Nothing but opinionated BS

neffa3

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Apr 17, 2015
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Wenatchee
I just completed a form of masochism that entailed driving a 26' slug (moving truck and trailer) across the US with a college buddy to help him move from WA to CT in 4 days, almost all on I-90 till ~Pennsylvania. I'd never been east of Montana (aside from a lone trip to Indianapolis pre marriage with my wife). Here's what I concluded from the trip.
WA- really ugly state, at least from Wenatchee east. Too much traffic, not enough rest areas, and the rest areas we do have are old and shitty. Surprisingly had the most political stickers, all RED in nature, you'd think eastern WA was trying to out-Texas Texas.
ID- It's only like a hour, but took us almost two, because both passes were traversed at a break-necking pace of sub-28 mpg, with the gas pedal hammered the entire way.
MT- Definitely the prettiest state on the trip. It helped that we made a side trip to Big Fork to visit my buddy's folks and drove back down the Swan (first for me), my god is that pretty country. And despite how every Montanan will complain that there's too many people, sure looked like a lot of lonely country could stil be found. It also goes on FOREVER. Nice rest areas and gas stations are generally easy to find and access.
WY- kinda ugly, no great rest areas, Gillette has got to be the second ugliest town in the US (see below), the only saving grace is that you can't go 30 sec without seeing wildlife, esp pronghorn.
SD- biggest surprise of the trip. Beautiful state, so green, tons of native (looking) grass/prairie, I do think western SD must have had a very wet year because the annual precip map looks like it should be on par with my area in WA, but this was way greener. Also, there seemed to be better farming/ranching practices, lots of areas that looked like they were hardly grazed, and ag fields had tons of shelter belt, or un-farmed areas on the margins. Tons of deer. Black hills were expansive, more so than I thought they would be. Definitely not shitty. Though Rapid City was kinda shitty to stay in one night. Also noticed that they don't appear to have any zoning laws, this only got worse as we went east. As someone who works like muni's everyday, this was annoying and gross.
MN - Not nearly as cool as I thought it would be. Corn and soy beans as far as the eye can see. Flat, flatter than SD. Probably the most disappointing state, but maybe my expectations were too high. I kinda felt like southern MN should be ceded to Iowa. But easily the nicest rest areas! They had these little paved trails with native prairie planted along them to stretch the legs.
WI - Super pretty state, prettiest east of the rockies, slight edge over SD. Very friendly people, good beer. Saw more sit-on-top kayaks than canoes and motor boats put together... seemed odd. Smallest ski hills on the planet. Found a giant truck stop that didn't have diesel... WTF is that about?
IL- Shithole #1. F Chicago. Worse stretch of I-90 on the trip. Start of the super stupid toll BS.
IN- my wife's home state. Shithole #2, and the dirtiest, grosses, ugliest area of the trip. Gary Indiana is hideous. WA has homeless encampments that are cleaner and safer. Water tastes like sulfur and chlorine. And more stupid ass toll bs, and super expensive nonetheless. Zero zoning, farming/houses/giant industry, all on the same block, so gross. Also the start of an entirely different rest area/ truck stop system, where everything is combined in these mega rest areas, and again quite gross, loaded with trash (both physical and human). I will adjust my future life decisions to ensure I never go back. The only slightly positive is that we saw several nice bucks from the road.
OH- maybe it was that we'd just gone through IN but it didn't seem that bad. Eastern OH actually seemed dare I say, nice. Still the same mega rest areas and tolls, though 1/2 the price of IN.
PA - central PA is quite pretty. I might, MIGHT, be convinced to live there if the west was nuked. Those damn sure aren't mountains, but a guy would at least break a sweat hiking them. Some cool little streams that I would have liked to stop and explore/fish. Neutral rest areas, but at least we're back to a western style and out of the that mega bs. PA has made it a #1 priority to remind you that bridges... ALL BRIDGES, freeze before the ground does.
NJ - the trip didn't actually go through NJ but we tried to venture that way one night as we stayed at the junction of NJ, NY, and PA for dinner. They don't sell beer at gas stations in NJ... f those guys, I'll never go back.
NY- we weren't that far from NY City yet you could have fooled me, it didn't inherently suck, I mean it was no WI but again, didn't suck.
CT- Clean, good roads, friendly people, nothing is new. Hysterical highway department. There is no reason to terrify out of staters driving unresponsive tanks with signs on the freeway cautioning "crossing traffic ahead", it's called merging, and it's nothing to special, stop with the over-dramatization. Hilly, looks really undeveloped but when you hop on onx there's houses everywhere. There are no straight roads in CT. Very few suburban developments. This is where my buddy moved to. Didn't seem terrible, but as we unloaded the truck, sweating profusely, I asked the temp, his reply... 77. F that. 77 is borderline sweatshirt weather in the summer here, work outside all day weather, enjoy life weather. They said it got up to 103 in CT already this summer, that might as well be the human death zone. I'd rather see 120 here than 103 there.
RI- This were I flew out of to get back home. Tiny, like you could damn near fit it in my daily commute tiny, just like CT except people talk like Family guy... Just Like Family Guy. I laughed at the security guy. He didn't.


