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ROAD RANT ARCHIVES
(Entries 35-56)

This is the place to look back at some past road rant articles I have written. This page contains entries 35 through 56, which includes those from the last half of 2003.

ENTRY 56
Written: 12/28/03 @ 10:08 pm

Tonight's topic: OKHighways.com launches Thursday!
Plus, 2003 year in review and 2003 roadtrip awards!

Good evening. How we doin'? Last week was a pretty boring week, actually. According to the schedule at work, I could've taken another week off, because they didn't think I was back yet. Well, I was, and I didn't have anything else great to do, so I worked three nights last week. Now I've got to save up money for not only the Spring Training 2004 Roadtrip, but for web hosting! Having websites like this and OKHighways.com costs money. I don't want to have to resort to ads on the site, and I'm going to keep the site ad-free for as long as possible.

Anyhoo, after this entry, I will continue work on OKHighways.com, which is still set to launch Thursday. I see that a few people have tried to visit the site already. Well, there isn't anything there yet! Check back late Wednesday night/early Thursday morning and there will be something there! The site won't be completely finished, but I will launch what is finished on that day. The site shall be completely finished by the end of January. Hopefully it will be done a lot sooner than that.

Now it is time for the year in review. This year was a pretty good year. I went through 32 states and the District of Columbia, and there were 12 states (not including DC) that I was in for the first time ever during 2003. (WV, PA, MD, DE, NJ, VA, NC, SC, GA, FL, NV, and UT) I took six major roadtrips this year. Here is a quick rundown of each of those trips, with the trip name, the dates it took place, the states I went through, how many miles I drove, and on a scale of 1 to 10, my rating of the trip.

Delaware Trip - March 13-21 - OK, MO, IL, IN, OH, WV, PA, MD, DE, NJ, VA, TN, AR - 4,000 miles - 10/10

Fields Trip - May 19-24 - OK, KS, NE, IA, IL, IN, MI, MO - 2,763 miles - 7/10

Deserts & Mountains Trip - June 23-July 2 - OK, TX, NM, AZ, CA, NV, UT, CO, KS, MO - 4,429 miles - 9.5/10

Delaware Trip Part Two - July 29-August 9 - OK, TX, LA, MS, AL, GA, SC, NC, VA, MD, DE, NJ, PA, WV, KY, IN, IL, MO, KS - 4,145 miles - 5/10

South Texas Roadtrip - October 16-19 - OK, TX - 1,779 miles - 8/10

Florida Trip - December 11-21 - OK, TX, LA, MS, AL, FL, GA, SC, NC, VA, TN, KY, IL, MO, AR - 4,892 miles - 9/10

2003 Roadtrip Awards:

Best Roadtrip - Delaware Trip (That is, the one in March) - I don't know what it was, it's just that this trip was so good. It was my first major trip, my first time to be anywhere east of Michigan, I had a great time with my friends, and things just seemed to go really well.

Worst Roadtrip - That was why I went back for Part Two in August, but, well, that one didn't turn out as great. The weather was not the greatest, as it rained most days of the trip, and my time in Delaware didn't seem to be as rewarding. The best part of this trip was before I even got to Delaware, when I first met Chris Patriarca on Day Two of the trip in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and we spent a couple hours traveling around the area.

The Trip That Never Seemed to End - The Florida Trip. At almost 5,000 miles, the trip was much longer than I had anticipated, and it seemed like it would be forever before I would get home again. Now, I kind of wish I was back in warmer weather!

Most Scenic State - West Virginia. Even though it rained most of the time I went through there in August, and I was only there for 14 miles in March, it still gets this award.

Least Scenic State - Iowa. Nothing but fields. The only relatively scenic part I saw was along U.S. 20 in Dubuque. Kansas and Colorado (east of Denver) get honorable mention.

State That Most Needs to Increase Their Speed Limit - Iowa. Because it's boring, and you want to get out of there as soon as possible!

Worst Drivers - Florida. See the last entry for more about that.

Dirtiest Bathrooms - Louisiana; during the Florida Trip. I stopped at two gas stations to use the bathroom, and they were both at Jet 24 stations, and both had used paper towels all over the place and other assorted items strewn everywhere. It was dirty, dirtier than Christina Aguilera's song of the same name!

Best Looking Fast Food Restaurant - Arby's in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, at I-24 and TN 96. The place has nice cherry wood seats and looked more like a sit-down restaurant than a fast-food joint. It was a nice change from the other places I've seen this year!

Worst Motel 6: Monroe, Louisiana; Night One of Delaware Trip Part Two. No ice machine, no drink machine, no TV remote. I think the only thing that worked that night were the mosquitoes! I guess I didn't get West Nile, or I'd be dead by now. Honorable mention goes to the Motel 6 of Tampa, Florida. In my room, the sink stopper was stuck in the down position, so no water would go down the sink.

Best Roadgeek Moment - Clinching Interstate 70 on June 29. Before this year, I had only driven it between Topeka and St. Louis. I drove I-70 from St. Louis to Baltimore in March, and drove it from I-15 to Kansas City in June.

Road Scholar of the Year Award - Chris Patriarca. Meeting up with him not once, but twice, this year taught me that there are real people out there who like taking pictures of road signs!

Numbers from the year 2003:
Miles driven on the ES since I got it May 12 - about 30,000
Most miles driven in one day - 610 on April 25 (and almost all of it was in Oklahoma!)
Most miles driven in one day, major roadtrip - 599 on June 26 (Day Four of the Deserts & Mountains Trip)
Most highway termini photographed in one day - 33 on October 31
Times pulled over - 2
Tickets or warnings - 0
Accidents - 0
Close Calls - Too many to count
States Traveled In - 32
States Traveled In for 1st Time - 12
Oklahoma State Highway Terminus Trips - 10
Delaware State Highway Terminus Trips - 2
Pictures taken this year - 10,795

Other Important Dates from 2003:
1/4, 1/7, 1/31, 2/14, 4/25, 7/16, 7/18, 9/4, 9/26, 10/31 - State Highway Terminus Trips
5/8 - The Tornado
5/12 - 2002 Mitsubishi Lancer ES becomes the new official car
5/15 - My final day at Oklahoma City Community College
7/12 - Day I turned 20
8/18 - My first day at the University of Central Oklahoma
12/31 - Got engaged (Just kidding; don't worry ladies, I'm still available!)

That's about all I have for tonight. Y'all have a good new year, see y'all later, drive safely. And please check out OKHighways.com on Thursday!

ENTRY 55
Written: 12/22/03 @ 12:52 am

Tonight's topic: Florida Trip awards. Plus, the big announcement!

Good evening, or should I say, good morning, from Oklahoma City. I arrived back home just after 4 yesterday afternoon after a very long, but good, Florida Trip. The trip was 4,892 miles long through 15 states, including Virginia, which I was in for about two miles during Thursday's sidetrip.

It is now time for the Florida Trip awards, so here goes:

Best Hotel: The Motel 6 of Terrell, Texas. Again, the newest Motel 6 of the trip gets this award. It's just something about them that sticks out in my mind.

Worst Hotel: The Motel 6 of Tampa, Florida. When the sink stopper is stuck in the down position, and there is no way to get it back up so water can go down the drain like it is supposed to, then that kind of puts a damper on using the sink for anything. Thankfully, this hotel had a bathtub, so at least I could use that for washing my hands. But it was still a little inconvenient.

Most Unusual Moment: Day Eight in Rockingham, North Carolina. I'm going north on U.S. 220, minding my own business, going about 45 in a 50 zone, when a cop pulls me over. Apparently my car matched the description of one that was stolen in the area that morning. Well, obviously, my car is not the one they were looking for! So nothing happened, and I still have no tickets or warnings. Chris Patriarca calls it "Southern justice," I call it "Rednecks trying to find a stolen car by pulling someone over with Oklahoma plates in North Carolina!"

Worst Weather: Day Three. It was cloudy for the entire day, and it rained from New Orleans to Pensacola. It also didn't help that I felt terrible that night, and had to make a run to the local drug store to get some Claritin. I sure am glad Claritin is over-the-counter now, because it definitely helped me out!

Worst Drivers: Florida, by a landslide. Everybody goes either 55 or 100 down the interstate. Everybody is either in their lower 20s or over 65. There is no middle ground. If you can't drive 100, then you'd better find another state to drive in.

Most Exciting Interstate: Interstate 24 in southern Tennessee. With mountains and snow falling and blowing all around me, that was a fun stretch of interstate to drive on! At least the snow wasn't heavy, but still, it was snow!

Most Boring Interstate: Interstate 55 in southeast Missouri/eastern Arkansas. The land was even flatter than Oklahoma, and that's saying something! It also didn't help that the sun angle was terrible, so most of my pictures from that interstate did not turn out at all!

Most Substandard Interstate: Interstate 585 in Spartanburg, South Carolina. This highway shouldn't even be called an interstate! It is even signed a mile further southward from the end of the freeway! That means Interstate 585 has about three stoplights on it!
Honorable Mention: Interstate 124 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Okay, so this one is officially a "hidden" interstate now. But this highway has several sharp curves and is pretty narrow near the Tennessee River bridge. Once you get north of the bridge, however, the highway is interstate standard, but it is no longer hidden Interstate 124!

Worst Looking Sign: Exit 3 on Interstate 24 West in Paducah, Kentucky. Take a look. And, no, this picture was not modified in any way, shape, or form; this is really how the sign looked on Saturday, December 20!

