Travel Explorer USA

How Numbering Interstates & Highways Work

Some of us like travelling and navigating using the highway numbers and, if on the interstate, exit numbers. You can find out how mile markers work by reading the article “What are Mile Markers?” by clicking here. Now I will be explaining how the numbers on the interstates and state highways were determined.

In all cases, numbers ending in an odd number always (or supposed to) run from north to south. In contrast, numbers ending in an even number run east to west. If there is a highway or interstate performing a second function for that similar interstate, it will start with a one, two, three, and the list goes on. If it is a single digit like 5, the second to last digit is a zero. Looking at it from the flip side of things, if there is a three-digit interstate or highway, the last two digits would be the root of a more familiar interstate or highway in which we can assume it is helping. In some scenarios, there may be multiple interstates with the same exact number in different states. For example, There is an I-470 that runs around Topeka, KS and a I-470 that goes near Independence, MO. It is true that you can find them in different states, but never in the same state.

It is easier to figure out the pattern for interstates. Going west to east, odd numbers mostly ending with five go from 5 to 95. Going north to south, even numbers mostly ending on zero go from the Mexico border to the Canada border. Not all interstates, especially in the eastern part of the United States, don’t always end with a 5 or a 0. Depending where the last digit is located on the number scale with 5, at least at some point, it will be at the right spot. I say this because interstates and highways like to intersect or cross sometimes. This is something to keep in mind because it may not seem like the pattern works where you are at, but it may be in a different state that the pattern occurs.

A question that may come to mind is, ”What about the nation’s highways and not interstates?” This may be trickier to spot. I believe it is the case that with state highways, they are, for the most part, random. For the nation highways, however, if you look hard enough, you notice there is a pattern. From east to west, U.S. highways go in order from 1 to 101 from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast. From south to north, U.S. highways go in order from 2 to 98 from the Canada border to the Mexico border. In some states, remember, it may not be perfect because again, highways, especially this kind, like to overlap each other from time to time. They don’t even have to meet. At some point, going in order, earlier digits in the number scale should be more north/south or west/east than the other. That is the trick to spotting the pattern for U.S. highways.

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Fastest Road In America

If you were to search around the world to find the fastest speed of travel on a highway, you might happen to find Texas Highway 130 in America. This 40-mile stretch of toll road costs over six dollars per car to drive on it. From Austin, TX to San Antonio, TX, the speed limit reaches a record high of 85 mph which is equivalent to about 137 km/h. Some cars on interstates like to go a few over the speed limit, which in this case would be around 90 mph. This is already reaching 145 km/h in speed. 

It makes sense that it is in Texas, the second biggest state in America and the biggest state in the 48 contiguous states. The land is not too flat, but flat enough that the ride isn’t too bumpy. Knowing how great its size is, you can assume it would take awhile to travel from one point in Texas to another. In September 2011, a law was passed to allow travellers to travel 75 mph on state highways as well.

There is no doubt that Texas Highway 130 from Austin, TX, the capital city, to San Antonio, one of the state’s major cities is the fastest road in the nation. But is there a faster road in the world? It depends on how fast drivers actually drive on the road regardless of the speed limit. Roads such as the Autobahn in Germany allow drivers to go as fast as they want. Although faster speeds sound like a good idea, it’s important to make sure everyone that drives on the road is safe while doing it. There may also be roads out west in America that are rural enough to allow fast speeds such as Arizona Route 79, but nonetheless, you should check out what has proven to be the fastest road in America located in Texas, USA.


Indian Rock Nature Trails Salina Kansas USA

Indian Rock Salina Kansas USA
Indian Rock Salina Kansas USA beautiful hidden lake at the bottom

Indian Rock Nature Trails has a lot to offer for short trail. Everything from steep slopes, huge rocks, trees, lake and a beautiful view overlooking Salina. Great place to chill and take beautiful photos of Sunsets.

