Beginning on August 21, 2010 two friends and I began a journey from Allentown, PA out west to Broadus, MT over the course of seven days. We planned for over a year (because of one failed attempt thanks to student loans) and were better prepared for another speed run. In November 2008 one friend and I went through the south east in four days. Here is the story of the second trip. We switched drivers every hour and a half (roughly) and took all of the proper precautions for a speed run. Our goal was to get to as many states as safely possible in a week.
Part 1: Allentown, PA - Florence, KY
The second journey began on the morning of August 21, 2010 in Allentown, Pennsylvania. At eight o'clock in the morning we got our car, a Hyundai Elantra, from the Allentown Airport Avis Rental Car Company. We ended up getting out of the airport by 8:30 and the road trip began. Saturday morning traffic was rather light heading to route 22 west bound which took us to Interstate 78. US 22 and 78 are roads often traveled so they are boring to us. We make good time out of 78 to Harrisburg and the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The toll was over $12 dollars to run the length of the PA Turnpike from Harrisburg to exit 75. Exit 75 took us to Interstate 70 in western Pennsylvania.
Interstate 70 in western PA was where we found a quick lunch at Arby's. Heavy lunches filled with fat are usually what drivers want to avoid while going on long trips to avoid the drowsiness of eating such a big meal. We kept it light even though it was Arby's. Pennsylvania is a huge state. It doesn't look it, but it took us until about two o'clock in the afternoon to get out of there. Being so familiar with the state of Pennsylvania, we couldn't wait to get out of there. There was some construction in western Pennsylvania on Interstate 70 (around the PA Turnpike interchanges) but it only slowed us down fifteen minutes in the long run. 10 minutes of West Virginia comes and goes and Ohio is the next destination. We get gas there. So at least we stopped in every state.
We head into Ohio, crossing the Ohio river for the first time, and look for maps. None could be found thanks to the recession. The state welcome center was closed due to a lack of funding. Interstate 70 took us to Columbus, Ohio. The surroundings were similar to western Pennsylvania. The clouds began to gather in the late afternoon hours and at the junction of Interstate 70 and Interstate 75 rain began to pour. There was a heavy downpour of about fifteen to twenty minutes just south of Columbus and heading towards Cincinnati on Interstate 75 south. When the clouds opened up it felt like a new day. The rain coming and going was a great refresher. The sun shining on the vast, wet fields of corn through the broken clouds looked amazing. The rain slowed us down a little bit as visibility was terrible. It was the first time any of us felt like we were on a road trip. The humidity was gone and we opened the windows. I felt far from home for the first time.
It was close to dinner time in south western Ohio. It's after six o'clock in the afternoon, closer to seven, when we approached Cincinnati. Along Interstate 75 every sports venue is visible. Paul Brown Stadium and the stadium where the Reds play (the name escapes me). The interstate first goes through the large buildings which I assume are the business district and then does a loop around the two stadiums before crossing the Ohio River for the second time in the day. Florence, Kentucky wasn't more than 10 or 15 minutes into the state. We stayed at the Microtel Inn. It was perfect for what we needed it for. A one night stay there was great. We got there at roughly 7:30pm and got dinner there. Day 1 was over. It was an easy drive, half of which was familiar. The best part of the day's drive was interstate 75 from Columbus through Florence after the rain subsided. Day 1 was business. We just wanted to get to where we needed to be since we are very familiar with Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Day 2 was when everything was new and exciting; Florence, KY to Topeka, KS.
Time: 11 hours
States: PA, WY, OH, KY