That's all for the trip awards. Now it is time for the big announcement. If you are a regular reader of this page, then you know that disk space has been at a premium. OKRoads2.com has since been created to store all the pictures from Days Three and Four of the South Texas Roadtrip and from all of the Florida Trip. Beginning January 1, several pages will have a new home. A brand new website will be launched that day. Even though it probably will not be completely finished until later in January, this new website shall be called:

OKHighways.com

Basically, all Oklahoma pages and pictures currently on OKRoads, which includes all interstate guides, U.S. highway guides, and state highway terminus gallery/guides, will be moved to the new website. This is going to make many other websites change their links, so I am trying to make this process a bit easier.

All Oklahoma highway pages and pictures currently on OKRoads will remain on OKRoads at their same location until February 15. That will give other websites 45 days to change their links to the OKHighways page. I plan on posting reminders on every Oklahoma highway page on OKRoads that the page will be taken down February 15 and that the page can be found at the new address.

Here is the format for the new page locations, and it's really pretty simple:

For any highway guide, the page will be located at http://www.okhighways.com/[insert highway here].html.

Examples:
Interstate 35: http://www.okhighways.com/i35.html
U.S. 69: http://www.okhighways.com/us69.html
OK 20: http://www.okhighways.com/ok20.html

And so on and so forth. All pictures will remain in the same subdirectories on the new website (so all pictures currently in the 112602 subdirectory on OKRoads will also be in the 112602 subdirectory on OKHighways).

I am looking forward to launching this site next Thursday! Most of it probably will not be done by that time, though. I am making the new state highway pages first, and I'm only through OK 33 right now! But now that the Florida Trip is over, I will be making webpages like crazy to get as much done as possible by January 1.

Well, that's all I have for tonight. See y'all later, Merry Christmas, and drive safely.

ENTRY 54
Written: 12/14/03 @ 10:37 pm

Tonight's topic: Florida Trip so far

Good evening from Tampa, Florida, where the skies are beginning to clear and hopefully, the sun will shine brightly tomorrow for the first time since Thursday! I did see some blue sky today, but it wasn't too much.

So far the trip has gone as planned. It hasn't been extremely great, but then again, I've been under the weather for most of it. I have been battling a cold since last Wednesday, and it was really bugging me yesterday (Saturday). But I went to the local drug store in Pensacola last night, got some Claritin, and today, I've been feeling pretty good. Hopefully it will continue as the trip progresses. I have driven 1,630 miles so far on this trip, with another 2,800 or so left to go before the trip concludes next Sunday!

I have clinched three interstates since I last wrote: Interstate 44, Interstate 49, and Interstate 220 Louisiana. Tuesday, I plan on clinching Interstate 16, Wednesday, I plan on clinching Interstate 277 North Carolina, and Friday and Saturday, I plan to clinch Interstate 24.

That's about all I have for tonight. Coming next Sunday night: the Florida Trip awards. Plus, the big announcement you have been waiting for for weeks!

ENTRY 53
Written: 12/7/03 @ 9:04 pm

Tonight's topic: Less than 100 hours remain to the Florida Trip!
Plus, my take on the University of Oklahoma's appearance in the Sugar Bowl January 4.

Good evening. How we doin'? I am going to attempt to keep this short and sweet tonight, since I have a final to study for tonight. The final is in my Calculus and Statistics for Business class, and it is comprehensive and worth 150 points out of 550 total, so I need to dedicate some time to studying so I can keep my current letter grade.

I did get a big blessing this past week. It turns out that my Business Communication final, which I had thought was this Thursday the whole semester (and even said that on the syllabus), is actually this Tuesday! The bad news is that means two days in a row of finals, but that's a minor thing. The good news is that I get to leave for Florida a day earlier, and I don't have to worry about driving 500+ miles this Friday from here to Alexandria, Louisiana. So what I decided to do is take Interstate 44 down instead of Interstate 35, so I could clinch Interstate 44 (I only need to drive the first 13 miles in Texas to clinch it, and I don't know when I'd ever have any other reason to go to Wichita Falls). From the western/southern end of Interstate 44, I will be taking U.S. 287 to Interstate 35W in Fort Worth and then take Interstate 820 West to Interstate 30. From there I will drive the westernmost couple miles of Interstate 30, then turn around at the first exit west of Interstate 30's western terminus on Interstate 20 West, and then drive east on Interstate 20 to Terrell, Texas. Then on Friday, which is now Day Two instead of Day One, I will be driving from Terrell to Alexandria, but now, I will be driving both directions of Interstate 220 and Louisiana 3132 (the Inner Loop Expressway), so I can clinch Interstate 220. After Day Two, the trip plan remains the same, except the days are one more than planned (ie. Day Two is now Day Three, Day Three is now Day Four, etc.). So the trip is now 11 days long, which puts it behind only Delaware Trip Part Two for my longest solo roadtrip ever in terms of days. This trip will probably set the record for most miles driven during a roadtrip, though, as I will probably be driving around 4,500 miles. The current record was set during this year's Deserts & Mountains Trip, which was 4,429 miles long in ten days.

Back to Delaware Trip Part Two, I finally finished all the pages from that trip on Friday! I took the trip from July 29-August 9, started work on pages from the trip October 6, and finished on December 5. Tomorrow, I plan on starting work on the South Texas Roadtrip pages. Those pages shouldn't take as long, because the trip was only four days long. But I took 1,047 pictures during the four-day trip, and I have the Florida Trip starting this week, so it could take me a while. I hope that all the South Texas Roadtrip pages are complete by the end of the year.

The new website is progressing along slowly. I don't know if I'll get it completely finished by January 1. But I will launch it on that day no matter what. I will probably announce the new website in about two weeks, during the same entry as the Florida Trip awards.

I know this isn't necessarily a football rant column, but I'm going to clear off a spot here and rant a bit about a particular football team in the state of Oklahoma. The UCO Bronchos! Oh, yeah, they're out of the Division II playoffs after getting trampled 49-3 last weekend. No, the team I want to focus on tonight is the Oklahoma Sooners.

Now, as most of y'all probably know by now, OU got absolutely demolished last night by Kansas State in the Big XII Championship, 35-7. It makes me shudder just saying that. Anyways, I was off work last night, as I have been every Saturday night for the last two months (which I don't mind at all!) and watched the game. I turned it off about midway through the second quarter when things were just beginning to unravel. I decided that I had better things to do then watch that crap, so I worked on the new website the rest of the night! Anyhoo, then the BCS comes out today, and puts OU against LSU in the Sugar Bowl, which is the National Championship game. Now, I know OU's been #1 all season, and they whooped everybody this season before last night, but in my opinion, if you not only lose in the conference championship game, but you get creamed, then you don't deserve to go to the national championship. The OU fan in me is happy that OU may still win the national championship, but let's be realistic here. USC is a darn-good team. They are number 1 in both the AP and ESPN polls. OU is ranked third in both polls. And yet, OU, not USC, is playing in the national championship because of the BS, I mean, the BCS.

Personally, I don't think OU deserves to go to the Sugar Bowl after seeing about 25 minutes of the game last night, but the computers said they could go! It's a sign of the times when computers make decisions on major sporting events. What's next, computer-generated NBA finals?! In that situation, they'd put the Orlando Magic, losers of 19 straight games, against the Los Angeles Lakers. OK, maybe not, but do you all see my point? The BCS system is bull crap. What we need is a playoff system to determine the real champion, but try convincing all the NCAA and conference bigwigs about that. If OU wins the Sugar Bowl, they are the undisputed national champion, and more power to them. But I kind of have a feeling that we'll instead see Nebraska 2001 all over again. In that situation, Nebraska got whooped by Colorado 62-36 in the final game of the regular season, didn't even go to the Big XII Championship, yet still squeezed into the national championship game anyways, only to get their butts kicked by Miami. Now, I liked seeing that disaster unfold, because Nebraska is my 2nd least favorite college team, trailing only Texas. But OU is my favorite college team, yet I don't think they'll stand a chance against LSU unless they get off their high horses, let Brent Venables take full control of the defense instead of having now-Arizona head coach Mike Stoops attempt to do it like he did in last night's game, and most of all, just play football like they did in the first 12 games of the season!

Whew! So much for this being short and sweet, but I had a lot of things to say tonight. See y'all later, drive safely, and I'll be reporting next week from Tampa, Florida!

ENTRY 52
Written: 11/30/03 @ 11:42 pm

Tonight's topic: Welcome to December

Good evening. Just a few more minutes and November 2003 will be history. That also means that it will be just 11 days until the Florida Trip kicks off! Remember, the trip is ten days long, so the time left until the trip begins is almost as long as the length of the trip!

Anyways, I did take about 30 pictures from my trip to Missouri this weekend. I got pictures of Interstate 44 (in both directions) at U.S. 64/OK 51 in Tulsa (last time I was in the area the widening was still in progress; it is now complete; that also means no more U.S. 44 sign goofs), and also got pictures from U.S. 71 North in Missouri. I forgot that last year when I was in Missouri at this same time that all the northbound pictures were taken at night, so they sucked. So I now have daytime replacements for most of them. I just can't go on a roadtrip without taking some pictures of signs, can I?!

Just seven more days of this semester and it will be over! This week, I have a test on Tuesday and a test on Thursday, but otherwise, it should be an easy week.

That's really about all I have for tonight. See y'all later, and drive safely.