Indian Rock Salina Kansas USA
Indian Rock Salina Kansas USA Shady Trails In The Woods By The Lake

Indian Rock is located right by the Smoky Hill River. There are spots from the Indian Rock where you can see the Smoky Hill River channel blasted out by the Corp of Engineers. The Corp of Engineers built a levee around the City of Salina for flood control. This has resulted in couple of small waterfalls on the River.

Map of Indian Rock Nature Trail Salina Kansas USA
Map of Indian Rock Nature Trail Salina Kansas USA

Bill Burke Park Salina Kansas

Indian Rock Salina Kansas USA
Indian Rock Salina Kansas USA trail goes right up from Bill Burke Park

You can also access Indian Rock from the adjacent Bill Burke Sports Complex. There are walking and biking trails right along the Smoky Hill River that connects the park the levee system. You can walk along the levee all around Salina. You can walk South to the Soccer fields South of town and beyond. You can walk North past the old Marymount College as well.

Walking and Biking Trails from Indian Rock Connecting to the Salina Levee Trails
Indian Rock Salina Kansas USA
Indian Rock Salina Kansas USA Overlooking Bill Burke Sports Complex
Old Smoky Hill River Channel Salina Kansas USA
Old Smoky Hill River Channel Salina Kansas USA

The Old Smoky Hill River Channel separating Bill Burke Park from Indian Rock Park. City of Salina has a water well located right where the new Smoky Hill Channel meets the old.

Smoky Hill River Salina Kansas from Bill Burke Park
Smoky Hill River Salina Kansas USA
Smoky Hill River Salina Kansas USA from Bill Burke Park

Little Pyramids Kansas USA


Located South of New Jerusalem State Park and North of Lake Scott , Kansas is a beautiful rock formation called Little Pyramids.

Little Pyramids Kansas USA

Directions to Little Pyramids
Take the country Gold Road headed West (same road to enter New Jerusalem State Park) off US-83. Then go South on country 390 road to Elk Road and you can’t miss the Pyramids. If you head South on the 390 road, it will eventually join 400 road which enters the Lake Scott State Park from the North. Stay on the right side of the road to give room for any oncoming traffic especially from the Fairleigh Ranch nearby. Roads can be really dusty most of the time. Do remember though, when it rains, it can be muddy!

Beautiful and Rugged Country Drive
You can see cattle from the Fairleigh Ranch grazing nearby or more rocks or even farmers harvesting crops as you drive to Little Pyramids and on to Lake Scott. Enjoy some beautiful rugged country driving in Western Kansas.

Western Kansas is not always flat!
Fall Harvest Kansas USA
Fall Harvest Kansas USA

Melvern Lake Kansas USA

Location and Directions
Melvern Lake is located in eastern Kansas north of I-35 and west of US-75 which are two major highways. You can find it between Emporia and Ottawa. Near the lake are the towns Olivet via K-276 and the town Melvern via K-31. To visit the town of Melvern and then the lake from I-35, take Exit 160. If you take Exit 148, you can visit the town of Lebo heading south or take the road north to drive through the west side of Melvern Lake. However, the most direct route will most likely be taking US-75 north at Exit 155.

Directions to Eisenhower State Park
There are many state highways nearby the lake, but the one to really remember is K-278 which will take you to Eisenhower State Park. It will end at the road you take to turn left and you will be able to easily spot it from there. Taking US-75 to K-278 west to South Fairlawn Road south to Eisenhower State Park is probably one of the more direct routes. If you want to, you could take South Hoch road through the west part of the lake to get to K-170 from the interstate, and then take a series of roads and eventually find South Fairlawn Road which will again take you to Eisenhower State Park. It is most likely the destination you want to travel to.

Click for Virtual Tour

The first thing you will notice is the Eisenhower State Park Office of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism (the way to get into the park). Once allowed to enter, there are two directions to take which will eventually connect back to each other closer to the actual lake. It won’t be hard to find restrooms and showers as you drive along. There are a few campgrounds adjacent to the lake such as the Doud and Churchill campgrounds. There is even a decent playground located pretty close to the water.

