Nice View

Sideling Hill Overlook

The Sideling Hill Overlook is at welcome center & rest stop in Maryland on i68. It’s worth stopping for the view of the massive cut through a mountain called Sideling Hill, and the overlook of the valley to the east. Good for photographers, which is everyone these days.

Overlooking the valley below:
Sideling Hill Overlook

Mountain? No problem, just carve a wedge out of it:
Sideling Hill Overlook 2

There is a Vietnam War memorial on the premises. The rest stop facilities are clean as well.


Maryland House

I-95 is Atrocious

I-95 is atrocious — from the border of Delaware and New Jersey to about Richmond, Virginia it is possibility the worst road to travel in the U.S. due to traffic/congestion. What should take 4 hours, will often take twice that or longer. The traffic is due to the overpopulated Washington D.C. megalopolis and Virginia beach vacationers.

I-95 is filled with locals. You would think that they would learn to avoid this road, however, they’re using it too, to get to the mall or to church or wherever. This amazes me. Personally, if I did not have to be on I-95, I would avoid it like toxic waste.

MD-295 is a little better. Yes, it is also a virtual parking lot, but there are more curves and trees, and you’ll get to see Washington D.C.

This photo of the Washington Monument isn’t good at all, but this is exactly how it looks from the highway: Washington Monument

Winding curves, hills, roadkill, odd/amusing garbage on the side of the road, and landmarks can make a congested road more bearable. Exits, merges, and construction provide momentary distraction, but ultimately only compound the agony.

When I have to endure something miserable for a long period of time, like 4 hours of dental surgery or 9 hours on I-95, I apply a technique I call “going dead inside”. Just relax and put yourself in the mindset that you are already dead, and none of the miserable stuff matters. Works like a charm.

Last, I’ll mention what I like to call the Disneyland of Bladder Relief, which is the Maryland House Rest Area. Virtually everyone who travels between Virginia and New Jersey stops at the Maryland House, and without a doubt, it smells like it. Most people use the bathrooms at New York Penn Station or Grand Central Station, as examples of bathrooms that receive a mind-numbing amount of patrons (with poor aim), BUT they can’t hold a urinal cake, er…, candle to the Maryland House. It’s there for a reason, and it does its job well enough.

Maryland House

Welcome to North Carolina

North Carolina Welcome Center

Unfortunately, the Welcome Center part of the North Carolina Welcome Center was closed. No brochures for me. But I did enjoy this giant folk-art weathervane (pictured above).

The folks hanging out at the Welcome Center seemed like tourists. Lots of jorts (cuffed jean shorts). Lots of people walking their miniature dogs. Thankfully no grifters — the “we need $20 to get back to Erie Pennsylvania” routine gets old quick (I’m talking to you Maryland).

Fort Massac Rest Area

Fort Massac

The Fort Massac Rest Area (37.159140, -88.679758) welcomes you to Metropolis, Illinois, the town Clark Kent works in. Clark Kent is, of course, the possibly-fictional superhero Superman.

The rest area is, overall, quite pleasant and features landscaped grounds, a clean bathroom (I can’t say clean bathrooms (plural) because I only visited the men’s bathroom), and an informative educational display about Emerald Ash Borer insects (which destroy ash trees).

Emerald Ash Borer

The grounds also feature Brood XXIII periodical cicadas, but the next time you’ll be able to observe them there is 2028.

Last visited: May 24th, 2015.