Sunday, August 26, 2007

Four States of. . . REST AREAS

I have always fancied myself as somewhat of a rest area connoisseur. I have never seen a rest area I didn’t like unless of course, the doors were locked and I real had to go.

Part of my fascination with rest areas is brought on by a medical condition called TTB – Teeny Tiny Bladder.

Most people think if you have been to one rest area you have been to them all – nothing could be further from the truth. Set back, relax and take a tour of four states of rest areas.

Nebraska
Rest areas in Nebraska have always impressed me. This one is located on I-80 just outside of York. Nebraska rest areas are always clean and close to the interstate. Unlike some other states where you have to get off the interstate and drive a mile or more to get to them. One wrong turn and you could have an “accident” – if you know what I mean.

Another nice thing about Nebraska rest areas is they always tell you the mileage to the next one. Some states, like Colorado, never do this. You can either guess how far it is, develop a rapid taste for fast food, or if you’re a forester stop and inspect a tree for insect and disease damage.

Illinois
This is the Mississippi River rest area right inside the state off I-80. It was a very nice rest area with a great information center and walking paths around the grounds. The only draw back is it’s about half a mile from the interstate.

All the rest areas in Illinois have a lot of trees (but then so does the entire state). The majority of the rest areas also have playgrounds such as this one.

There are two other unique features about Illinois rest areas. All of them have these POW/MIA signs. I thought this was pretty nice. The other unique feature is everyone we were in had a police panic button – it kind of left you wondering just how safe you were.
Iowa
Okay this where things get interesting. Iowa has two different types of rest areas. One is “Parking Only’ and has no facilities. The other type is described as ‘Modern Facilities’ these are the ones I consider true rest area. Most of them even have wireless internet access.

When in Iowa I have two words of caution. First, pick your rest area carefully as a few are closed between 4 PM and 8 AM. I don’t know why.

Secondly, most of the entrance lanes back on to the highway are short at least by standards set in the other three states. You need to get up to highway speed in a hurry and better be serious about merging into traffic because you don't have long to think about it. The upside to all is you just left a rest area, if getting back on the highway causes you to pee your pants, it’s most likely your own fault.
Colorado
This rest area is located just off I-76 near Wiggins. Most of our rest areas are not nearly this nice. Be sure you stop here, the next one is on the other side of Denver and may or may not be open.

9 Comments:

Blogger nora said...

There is nothing more frustrating than a closed rest area.
"Inspecting the trees" is called "inspecting the crops" in Indiana. Or so the boys say.

6:28 PM  
Blogger Cliff said...

To figure out which state has the best rest areas we will need to use the process of 'elimination'.
Ralph, I'm having some trouble coming up with a normal comment. This blog rather lends its self to plays on words.
But I loved it none the less. As much as one can love places to go to the bathroom.

7:14 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

I don't like to stop at rest areas. I mean if you have to go you have to go, but still....I think of all the oodles of people that have been there and done that. ICK!

But it is nice to get out and stretch the legs, as well as take care of TTB disease problems!

I never saw a rest area closed unless it was under construction.
I also don't think they are very safe at night.

8:59 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Thanks, Ralph, for waking me up this morning. I am culling out blogs that don't visit my pages any more. You are fine.

But I did miss that Eating Your Way to Illinois post till now.
Your Runza part was the best, I did Runza history January 2006. Runzas are a must for us when we get near Nebraska (Kansas has some, one at Lawrence).

We like Mississippi Welcome centers. We visited the Washington County Visitor Center on our way to Kentucky this spring. And I blogged about it.
http://jimmiehov.blogspot.com/search?q=mississippi

Watch out for the Iowa welcome centers too. They are contracted out to existing businesses and are sometimes way off the highway.

These were a couple of nice posts, Ralph.
..

8:49 AM  
Blogger Aravis said...

You give the most interesting tours of states of anyone I've ever known! *G*

CT has the non-rest area rest areas for the most part. New York is ok. Try not to stop in Pennsylvania, though they are better than most gas station bathrooms. Virginia is cleaner and prettier, as is TN.

Under no circumstances should you use a bathroom in a state park that is not well-funded. A tree-inspection would be cleaner.

Hope that helps in future travels. *G*

1:45 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

It's me again Margaret!! :)

I KNEW I had read about Runza's on someone's blog before, but couldn't remember whose it was. Now I know...it was Jim's!! Smart, aren't I?? Heehee

That Jim travels around a lot. He travels far, far away sometimes and falls down steps and has to come home and end his vacation early and then resume it later and we hope he doesn't fall down any steps this time because he might break his yankeedoodle and that would not be a good thing and if you don't know what a yankeedoodle is....well I don't either but it could be any body part and last time it was his finger and would you like for me to shut up now?

Okay.

3:49 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

My Yankee Doodle is driving here:

http://bp3.blogger.com/_aOZEGRAw2Q8/RoxPm20ih4I/AAAAAAAAAQQ/pUqqaJeCs6A/s800-h/100_6360.JPG

..

4:30 PM  
Anonymous Jerry said...

Ralph,
I would agree with your Illinois rest stop assessment. They are very clean.

Indiana's are the pits. I stopped on my way to Chicago. The latch on the crapper door was broken. Nice!

I can never figure out the ones that have a staff that sit there to give you directions and hand out the official state map. I mean, how many people head out for a road trip without a map?

10:10 PM  
Anonymous gel said...

From unwanted but necessary surgeries, I too have "ttb."
I was about to say something ordinary but complimentary for your post, but then my eyes saw cliff's comment. (hahahah)
If only "rest areas" were not necessary or if they could be as clean as the finest hotels or better yet, like home.

8:04 PM  

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