of them, Utah gets a grade of "A" for its roadways.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Colorado, a Contrast of Topographies, I-70, US-6
Colorado was an interesting contrast of topographies. To the east, the state is essentially flat (with a gradual rise in elevation to the mountains) and nothing but farmland. To the west, Colorado is very mountainous, of course. I didn’t realize the last time I drove this route west that the continental divide was traversed while in a tunnel – somewhat ironic in my opinion. Nevertheless, Colorado was a great drive. Unfortunately, Rocky Mountain National Park was closed for the winter, which is one of the coolest drives in the States - should you make it there in agreeable weather and when the park is open to the public during other times of the year. Overall, Colorado has been one of the best states for interesting drives in terms of scenery since the beginning of sojourn.
For this trip, Interstate 70 and U.S. Hwy. 6 were driven, both toll and Colorado roads were in "ok" condition and receive a grade of "B", from what I saw of them.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Kansas, Enjoyable Times, More Hawks, I-70
Driving across Kansas was a lot of fun. The weather eventually became nice. Kansas seems to be home to friendly folks. The women of Kansas, or at least those with whom I interacted, seem especially out-going and friendly. In retrospect, however, I wish I had stopped to see the Annie Oakley museum, the biggest prairie dog exhibit, and the six-legged steer exhibit. The Wizard of Oz related tourist attractions and wineries also piqued my interest. Maybe next time I will be able to visit those places. Kansas is another state settled by familiar ancestors, btw.
For this trip, only Interstate 70 was driven, both toll and non-toll portions. Kansas roads were in great condition and receive a grade of "A", from what I saw of them.
Missouri, Cool Hawks, Show Me I-70
The ride through Missouri was enjoyable; with the exception of some persistent rain. The Hawks perched alongside the interstate were impressive. The Gateway Arch also appears as quite impressive and it was cool to see and traverse both the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. The skylines and city-scapes of both Kansas City and St. Louis were entertaining to the eye. From what I know of it, St. Louis is a good place to have some fun. Missouri is another state settled by some of my familiar ancestors.
For this trip only Interstate 70 was driven through Missouri. It was in fairly good condition. However, during the rain, it was very difficult to see where the lanes were located due to markings that were very difficult to see during the rain. Overall, Missouri gets a "C +" for its roads, from what I know of them.
Illinois, a Nice Place, I-70
While driving through southern Illinois, some interesting places were visited. Amid all the farmland, we had a picnic-type meal at the Lincoln Trails State Park. Lots of colorful foliage, hiking trails, and an interesting lake (for leisurely boating and fishing?) were enjoyed in this park. The park was free to enter and seemed especially not-too-crowded, which added to our enjoyment. Also, I couldn't help but notice the State of Illinois appeared to be using its Recovery Act road funds for repairing bridges; such seems much more worthwhile than mere road resurfacing with three inches of asphalt.
Though on this trip only interstate 70 was utilized and it was in fairly good condition. However, on a previous trek east, the roads around Chicago were driven and they were not is such good condition. Overall, Illinois gets a grade of "B" for its roads, from what I know of them.
Indiana, Pacing the Journey Across, I-70, I-465
Indiana seems like another well-rounded place to live one’s life. Judging from what I have seen of the state, I could live in Indiana. Indianapolis seems plenty large for me to blend in with the locals. The autumn colors of the foliage made for an enjoyable drive through this state.
Otherwise, the roads in the state appears to be in good condition. Overall letter grade of "A -" for the roads in the State of Indiana, in light of my travels.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Ohio, Getting Hi in the Middle, I-90, I-271, I-71, I-70
When one is west of New York State and Pennsylvania, the journey into the heartland of the United States has begun.
Ohio seems like a pleasant place where the quality of life remains high for many of its inhabitants. I would consider relocating to Ohio, if the opportunity were to present itself and the people there were agreeable to such, of course.
Otherwise, the roads in the state appear to be in good condition - barring the seemingly never-ending construction on roads like I-70. Overall letter grade of "B +" for the roads in the State of Ohio, in light of my travels.