There are other places nearby such as the Outlet Park east of the lake close by US-75. It includes a dam you can ride on that gives you a good view of the lake looking west. There are places you can maybe access all around the lake including the Turkey Point Area southwest of Eisenhower State Park.

In conclusion, Melvern Lake is one of many lakes you can find in eastern Kansas. You can access it pretty easily from three major cities in the state of Kansas: Topeka, Emporia, and Ottawa. Melvern Lake is a good place to enjoy life and go fishing.


Lake Scott State Park Kansas

Lake Scott State Park is located in Scott County ten miles north of the town of Scott City, Kansas. It is hard to find a lake this nice this far west in Kansas. Taking via US-83, you can take K-95 at the first available moment. The speed limits are no joke. There are plenty of curves on not the widest road.

From a distance, it looks like the prairie continues forever and ever, but in this big gap in the land, you will find a lake located in Lake Scott State Park. I have always enjoyed stopping by a time or two here. It is a nice detour along your travels on US-83.

Lake Scott State Park Kansas
Lake Scott State Park Kansas

You can find canyons, springs, ponds, small rivers, and several campgrounds. All campgrounds I found on the map will be listed below:

  • Elm Grove
  • Apache
  • Lakeside
  • Flatland
  • Circle Derive
  • Boat Ramp
  • Bull Canyon South
  • Lake View
Springs in Lake Scott State Park Kansas

Whenever I used to visit with my family, we would almost always stop at the Circle Drive Campground to view the lake and enjoy life. There is a west and east Scott Lake Drive that together surround the lake. We always like to take the west drive, but the east drive is very good also. There are restrooms and showers available for those wanting to know.

Overall, this is a decent state park. If there is one thing in western Kansas I enjoyed visiting, this will be put on the list for sure. The lake’s size is good considering where it is located. Consider stopping by here along your travels on all of the two-laned highways out there in western Kansas!


Mile Markers in Colorado

Colorado is one of the homes the Rocky Mountains occupy. If you are traveling here by car through Utah, New Mexico, Kansas, Wyoming, or even Nebraska, it might be helpful to know what locations you might pass along the way. I will just briefly list cities on each interstates and the exit numbers that connect with it. 

Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park

Remember that exit numbers aren’t just made up. They represent at what mile of the interstate you are at. For example, if you are at mile marker 100, and you find an exit, you will notice the exit number will be the same or off just by a mile or two. If you are traveling west or south, the numbers will count down until you reach a new state or the end of the highway. It will be the opposite if you are traveling north or east on the road. 

Knowing this information, you can take the mile marker you are at as well as the exit number you are looking for and do the math. If you are at mile marker 88 and are traveling to a location with the exit number being 256, that means you are 168 miles away from your destination. It might be another two and a half hour trip assuming traffic is good and you make less stops along the way. So, with all of that being said, listed below are cities all in Colorado you will find along each interstate and what exit number they are at. Note that not every single one you can possibly find is listed. I hope you will find this useful someday.

I-25

  • 11-15 – Trinidad
  • 49-52 – Walsenburg & Farista
  • 71 & 74 – Colorado City
  • 94-104 – Pueblo
  • 128-161 – Colorado Springs Area (Including Suburbs)
  • 181-188 – Castle Rock & Castle Pines
  • 194-228 – Denver Area (Including Suburbs) 
  • 240 & 243 – Longmont Exits
  • 257 – Loveland Exit 
  • 269 A & B – Fort Collins Exit
  • 278 – Wellington

I-76

  • 1-25 – Denver Area (Including Suburbs)
  • 31 – Hudson
  • 39 – Keenesburg
  • 64 & 66 – Wiggins
  • 75-82 – Fort Morgan
  • 89-92 – Brush
  • 125 – Sterling
  • 149 – Crook
  • 165 – Sedgwick
  • 180 – Julesburg