ENTRY 51
Written: 11/23/03 @ 10:26 pm

Tonight's topic: Roadtrip coming this week, but no new pics?!

Happy Sunday evening! Just nine more days of school remain. Two days this week, five days next week, and two days during finals week, and my first semester at the University of Central Oklahoma will draw to a close. Then the day after the semester concludes, I will be leaving for Florida. As of right now, that day is 19 days away, and it will be down to 18 days in just 90 minutes. So that brings the hour-based countdown to 441 hours until the trip kicks off. The plan right now is to leave Oklahoma City at 7:30 AM on the morning of Friday, December 12. I have a little more than 500 miles to drive on that day (the most of any day on the 10-day trip), and the sun will be setting about 5, so I would like to get all of the miles driven during the day. Of course, the only part of the first day that I haven't been on this year is from Interstate 20 in Shreveport south to Alexandria (in other words, the part on Interstate 49). But the landscape looks different in December than it did in August.

But, before then, I'll be able to squeeze in a roadtrip this weekend. Once again, I will be going to Missouri for Thanksgiving weekend. I'll be leaving Friday and will be back Sunday. But since I covered the entire trip route last year, and I won't be driving my car up there, I don't plan on taking any pictures. However, I will be bringing the camera, so there may be a couple new pictures. Chances of that, however, are unlikely, considering I'll be driving a minivan for this trip and I'm not used to driving it and taking pictures of signs simultaneously. I also plan on taking the laptop, so I hope to do some updates during the weekend.

Speaking of updates, I'm almost done with the sidetrip pages from Delaware Part 2. After the remaining four pages are complete (the U.S. and state highways I drove in New Jersey on Day Seven of the trip), I will be resuming work on the pages from the trip back home.

On the updates page, you may notice that I have deleted the September and October monthly roadtrips from the current projects section. That is because I have enough to do, and with the new website, there would be absolutely no purpose for me to create pages for those highways on this site, then build a page in a different format for the same highway on the new site. I just gave y'all some really good hints about the new site, huh? Well, that's about all you're gonna get. But I will probably reveal the full story about the new site just before it launches January 1. Speaking of the new site, after I close this rant, I'll be doing some work on it.

It is very cold outside right now. I believe the temperature is hovering around 30, with a wind chill factor around 20. The low tonight is supposed to be in the low 20s. Well, that means that by the end of the week, all the grass in Oklahoma (which is still relatively green considering the time of year) will be the lovely winter brown. Yuck! Personally, I'm not much of a fan of winter. That's why I went to Houston and New Orleans last winter, and that's why I will be going to Florida this winter break and plan on going to San Diego next winter break. Next year's roadtrip plan will also be revealed in about a month. It will probably be the same entry as the one where I announce the new site. So that should be a really good entry.

The signs for Exit 120 on Interstate 35 North have changed slightly. They now have S.E. 89th St. and S.E. 82nd St. instead of just S.E. 89th St. There were once separate exits for those two streets (S.E. 82nd St. was Exit 121A, click here for pic), but with the widening project between S.E. 89th and S.E. 59th, and the cramped space between the on-ramp from S.E. 89th and the off-ramp to S.E. 82nd, the northbound exit for S.E. 82nd St. has been eliminated, so the signs have changed. I'll get a picture of the new sign when the widening is complete in a few months. Of course, I think the 82nd St. exit should be eliminated completely, considering it doesn't really have much purpose. ODOT is keeping the southbound off-ramp, however, which is odd, because it would be about 1/2 mile south of Interstate 240, which means there would be limited space to merge onto Interstate 35 South from Interstate 240, and we would have another Interstate 240 between Western and Shields on our hands.

Then of course, after they get this widening project done, they're going to completely reconstruct the I-35/I-240 junction. All I have to say is that it's about time! That interstate junction is one of the worst I have ever seen. Breezewood may the only one that is worse! Anyways, I am really hoping they put in a Texas-sized stack interchange there. They would have to move my favorite Best Buy on the NE corner of the interchange for the second time in three years, but if it means that that junction is safer, then I'm all for it. If there are any upcoming public meetings about the interchange, I will try my best to be at the meeting so I can pass on the information to y'all out there who actually like this stuff! I am not looking forward to having to drive through this mess on the way to and from UCO each day, but by the time they get it really going, I will probably have graduated, have a beautiful supermodel wife and three precious children, and OKRoads.com and the new site will just be collecting dust.

Wow, this was a long entry! I have two classes tomorrow, and I have tests in both. So if I want to get some kind of sleep in tonight before cramming in some last-minute studying tomorrow morning, and work on the new site, then I'd better close. See y'all later, and drive safely.

ENTRY 50
Written: 11/16/03 @ 10:25 pm

Tonight's topic: How do y'all like the new look?

Good evening. How we doin'? As for me, I'm doing pretty good. I've got a lot of school work to do in the next week, with a report due Thursday, so updates on the site will probably be nonexistent until around Friday or so.

Anyways, the picture of the week (POTW) for this week was randomly selected. I had no idea which one to pick, so I just randomly selected a date, which was 6/24/03 (Day 2 of the Deserts & Mountains Trip), and then selected a picture from there. Get used to that being the case. I have decided that it is time for me to select pictures from other states beside Oklahoma as the POTW. So, at least on this site, you probably won't see any more POTWs from the Sooner State.

So, how does everybody like the new look of the site? Only a few pages have been redesigned like this, but eventually, every page will have this same format. The remaining pages from Delaware Part Two will be created in the old format to start out, then I will revise the format of those pages at a later time.

I made hotel reservations for the Florida Trip this past week. I will also be spending two nights in Charlotte, North Carolina, and will be meeting up with Chris Patriarca once again (see the newly revised Links page to go to his site).

If I keep blabbing, I'll never get to my homework, much less my report. So I'll close for tonight. See y'all later, and drive safely.

ENTRY 49
Written: 11/9/03 @ 10:47 pm

Tonight's topic: A big week for updates!

Good evening. As it stands right now, there are just 33 more days until the Florida Trip begins! In about 70 minutes, that will be down to 32 more days. So, with the estimated time of departure on Day One of the Florida Trip being 7:30 AM (I've got over 500 miles to drive in limited daylight, so I'm getting started as early as possible), that means that it is just 776 hours and 40 minutes until the trip starts! Can't you tell I'm looking forward to it? That is because the weather in Oklahoma absolutely sucks! It has been cloudy and cold for the last week. I don't think we've had a freeze yet, but we've been pretty darn close. The grass is still green, but is getting browner and yellower each day. I'm not much of a fan of wintertime; that's why I try to plan my winter break roadtrips to warm places. Last year's was to Houston, New Orleans, and Memphis, where the only time I needed my jacket was in Oklahoma. This year's winter break trip is to Florida, and next year's is tentatively planned to be San Diego.

I had two tests last week. But I didn't have to work too much, so I got to do a lot of updates. I'm in the process of adding pictures from Delaware Part 2 to the existing Delaware Highway Guides. I hope to have that finished by the end of the week. After those pages are complete, I will be creating pages for the Atlantic City Expressway, Garden State Parkway, U.S. 9, U.S. 40, NJ 42, and NJ 109 from my trips in the Garden State (New Jersey, for those who don't know their state nicknames) during Day Seven of Delaware Part Two.

I should be moving up to the big time this week in terms of webpage building tools. I have been using FrontPage Express for all my website building life, and with the new website launching in January, I want the new site to look better. So I plan on upgrading to FrontPage as soon as this week.

Yesterday brought another great victory for the Sooners. 77-0?! Are you kidding me? I thought the most significant 77 in Norman was U.S. 77, which runs north-south through Oklahoma's third largest city. It was another butt-whooping for the Oklahoma State Cowboys, however, who got slaughtered by Bevo and the Longhorns of that state south of the Red River, 55-16, after OSU was leading 16-14 at halftime. Overall, Texas scored 48 unanswered points from the 2nd quarter to the end of the game.

There's not too much else I have to say tonight. And remember, I have to conserve space because I've got too much stuff on this site! See y'all later, and drive safely.

ENTRY 48
Written: 11/2/03 @ 11:22 pm

Tonight's topic: A much longer mini-trip than planned! But it's the last one for a while...

Happy Sunday night! How we doin'? Last week turned out to be a pretty easy week. One class only met for about 25 minutes all week (and that was just to watch a film), another class was cancelled Thursday, and another class was basically cancelled Friday. Of course, that class on Friday was my only class, so that meant I had two choices: either go to school and take a quiz which won't help me or hurt me in the class, or take the whole day off and do the roadtrip I had planned to start after that class ended at noon. You can figure out which one I chose...

