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  1. #1

    Default The Road Trip Guys; Trip 1

    Road Trip Day 1 - November 7, 2008
    Allentown, PA - Bardstown, Kentucky

    This is part one of a 4 day trip around the south east. No sights or tourist traps. Just road. We lived a dream those four days. We were armed with a camera and a small notebook. This is the story of our pictures, notes, and memories.

    The trip begins in Allentown, Pennsylvania at 8am on Friday, November 7, 2008. It was an overcast day and after hearing geese we decided that it was time to make our move. We rented a 2008 Nissan Altima from a local major rental chain in Allentown and after making a quick stop at my Moravian College dorm room to pick up the bags, gatorade, and breakfast bars we made our way to Bardstown, Kentucky. The directions were printed from Mapquest and it looked like any college syllabus. It was six pages long, looked overwhelming, but we knew that it would just have to get done. We got through the city of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and finally hit Interstate 78 around 9am. Twelve minutes later, still on Interstate 78 we witnessed the first sign that our road trip had to happen; a car with a Kentucky license plate.

    We had plenty of supporters on our trip. We received our first text saying something along the lines of "I can't believe you are actually doing this" shortly after we saw the Kentucky license plate.

    We hit I-81 south at 9:38 AM and when 10:02 AM hits we hear that South Dakota was snowed out, the original place we were going to. (By now you may have realized we took the exact time that everything of note happened) It was a warm day for November 7 and we opened up the windows to enjoy Interstate 81 past Harrisburg towards Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The breeze was so nice that it nearly blew our six page itinerary right out the window, forcing either a quick end to our road trip or four days of confused wandering. Lucky for us we were able to secure the papers. Shortly after saving our trip we saw the US Army War College which looked like a battle field right off of the interstate. I don't know much about this place but my thoughts are that maybe war games of some sort are played here.

    The first stop is at Carlisle, PA at a small Exxon station off of I-81. It's about 10:35 in the morning at this point and the sky that started overcast was now blue.. The strangely strong gas station coffee was promptly spilt in the cup holder by my friend on this trip but lucky for us, and the rental car company, the coffee dried and didn't leave a stain. I was hungry at that point but that coffee put a stop to that. It had to have been hours old. We decided it was pure bean. The term "bean" for coffee will then on be used for the entirety of the trip and beyond.

    Three more people call or text us ( I should point out that while we were driving the other took the phone)and gave us support and good luck as we enter Maryland. The exact time wasn't recorded for one reason or another. We head west on Interstate 68 towards Cumberland. My friend thought that maybe we would hit a tornado on this trip and hoped for it as we entered Maryland. This would be the first of a few times that I had to teach a geography lesson on this trip. Shortly after we passed Ft. Frederick State Park.

    We stopped at a Maryland rest area off of interstate 68, heading west into the core of the Appalachian Region of Maryland. It had a sign saying "Are you Deceived?" with a ton of religious pamphlets around the perimeter of the sign. At 12:27 a man from Georgia was driving to Maryland to bring a car to his mom. He was looking forward to collard greens and fried chicken but knew there wouldn't be anything at all waiting for him when his truck, Bessie, was done hauling the car to his mother's house. Also I'm not sure why, but there is actually a Negro Mountain that we passed. I'm pretty sure this is an offensive name and I'm really not sure why they haven't changed it to something else. In any case we reach West Virginia at 1:05 pm.

    The welcome center of West Virginia was the first official state welcome center we visited. The second sign Kentucky was on its way was that we met a man from Kentucky while looking at the giant map of West Virginia. He said we had a long way to get to Lexington. I don't think we really believed him. We should have. Back to the road...