I-70

  • 11-44 – Grand Junction Area (Including Suburbs)
  • 62 – De Beque
  • 75 – Parachute
  • 87-97 – Rifle & Silt
  • 114 & 116 – Glenwood Springs
  • 140-147 – Gypsum & Eagle
  • 163-168 – Edwards, Avon & Eagle Vail
  • 176 & 180 – Vail
  • 195 – Copper Mountain
  • 201 & 205 – Frisco, Silverthorne & Dillion
  • 226 & 228 – Silver Plume & Georgetown
  • 239-241 – Idaho Springs
  • 260-289  – Denver Area (Including Suburbs)
  • 304-316 – Bennett, Strasburg & Byers
  • 328 – Deer Trail
  • 359-363 – Limon
  • 371 – Genoa
  • 395 – Flagler
  • 405 – Seibert
  • 419 – Stratton
  • 437 & 438 – Burlington

Clinton Lake Kansas USA

Directions to Clinton Lake and Clinton State Park
Located west of Lawrence and Douglas County, you will find Clinton Lake. You can find signs along US-40, K-10, and US-59 that will help navigate you to this destination. If you take K-10, you can find it much easier. Off of that exit, you can either visit Clinton State Park or ride the east dam. You can also find this route from a turnoff on US-59 as well. From that turnoff, you can visit the Rockhaven, Bloomington, and Woodridge Public Use Areas and the town of Clinton. The turnoff from US-40 takes you straight down to the Clinton State Park or the Wildlife Area

Things to do at Clinton Lake
At the north part of the lake, this tends to be the main spot. Locations include campgrounds with restrooms and showers, trails, a disc golf course, and an archery range. East of the lake, locations include a waterfall, spillway, and outlet park near Wakarusa River, and a golf course.

View from Kansas Highway K-10
If you are driving along K-10, there are sports complexes to the east of the lake and a nice overlook park at the northeast corner of the lake for a quick but good look at this huge lake. You should check out this lake if you have the time to tour something special along your travels in a very scenic eastern Kansas. 


Colorful Colorado USA

Welcome to Colorful Colorado! If you prefer central America but don’t like the flat lands, this is a state to check out. Home to the Rocky Mountain National Park and the rest of the mountains, this state is decent in size, has very scenic areas, and a great vacation spot. People can come to ski, snowboard, ride a mountain bike, dwell in a lodge with a hot tub, or even just drive around the mountains.

Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park

Denver, Colorado
The main interstates that travel through the entire state are I-25 & I-70 that form a plus shape. They meet in the capital city, Denver. I-76 travels from I-80 in Nebraska to this city. I-270 & I-225 are inside the city with Colorado Highway 470 circling the city. The east half is toll road while the west half is non-toll road.

Denver, Colorado has both an NBA and NFL team to root for pretty much all year-round aka the Denver Nuggets, and the Denver Broncos. Boulder, CO northwest of Denver is home of Colorado University.

From Denver, you could travel north through multiple cities like Loveland and Fort Collins to the state of Wyoming and its capital city Cheyenne. Or you could travel south through Colorado Springs and Pueblo to the state of New Mexico. Or you could even continue west through the Rocky Mountains where you meet the city of Grand Junction just miles before the state of Utah. Traveling east takes you to the state of Kansas.

Colorado Springs, Colorado
Whenever my family and I travel from the east side of the state to the mountains, we like to stop in Limon, Colorado for a break and to get souvenirs from Colorado Gifts located right off the interstate at Exit 361. From there we go northwest to Denver or southwest to Colorado Springs, another great city next to Pikes Peak and the Garden of the Gods located to the west.

Garden of the Gods Colorado Springs USA
Garden of the Gods Colorado Springs USA

Eastern Colorado
Some people claim that eastern Colorado is just a flat, dry land with not too many things interesting. There is US-50 however is a better route through this part of the state if you aren’t taking I-70. The northeast isn’t as bad since there is another interstate you can take. In fact, western Kansas and eastern Colorado have the same feel to them. It is true that they both have flat areas and nothing that exciting for people that live in the big cities, but it is a nice place to live for people that don’t like populated areas so much.