I chose to take the whole day and take pictures of highway termini! I had already planned to attempt to finish northeast Oklahoma that afternoon, but when I found out that my one Friday class was basically cancelled, I lengthened the trip just a bit. I had planned on getting 15 termini to finish northeast Oklahoma (which would not have included Loop 56 in Okmulgee), but then I suddenly had four extra hours, so I decided to add Loop 56's termini and also decided to start on southeast Oklahoma termini. So after I got the southern OK 2's northern terminus at 1:45, I had finished northeast Oklahoma's state highway termini, nine months and 27 days after I started in that part of the state! That meant I still had about four hours left of daylight (well, it was cloudy for most of the day, but still, I took advantage of the opportunity to take an all-day terminus trip) to begin southeast Oklahoma. The plan was to get 33 termini for the day (17 in NE Oklahoma, 16 in SE Oklahoma). Well, I got all 33, which shattered the old record of 25 termini in one day set back on April 25, which was a 610-mile long day, the most miles I have ever driven in one day. This trip was only 558 miles from start to finish. The final terminus I got was the northern OK 99A's western terminus, and I got it at about 5:40. The pictures don't look too great, but at least the "END OK 99A" sign picture turned out all right (that is, after I deleted the old one and took another picture of the sign assembly). Basically, on Friday, I covered the area in northeast Oklahoma (using I-35 and I-40 as the dividing lines for west-east and north-south, respectively) from U.S. 75 to U.S. 64 and from I-40 to U.S. 266. In southeast Oklahoma, I covered the area from the western OK 9A to OK 26, and from OK 31 (east of OK 71) and OK 9 (west of OK 71) to I-40. This trip will be the final terminus trip until April. I've got a whole bunch of pages to do and it's almost winter, so I'm taking a few months off from that type of roadtrip. I will still have plenty to keep me busy, though, with the Florida Trip beginning in just 39 days, and the Spring Training 2004 Trip beginning March 13.

While I'm on the topic of pages, I'm now on pages from Day Four of Delaware Part Two. That means I just have about seven days of pages left to go from that trip! After those are complete, then I get to start on the pages from the two September terminus roadtrips, then on to the South Texas Roadtrip pages, then to the pages from Friday's trip. By the way, if you are sneaky and you know my procedure for pictures and you are trying to use that normal way to view the pictures from Friday's trip, let me just say they are NOT on the Internet yet. They are definitely not on the OKRoads main site, and they are not on the OKRoads2 backup site either. If I get to the pages from Friday's trip by December 15, then I will upload them to the OKRoads2 site. If not, then I won't be uploading them until the last couple days of the year, and that will be to the new site, which I need to start working on too. There's so much to do and so little time. So please be patient with me on pages, since I'm also balancing work, school, and church-related functions with the site. Frankly, the website is toward the bottom of the list of my priorities right now. Just be patient, m'kay? Maybe by the end of the week I'll have pages done through Day Six of Delaware Part 2.

Progress continues to be made on the Interstate 35 widening near Interstate 240. The first layer of asphalt has been put down for some of what will be the southbound lanes. The bridge repainting on the S.E. 66th St. bridge is complete. Instead of the faded gray that it was for several years, it is now Oklahoma City's standard bridge maroon. The brand new S.E. 82nd St. bridge will probably be the same color. At least they're painted: most Oklahoma overpasses outside of the metro are not painted at all! Remember, we're poor in Oklahoma. If we can't pay our teachers well, then we can't paint bridges either.

There isn't too much else for me to say right now. I need to do some homework before I call it a night. Have a good week, and drive safely.

ENTRY 47
Written: 10/27/03 @ 12:14 am

Tonight's topic: Mini-trip coming Friday!

Good evening. How we doin'? As the topic suggests, I will be taking a mini-trip on Friday. I hope to finish northeast Oklahoma. All I have left to cover is the area between U.S. 75 and U.S. 64, and from OK 67 to Interstate 40. There are fifteen termini remaining in that part of the state that I hope to get Friday. I will have about five and a half hours to get them all, considering that Daylight Savings Time is over and the sun now goes down at about 5:45. If I don't finish NE Oklahoma on Friday, I will finish it on the day before Thanksgiving, since I'm out of school that day and I won't have anything else better to do.

I apologize for any inconveniences that some recent moves have caused. I am having a slight space problem, and so I'm having to move stuff around as a temporary measure. With school and work and other activities playing a major part in my life right now, I just don't have much time to get things done, and when I am getting pages done, they're not working. I thought I had posted all four of the new pages I did on Thursday, but I discovered the next morning that only one was up becayse of the disk quota problems I am having. The pages are up now, but I have moved the road rant archive to a new page on the OKRoads2 site, which is the site that I am moving things to as needed. So some links may not work. Once again, I apologize about this, but there isn't much I can do about it without compromising the quality of the website.

Anyways, I have one test this week and that is all. But I have a couple other big assignements to prepare for, so it may be another week of minimal updates to the site. I hope to at least get the pages done from the South Carolina part of Delaware Trip Part Two. My life is a little bit crazy right now, so bear with me.

That's about all I have for tonight. I've got to get some kind of sleep for the day tomorrow. See y'all later, and drive safely.

ENTRY 46
Written: 10/19/03 @ 10:50 pm

Tonight's topic: Reason behind the sudden departure of some older pages. Plus, South Texas Roadtrip Awards!

Good evening. How we doin'? Before the good stuff begins with the South Texas Roadtrip awards, I should explain the sudden departure of the pages and pictures related to the Spring Break 2002 Roadtrip and the Plains & Panhandles Roadtrip. Friday night while uploading my pictures from that day of the trip to the site, I exceeded my disc quota. What that means I don't know, but I have plenty of disk space available (60 MB remaining), and when I deleted pictures from those two roadtrips above, I was able to finish uploading Friday's pictures and was able to upload a few of Saturday's pictures. Now, though, I am in a bit of a quandry. Since most of Saturday's pictures and all of Sunday's pictures are not able to be uploaded, I'm going to have to move some more pages. Now, this will be temporary, as the new site at the beginning of 2004 will move several pages and hundreds of pictures. If I said which ones, I would give away the new site, and I'm not ready to do that yet. Anyways, once I get things moved around, I will put new hyperlinks on the home page to the pages affected. At that time, I will finish uploading the South Texas Roadtrip pictures.

Now on to the good news: the South Texas Roadtrip had great weather throughout most of its 1,779 miles. I drove that many miles in just two states, with Texas having all but 240 of those miles! It is now time for the South Texas Roadtrip awards.

Best Weather Day: Tie between Day Three and Day Four. Not a cloud in the sky during these two days, and temperatures were unseasonably warm, except around Galveston on Day Three, when it was in the mid 70s. Can't get much better than that.

Worst Weather Day: Day Two. It was cloudy for most of the way between San Antonio and Laredo, and clouds stuck around for most of the day. Thanfully, around Corpus Christi, there weren't too many clouds to contend with. There was also some light drizzle between San Antonio and Laredo, but by the time I got to Laredo, there was some blue sky to be seen.

Best Motel: Only two choices here, so the other one gets the worst one award, even though it wasn't bad. The winner of the best motel goes to the Motel 6 of San Antonio. It was the first one built in the "new prototype" and I love the newer Motel 6's.

Craziest Moment: Getting the trunk of my car searched at the border patrol checkpoint on U.S. 59 west of Freer. My suitcase was at the hotel in San Antonio, so there wasn't anything in the trunk. And, no, the drugs were not left at the hotel either! I don't do drugs, never have, and never will. As Mr. Mackey says on "South Park," "Drugs are bad. You shouldn't do drugs, m'kay?" M'kay. Guess there's just something suspicious about a college student from Oklahoma City driving a Mitsubishi Lancer in south Texas.

Average speed of Texas drivers while not in traffic, whether in the middle of nowhere or in the middle of the city: 95 mph

The Day That Never Seemed to End: Day One. After Denton, it seemed like one city after another after another! I knew about Dallas (of course), Waco, Austin, and San Antonio. What I didn't know was that there would be construction in Temple that would limit traffic to one lane and that there would be an exit every mile between Denton and San Antonio! That translated into a record 341 pictures on Day One. I also got caught in no less than four traffic jams on this day.

Easiest Day to Drive: Day Four. The best was saved for last. I did drive through Dallas, but since it was a Sunday early afternoon when I was in the Big D, it was really easy to drive through there. Even driving through the Mixmaster was a breeze. Can't say that too often!

That's about all for the trip awards. I will get to the pages from this roadtrip around January at the rate I'm going. This week, after figuring out what to do to accomodate the remaining pictures from the South Texas Roadtrip, I hope to build more pages from Delaware Trip Part Two. So, until next week, take it easy, drive safely, and watch out for Texas drivers.

ENTRY 45
Written: 10/12/03 @ 10:16 pm

Tonight's topic: It's almost time for another roadtrip!

How we doin'? As it stands right now, about 81 hours and 45 minutes remain until the South Texas Roadtrip kicks off on Thursday morning about 8 am. Quite frankly, I am beginning to really look forward to this trip. Because I need to get out of here for a few days (even if it is to Texas), and because it's been over two months since the last major roadtrip ended. Even though the South Texas Roadtrip will be the shortest major roadtrip since last winter's Bayous & Blues Roadtrip, the trip is as much as I could cram into four days of fall break!

Thursday will be the longest of the four days of the trip, as I will be driving about 470 miles from Oklahoma City to San Antonio, and will be driving through Dallas, Waco, Austin, and San Antonio, all in the same day. Friday, I will be driving Interstate 35 South to its southern end in Laredo, then go on U.S. 59 East to TX 44, where I will then continue east on that highway to Corpus Christi. After that, I will be driving back towards San Antonio on Interstate 37, and will clinch that interstate on that day. On Saturday's Day Three, after a quick trip to the San Antonio Airport to drop my special guest for the first couple days off to go back home, I will be heading east on Interstate 10 to Houston, where I will then go south on Interstate 45 to Galveston, then turn back to the north on Interstate 45, go through Houston again, and end up in Huntsville. After going to Galveston, I will have clinched Interstate 45. Sunday will be the fourth and final day of the trip, and I will be going north on Interstate 45 to Dallas, then hit Interstate 35E and Interstate 35 North to home, in time for church Sunday night.

