On the Interstate – Part 2

This is the followup to the previous part.

I like road trips so much that I like to think that had I been born in the US, as a kid I would have thought that I would be a truck driver when I grew up. Some kids in the US dream of becoming garbage truck drivers or train drivers. Not me. But thank goodness, I get to drive a lot for fun.

The latest road trip was required. I drove from Newark, DE, to Dallas, TX, via Atlanta, GA. The journey was in three parts. First, the shortest of the three was from Newark, DE, to Ashburn, VA. I met a huge amount of traffic and ended up doing a 3 hour journey in 4 and a half hour.

I have been visiting friends in Ashburn VA for years. I know the road like the back of my hands. Take I-95 South for a bit, then turn right on to I-695 for a bit, and then I-70 West for a bit, then head south on US-15. Here’s the route.

Here I should pause to explain another feature of the interstate numbering method. Generally, the major bits have single- or two-digit numbers. Such as I-5, I-10, I-95 etc. A road that forks off of a major road gets an additional digit at the front. So I-695, I-595, etc., means that they are off-shoots of 95. Another standard is that if the added number is even, it means the off-shoot road rejoins the main road after a bit. Therefore, if take I-695, you will get back to I-95 eventually. But if you take, say, I-580 (which is a spur off of I-80), then you will not rejoin I-80.

I should tell you that this is a personal journey log, and therefore it may be tiresome to some readers. I apologize for that.

My favorite road in the US has to be I-95. Growing up, I was a Simon & Garfunkel fan. I still am. One of the songs struck a cord with me: America. I will post that at the end of this piece. It has the words, “Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike / They’ve all come to look for America.”

I wanted so much to take the New Jersey Turnpike. And when I landed at JFK so many years ago, we took the NJT to New Brunswick where the Rutgers University campus is. In New Jersey, I-95 is the NJ turnpike. From NJ, I-95 enters Delaware, and it is called the Delaware Turnpike.

I have traveled nearly 90 percent of the total length of I-95 which goes from Maine (the northern most state of the contiguous US) to the state of Florida, a distance of over 3,000 kms.

OK, back to my journey. I reached Ashburn a bit tired because of the delays. Getting around Baltimore, MD, is always a bit of a pain as it is always busy. The Baltimore-Washington D.C. area is really densely populated.

That was last week Thursday. Friday was a rest day. Saturday I got back on the road quite early around 8 AM. My destination was Atlanta, GA. Distance: a bit short of 1,000 kms. Here’s the map.

Ashburn VA to Atlanta GA

The first part was on US-29 South, and then I-85 South at Greensboro, NC. That drive took me nearly 12 hours. Part of the reason was a bit of traffic delays, but the major part was that I was indeed driving a bit below the speed limit. I had a bag on top of the car, and that induced drag. That really depressed my gas mileage by around 20 percent. So I drove around 100 kmph, instead of 120 kmph.

A quick note here. In the US, we use the British System, not the SI system that the rest of the world follows. So we have pounds, miles, and gallons; not kilos, meters and liters. Go figure. But since most of my readers are non-US people, I figured I’d use SI measures.

I use a simple thumb rule to convert between miles and kilometers. Approximately, 6 miles is 10 kms, and 10 miles is 16 kms. And a gallon, to a first approximation, is 4 liters (closer to 3.8 liters.)

I reached Atlanta GA around 8 PM on Saturday the 17th. Then, Sunday, I rested (like you know who.) The next part of the journey began really early on Monday. But that bit I will do tomorrow.

Now, here’s the S&G song, America. Enjoy.



Author: Atanu Dey


5 thoughts on “On the Interstate – Part 2”

  1. Penultimate paragraph: I do not know ‘who’ you rested like.

    On a different note, have you travelled on the new (last 20 years) highways of India? How did you like them?

    And thanks for using km and litres. The FPS system messes me up.


    1. According to Christian mythology, some fellow they call “God” created the earth and the heavens, and all sorts of things and creatures, and he did that for six days, and on the seventh day, Sunday, he rested. Here’s the King James Bible:

      And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

      About road trips in India. Yes, I have made two in the recent years. One was in Gujarat and Rajasthan. On that trip we took two cars, five adults and three young ones. We went to major temples, including Dwarka and Sommath. A more recnt one was a road trip from Bangalore to see the Chola temples. I have a post on that.

      Liked by 1 person

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