    Living in Pennsylvania and New Jersey respectively we thought that the 70 MPH speed limit in West Virginia was beautiful. My buddy is driving and says we are only missing a dog to make the trip complete. At 1:50 PM we hit Morgantown, West Virginia and we come to the conclusion that peope don't understand why we are doing this and that it is not for joy but it is something that happens to be done. Ten minutes later we stop for lunch off of interstate 79 at a local hot dog place. Wright's Hot Dogs was the name and they love their West Virginia Mountaineers. The place was completely navy and gold. After a quick lunch of hot dogs and buying their T-shirts we continued our West Virginia trek.

    Interstate 79 goes right through the heart of West Virginia in the mountain county. The roads either go left, or right. If you go straight you fly off of a cliff. It was after 3 pm on a Friday afternoon and the roads were nearly empty. Something had to be said at this point. The conversation turned to bean, the hardcore coffee we had earlier in the day, as we started to get road weary. A cup of coffee at 4:30 in the afternoon was just the thing to make the road more interesting, especially since the skies have clouded over at this point. The Bean kept this trip on the road and not in a hotel. It began to shower a bit in Charlestown, West Virginia as we head west to Kentucky on Interstate 64.

    At 5:29 we reached Kentucky, "THE BLUGRASS STATE!" But two minutes later while, we pull of to the shoulder, and take a picture of the sign (our quest was to get a picture of every state sign). A truck driver gave us the finger... It was 6:02 on a Friday afternoon but nobody was on the road during rush hour in Kentucky. I assumed that it wasnt going to be much different than West Virginia. We wonder why the welcome center appears a half hour into Kentucky. It was, sadly, closed. It was dark out at the time so we hadn't been able to right anything down. In Kentucky we got off an exit to attempt to find dinner. When we found nothing we got on interstate 64 EAST instead of WEST and cost ourselves some time there. That was a big mistake. It took us a while to get to Lexington, Kentucky at that point, since we backtracked about 10 miles. After Lexington we hit the Bluegrass Expressway off of Interstate 64 and found Bardstown, Kentucky. This was our first stop for a night. The Holiday Inn Express was fantastic and just what was needed after 12 hours of road. We were off the road by 8 and, after dinner, were asleep by 10. Another wonderful thing about that Kentucky night was that we found the first gas prices under $2.00 a gallon ($1.89) that we have seen in some time. That's one thing I miss from 2008...

    So from our first day we were invigorated and full of life. We were weary of the road but ready for the challenges to come. Hindsight makes me wonder what the Bluegrass Expressway would have been like if I had seen in the daylight. Road Trip Day 2 to come... Bardstown, KY to Shreveport, LA.

    Fun Facts:
    STart point: Allentown, PA
    End point: Bardstown, KY
    States traveled: PA, MD, WV, KY
    Miles: 677
    Total Miles: 677
    Estimated Road Time: 12:00
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 03-04-2010 at 12:10 AM. Reason: added some line breaks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Thanks

    We get too few RoadTrip reports, so thanks for this one. It's a different sort of RoadTrip than the ones I'm used to taking and I'm looking forward to learning how you hold up after several days of this and whether you find it worthwhile in the end. I do hope you get out of the car for more than eating and sleeping eventually.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default 677 Miles in one day!

    That pace seems more like a job than a holiday!

    Like AZ Buck, I am looking forward to reading more about your trip!


  4. #4

    Default It was a job!

    We felt like this was something we had to do, haha.

    Part II will be posted tonight. I'll look over my notes and pictures and write the story. When I look back at the milage totals from that trip I'm just shocked.

    Our goal was just to get to as many states as we could.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Our goal was just to get to as many states as we could.
    Yes, that's just a job. I've run 805 miles in one day, and it was not very enjoyable.

  6. #6


    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    I do hope you get out of the car for more than eating and sleeping eventually.

    We did get out a bit. We stopped every 2 hours to switch drivers. We also stopped at random rest areas along the way to check out what's going on. That's how we met the man from Kentucky and the man from Georgia.
    Last edited by Dominic Longo; 03-04-2010 at 05:19 PM.

