Dec. 29-31 2010

Along US 29 in Falls Church, VA, one finds this sculpture that looks like the secret love child of the Washington Monument and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

This cityscape isn't even a city: It's Tysons Corner, VA, an unincorporated place with about 20,000 peeps. Tysons Corner is known as the home of USA Today and other major enterprises.

Democracy Boulevard? It should be Democratic Republicanism Boulevard, but I'll let it go. This is on that little Spur I-270 freeway in suburban Maryland. Although this route is less than 2 miles long, it was once just plain old I-270 - while the current I-270 was I-70S (and the now-defunct US 240 to boot).

I-270 is split into express and local lanes. This road was built in 1953 as a freeway version of US 240. In 1956, it became I-70S, and in 1975, it became I-270. It's also been referred to as the Washington National Pike and the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Highway. There were plans to extend this freeway into DC itself, but this was killed by a public outcry. US 240 is decertified now, and it only ran from Washington, DC, to Frederick, MD - but it was very important for its short length, as it linked the nation's capital with US 40, a well-traveled warhorse of America's highway network.

A view of Frederick, MD, on I-270.

Northwest on I-70 from Frederick.

Going west on I-70, we start to enter the Appalachian Mountains again.

I-70 near Hancock, MD, also carries US 40. Keep an eye on that notch in the mountains up ahead.

The heavily hyped I-68 begins here as it splits off from I-70.

It looks like we're about to go through the notch on I-68. Construction of I-68 commenced in 1965, and it was first known as US 48. It became I-68 upon finally being completed in 1991. I bet Pennsylvania pooped a hole in its pants when I-68 was built, because I-68 is widely considered a free alternative to the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

I-68 at Sideling Hill. The notch seen in some of the photos above was excavated for I-68 here. Up ahead, I-68 goes under a pedestrian walkway that connects the rest areas on both sides of the road.

Through the Sideling Hill notch.

Looking north from I-68 past Sideling Hill.

Continuing on I-68.

Exit to Fifteen Mile Creek Road.

I-68 again!

It's highly possible that this road is the old US 40 - the old National Road (which you learned about when you saw the photos from my protest in front of Indiana's state capitol).

It's always a treat to find Interstates that go through downtowns of central cities - and this one's about to. This is I-68 heading into Cumberland, MD.

What is now I-68 through Cumberland opened in the 1960s, and it's tight.

I-68 in downtown Cumberland. Everybody knew I'd love this, and they were right!

A view of central Cumberland from I-68.

This is still I-68 in Cumberland!

Another view of Cumberland, and right now we're going over Willis Creek. (What'cha talkin' 'bout, Willis?)

Would you believe it? It's more I-68 in Cumberland!

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