I made an awesome discovery at my university's library this past week. I went there for the first time in my eight weeks there when I had to study for a test. After studying for the test, I decided to do some walking around and just out of the blue, I happened to walk into the maps section of the library. Boy, was I in for a treat! Inside one of the drawers were Oklahoma maps from years such as 1925 (before the US highway system existed!), 1953, and 1973, among several others! So I have officially launched a research project of sorts to see what the highways looked like back in those years. The results of my research will be woven throughout the new website, which will be launched January 1, 2004. And the library also has old maps from all the other states! So I think I might have hit the jackpot. I can even look up the history of Delaware highways for that part of the site! Looking at these old maps and comparing them to where and what the highways are now is awesome!

The Sooners put the whoopin' on Texas again yesterday with an AWESOME 65-13 pounding of the Longhorns. And it was also good to see Nebraska lose. You know it's a great day in college football when both Texas and Nebraska lose. Good win also for the Oklahoma State Cowboys, as they beat Kansas State. As for my college's team, the UCO Bronchos remain undefeated as they beat Abilene Christian yesterday to improve to a remarkable 6-0 on the season!

Anyways, I'm going to try to do all the Tuscaloosa side trip pages from Day Two of Delaware Part 2 tonight, so I guess I'll close. Coming next Monday: the South Texas Roadtrip awards. See y'all later, and drive safely.

ENTRY 44
Written: 10/5/03 @ 10:41 pm

Tonight's topic: Just 10 days until the South Texas Roadtrip!

Good evening. How we doin'? Right now, I'm kinda angry. You know why? Because the Atlanta Braves don't know how to win in October. Once again, they lost in the division series. This year may be the worst of all, as they lost to the Cubs. THE CUBS??????!!!!!!!!! The last time they had won a postseason series was in 1908, 95 years ago! None of my grandparents were even born at that time. Anyways, good luck to the Cubs. I'd much rather see them go to the World Series than the Marlins. Over in the American League, unfortunately, the @$)@ Yankees won again. I hope that the winner of the A's-Red Sox series sweeps the Yanks in the ALCS. Actually, it'd be kinda cool to have a Red Sox-Cubs World Series. It may happen...

The Gold City concert Friday night was totally AWESOME! I got several new CD's. One of them is in my CD player as I type this. The Lord also blessed that day with great weather. The skies every other day of the week last week were cloudy, and the temperatures were cold. But Friday, it was sunny with highs in the 70s.

Just ten more days until the South Texas Roadtrip kicks off! Day One, (Thursday, October 16) I will be driving from here to San Antonio; on Day Two, I will be driving to Laredo and Corpus Christi and end up back in San Antonio; on Day Three, I will be going from San Antonio to Houston, then south to Galveston, then north back through Houston to Huntsville; and on Day Four, I will be heading home. Hey, it's as much as I could squeeze into my Fall Break.

I finished all pages from the July mini-trips last week. So tonight I will be starting on the pages from Delaware Trip Part Two. My goal is to have all those pages done by October 31, which is also the date for my next mini-trip, which is when I will (hopefully) finish northeast Oklahoma. After that mini-trip, there will not be another one until April. I will be spending November, December, January, and February working on pages from the roadtrips and creating new pages for the new site, which will be launched January 1. I should have plenty of time to work on pages this week, with three nights off work in a row toward the middle of the week.

That's about all I have for this week. See y'all later, and drive safely.

ENTRY 43
Written: 9/28/03 @ 11:07 pm

Tonight's topic: Another roadtrip coming this week (But no pictures!)

Good evening. Last week was yet another busy week. I did get a chance to get away, though, on Friday, and took a mini-trip to eastern Oklahoma. It wasn't too much mini, however, as it was 586 miles total, which makes it tied for the 3rd most miles I have ever driven in one day. The other three came earlier this year, with #1 being the April mini-trip (610 miles), #2 being Day Four of the Deserts & Mountains Trip (599 miles), and #3 being a tie between last Friday and Day Five of the Fields Trip. The trip was a good trip, with perfect weather conditions all the way, great scenery, and most importantly of all, safe travels. Also, out of the 27 highway termini I wanted to get, I got 20 of them. Now, OK 80's northern terminus pictures were taken after the sun set, but I still managed to get respectable looking pictures with no flash, barely. They are a little blurry, but still readable. Whenever I get to the OK 80 page in a couple months, you will see the pictures for yourself. One more terminus trip tentatively planned for October 31 should wrap up northeast Oklahoma. This will be the first quadrant of the state that I've really clinched. I clinched southwest Oklahoma last November, but I didn't completely clinch it because I didn't get the lettered routes. I did get a few, but not all of them.

I get to take yet another roadtrip this week. This time, the camera will NOT be going along. The reason is because I already have pictures of the route from last Friday's trip. I will be going to a concert around Lake Eufaula in eastern Oklahoma. One of my favorite Southern Gospel groups, Gold City, is going to be in concert this Friday night, and I am very much looking forward to it. I'm also looking forward to it because it's another day off work! :)

My friend from Delaware who was visiting here is going back home this week. Hopefully this person will come back and visit soon, because I know how much they will miss Oklahoma! ;) The rest of their family in Delaware escaped the brunt of Hurricane Isabel a couple weeks ago with just a minor interruption in Internet access. <sarcasm> I guess they couldn't visit OKRoads.com during that time, and I know they were oh, so sad about that. </sarcasm>

Just 17 more days until the South Texas Roadtrip kicks off! I will have someone coming along for the first couple days of the trip to keep me company. No, it's not my girlfriend (what girlfriend?) but a family member who wants to get out of the state for a bit. Don't know why they want to come to Texas with me (couldn't they have picked a better trip to go along with me besides that state south of the Red River!), but I guess they're desperate to get out of here.

At the beginning of last week, I set a goal to have all Deserts & Mountains Trip pages done my Friday's mini-trip. Well, at about 1:45 AM Friday morning, I had all the pages completed! Then I woke up seven hours later to go to school before I went on the mini-trip. Tonight I hope to do all pages from the 7/16/03 roadtrip (which is only four new highway guides for four short lettered routes), and then my goal for this week is to have all pages from the 7/18/03 roadtrip to north-central Oklahoma completed by the end of the week. Then I get to start on the pages from Delaware Part Two, and that will probably take me the rest of the month of October.

That's all I have for this week. I've got pages to create and Calculus homework to attempt to do. See y'all later, and drive safely.

ENTRY 42
Written: 9/21/03 @ 10:23 pm

Tonight's topic: A brand new website for the new year

Good evening. How we doin'? By the way, some of y'all are probably wondering why I say "How we doin'?" all the time. Well, you have to know me personally to get the feel of the tone of voice, but one of my managers at work always says that in a voice much like Eric Cartman from "South Park." Actually, the manager is now formerly of the Wendy's of Moore, as he is being transferred effective this week. But the how we doins will continue. That's a new word I just made up, how we doins...

Anyways, as of the last time I checked the schedule for this week, it looks like it will be much like last week with one exception, and that is that I have Friday requested off to go on the second mini-trip of September. It won't be very mini, as it is planned on being about 600 miles long! I hope to get 25 termini, starting with OK 101's western terminus and ending with U.S. 266's western terminus. This time, I will be leaving from UCO after my 11:00 class ends at 11:50, so I will have more time. All I really have to get on this trip is the termini in northeast Oklahoma that are at the Arkansas State Line (ie. OK 51's E Terminus, OK 100's N Terminus, OK 101's E Terminus, and OK 64D's N Terminus). From there I will work my way back towards Oklahoma City and get termini for highways located approximately between U.S. 266 and OK 51, and from U.S. 75 to the Arkansas line. Hopefully I will get a lot more termini this trip than the last one, when I got just nine out of the 23 that I wanted to get (which several of those 14 I didn't get last time planned to be done this time)...

Now let's cut to tonight's topic. If you are a regular reader of this page, then you know that I am facing a space problem in the near future. So, to curb that, I plan on launching a brand new website effective January 1, 2004, to eliminate several pages from OKRoads.com and move them to a different site. Don't worry, it will not be a Geocities free page, where the allotted data transfer runs over in five minutes, and then the whole site's down for the next hour or so, only for the data transfer to overflow again five minutes later! The new page will have its own domain also. More information may be disclosed as we get closer to the new year, but I'm going to keep this as secret as possible. The only other thing I can tell you is that a bunch of pages will be moved, and the "vision" of the website will change, but the end result will be something that I think y'all will really like once you get used to it...

Construction on Interstate 35 between S.E. 59th St. and S.E. 89th St. is progressing greatly from what I can tell. I pass by the construction zone about ten times a week (2 times a day 5 days a week) and each day I am seeing progress. The first layer of rocks is going down for what eventually will be the lanes of Interstate 35 near S.E. 82nd St. The brand new overpass at S.E. 82nd St. is also beginning to take shape. One of these days, I may take some pictures to give y'all an idea of what I'm talking about...

I got absolutely no work done on the website last week. This is because I worked 34 hours, then had tests at UCO four days in a row! This week I only have one test, and that's not until Thursday, so there should be a lot more work done on the website this week. My goal is to finish the Deserts & Mountains Trip pages by Friday's mini-trip. I only have five pages left from the trip, all from the final day. However, I still have the pages from two days of sidetrips to create, but a good part of that will be adding pictures to already-created pages. I will begin that as soon as I finish this rant...