More randomass opinions if you've read this far.
-They should not rent 26' moving truck with trailers to people without at least a few minutes of instruction. There was a series of buttons on the dash for all kinds of things that appeared to deal with the transmission and engine. We randomly tried turning them all on or off and couldn't really ever notice a difference.
- Over 75% of the trip the truck was floored. I actually made a sign out of a beer case and tapped it to the back of the trailer than said, "sorry, she's floored"
-We had a 90+ lb white shepherd mix in cab with us that put out more fuzz than a cottonwood in spring. I literally would have to pull hair off my tongue multiple times a day. I'll be finding random white hairs for years after that trip.
-HT's own masshole @wllm is absolutely full of shit to claim new england isn't that bad. I mean it's not Indiana, but to even fain that it is a fraction of the what CO or MT are is ludicrous. I mean maybe it's better than the front range of CO, but that's about it. I'd rather sit all day in traffic on Bozangles soaking the in mountain majesty, able to drive a couple hours in any direction and find wild lands and solitude than live on 100 ac in new england. Hell I got claustrophobia just driving through NE, you can't see anything, ever, in any direction! Just trees and some brush and some cars and some houses.
-Finally, on the flight back, flying over WA, almost right over my house. I decided I'd never want to live anywhere else. All of our mountains, which are way more rugged than Montana's Bob, all be it smaller, are still loaded with snow, they stretch out to the horizon even at 30k feet. At the same time one can pan over to sound, and the San Juans, then to the Olympics. Outside of Seattle, by which I mean everything from Centralia to Mount Vernon, this is ACTUALLY the prettiest state. I feel so fortunate to live here.
 
Last edited:

Ben Lamb

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 6, 2010
Messages
17,435
Location
Cedar, MI
I just completed a form of masochism that entailed driving a 26' slug (moving truck and trailer) across the US with a college buddy to help him move from WA to CT in 4 days, almost all on I-90 till ~Pennsylvania. I'd never been east of Montana (aside from a lone trip to Indianapolis pre marriage with my wife). Here's what I concluded from the trip.
WA- really ugly state, at least from Wenatchee east. Too much traffic, not enough rest areas, and the rest areas we do have are old and shitty. Surprisingly had the most political stickers, all RED in nature, you'd think eastern WA was trying to out-Texas Texas.
ID- It's only like a hour, but took us almost two, because both passes were traversed at a break-necking pace of sub-28 mpg, with the gas pedal hammered the entire way.
MT- Definitely the prettiest state on the trip. It helped that we made a side trip to Big Fork to visit my buddy's folks and drove back down the Swan (first for me), my god is that pretty country. And despite how every Montanan will complain that there's too many people, sure looked like a lot of lonely country could stil be found. It also goes on FOREVER. Nice rest areas and gas stations are generally easy to find and access.
WY- kinda ugly, no great rest areas, Gillette has got to be the second ugliest town in the US (see below), the only saving grace is that you can't go 30 sec without seeing wildlife, esp pronghorn.
SD- biggest surprise of the trip. Beautiful state, so green, tons of native (looking) grass/prairie, I do think western SD must have had a very wet year because the annual precip map looks like it should be on par with my area in WA, but this was way greener. Also, there seemed to be better farming/ranching practices, lots of areas that looked like they were hardly grazed, and ag fields had tons of shelter belt, or un-farmed areas on the margins. Tons of deer. Black hills were expansive, more so than I thought they would be. Definitely not shitty. Though Rapid City was kinda shitty to stay in one night. Also noticed that they don't appear to have any zoning laws, this only got worse as we went east. As someone who works like muni's everyday, this was annoying and gross.
MN - Not nearly as cool as I thought it would be. Corn and soy beans as far as the eye can see. Flat, flatter than SD. Probably the most disappointing state, but maybe my expectations were too high. I kinda felt like southern MN should be ceded to Iowa. But easily the nicest rest areas! They had these little paved trails with native prairie planted along them to stretch the legs.
WI - Super pretty state, prettiest east of the rockies, slight edge over SD. Very friendly people, good beer. Saw more sit-on-top kayaks than canoes and motor boats put together... seemed odd. Smallest ski hills on the planet. Found a giant truck stop that didn't have diesel... WTF is that about?
IL- Shithole #1. F Chicago. Worse stretch of I-90 on the trip. Start of the super stupid toll BS.
IN- my wife's home state. Shithole #2, and the dirtiest, grosses, ugliest area of the trip. Gary Indiana is hideous. WA has homeless encampments that are cleaner and safer. Water tastes like sulfur and chlorine. And more stupid ass toll bs, and super expensive nonetheless. Zero zoning, farming/houses/giant industry, all on the same block, so gross. Also the start of an entirely different rest area/ truck stop system, where everything is combined in these mega rest areas, and again quite gross, loaded with trash (both physical and human). I will adjust my future life decisions to ensure I never go back. The only slightly positive is that we saw several nice bucks from the road.
OH- maybe it was that we'd just gone through IN but it didn't seem that bad. Eastern OH actually seemed dare I say, nice. Still the same mega rest areas and tolls, though 1/2 the price of IN.
PA - central PA is quite pretty. I might, MIGHT, be convinced to live there if the west was nuked. Those damn sure aren't mountains, but a guy would at least break a sweat hiking them. Some cool little streams that I would have liked to stop and explore/fish. Neutral rest areas, but at least we're back to a western style and out of the that mega bs. PA has made it a #1 priority to remind you that bridges... ALL BRIDGES, freeze before the ground does.
NJ - the trip didn't actually go through NJ but we tried to venture that way one night as we stayed at the junction of NJ, NY, and PA for dinner. They don't sell beer at gas stations in NJ... f those guys, I'll never go back.
NY- we weren't that far from NY City yet you could have fooled me, it didn't inherently suck, I mean it was no WI but again, didn't suck.
CT- Clean, good roads, friendly people, nothing is new. Hysterical highway department. There is no reason to terrify out of staters driving unresponsive tanks with signs on the freeway cautioning "crossing traffic ahead", it's called merging, and it's nothing to special, stop with the over-dramatization. Hilly, looks really undeveloped but when you hop on onx there's houses everywhere. There are no straight roads in CT. Very few suburban developments. This is where my buddy moved to. Didn't seem terrible, but as we unloaded the truck, sweating profusely, I asked the temp, his reply... 77. F that. 77 is borderline sweatshirt weather in the summer here, work outside all day weather, enjoy life weather. They said it got up to 103 in CT already this summer, that might as well be the human death zone. I'd rather see 120 here than 103 there.
RI- This were I flew out of to get back home. Tiny, like you could damn near fit it in my daily commute tiny, just like CT except people talk like Family guy... Just Like Family Guy. I laughed at the security guy. He didn't.