  7. #7

    Default The Road Trip Guys; Trip 1; Day 2; Bardstown, KY to Shreveport, LA

    Road Trip Day 2 - November 8, 2008
    Bardstown, KY - Shreveport, Louisiana

    This is part one of a 4 day trip around the south east. No sights or tourist traps. Just road. We lived a dream those four days. We were armed with a camera and a small notebook. This is DAY 2 of the story of our pictures, notes, and memories.

    The day begins at 5:30am in the Days Inn at Bardstown, KY. We got about 7 and a half hours of sleep and were prepared to be on the road by 6am. Energized and ready to start a day filled with states we have never seen before, we are out of the hotel by 5:51am where we head to the checkout counter to find the man working the counter asleep on the couch in the lobby. Hoping Kentucky didn't make people sleep on a couch in lobbies we quietly exit...

    The sun had not risen yet and, being so close to the central time zone, we didn't realize we would have an extra hour to sleep because we could have rolled back the clocks 1 hour. Our plan was to be out of the hotel by 6am and off the road somewhere between 6pm - 8pm. In retrospect that would have been nice to sleep that extra hour, but when we crossed the central time zone at 6:45am it suddenly was an hour earlier, 5:45. We begin our log in central time.

    Somewhere around Bowling Green on Interstate 65 south we make a stop at a state rest area to take some pictures of the sun rise over the blue grass of Kentucky. Shortly before our stop we saw an interesting sign for "Kentucky Down Under" with a picture of a kangaroo. Shortly after our stop we saw a giant T-Rex statue. At any rate it's after 6:00am (central time) we are in the rest area and realize if we pulled a knob we got a free map. So out pops two maps of Kentucky. We thought that pulling a knob and getting a map was a much better, hospitable Kentucky than when we saw the man on the couch. Getting back in our rented Nissan Altima we realize that we needed a welcome party upon our arrival for doing such a great thing. Our false sense of grandeur would not be realized...

    At 6:45am the skies were bright blue and the sun had fully risen and that's when my friend notices that, now that he has been to Kentucky, it's just like Pennsylvania. I say it's like Maryland and West Virginia The landscape and general territory hasn't changed much. Rolling hills, trees, and mountains. Questioning why we haven't done this before we roll down the windows and hear the wind of Tennessee at 7:04am. We were out of Kentucky in a little more than an hour and into another new state. We took a picture of the state sign and obtained a map and quickly were back on the road. Tennessee on Interstate 65 south from the border looked much lke Kentucky, and West Virginia, and Maryland, and Pennsylvania. There were more colors on the trees being further south.

    Around 8:15am we are still making our way through Tennessee when my buddy admits that he was ready to sleep much later, and he didn't want to leave the Days Inn. Then he added that he saw the car and knew that it was time to go. On a trip like this we needed resolve.

    The first hot cup of bean at the Pilot was at 8:45am. A woman was refilling the coffee at the time and we told her what we were up to. The girl in the Pilot then told us if we wanted to hate each other we should have the most intense bean with extra espresso shots in it, but we could only have two a day. These shots came in the creamer cups. I forgot what they were caled. After a lot of football conversation, contemplating the legitimacy of Eli Manning (if we only knew what he would do in that Super Bowl...), we thought positively of our driver system and our appreciation of the bean grew. Coffee and determination got us through. At this point we have turned west on I-40 towards Memphis. We have a lovely conversation starting at 9:53. I said that this was my first Tennessee driving experience and that I couldn't wait for my first Arkansas driving experience. Arkansas would definitely be an interesting experience but that is still to come.

    After passing through much flatter land than we've been through on the trip and passing a giant pyramid, we get out of the car around 10:30 and hit up a mall outside of Memphis, Tennessee. My buddy felt it was necessary to buy the newly released Gears of War 2 on this trip. I disagreed but a stop was needed at this point. It couldn't hurt.
    Memphis comes and goes at 11:12am and we cross the Mississippi River and head into the great state of Arkansas, where the fun really begins. The Arkansas welcome center was the worst thing we ever saw. The bathrooms contained metal buckets. Use your imagination. We grab maps and get out of there. Shortly past this place Arkansas was on fire. Maybe they were burning after the harvest but the flat fields were on fire, or smoking anyway. Following that me, and my buddy have a notable exchange where my friend says that he is ready to see the Adirondacks and I quickly tell him they are in New York...

