The Shortest Route

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I rarely ever ask my smart phone for directions. Why? One, there are always at least two ways to get from point A to point B. Two, I seldom go for the fastest route. And three, I’m a man, I don’t like asking for directions. Plus, I like to think that I’m smarter than a gadget likely to take me through the shortest route. On top of all of that, what’s the hurry?


We’ve been on this road trip for about a year and a half and have yet to drive more than four hours in a day. There is so much to see and impossible to see from three lanes of the interstate. I’ll admit, we did drive right through the northern tip of Indiana without a stop. Gary, Indiana, anyone been there? But even though the shortest route from Michigan to Chicago took us through Gary, I chose to drive a bit south to avoid both big cities on Lake Michigan to get to Glen Ellyn, Illinois.


It’s a peeve of mine. I didn’t take geography, cartography, and celestial navigation classes for nothing. Not to mention 10th grade drivers ed. LOOK UP! READ THE SIGNS! Signage these days is excellent compared to years ago before mapping apps. So I followed the signs to Peoria. Yeah, it’s way south of Chicago but have you driven through Chicago recently? I have, in someone else’s car. It was a nightmare even with A/C.


Sometimes steering off course leads you to uncharted Siri territory. Take a little time before setting out to map a course in your head. . . Okay, out the driveway I make a left. From there it’s good to know north from south and east from west.


Highways are numbered just for that reason. Odd number roads run north to south. Even numbers? You guessed it, east to west.


We’ve stumbled upon some real gems. Places I’ve never heard of. Places I thought I’d never visit. Some by mistake, some by detour, but most of them off major roads. A few that come to mind are Jalama Beach in California, Apalachicola Florida, and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

So, as we plan to continue our trip south, I’ve looked at a map. The shortest, fastest route from Glen Ellyn to Winter Garden is 1100 miles on two interstates. Sixteen hours. Most people would do this in two days. I’m looking at connecting with the natural landscapes, discovering hidden gems within that 1100 miles, and driving off the beaten path, IN TWO WEEKS.

Taking the Short Cut

Just picked up another Illinois map, Tennessee and Kentucky, Alabama and Mississippi, and Florida. You know, those paper fold out maps. Four of those states I’ve never spent any time in. I’m looking forward to visiting the south on this next leg of our journey. Land Between the Lakes just outside Paducah, Kentucky looks like a place right up my alley: I’ve never heard of it, it’s a scenic byway, and with a ferry crossing, a little hard to get to.

Thor: Wicked Cool

Anyone know a mapping app that paves the way for a slow-paced, enjoyable, scenic drive?




About Woody

We are a couple who took the first step toward a life of traveling in May, 2015. Staying within the continental US, we amp'd the adventure-factor by traveling in a VW Vanagon, circa 1985. Our mission is to share irresistible and compelling stories conceived from this lifestyle of travel.

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