Haven't heard from my friends in Delaware about how they did during the hurricane this past week, and I didn't see my Delaware friend who's currently here today, so I don't know how they're doing. I may send them a quick e-mail if I don't see or hear from the currently-in-town friend next week...

I think I'm getting some kind of fan club going at work. It seems like we're getting a lot more regular customers lately, and some of them are female. Unfortunately, they're all in junior high or high school, and that is too young for me. I don't "rock the cradle"...

If I keep talking about things that are really weird, then I'll never get done with pages! So I guess I'll close for tonight. See y'all later, and drive safely.

ENTRY 41
Written: 9/14/03 @ 9:15 pm

Tonight's topic: Coming this week: The busiest week of the year thus far!

Good evening. How we doin'? I worked about 20 hours last week, which isn't too bad. The more I work, the more money I have for future roadtrips, amen? I also had my first test of the semester on Thursday, when I made a 78 on a Business Communication test. Not too bad. Normally, I spend the first half of the semester figuring out the class and the professor, then I spend the second half of the class trying to catch up from what I didn't do so well during the first half...

I did get six pages done from the Deserts & Mountains Trip. I got pages done from Day Four at the California-Nevada State Line to Day Seven at the Kansas-Missouri State Line, with plans to get the Day Seven pages completed later tonight. That will almost wrap up the main trip pages. But I still get to make pages from the two days of sidetrips I took during that trip. And by the way this week looks, I probably won't get too much done...

This is going to be the longest week of my life. OK, so maybe not my life, but the busiest one since I turned 20! I have tests in four of my five classes this week (the one that I don't have a test for this week was the one I had on Thursday), and I have to work every night I can possibly work! (Every night except Wednesday and Sunday) Oh well, as I said, that means more money for future roadtrips. The South Texas Roadtrip won't take that much out of my pocketbook, however, considering it's only four days long...

But before I work on the pages from the D & M Trip, I need to do some Calculus homework. That class is difficult! Some of the answers to these problems are really long. But I am making a 100% so far in the class. We've had three quizzes, and the two I've got back, I made 10/10 on both. Even if I suck on a couple quizzes, the three or four lowest quiz grades of the semester get thrown out at the end of the semester. The first test in that class is Friday, and we'll see how I'm doing in the class after that!

Well, I just remembered something this morning. A friend of mine from church is getting married on December 13. Well, I plan on doing Day Two of the Florida Trip on that day. I don't know how I'm going to balance this out. I may have to either cut out going to his wedding or cut a couple days from the trip. I'm not actually in his wedding as any position, so I could probably miss it. But I have never been to a Baptist wedding, and I would kind of like to see how one goes before that day happens for me, when it does happen. But, hey, I am one day closer to getting married today than I was yesterday. I'm closer to getting married now than I was when I started typing up this sentence. Amen, and amen.

Hurricane Isabel is kinda giving me a little concern. According to reports, the hurricane will turn and head towards Washington DC. Of course, that means that it would probably hit Delaware first, which might endanger my friends out there. Thankfully, one of them is here in Oklahoma City visiting, but I am a little worried about the rest of them. But I think in this situation, I should just let the Lord handle it and I shouldn't worry about it. I have found that when I worry about things, the Lord takes care of them every time in ways that I never knew could happen. Just like today, on my church bus route, we had 11 kids on the bus. That may not sound like much, but when you consider that we were struggling to have one on the bus three months ago, and I thought that we wouldn't be in the same route area by this time, the Lord blessed at the right time, and this morning we had over 10 kids on the bus for the first time since April. Hallelujah!

With my work schedule this week, so much for the September 2003 mini-trip Part 2 happening this week. But I have requested next Friday off work, so I can take care of most of the rest (if not all of the rest) of northeast Oklahoma. Considering that Martin over at Roadklahoma has already COMPLETED the state in just over nine months, and I've been doing this for a little over a year, I think there's some catching up for me to do. But, remember, I've been driving around the country too! Seriously, check out Martin's site, he's doing some great work over there.

That's about all I have for this evening. Have a good week, and drive safely.

ENTRY 40
Written: 9/7/03 @ 11:16 pm

Tonight's topic: Bad accidents, football, and road signs

Good evening. How we doin'? Last week wasn't too difficult, except for Thursday and Friday. On Thursday, I went to class from 9:30-1:45, then got in the car and headed northeast to try to get as many pictures of highway termini in northeast Oklahoma as I could before dark. The ultimate plan was to get 23 termini. Well, I had 9 by the time the sun went down at 8. I probably would have got a couple more if it wasn't for a fatality accident in far northwest Arkansas that shut down a highway intersection, which required me to take a detour across narrow gravel roads. The accident was at the intersection of AR 12 and AR 43. The reason why I was there in the first place was because a mile west of AR 43, AR 12 becomes OK 116, which was a highway that I wanted to get the termini of. Anyways, the accident involved a semi and a delivery truck. The driver of the semi was killed. The semi was flipped over on its side, and the firefighters were in the process of cleaning up the huge mess when I pulled up. Here's a link to an article about this accident...

Anyways, the highlight of that trip was getting some good pictures of the Creek Turnpike. As you have probably already seen, this week's picture of the week is from the Creek Turnpike. And the ones for the next couple weeks probably will be as well. Another highlight was driving on OK 20/AR 43, the only road in the nation that has two separate highways in different states with different numbers. Pictures from that part of the trip could appear on the OK 20 page later this week. Notice how I said could...

Friday was a crazy day at work. That night, the best high school football team ever, the Westmoore Jaguars, defeated the worst high school football team ever, the Moore Lions, 14-7 in a game called the "Moore War." It is the 2nd largest high school football rivalry in the country, only behind some matchup in California. Estimates indicate that there were 20,000 fans at this year's Moore War. That's a lot of people. Of course, I had to work this year, and after the game ended, we got very, very, very busy. There was also some kind of concert at a local church, and I think that may have had more to do with the 11:00 rush than the football fans did. Anyways, we broke records for most sales in one day, most sales during the night shift (5-close), and shattered the record for most late night sales. (10-close) It was quite a fun night. You may ask me if I worked the night of last year's Moore War. Well, no, I didn't. I was scheduled to work every other night that week, except for the night of Moore War, and I didn't even request to have the night off! Just to make sure I wouldn't get called in, I took the first ever terminus trip around southwest Oklahoma that day. So if you see any pictures dated 9/6/02, then that was the day of Moore War 2002, when Westmoore beat Moore for the first time in eight years. It was the first Westmoore football game I had not been to in three years. By the way, I graduated from Westmoore in 2001, so that's why I'm bragging on them tonight. I give it up to them, though. And I hope that Moore loses all their games the rest of the season...

I'm also happy that OU beat Alabama Saturday night. They barely beat the Tide, but they did, and that's all that matters. Can anyone say "Boomer Sooner?!" My own college's team, the UCO Bronchos, also won their first game of the season over Mesa State (Colorado). This week they will be playing at Southwest Baptist University, which has absolutely nothing to do with Southwest Baptist Church, which is where I have my church membership...

I think that's about all I have for tonight. There is a very slight possibility of another terminus trip this Friday, but if not, then it will be sometime next week or the week after. I might be able to finish northeast Oklahoma in one trip, but it will probably take two. It takes two to make a thing go right! It takes two to make it out of sight! OK, there's your disco lyrics for the week. See y'all later, and drive safely.

ENTRY 39
Written: 9/1/03 @ 12:14 am

Tonight's topic: A new month, and no major roadtrips!

Welcome to the month of September. How we doin'? The month starts out on a good note with a day out of school for Labor Day. And I am celebrating Labor Day by taking a day off work! The plan is to go to a picnic tomorrow afternoon and night. I just hope this rain stops so the picnic is not a total washout...

For those of you not from Oklahoma (and there are obviously many who read this page who are not!), we have had rain here for most of the past three days. Now, I'm not complaining or anything about it, because we needed the rain really badly (we're still way below the normal precipitation for this time of year), but it certainly was a bad weekend to have rain! With Labor Day traveling going on and OU's football game, it made for some fun stuff. Plus, in Kansas, near Emporia, part of the Kansas Turnpike flooded, which caused part of the highway to be busted, and at least four people died because of this. Of course, this happened on the stretch of the Kansas Turnpike through the Flint Hills, which is 34 miles of no exits. OK, so there is one exit, for the cattle pens! Seriously! I have photographic proof.

Cops are out in full force this weekend, of course. Saw one car get pulled over Saturday afternoon for going maybe 2 miles over the speed limit. They were riding in the right lane of Interstate 240 West near the S. Walker exit, and the highway patrol car was in the middle lane. The highway patrol car gets caught behind a car going just a tad bit slower, but the patrol car doesn't get over to pass it. The SUV is still being cautious, and gets by the slower car in the middle lane. (See something wrong with this picture of a faster vehicle passing on the right? Happens all the time in Oklahoma, believe me!) Seconds later, the patrol car's lights are on, and pulls the SUV over. That's Oklahoma for you; pulling people over for going maybe 2 miles over the speed limit. I think our highway patrol officers are rejects from the Texas Highway Patrol. Just like I believe that Interstate 240 between Interstate 44 and Interstate 35 was designed by rejects from the Texas Department of Transportation, with the "Texas turnarounds," short acceleration ramps, and worst of all, on- and off-ramps that are way, way too close together at the Western, Walker, and Santa Fe exits. I have had to go to the next exit several times because of someone merging on the highway at the exact same time that I want to get in that same lane to exit the highway.

