Rochester NY to Springfield OH

It seemed like a good idea at the time — find a more interesting, more scenic way to make the tired old Interstate trek between Rochester and St. Louis. Sitting at my desk, playing with the AAA Triptik tool, I had a great time plotting secondary road scenic views.

As a result we packed an 8-hour 500-mile drive into 12 hours. Long day.

But — now that it’s over and I’m having a glass of wine — what a glorious ride it was. Sunny. Flowering trees. The other trees are not leafed out enough yet to hide their graceful bones. Rolling hills and twisting-ribbons of roads in western NY, northwestern Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio.

I also love driving through the old towns — many of them semi-ghost towns now, remnants of the family-farm era and rust-belt industry (mill towns and oil towns) literally turned to rust. What stories they could tell.

As we plan our assault on the breathtaking sights of Colorado and Arizona, it also seems right to pay homage to the beauty of the humbler states and to their history in making this a great country. It seems like a ritual to perform before gaining access to the euphoria of the Rockies and the Grand Canyon.

I had decided to route us tomorrow along the old “National Road” — route 40 — instead of the usual numbing I-70 into St. Louis. We’ll see how much stamina we have for that when the dawn breaks.

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