I enjoy driving. I often drive long distances to visit family and friends.

Frequently I take the Interstates, mapped out here by the nicely-surnamed Chris Yates:

Chris Yates's map of the US Interstate System

Map of the US Interstate System © Chris Yates

Unfortunately, I-83, which I take into and out of Baltimore, seems to be missing from the map! NOTE: this is revised in the updated versions here and here.

The interstates are an interesting mapping and engineering feat, and as a math teacher I like how the odd numbers basically count down from East to West while the even numbers count down from North to South! But also pretty cool are the U.S. Routes that in some ways the interstates superseded.

U.S. Route 40

U.S. 40 runs through Baltimore, near my high school, and is pretty much parallel to the proposed pathway for the future Red Line. This summer I drove along Rte 40 (mixing it up sometimes with Alt Rte 40) almost all the way from Baltimore to Pittsburgh to attend a math conference. The route was very scenic and a nice break from the monotony of the interstates.

U.S. Route 1

U.S. 1 runs north and south all the way from Maine to Florida, from the Canadian border all the way to the island of Key West. Since I enjoy driving, and since Rte 1 goes both through Baltimore and Boston, I decided one time (a year and a half ago) to make the return trip from visiting family outside Boston all the way by Rte 1! This turned out to be more difficult than anticipated, as I-95 has replaced Rte 1 as a major thoroughfare running essentially parallel to it, with many criss-crosses. Because few people drive along Rte 1 any distance anymore (instead of as a way to get to 95 or to some small town), the signs for Rte 1 were often ill-marked. Sometimes I’d find myself in the right lane but barely catch a sign that indicated Rte 1 traffic should be in the left lane and about to curve off to the left! I got thoroughly lost in Providence (I’ve since revisited this stretch of 1 and remain utterly confused about where Rte 1 disappears to!). I got lost a few other times, but was able either to retrace my steps or to get onto I-95 for a short stretch and take the next exit for U.S. 1. In any case, despite the missteps and meanderings, I very much enjoyed the experience of taking Rte 1 all the way from Boston to Baltimore. It took 13.5 hours, compared to my usual journey length of 9 hours.

U.S. Route 20

U.S. 20 goes coast to coast, Massachusetts to Oregon. At some point in my life, I’d like to drive Rte 20 all the way from Boston to Newport, OR and the Pacific Ocean. Although Rte 40 would be more convenient to my home of Baltimore, it regrettably ends in Utah and so the accomplishment would not feel as great as travelling from sea to shining sea along Rte 20.



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4 responses to “Driving

  1. Pingback: Blogging Month Complete! « Maryland Math Madness

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  4. Pingback: A Summary of My (2011) Summer Trip | Maryland Math Madness

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