Pennsylvania is a state in which I previously spent a significant amount of time and in which I have many friends. As that state is now causing me grief concerning my substantive rights - as well infringing on the rights of untold thousands of others, I will not comment on any possible recent journeys in this state. I may revisit this stance in the not-too-distant future after I take legal action in this aforementioned matter. Rest assured should that Pennsylvania State agency begin to crumble as a result of any Constitutional challenge I may successfully initiate against it, other such unconstitutional agencies in several states will likely follow; and I believe all Americans affected by such will be better off and more free for the effort.
PS. Nevertheless, the folks in Erie seemed friendly and polite.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Long Island, New York State, Niagara Falls, Lake Erie Seaway Trail, Belt Parkway, NY Thruway, I-287
October 14th, 2009
I spend time in
On this latest sojourn to the west coast, I also enjoyed the opportunity to spend some time in western
Another great drive is along the Lake Erie Seaway Trail (New York State/County Route 5); which heads towards
Otherwise, most New York roads are in good condition - with the noted exception of those in and close to New York City (such as the Belt Parkway). For instance, one really needs to be a good driver and take-it-easy to survive a drive on the Belt Parkway during foul weather. Overall letter grade of "B -" for the roads in the State of New York. (Qualify this grade with an average grade of "C-" for NY roadways in the NYC area.)
Massachusetts and the Boston Area, Mass Pike, 128 / I-95, I-495
Massachusetts in an interesting place and holds a lot of places to see. From historic sites to Cape Cod, there is plenty of things to keep one entertained. Personally, I spend most of my time with friends in the area but I enjoy exploring the countryside and local restaurants. If the opportunity were to present itself in a proper context, I would consider relocating back to the Boston area.
Otherwise, the Massachusetts Turnpike is a good road in fairly good condition - though much of it needs new roads markings to be able to see the lanes in the rain. Nearly every other road in the state appears to be in poor to miserable condition - including interstates, US Highways, and state and county routes and city streets. Overall letter grade of "C - " for the roads in the State of Massachusetts.
New Hampshire, a Fun Place. I-93, US 302
New Hampshire is a fun place during any season throughout the year. There always seems to be things to do in New Hampshire. Lake Winnipesaukee, the Notches, snowmobiles, Polly's Pancake Parlor, ….. Watch out for the wild life, though. For instance the fox or bear cubs may look friendly, but I wouldn't advise approaching them. :)
Driving the notches and on to Mt. Washington is one of the most enjoyable drives in the northeastern United States - especially during the fall foliage season.
Also, if I were of a mindset to start a movement for a just change in any bureaucratic organizations, I would consider starting the movement here in New Hampshire.
Otherwise, nearly every road in the state appears to be in very good condition - including interstates, US Highways, and state and county routes. However, I am of the notion that every interstate should be at least three lanes in each direction of which most are not in NH. Overall letter grade of "A" for the roads in the State of New Hampshire.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
New Jersey and the New Jersey Turnpike Theory of Business Management.
In general, the New Jersey Turnpike is a well-kept road. I traverse the turnpike frequently. However, at peak travel times the NJ Turnpike can barely fulfill its purpose on a busy day as the road can not handle the amount of traffic to which it is exposed at many spots along the turnpike, to which I and millions of others can attest.
So I have deduced the following theory of business management which I have dubbed the New Jersey Turnpike Theory of Business Management. This theory of business management could also affectionately be called the General Motors or Chrysler theory of business management as well. This theory of business management seems to subscribe to something in keeping with the following: Utilize an asset and squeeze it for all its worth for a multitude of years on-end while essentially investing in no significant capital improvements. Regardless of any amount of time passage, continue to leverage the asset until the cash inflow no longer covers the expenses of operations – again, and of course, with no significant capital improvements. At which point, when expenses surpass revenues, pass the asset along to the U.S. Federal government and allow the
Otherwise, the Turnpike, Garden State Parkway, and Atlantic City Expressway are good roads in good condition. Nearly every other road in the state appears to be in poor to miserable condition - including interstates, US Highways, and state and county routes. Overall letter grade of "C -" for the roads in the State of New Jersey.
