Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

The highs & lows of a 3,000-mile road trip June 10, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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Traveling on Interstate 90 somewhere in upstate New York.

Traveling on Interstate 90 somewhere in upstate New York. This is one beautiful state.

MAKING A CROSS COUNTRY road trip isn’t easy. It’s especially grueling when you’re under a schedule with minimal time to stop except for gas, bathroom breaks, and to eat, sleep and pay tolls.

Although we spotted many signs directing us toward New York City, we did not go that way.

Although we spotted many signs directing us toward New York City, we did not go that way.

Despite the challenges, there’s a certain sense of adventure and accomplishment in completing a long-distance journey. It’s a great way to see the country. My husband and I traveled 3,029 miles on a late May road trip from Minnesota to Massachusetts and back. I’ve already taken you to our destinations of Somerville and Medford.

Ohio is a big state to traverse from west to east. Be ware of state troopers here. They were thick on the Interstate, the highest number we saw in any of the nine states we drove through.

Ohio is a big state to traverse from west to east. Be ware of state troopers here. They were thick on the Interstate, the highest number we saw in any of the nine states we drove through.

Now it’s time to take you other places.

Finally, after 2 1/2 days of travel, we reached Massachusetts.

Finally, after 2 1/2 days of travel, we reached Massachusetts.

But before I do that, here’s a summary of trip highs and lows:

Our room at the Super 8 Motel in Princeton, Illinois, where we met Carl, the desk clerk. See that picture of the Chicago skyline? Carl once worked in the second building from the right. We loved Carl.

Our room at the Super 8 Motel in Princeton, Illinois, where we met Carl, the desk clerk. See that picture of the Chicago skyline? Carl once worked in the second building from the right. We loved Carl. The quiet room overlooked a field and the John Deere dealership. Total cost: $66.81.

Highlights:

Road construction was expected. Everywhere.

Road construction was expected and endured. Everywhere.

Lowlights:

  •  Road construction.
  •  Toll booths.
  •  Too many dead deer along the Interstates, especially in Pennsylvania with New York coming in second.
  •  Hotels that allow smoking.
  •  A less than welcoming Illinois hotel clerk who refused to give us an AARP discount because the hotel “had met its quota for the night.” I’ve  never heard  of this before. We didn’t believe him and left. He had a bad overall attitude.
  •  Cleaning an apartment kitchen used by college students.
  •  Getting lost in a really bad part of Buffalo, New York, for 1 ½ hours.
  •  Crazy and dangerous drivers in Buffalo.
  •  Failing to see Niagra Falls once we reached the general falls area only to encounter road construction and no directions how to get to the American side of the falls.
  •  Morning rush hour in Hartford, Connecticut, on a rainy Monday.
  •  Nearly being hit head-on when a vehicle crossed the center line on a state highway in Iowa.
  •  Too many miles (600 driven one day) and not enough sleep.

FYI: Check back next week as I showcase specific places from our trip.

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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