Tolls and Turnpikes - for 4 states!

Trip Start Jul 05, 2012
Trip End Aug 01, 2012

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Where I stayed
Quality Inn Pittsburgh North
Read my review - 3/5 stars

Flag of United States  , Pennsylvania
Sunday, July 29, 2012

Day 25 - This morning we begin our day at the super nice Comfort Suites we stayed last night in Merrillville, Indiana. We will drive about 430 miles today.

We look at our map to decide which route we want to take from here.  Our original plan had been to go through Iowa, Indianapolis, lower Ohio and come into West Virgina back to Raleigh. However, Art has has been thinking over that past few days that we should drive all the way to the coast before returning to Raleigh, so we can say we drove coast to coast. Sounds good to me!

We eat lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings.We plan to drive through the Amish country if we can, either in Indiana or in Ohio. We are anticipating 2 more nights before we hit the coast. 
After contemplating several roads to travel, we decide our best route would be to stay on the I-80 Toll Road heading east. We should only have to pay a couple of tolls (so we think).in each state and so far the tolls had been anywhere from $2-6 dollars from Illinois and into Indiana.

The way the toll works (as best we can determine), is that when you enter a state on a Toll Road, you pay an initial toll fee. When we entered Indiana, we paid about $4:50.  Then when you exit the Toll Road and then get back on, you get a ticket. The first time we pulled up to a toll that you DIDN'T pay, we were so confused. The directions said, "Take a Ticket". We were sitting there trying to figure out how to pay and all the directions said was... "Take a Ticket". So we finally did, still wondering why we didn't have to pay,  Art said, "Well, I have a ticket. Now what am I suppose to do with it?" I tell him we probably should save it.

We drive for a while and then see the exit for Notre Dame. Art wants to get off and see the stadium. Of course, as we try to exit, we have a toll booth before we can get off. We pull up and Art asks how much he owes. The lady gives us a strange look.  I then show the ticket to the lady and ask her what we are suppose to do with it. She takes the ticket and then tells us how much we owe for the distance we drove on the Toll Road So now we know what the ticket was for!  You would think they would post better directions for us tourists!

We find Notre Dame and drive around the campus and stadium. Art is very surprised the stadium is so small.  We stop for ice cream and then find our way back to the Toll Road. We take a ticket and soon realize we have passed the exit for the Amish country. We get back OFF the Toll Road, pay the toll and make our way back to the Amish Visitor Center to find out which area we should visit, but the center is closed. We pick up some Amish brochures and drive around a little while, but not knowing where to go, we see nothing interesting and so we head back to the Toll Road. We take a ticket (WE ARE EXPERTS NOW) and keep moving on.
We stop at a couple of Service Plazas and finally make our way to Ohio. Before leaving Indiana, we have to pay the ticket at the toll booth. When we enter Ohio, we then have to pay an initial toll there too. Sometime we see it called a Turnpike (Ohio Turnpike). As far as we can tell, this is just another name for a Toll Road.  THIS TOLL THING IS GETTING VERY ANNOYING!

We drive through the state of Ohio seeing some salt domes (took a few to figure out what they were) but mostly we see corn, corn and more corn. We decide that we will come back on another trip to see the Amish country. Since we are getting closer to the coast and therefore closer to being back in Raleigh to get our little dog Max, Art just wants to keep driving. So we do, we drive all the way through Ohio and enter Pennsylvania.... YES, you guessed it. Pay the toll for driving through Ohio. We pay $11.50! And pay the toll entering Pennsylvania. I think it was about $4.

We make the decision to drive as far as we can tonight so we can have more time at the coast when we get there. So we drive well into the night, stopping to pick up McDonald's food (paying the toll to get off and picking up a ticket to get on).  We have resorted to fast food on this trip!  We have bought a number of double fish sandwiches lately. 

It is approaching midnight and Art just wants to keep driving, but the only hotel I can find for miles that is not full and is affordable is in north Pittsburgh, so we get off the Toll Road (pay the toll) and stop there for the night, not knowing if we can find another ahead. We discover the train runs right by the Quality Inn as we pull up, so  I ask for a room on the back side. Well, that was probably a mistake because electric company crews and their trucks are on the back side too. The room we are assigned is musty and I'm guessing has been a smoking room because of all the air freshener.  I should ask for another room, but we end up staying with that room for the night because Art is soon asleep. It doesn't bother him at all..... and I survive.

We have now been through 4 states in a row, all demanding tolls (Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and now Pennsylvania). And they get you because they know it is the fastest and best route to travel. Maybe these states make money this way, but the businesses along the interstate must lose money, because it is too much trouble to get off and on the interstate toll road and (I'm guessing) costs you more money!   

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