More randomass opinions if you've read this far.
-They should not rent 26' moving truck with trailers to people without at least a few minutes of instruction. There was a series of buttons on the dash for all kinds of things that appeared to deal with the transmission and engine. We randomly tried turning them all on or off and couldn't really ever notice a difference.
- Over 75% of the trip the truck was floored. I actually made a sign out of a beer case and tapped it to the back of the trailer than said, "sorry, she's floored"
-We had a 90+ lb white shepherd mix in cab with us that put out more fuzz than a cottonwood in spring. I literally would have to pull hair off my tongue multiple times a day. I'll be finding random white hairs for years after that trip.
-HT's own masshole @wllm is absolutely full of shit to claim new england isn't that bad. I mean it's not Indiana, but to even fain that it is a fraction of the what CO or MT are is ludicrous. I mean maybe it's better than the front range of CO, but that's about it. I'd rather sit all day in traffic on Bozangles soaking the in mountain majesty, able to drive a couple hours in any direction and find wild lands and solitude than live on 100 ac in new england. Hell I got claustrophobia just driving through NE, you can't see anything, ever, in any direction! Just trees and some brush and some cars and some houses.
-Finally, on the flight back, flying over WA, almost right over my house. I decided I'd never want to live anywhere else. All of our mountains, which are way more rugged than Montana's Bob, all be it smaller, are still loaded with snow, they stretch out to the horizon even at 30k feet. At the same time one can pan over to sound, and the San Juans, then to the Olympics. Outside of Seattle, by which I mean everything from Centralia to Mount Vernon, this is ACTUALLY the prettiest state. I feel so fortunate to live here.

*feign
 

wllm

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Joined
Dec 9, 2015
Messages
14,956
Location
Boston
Glad you got to do a big road trip and see some knew country. I've done CO to VT 8 times, and always a different way... Florida to Maine, CO to WA, only states I haven't driven in/through are WI/ND/SD and LA.

Definitely interesting to get the on the ground perspective, but at the same time it's hard to really "get" a place flying by at 80mph on the freeway.

My wanderings have also lead me to believe that Iowa is waaaay underrated... sorry to spot burn @ElkFever2.

Also you're incorrect Midland is the #1 shithole, key to Chitown is parking that puppy outside taking the train in and eating and drinking your face off on foot. ;)

My favorite song about rambling around this country


the Lincoln’s mostly gone now, pieces of it last;
but not many of us see them, ’cause we’re drivin by so fast….
so as you do your ramblin, as you hear the highway call;
try to read the fading letters on the crumblin old brick walls;
try to scratch beneath the surface of that monster Interstate;
you know there’s memories off Route 30 but the days are gettin late,
they’re bound to go, down the road….
 
Last edited:

beginnerhunter

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Joined
Feb 15, 2016
Messages
1,239
Great post. Thanks for sharing!

I think the ugly cities in Wyoming are a good thing. Keeps the libs in Montana and Colorado (except Jackson, and Sheridan is suspect). Just keep driving on through and ignore the abundant game. Maybe one western mountain state will be spared from lib policies.

I live in Arkansas and yeah the eastern US sucks and I avoid traveling east of the Mississippi as much as possible. Too many cities and traffic. Arkansas is pretty gross too and nobody should come here to duck hunt.
 

Ben Lamb

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Joined
Aug 6, 2010
Messages
17,435
Location
Cedar, MI
Also, a killer playlist can help get you rolling even through the metroplexes of the Grand Republic.

 

neffa3

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Joined
Apr 17, 2015
Messages
7,996
Location
Wenatchee
Definitely interesting to get the on the ground perspective, but at the same time it's hard to really "get" a place flying by at 80mph on the freeway.

Truck was limited at 70 mph, which could only be achieved going downhill, generally avg about 55 mph. That meant that in order to catch my flight back and allow a bit of flex time at the end, we did 15-18 hrs days.

Besides, I'm exactly the type of person to make lifelong opinions of places based on driving through it once...
 

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