Afterthought, Sept. 2nd, 2010: It appears that the NJ Turnpike is making some capital improvements. However, the last I was there, I was unable to determine if the road is being widened as necessary or if the Turnpike Authority is merely adding another exit.
January 3rd, 2011:
Yes, in deedy! The NJ Turnpike is being widened - long overdue but a welcome site to everyone in the Bos-Wash megaplex, no doubt, nevertheless! Seems as though the overpasses are being replaced with new ones to span the greater distance to accommodate the wider turnpike as well! Woo-hoo!! Looks as though I may have to change the name of this theory of business management. (Additionally, this update maybe a bit overdue.)
Ode to the Merritt Parkway
Under a full moon and patchy fog,
Connecticut’s Merritt Parkway inspired me to blog,
Of my experiences enroute to the Neck of the Throgs.
Be wary of the standing deer within inches of the road,
And hope the weather is not freezing nor has it recently snowed,
Because down into a ditch this parkway will quickly throw.
Above all else this road will save you time,
Though the on-coming high beams may make you blind,
Avoiding interstate ninety-five allows continuing your rhymes.
Obama Recovery Act Money, Road Construction, and the Nation’s Roads
As one that travels extensively by road, I would like to add this comment before this blog gets underway. Recent stimulus bills passed by Congress and the Obama administration have been causing significant traffic-jams / delays on the roadways of the nation as a result of funded infrastructure repairs. It seems that most of these repairs are in the form of roadway resurfacing with approximately three inches of asphalt or the removal of trees that are encroaching on the roadway. If these efforts will provide any benefit to the nation to get more people re-employed, then I support these efforts. However, if these efforts merely are to line the pockets of ‘fat-cats,’ then I would stand opposed to these efforts – as it is doubtful that three inches of asphalt will make any significant long-term improvements to the roads. Though, I must admit that this is the first time in twenty years that I have noticed any administration even make an effort at improving the nation’s infrastructure; regardless of where the money is going in the end.
Purpose and Background for this Blog
In my opinion, one of the greatest enjoyments in life is to drive the highways and by-ways and off-road regions of America with no hard-fast destination and no deadline to be anyplace; such is nearly pure freedom.
As of the date of this blog, I have driven across the United States from coast to coast six times for a total of three extended round trips. Heading west, typically I leave out of the Boston, Massachusetts area or Southern New Jersey / Philadelphia area and head for a final destination of the beach cities region of the Los Angeles basin in California. Heading east is basically the reverse of heading west. Along the way, I can take any direct or indirect route and I attempt to visit as many interesting destinations as possible such as national parks, Niagara Falls, Las Vegas, and the Grand Canyon to name a few. Often times I encounter many unique experiences enroute and many have suggested that I begin cataloging my journeys and therefore I now blog. :)
Upon my arrival to either coast, I stay and visit with friends and family for a period of multiple months. On the east coast I continually travel between the Boston, Massachusetts area and the Southern New Jersey area and spend time in the Long Island and New York City areas of New York state.
I choose to make this journey on land as opposed to travel by air for several reasons. In my younger years I loved to fly and take trips that included flying. Later in life, I traveled throughout the nation and the world for my employer, all by air travel. However, after several nearly unexplained airplane crashes of the 1990’s and with all the latest anti-terrorism security related procedures at airports, I became disenfranchised with traveling by air. Additionally, after pursuing my legal rights in an unrelated matter and no doubt as a result of my opponent in that civil legal matter, my name suddenly and unjustly appeared as a ‘match’ on the national ‘no fly’ list – from which my name has since been removed, as far as I know. All of this and in light of my love of driving and the cost of renting a car for any extended stays, I rationalized that in reality it was nearly as low cost to drive as to fly. And, if one is in no real hurry to arrive anywhere, driving is a lot more fun, in my opinion.
So, this blog is an effort to catalogue my travels across and throughout the United States. If these writings are of interest to anyone that may read them, that is great. If you feel so inclined, click on a banner and support that entity with your patronage, if you would be so kind. Regardless, I hope you enjoy this blog.