I'm having some fun picking on Texans tonight. Maybe it's because their football team won 66-7 tonight. I know they didn't beat OU by that score (but OU will beat Texas by that score in a few weeks, just like OU is going to whoop Alabama on Saturday! :) ) but still, I don't like to see Texas win. That's just a fact of life from a life-long Oklahoman. But seriously, I do love Texans. Remember, Jesus loves them too. :) Now, I'm going to say this publicly, and I may face persecution for this, but here goes: one of my favorite people in the world is from Texas. Not too far from the Oklahoma state line, but still in the Lone Star State nonetheless. If it wasn't for this person, I probably wouldn't have many other reasons to like the state. Except maybe the Cowboys and Rangers, and neither one of them have had a winning season since the Clinton administration...

I have a feeling that I'm gonna get a lot of e-mails from this week's rants! So, maybe I'll change the subject now. This week I plan on getting some more pages from the Deserts & Mountains Trip completed. Also, after class ends Thursday, I will be taking the first of two mini-trips around Oklahoma this month. I won't be leaving until 2 in the afternoon, but I'll already be on the north side of town, so I'll just leave from UCO, which will save me about 20 miles going back home and 20 miles getting back up to I-44, and then take some pictures of termini in northeast Oklahoma. Approximate borders for the termini will be W-U.S. 69; E-Missouri/Arkansas State Line; N-OK 20's Eastern Terminus; S-OK 100. If I have time before the sun goes down, I will get some pictures from the area between U.S. 69, the Muskogee Turnpike, OK 67, and U.S. 75. Then the other terminus trip at the end of the month will take care of northeast Oklahoma, and I'll also get some southeast Oklahoma termini during that trip. After this month, I may not do any more terminus trips until April. Of course, in October, I will be doing the 4-day long South Texas Roadtrip; in November, I will probably be going to Kansas City for Thanksgiving again; in December, I will be driving the 10-day long Florida Trip; then January and February are free (to make pages from all these trips!); then in March, I plan on driving the Spring Training 2004 Trip, which will be nine days long. By that time it will be April, the trees and grass will be back in full bloom, and my pictures will look better.

One of these days, some of your favorite pages may be moving. The site is getting to be way too big, and I have almost maxed out my space. (I currently have 500 MB, the maximum I can get is 550 MB AFAIK) So I am thinking about moving some of the older pages to a different site. It will probably be on one of my Geocities sites that haven't been used for quite sometime. Pages that will most definitely be moving to the other site will be the Spring Break 2002 roadtrip pages and the Plains & Panhandles Roadtrip pages, and the pictures involved with those trips, because the pictures from those trips were not very good, since I didn't have the digital camera at the time, and because I have replacement pictures of most of those pictures since those trips were taken. I am also thinking about moving the Road Rant Archives and Picture of the Week archives over to the other site. The two rant pages (this one and the archive) take up enough space for about five pictures! You have been warned, but this probably won't take place for quite some time, since I still have a whole lot of work to do!

OKRoads.com will be celebrating its one-year anniversary on Friday. September 5, 2002, was the first day of the site. It has grown quite a bit in the past year. The site had about 200 pictures back then, now, it has almost 9,600! As of press time, the home page has been viewed 13,150 times, with August 2003 having the most page views in a month with 2,271. The first month (September 2002) had 75 hits for the whole month. From 75 to 2,271 in one year, and this a website about roads and road signs! Thank you to all those who have visited and who continue to visit the site. It makes it worthwhile to take pictures of road signs, since there are people out there who like this stuff!

I think I've done my duty for the night. I've made Texans mad, I've talked about roads, and I've talked about future roadtrips. See y'all later, and please, drive safely. Have a good rest-of-the-holiday weekend.

ENTRY 38
Written: 8/24/03 @ 10:58 pm

Tonight's topic: The roadtrip plan through Summer 2004

Happy Sunday! How we doin'? Well, for the second Sunday in a row, I saw somebody for the first time in a few months. Part of me likes this time of year. Yes, school is back in session and I can't go on a major roadtrip until October (and even that one's only four days long), but it is good to see some familiar faces. Of course, I see all the familiar faces at church, because at UCO, I have seen exactly one person who I knew before last week in the five days I have been there. One! So I guess I have the opportunity to make some new friends. The student population at UCO is 65% female, so there should be one somewhere for me. Actually, I would much rather just wait on the Lord to tell me what to do in this situation, because the relationship factor is something that I do not want to mess up.

Anyways, tonight, I am announcing the roadtrip plan through summer 2004. Of course, plans are subject to change, just in case I decide to do a Delaware Trip Part 3 or something like that (hint, hint). But right now, there are NO plans for a 3rd trip to the Small Wonder, as you will see here. Without any further adieu, here goes:

October 16-19, 2003: South Texas Roadtrip. This roadtrip will take me to, well, southern Texas. I will be going through cities such as Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Laredo, Houston, Corpus Christi, and Galveston. The trip will be four days and about 1,700 miles long. It's as much as I can squeeze into my fall break from college. An OKRoads.com roadtrip first will happen this trip: I will be staying two consecutive nights at the same hotel. The first two nights I will be staying in San Antonio, then the third night I will be staying in Huntsville. (Texas, that is) I plan on clinching two 2-digit interstates on this trip: Interstate 37 and Interstate 45.

December 12-21, 2003: Florida Trip. The dates have changed from what the page for the trip says. I am now planning on leaving on Friday, December 12, since my last final exams are on Thursday, December 11. I will use those three extra days to take an extra sidetrip through northern South Carolina on the way to the Charlotte area, since I have never been there and have no plans to go out east after this year for a while. The trip will be a little more than 4,000 miles long. I will spend nights in Alexandria, LA; Pensacola, FL; Tampa, FL; Fort Pierce, FL; Savannah, GA; Greenville, SC; Charlotte, NC; Murfreesboro, TN; and West Memphis, AR. Yes, I will be staying at the same hotel in West Memphis that I stayed at last year during the Bayous & Blues Trip at this same time of year. I plan on clinching Interstate 16, Interstate 24, and Interstate 49 during this trip.

March 13-21, 2004: Spring Training 2004 Trip. The dates for this trip are almost exactly the same as the Delaware Trip was in 2003, except that this trip ends a day earlier. The nine-day trip will take me to the state of Arizona to see some Cactus League baseball spring training games. This trip has been planned for a couple years, but in 2002, I had planned on doing this trip with my best friend, and that didn't work out, so I drove the turnpikes in Oklahoma from beginning to end. Then, in 2003, I planned to do this trip if the Delaware Trip didn't work out, but it did, so now, in 2004, I plan on finally doing this trip. The beginning of the trip will be much like the Delaware Trip was in that I will be leaving after my final class on March 13. Of course, I don't know what my schedule for Spring Semester 2004 will be (I'm only through Week 1 of 15 in Fall Semester 2003!), but the plan for now is to drive to Fort Worth, TX on Day One, Van Horn, TX on Day Two, and Tucson, AZ on Day Three. I will spend 2 or 3 nights in Tucson, and plan on clinching the nearby Interstate 19 between games. Then I will drive up to Phoenix, and spend 2 or 3 nights there (whichever city I spend 2 nights, the other city I will spend 3 nights at). Then, on Day Eight (Which will be Friday, March 20), I will be clinching Interstate 17 and drive that interstate to Interstate 40 in Flagstaff, then go east and spend a night in Albuquerque. (My third night in Albuquerque on a roadtrip, and my 3rd different Motel 6) Then on Day Nine (Saturday, March 21) I will be driving home. Of course, this trip is still several months away, so there could be a lot of changes.

Early June 2004 (Exact dates unknown): Seattle Trip. This trip will take me to the Pacific Northwest. Right now, the trip is going to be 12 days long, and about 4,800 miles in length! It will take me five days to even get to Seattle! I plan on making hotel stops in Hays, KS; Wheatland, WY; Bozeman, MT; and Coeur D'Alene, ID on my way to Seattle. I will spend two nights in Seattle, and hopefully I'll catch a Mariners game and do some roadgeeking around Seattle, and visit the Space Needle. Maybe I'll visit Starbucks; that would make my friends in Delaware jealous. Then, on the way back, I plan on spending nights in Medford, OR; Sparks, NV; Salt Lake City, UT; Cheyenne, WY; and Salina, KS. No 2-digit interstates will be clinched on this trip, even though I will log significant mileage on Interstate 5, Interstate 25, Interstate 80, and Interstate 90 during the trip.

Late July/Early August 2004 (Exact dates unknown): North-Central US Trip (name will change later!). This trip will take me to the north-central part of the United States, to places such as North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. The plan is to clinch Interstate 29, Interstate 35, and Interstate 43. The route for this trip is yet to be determined, but I will say that it is going to be an odd route, with several stretches of highway being driven twice (once in each direction) during the trip. Anything to clinch some interstates, though!

After those trips, I don't have anything else planned. I won't have too many places left to go, except for the New England states, and that is the roadtrip planned for summer 2005. If I am still doing these trips by then. Who knows, maybe the Lord will send someone to tag along with me. But as of right now it looks like another full slate of roadtrips is ahead for 2004! But, there's still four months, two major roadtrips, and an undetermined amount of Oklahoma State Highway Terminus roadtrips remaining in 2003.

