Drive off the Interstate

AlcoholTourismRoute66

Route 66 running alongside I-40.

In pursuing your alcohol-inspired adventures, you will be traveling, and this is commonly done by plane or car.  In the U. S., traveling any significant distance often involves driving on the interstate. Sometimes that is unavoidable or at least vastly more convenient than the alternative- getting between Atlanta and Spartanburg without going up I-85 almost doubles your drive time from 2.5 hours to 4.5 hours.  Sometimes, though, driving off the interstate does not add much to your time, and opens you up to some amazing experiences. We recommend, when possible, avoiding the interstate for the following reasons:

1) Safer.  That whole “speed kills” mantra is true.  Flying along the interstate at 70 mph versus cruising on a side road at 55 mph makes a difference.  Although statistically the interstate is safer than some other roads, the side roads which parallel the interstate are also sparsely driven, reducing the opportunity for collisions.

2) Slower.  This not only factors into the safety argument, but it also allows for a more leisurely mode of travel.  You’re not just focused on getting from Point A to Point B. You can enjoy the distance in between.

3) Serendipity.  Flying along the interstate, just focused on the next stop, you may miss some neat things around the country.  We have encountered so many nice little stops as we cruise the side roads of the U. S.. If you’re deliberate about it, you could do this on the interstate, but it is so much easier and more organic when you are off the interstate.  Just last week, we were driving home to Phoenix from Albuquerque. We’ve driven I-40 and I-17 before, so decided to head directly towards Pinetop Brewing, and along the way discovered El Malpais National Monument and had a nice little visit.

Driving off the interstate doesn’t have to add a large amount of time to your drive.  Going from Atlanta to Little Rock on the interstate takes 7.5 hours; off the interstate, it’s 10 hours.  Going from Atlanta to Richmond on the interstate takes 8 hours; off the interstate, it’s 11.5 hours. And of course you can mix-and-match.  For example, you can take I-85 to Spartanburg, as there are poor off-interstate alternatives on this stretch, and then get off the interstate the rest of the way to Richmond.  Maybe you just get off the interstate for small legs of your journey. But we find the more we can get off the interstate, the more leisurely our trip, the nicer the trip.

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