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Days Eleven and Twelve: Minnesota to Pennsylvania

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by , 14 October 2011 at 05:40 (1086 Views)
The last two days were a race to the east. As scenery got less interesting, and traffic got thicker I wanted to get to the east as fast as possible. Leaving Minnesota on a cold and rainy day I took off on I-90 headed towards Wisconsin and Illinois. Minnesota's scenery was as flat as eastern South Dakota, but the towns seemed cleaner and better organized. What was passing by my windows was still as boring as the day before, but when the rain stopped and the sky cleared a bit the clouds were more interesting than the earthly surroundings.

Wisconsin was a pain, as there were lots of construction on the highway and there were lots of crappy drivers who were hogging the left lane, which drives me mad. The rain was on and off in Wisconsin, which just made it a little extra unbearable. I was getting so frustrated with traffic that I pulled over on a rest area and had a nap for twenty minutes to ward off the road rage. With renewed energy and some classical music to calm my nerves I braved I-90's madness again and continued south towards Illinois.

I was afraid Illinois would be worse than Wisconsin, as I noticed that people with Illinois license plates drove like apes in Wisconsin. Fortunately I-90 is a toll road in the land of Lincoln and I suppose some cheapskate drivers decided to take another road. With traffic lightened the Turnpike was not so bad. The highway had new pavement and new, huge rest areas that reminded of airport terminals and I zoomed towards Chicago. Chicago was much like any megalopolis, a web of highways, and I was glad to have a GPS to navigate them. I went around the windy city and only faced light traffic.

I drove into Indiana at dusk, and Indiana's turnpike was even better than Illinois'. I was pushing 80 mph in the dark, and the fact that I hadn't seen cop on I-90 since Spokane was not beyond me... My intention was to go no further than Michigan City but before I knew it I was in South Bend. I exited the highway and got a hotel near Notre Dame University.

The next day was another rainy day, and I left Indiana after a quick breakfast at Denny's. One thing that I noticed is how much South Bend stunk, with a smell of industry and pollution, and I felt bad for anyone living here. Driving off past Elkhart, the RV capital of America, heading east on the Indiana Turnpike I soon entered Ohio. The scenery in Ohio was prettier than Idiana's, with less industry and more farms, but it was still just rolling hills and the fast Turnpike through it. Ohio's turnpike was the most expensive so far, it cost me almost $20 on tolls to drive through Ohio. Illinois cost me less than $10.

The best part of the day's trip was Pennsylvania. There was a definite difference between Ohio and Pennsylvania. On other states it seemed that the state line was for the most part a made up boundary, as one state seemed the same as the one before. Here, however, everything was different. While Ohio was rolling hills, Pennsylvania was deep, pronounced hills, Ohio was a bit flat while Pennsylvania was very colorful. The Pennsylvania Turnpike was narrower without feeling constrained. The weather from the state line to Pittsburgh was very nice, with broken clouds and the sun peering through. As I drove into Pittsburgh however the skies closed up and soon it started to rain.

A few days prior I had posted on SAAB Link that I was swinging by Pennsylvania, and Chad from Simply SAAB had invited me to swing by his shop. It took me about fifteen minutes driving through Pittsburgh to get to Chad's shop. Simply SAAB is a two-man operation, with Chad being one of them. I spent about an hour with Chad, he got to check my 1995 900 Se Turbo and I checked out a '06 9-3 SC Turbo X he has for sale. I also watched his do a service on a 4 cylinder 9-3.

At six pm Chad closed his shop and we parted. He pointed me towards downtown, telling me to check out Moutn Washington where you can see the whole city, but as I drove off the rain just got thicker, so with the strong rain and the rush hour traffic I decided to skip Pittsburgh and head off. It was getting dark and I needed to find a place for the night. Not wanting to pay the premium prices of big-city hotels I drove south on the PA Turnpike towards VA. I went through some thick rain until Somerset, where I had a good dinner at Ruby Tuesday's, then got me a room at the Hampton Inn.

Now I am close enough to tomorrow's destination (Alexandria, VA) that I don't need to rush. Tomorrow will be a scenic, non-interstate drive, going south towards West Virginia then into Virginia, headed towards the nation's capital. I hope to be in Alexandria before rush hour or I am toast...

The last two days were very picture-poor, but here are some.

Driving off Minnesota in heavy rain

After the rain the skies were the most interesting feature in Minnesota

Wisconsin is open for business!

Over Wisconsin sometimes the sky would open up and let the sun through

The Land of Lincoln

More rainy clouds up ahead...

Yay! Another state!

Seeing double, or... That's a lot of packages on the road!

Ohio's Turnpike was expensive, but had the worst pavement. Where is that money going?

Best part of the last two days

Pennsylvania was very pretty

Chad's shop in Pittsburgh

A few of Sweden's best lined up outside the shop

931 miles in two days, a race through the midwest. Again, about 28 mpg through the last two days.

Not too many extra pictures this time, but here is the gallery: https://picasaweb.google.com/renato....eat=directlink

Hopefully the drive tomorrow will be more photogenic. Tomorrow is some of Pennsylvania and both Virginias, ending in Alexandria.


  1. Hirsch's Avatar
    I've only seen those triple Fed-Ex trucks on the Ohio Turnpike!

    I've really enjoyed reading the stories of your trip and I'm extremely jealous at the same!

    I will say this. You saw the worst part of Ohio, northern OH is an industrial wasteland. South of Columbus the land changes to hills, and rolling farmland. Multiple rivers bisect the southern part of the state and it's quite beautiful. Aireeca bases her opinion of Ohio on the 6 months she lived in Cleveland.
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