    Arkansas was straight and flat road to Little Rock. There wasn't really anything for us to see. The road seemed to never end at this point. It was also windy but a little warmer than expected. It was in the 60's. Arkansas was pretty frustrating and didn't have much to offer. We stop at a small chicken shack near a Pilot for lunch. Passing through Little Rock we head southwest on Interstate 30 towards Texarkana and the Texas border. There just seemed to be so march Arkansas. It looks small but it drives long. It's after 3 and we are well into our fourth hour of Arkansas and see a sign for Arkadelphia and that was the end. For some reason that sign set us off. We began to wonder what Mississippi and Alabama would have to offer and we couldn't wait to leave Arkansas. The conversation also turned to the thousands of Cracker Barrel's there were on the road.

    Arkansas was finally over at 4:32pm. It took 5 hours and 20 minutes to get through Arkansas. It appeared small next to Texas, but it clearly wasn't. There was a feeling that we didn't really belong in Texas. It just felt so much different, to me, than any place I have been before. There was no state sign for Texas. We joked that the state just assumed you knew you were in Texas. At the rest stop we did get a map and instead of a state sign we took a picture with a giant, granite Texas statue.

    Close to 5pm we get off of the interstate and worked our way south on US 59 in eastern Texas. We saw a lot of deforestation and new farms on our route on 59. Maybe they were cattle ranches. Who knew? It was beginning to get dark. Marshall, Texas was the last town on US 59 that we hit before turning east on Interstate 20. This is the farthest point from our point of origin. The trip home technically began at this point. It is dark now as the final leg of day two beings.

    We head east on Interstate 20 and hit Louisiana at 6:00. I found it strange that the travel centers had casinos in them. Forty minutes later we reached our destination; Shreveport, Louisiana. There were casinos everywhere. We explored the city a little and got some down home Louisiana cooking at Applebees (ha). The waitress told us there were two shootings near where she lived and to be careful in the city. Needless to say we really didn't explore much after that. After four hours of Shreveport we were finished with day two and in the Days Inn resting for day three.

    Day two came and went. Arkansas took a whole lot out of us and the distance was finally being realized. At this point we have been through eight states in two days and awe set in. The one thing we needed most was rest at this point. The excitement of being on the road wasn't as fresh as it once was. We knew we had work to do over the next two days.

    Fun Facts:
    Start Point: Bardstown, KY
    End Point: Shrevepoint, LA
    States Traveled: KY, TN, AR, TX, LA
    Miles: 754
    Total Miles: 1431
    Road Time: 12: 49
    Total Road Time: 24:49

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Nice report.

    You lads sure are racking up the miles ![and States]

    I am enjoying the read, it's well written so looking forward to more !

    Did you know that you can upload pictures to your RTA album [found on your profile page] and then link them to your post using the "insert image" icon above ?

    I just wondered as.........

    some pictures of the sun rise over the blue grass of Kentucky
    ..... I would really like to see some ! Lol

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default You weren't looking the right spots!

    Quote Originally Posted by jimzdj36 View Post
    Arkansas was straight and flat road to Little Rock. There wasn't really anything for us to see.
    I spent about six weeks driving around Arkansas one June -- Arkansas is full of some the prettiest state parks and lakes in the country! And replete with stunning women! The only place I've seen a higher per capita of gorgeous women for an entire state -- was California.

    You guys must have been driving too fast....


  10. #10


    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sedenquist View Post
    I spent about six weeks driving around Arkansas one June
    It must have been good to spend so long there in a single month ;)

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