Driving across USA (part 1)

This is a long time due project – blogging about the places where I traveled.

I have thousands of pictures and a lot of movies from the places I’ve been.

I really enjoy traveling. It’s a great experience to see new places and meet new people.

I had the opportunity to drive 3 times across USA (from Seattle to Cleveland or the other way around). I enjoyed each time. I loved driving long distance and enjoy way more than flying. And yes, after flying almost monthly between Seattle and Cleveland, I still love flying 🙂

First time, I drove with my wife and my daughter (2 years old at that time).  We had a small U-haul trailer and we avoided big cities because limited parking. We also tried to get fast to destination, but we took our time to get good night rest. We took the shortest route (I90, I94 (through North Dakota) and back to I90). We spent almost 3.5 days on our way to Akron, OH.

I drove second time alone (well, technically alone because eventually I ended up picking a hitchhiker). It was more or less a race against time, but I’ve decided to go all the way on I90 (through South Dakota) and take a short detour and see Mount Rushmore. It took me 3 days, as planned ahead.

The last trip was the best one. We had time – so there was no rush to get fast to the destination. And, of course, we took the “scenic route” (Saint Louis, Denver, cross Rockies on highway 40, Salt Lake City, Yellowstone, etc)

This is the map of my last trip. For now, I’ll just embed the picture in the blog – I’ll test later how I can interact better with google maps:

This route was over 5000 km long (3100 miles). We stopped in Yellowstone for a few days so it took me aprox. 7 days to get home, in Seattle.

I could name this blog post “America, the Beautiful”… Because, one trip like this is really worth the time and money…

When I think about it, I remember the lush green corn fields, the serene landscapes away from large and busy cities, a beautiful fireball in the night summer sky, high mountains, clear lakes, big skyscrapers in the main cities, wildlife, awsome thunderstorms, open skies in Montana, perfectly visible Milky Way and no (air or light) polution…

Let’s get started… Aug 15th, 2009 – my last day at Diebold as a Software Developer Lead. It was a tough decision – resign from a very good job in the middle of a economic crisis.

Even my last day there was almost surreal – got a warm goodbye, a “we’ll miss you” card, and some gifts from co-workers and my managers. This proved to me once more how lucky I was to work in a such nice group of people. I miss them all, too…

Two pictures close to Diebold headquarters:


All my stuff was already packed in the car, so I hit the road.

I uploaded a few audio books on my iPhone and avoided this way to get bored… It made my trip way easier.

At my first rest area stop, I found an interesting iPhone app – GPS Tracker. This way, my family and friends were able to find out in real time my location (using InstaMapper).

I really appreciate rest areas – they are located pretty often close to nature. During summer time, it’s pretty relaxing to eat there instead inside of a busy restaurant.

 Soon enough, I got to Columbus, home of Ohio State University.

I visited Columbus a few years ago, so I didn’t stop.

After a while, I hit a traffic jam in the middle of nowhere (there was probably an accident or some construction work). Traffic jams are bad. But if we are not in a rush then we can just listen to music (or audio books) and relax. We’ll get there, traffic jams are not forever:

A few hours later – it was already dark.

I prefer driving during daylight. For long trips like this one, I don’t make reservations ahead of time at hotels / motels.  Many times I end up spending the night in places like Motel 6 due to their relative low cost.

I stopped and spent the night close to Dayton.

Next morning, I had a breakfast at a Waffle House and then hit the road again.

A few miles ahead, I had to say good bye to Ohio…

…and welcome to Indiana state.

Indiana state is pretty flat.

I’ve been to Indianapolis before, so I decided not to stop there. Indianapolis is named “cross roads of America”. It’s famous for Nascar races and it’s an interesting city.

I actually spent a few nights there in 2005 and we were in a middle of a powerful thunderstorm. This time I was luckier – the weather was good:

Also, I got a chance to shoot some pictures of Indianapolis (from the car).

There are a few skyscrapers. The city is indeed a crossroad – there quite a few freeways getting in and out of the city.

When I left the city I was driving close by the airport – the same airport I used 4 years ago:

Drving a few more miles and I was away from Indianapolis.

I stopped for lunch and continued driving. The weather was still very good – just some white clouds.


There was almost no traffic and I felt good driving away from busy and crazy life.

And yes, the green corn fields… I can’t go away without posting a picture of them. In midwest, we can drive for hours through corn fields. It’s a reminder that we’re in country side. It reminds me by the time when I was a chind and spend my vacation at a farm at my relatives places (grandparents or cousins):

“A million miles away from home” comes right now to my mind. It’s a song name…

Well, only just a mere two thousand miles away from home, but still enough. And it really depends what I call home 🙂

Anyway, here I am getting into Illinois:

That’s it for now… I’ll continue with a second post for the next section of the trip. I just hope I’ll get time soon to start blogging again.


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