Historic Stanley Hotel Estes Park Colorado USA
Historic Stanley Hotel Estes Park Colorado USA

Estes Park
There are more places worth checking out that I haven’t really mentioned yet. I have been to Estes Park more than once, it is a good area to stay at if you are visiting the Rocky Mountain National Park.

South West Colorado
If you happen to travel in southwest Colorado, it is also very scenic and there is a lot to tour there. If you can take via US-160 to the very southwest part of the state where you can find Mesa Verde and Four Corners, you can see a nice looking desert. A cool thing I saw was the San Juan River right before the border to New Mexico and the four corners monument. I love how the river was big and it was the only obvious green area in the entire reservation. A bonus is being able to add a few more states to your list of states visited.

Colorful Colorado, in conclusion, is one of coolest mountain states I have ever seen in my opinion, and I have been to 20+ states so far. I think you will enjoy your time there if you choose this place as your next summer vacation destination. I will try to include more information about this state in the near future on this website, so stay tuned!


From York, Nebraska (I-80) to Salina, Kansas (I-70) via US-81

Four Lane Highway Links I-80 to I-70
Not too long ago, the state Nebraska and Kansas decided to make a four laned road stretching from I-80 and I-70. It would start from York, Nebraska, travel south through McCool Junction, Fairmont, Geneva, Strang, Bruning, Hebron, past the Nebraska – Kansas border through Belleville, Concordia, Minneapolis, and finally Salina where it meets I-70 and even I-135. It still exists today and serves a good purpose for faster transportation.

US-81
To explain a little better, this US-81 route contributes with I-135 and its purpose as well. If you look at a map, you see I-35 which was once in the central part of the country starting to shift east away from the north central states. With the new roads, there is a faster route for the area that I-35 missed when going east to Missouri, Iowa, and Minnesota.

In the Dakotas and Nebraska, you realize there is no interstate that runs vertically through the middle of the states. We have history to blame for this. But in short, this new route gives these north central states a faster way to access I-35 in a more direct way to travel to places in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.

From the flip side of things, it is easier for the south central states to travel to the north central states as well. It is a step towards making transportation slightly faster in this area.

Here are a few good places to stop along this road from York, NB and Salina, KS:

York
North of I-80 you can truly see the size of the town. US-81 & US-34 mostly bypass the town, but Lincoln Avenue is a main road that runs straight through the town. This is a good stopping point even when traveling along the interstate. Most travelers when in a slight hurry stop south of town rather than in it. They should consider going up a mile if they have the time.

Geneva
To get more options, you can either travel west on F Street or NE-41, whichever comes first. You could stop at Shell for gas, Dollar General for a snack, or even Subway for a nice, healthy lunch.

Hebron
Most of the stops are again west of the highway. Lincoln Avenue is a good way to enter the city from the highway. You can find another Dollar General here as well as a Casey’s. The airport and the country club is south of the town near US-136.

Pawnee Indian Museum Kansas
Pawnee Indian Museum Republic Kansas USA

Belleville
North of US-36 and east of US-81 is where the city of Belleville resides. Up north is a Love’s, a speedway, swimming pool, and Rocky Pond. For anyone looking for businesses you can find in most places, there is a Super 8 hotel near a Dollar General, Casey’s, and even a DQ where you can stop for a treat.

POW Camp Concordia Kansas USA
POW Camp Concordia Kansas USA

Concordia
You don’t have to leave the highway too much at all to stop at a DQ, Sonic, McDonald’s, Subway, Arby’s, and more. South of town they even have a Walmart. It should fill most needs someone would like during the trip.

Kenwood Cove Salina Kansas
Kenwood Cove Salina Kansas

Salina
This city is blessed to have four lane roads in all four directions. When US-81 reaches Salina, people traveling south have the option to travel west to Hays and Denver, east to Topeka and Kansas City, or south to Wichita and Oklahoma City. Taking I-135 south by Salina gives you more options rather than I-70, but there are still enough stops north of Salina by I-70 to support travelers along their way. US-81 continues south with I-135 after Salina to Wichita and beyond.