I finished the Fields Trip pages on Wednesday. Now I have begun working on the Deserts & Mountains Trip pages. Out of the 4,400+ miles I drove on that trip, I have done pages from about 320 of those miles. Still have a long way to go!

The big road news of the week in Oklahoma City is that people don't know how to drive on Interstate 35. First off, there was a fiery accident involving a tanker truck last Sunday, which shut down both directions of the interstate for hours in Moore. Second, there was construction on I-35 in the Moore area during each night last week, and on Tuesday and Thursday nights, I watched traffic back up from the Wendy's I work at N. 12th St. and I-35. Both nights, there were also wrecks because people don't know how to drive in construction zones!

The 82nd St. bridge over Interstate 35 is no more. It was demolished during each of the past few days. The bridge is being replaced as part of the widening project in the area. I drive through the construction zone every day on the way to and from school, so I-35 construction updates might become a common topic on this page, to go along with my awesome love life (OK, that is nonexistent), my awesome job (OK, so it isn't that great, but at least I get off work for roadtrips), and my straight A's at school. (Which I do have right now, since I haven't had any grades yet in any of my classes.)

Oh, yeah, it was one year ago today that I took my first roadtrip with my (then) new digital camera. I drove around Oklahoma City and took some pictures of road signs. (Of course!) Back then the site had 207 pictures of road signs (150 non-digital, 57 digital). Now, the site has 9,594 pictures of road signs on it! The OKRoads.com domain will celebrate its one-year anniversary on September 5. That first month, the home page had 75 hits. This month so far, the home page has had almost 1,800 hits. Hopefully the site will continue to grow with time.

That's about all I have for now. And I can hear some of y'all saying, "Thank you, it's about time!" See y'all later, drive safely, and don't do anything stupid during Labor Day Weekend. Also, watch out for construction, and for people who don't know what orange signs, cones and barricades mean.

ENTRY 37
Written: 8/17/03 @ 10:38 pm

Tonight's topic: Back to school

Good evening. How we doin'? As for me, I'm doing OK. Had a pretty good day today. Got to meet some new people and see some new faces. That trend will continue throughout the week, as I will be starting school about 12 hours from now at 11 tomorrow morning. I get to start my University of Central Oklahoma career with Calculus and Statistics for Business (all one class), and Wellness and Positive Lifestyle. (Also one class; UCO has some really complex names for classes!) My other classes will begin Tuesday, News Editing, Fundamentals of Marketing, and Business Communication.

I didn't work too much last week, so I got some pages done on the website. I'm now up to the Interstate 55/70 and Interstate 270 junction east of St. Louis on the Fields Trip pages. I should be able to get those pages done by the end of the week, despite my ever-so-increasingly busy life.

Just two months remain until the South Texas Roadtrip kicks off! Never thought I would ever be so excited to go to Texas. I'm not too excited about it now, but just wait until October rolls around. A few weeks of driving 25 miles one-way (50 miles roundtrip) to school five days a week will make me ready to drive in some new territory!

I don't really have too much to say tonight. I need to start settling down so I can get some kind of rest for the week ahead. See y'all later, and drive safely.

 

ENTRY 36
Written: 8/11/03 @ 2:53 pm

Today's topic: Delaware Trip Part 2 awards

Good afternoon. I apologize for not getting these updates done last night, but I was tired, and didn't even remember to do this until earlier this afternoon, when I finally woke up. No big deal.

Delaware Trip Part 2 lasted 12 days, the most days an Eric Stuve roadtrip has ever been. I drove a grand total of 4,145 miles. I drove over 500 miles on three days, with 502 driven on Day One, 506 driven on Day Two, and 517 driven on Day Ten. The trip included a hotel where almost everything didn't work like it was supposed to, a near-death experience, and a ferry ride across the Delaware Bay. So, without any further adieu, let's get to the trip awards!

Best Weather Day: Day Twelve. This was the only day of the trip that the skies were sunny or partly sunny the whole day. Otherwise, it rained or was cloudy every day of the trip! Day Five may also get this honor, but I didn't do any driving that day!

Worst Weather Day: Day Ten! It rained almost all day, and I almost had a really bad accident around Exit 60 of the West Virginia Turnpike. This was also the day I drove more miles than any other day of the trip, but unfortunately, it had to rain for almost all of them!

Best Hotel: Motel 6 of Lithia Springs, Georgia. The newest Motel 6 I stayed at during the trip also gets the best hotel award.

Worst Hotel: By a landslide, the Motel 6 of Monroe, Louisiana. Let's see, I had no TV remote, both lights by the bed didn't work, the ice machine didn't work, and the soda machines didn't work. Was there anything that did work?! Oh, yeah, there was: the mosquitoes! Word of advice: do not, under any circumstances, stay at that hotel. Ever!

Best Scenery: Even though it was raining almost the whole time I was in the state, it would have to be West Virginia. When it was raining lightly, or it wasn't raining at all (which wasn't very often), the scenery was wonderful.

Worst Scenery: Kansas, once again, takes this honor. But of course, I've been there more times in my life than any other state besides Oklahoma!

Most Annoying Adverisement: South of the Border, the truck stop on the North Carolina-South Carolina border just off Interstate 95. It wasn't that the advertisements were annoying, it's just that there were about 2 a mile for the whole stretch between Interstate 20 and the border. There were also several billboards for the JR Outlet in North Carolina. All the billboards make you think the place is huge, but from what I saw from the highway, it wasn't very large at all! The Motel 6 of Fayetteville, NC, took up more space than that!

Best Moment: This was a tough one. There was the roadgeeking time I spent with Chris Patriarca in Tuscaloosa during Day Two, and there was the time I spent with my friends. But, for once, I'll have to say that Tuscaloosa was the best moment of the trip. Because you don't find people who have the same interest as you every day, especially when that interest is road sign photography! But spending time with my friends was rewarding also.

Best Food: Just like the first Delaware Trip, the home cooking in Delaware wins this award, hands down. Home cookin' beats fast food anytime!

Worst Moment: The near-spinout in rain on the West Virginia Turnpike.

Reality Sets In Moment: Arriving back home and realizing that I start school in one week and I won't have another major roadtrip until October!

That's about it for the trip awards. I have to go back to work in a half-hour. I don't get paid for going through 28 states in one summer (and 19 states during Delaware Part 2 alone!), although I wish I did. Let me say that this summer was the best one I have ever had. I got to see parts of the country I had never seen before, or had only seen one time when I was, like, 5 years old. I got to see relatives on both sides of the family, and I got to see my best friends outside of the state of Oklahoma. And I now have quite a stack of state maps! All this, and I didn't even go through Arkansas, Tennessee, or Ohio, three states I went through on the first Delaware Trip back in March. Arkansas is only 180 miles east of here, and I didn't go there once this summer! I also got to clinch Interstate 64 and Interstate 70 this summer. Now, if I can just clinch Interstate 44, which actually goes through Oklahoma...

And that's about all I have for today. Next week, I will write just before I have to start school again at 11 am next Monday. But, of course, I have to leave here about 10 to get to school on time! See y'all later, and drive safely.

ENTRY 35
Written: 8/3/03 @ 9:54 pm

Tonight's topic: Delaware Trip Part 2 so far

Good evening from Delmar, Delaware. I am just across the highway from Maryland. So far, the trip has gone just about as planned. Hasn't been too great, hasn't been too bad, right in the middle. The last couple of days have been a nice relaxation time. But I relaxed too much, I wanted to get out today, so I decided to take an 87-mile long sidetrip around far southern Delaware. I got more pictures of state highway termini, including DE 26's eastern terminus, DE 1's southern terminus, and both of DE 17's termini. Delaware, I must say, does a haphazard job of signing highway ends. Most ends are not signed, but at least some are, unlike that state just across the street!

The roadtrip is only halfway through, so I'll give the roadtrip awards out next entry. But so far, the main highlight of the trip was on Day Two, when I got to be Chris Patriarca's guest in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Now, Mr. Patriarca has become quite the contributor to the Interstate Guide at AARoads.com. He saw that I would be coming through Alabama, so he invited me to spend a couple hours roadgeeking with him in Tuscaloosa. Good stuff. Actually, I got to spend time with Mr. Patriarca just before he was moving to Charlotte, North Carolina. One of these days, Chris, I think I'm gonna go to Charlotte and bug you again. We had a great time talking about roads and other things. I felt like we'd known each other for years. Good luck on your move to Charlotte, Chris, and drive safely.

Anyways, a couple of my friends who I came out to see, well, they haven't been here much. One was here just Friday night, but will be back before I leave, and the other one won't be here at all! Kinda defeats the purpose of the trip. But, all is not lost, there's still the other people who I got to know the first time I was here in March who I get to have fun with.

Had a scare Friday when I was crossing the Chesapeake Bay and singing my Chesapeake Bay song - I got a call saying that a very close family member was in the hospital back home in OKC. The celebration was muted right then, and I was thinking that I was going to have to cut the trip way short. But thankfully it was very minor, the family member was out of the hospital a couple hours later, and is doing just fine now. Which is a big sigh of relief for me. That is my worst nightmare on these roadtrips, is that someone very close to me back home will have something bad happen to them while I'm on the other side of the country.

That's about all I have for now. See y'all later, drive safely, and I'll be writing next Monday from home!

This page last updated January 02, 2005 09:39 PM