Interstate Highway Weirdness

In this thread, I noticed a few of the weird surreal stories were just off Interstate highways. The one about the I -70 in Indianapolis jumps to mind, for example. Now, what I’m interested in is weird stuff happening just steps away from huge transportation corridors that have thousands of oblivious drivers zipping by every day.

I’m studying Geography, particularly economic and tranportation geography. One of my favourite topics is the US Interstate Highway system. I think that the concept of the system is brilliant - a massive metwork of roads, all built and (well in theory in some places) maintained to a common standard, with mile markers and appropriatley numbered exits corrensponding to those miles. They are numbered to be intuitively understood - even numbers go east/west, odd numbers north/south. Anyone can just get in a car and move, unimpeded (again theoretically, in places) to anywhere else in the lower 48. The transport of goods that takes place on it is mind boggling. People often think of great US acheivements as being things like the space program (and sure it is, don’t get me wrong). Personally, I think the everyday things like the interstates have play a huge part in America’s strength.(Yeah, I’m a big nerd who is fascinated with transportation networks. Sue me):wink:

Whew, sorry about the hijack in my own OP. What I’m asking for is unintentional oddness - NOT the world’s largest tire pressure gauge or other silly stuff that people create to draw gawking tourists to their crappy diners/gas stations/low budget amusement parks, etc. No, what I’m taking about is from people living in quiet oddness just on the fringes of busy roads. You know, sort of the feeling that when you step of the main highway, you’ve just driven into something where people didn’t really want you to be, sort of a “We don’t get many visitors since they build the new highway” zeitgeist.

I related my experience in Idaho Falls in the linked thread, and I also found a town whose can’t exactly recall - (it’s on the I-15 between Vegas and LA somewhere) a little freaky. I’ve never seen so many buildings in surrounded with razor wire - some angled to keep people in, some to keep people out. Whatever the orientation, almost every single building had it. What the hell goes on there when the sun goes down? We sure as hell didn’t want to stick around to find out.

On that same stretch of highway we keep seeing these two HUGE black cars, seemingly covered with armour or something. They were matte black, with lines of rivets running across them. They kinda looked like cars form the movie “Dick Tracy” - cartoony versions of '30s gangster cars, but enourmous (think GMC Suburban size, but cars, if that make sense.) They were part of some convoy slooowly moving at about 40 mph. Each weird black car had 2 or 3 laptops on the dash board and various pieces of equipment in the front passenger seat, and only a driver in each car. We saw them from time to time from Utah to California. Weird.

Ever stop for gas or a pee break only to wonder what the hell you’ve stumbled onto?

Sorry for the hijack, but you are dead on right about this. The economics we enjoy because of the Interstate system are great. It’s a beautiful thing. Also, one of the largest public works projects in the world.

Something freaky on the Interstate? The only story which comes to mind is from an acquaintance, not my own experience. C is a volunteer fireman in a rural part of Mississippi. One night they get a call to respond to a wreck on I-55. Their VFD is the first on the scene: an older man has rolled his Explorer. They get him out, put a C-collar on him, and send him to Jackson. Later they find out that it was the Governor. I said "You just thought it was some ole drunk, didn’t ya? " He said … "well, it was, wadn’t it??? " :stuck_out_tongue:

Well, there’s one section of the country where seven different Interstates sort of converge. Following any one of them into that region brings you right into GASP, OHIO!

I think you’re referring to double-digit interstates, as opposed to three-digit bypasses, right?

If you take the last exit in New Jersey off Route 80 near the Delaware Water Gap, and drive through a few miles of tiny back roads, you come to the remnants of a town called Wallpack Center. Several decades ago, the small town was evacuated because the state planned to build a dam and flood the whole area. They never did, and the town was just abandoned for a long time. I’ve been there, and it seems like it is becoming reinhabited. The few houses are clearly occupied, and there is a restaurant nearby that looks like new construction. But there is still an old empty Wallpack Center Post Office and a road department building, complete with two orange late-60s International trucks rusting in the parking lot. I would have liked to have gone there 10 years ago, when the place was truly abandoned.

-Andrew L