Monday, June 25, 2012

A Big Hole, Magic Beans, and Free Showers

As we continue our quest from Colorado to Maine, we knocked out a couple more states yesterday: Illinois, Indiana and almost Ohio.

Three facts for three states:


Illinois has one of the largest limestone quarries in the world and we have driven over it eleventy-million times. It's just south of Chicago and you can see right down into its gaping maw from I-80.

1.5 miles long
.5 miles wide
400 feet deep

Capacity for water overflow:
3.1 billion gallons

The ginormous hole is all part of project Deep Tunnel, a Chicago Public Works undertaking that started in 1975 and will be completed in 2029. It's supposed to keep sewage and cooties out of Lake Michigan and local waterways, but it's not going so well. The quarry is designed to become an overflow reservoir during flooding and storm surges.


Indiana is owned by Spain and Australia. Ok, not the whole state, just the east-west highway in the northern part.

In 2005, Governor Mitch Daniels decided to grant a 75 year lease of I-80/90 to a private Spanish/Australian consortium for a handful of magic beans known as $3.8 billion.

It costs $36.20 for big trucks like ours to travel the 157 (one way) miles through Indiana, double what it was before privatization. For that kind of money I think Antonio Banderas* and/or Crocodile Dundee should be manning the toll booths.


I have two tips for you if you ever find yourself on the Ohio Turnpike.

#1 When ordering fast food from one of the vendors in the Turnpike Travel Plaza, answer "for here" to the question, "for here or to go?" because it is cheaper.
Tax rate for "to go" orders: 7.5%
Tax rate for "for here" orders: 2.5%
#2 You can get a free shower at the Ohio Turnpike Travel Plazas. No other state that we know of has showers on their toll roads free or not. I heart you Ohio! (squinty eye to Indiana)

Also, free state maps from rest areas
make excellent step-out mats
to keep you off of cootie filled public shower floors.

You're welcome.

*Preferably in character as Puss in Boots.


  1. Just like going to school at your blog. Very interesting

    1. Thank you! Now please hand in your homework and make sure you read chapters 3-172 before class tomorrow. ;)

  2. This is just so randomly cool:

    "Indiana is owned by Spain and Australia. Ok, not the whole state, just the east-west highway in the northern part."

    I love the blatant greed of it! ;-)

    Also, always good to know where you can get a free shower!

    1. Ha! I wish we would have been in Ohio last night. We couldn't find a shower (free or fee) in Massachusetts where we had to stop for the night and now I feel grubby. I still blame Indiana. ;)

  3. Replies
    1. What? That's all you got? Is this some kind of trick or hip thing that I'm not aware of? Where's the witty banter, the argument telling me that Oregon has a way better quarry than this one? Are you just messing with my head? I googled "nice quarry" and a bunch of youtube videos came up that I didn't understand.

      Am I having a stroke? Nervous breakdown? It's the bubonic plague, isn't it?? You can tell me.

      Oooh look, a shiny thing!

  4. A) GROSSSSSSSSSSSSS! I'm never swimming in Lake Michigan again, as I now understand why I always hear about a hundred people getting some disease from the water (usually about 2 days after I was there, myself). But I lie, I'll probably go this week if the predictions are right about the 187 degree weather we have coming. Because at least it's cool, refreshing sewage.

    2) As a Hoosier born and raised, I can tell you My People are exceedingly embarrassed about the highway thing. Especially since, from what I hear, the money that was supposed to last 75 years is already mostly spent. And I didn't see a penny of it, which is what really ticks me off.

    III) The midwest is dumb and pretty boring. You can say it, we all know it's true.

    1. Yes, there is something to be said for cool, refreshing sewage. We tried to shun the Spanish toll road, but to do that you have to go through at least 4,789 traffic lights on the world's most pot hole riddled road.

      Sometimes boring is good. And as far as truck stops go, the midwest has the nicest ones.

  5. Not a bad shower facility as far as I could tell from the picutre. I must say I picture much worse when I hear the words truck stop shower. Nice use of the free map too.

  6. It was a nice shower. I'd say 90% of the truck stop showers we have been in were decent. That 10% though, those were real doozies!

  7. Why is it we humans seem to always make a bigger mess trying to clean up another mess we already made?

    The foreign highway lease is....."interesting". I wonder how much more of our country is foreign owned & do we really want to know? Crocodile Dundee would be PERFECT! That's the least we should expect in return, eh?

    Thanks for the shower info. - hope you grabbed another map for the truck.

    1. Wouldn't he though? If he's still alive that is, I didn't look it up.

      Robbing Peter to pay Paul is what it sounds like to me, it just somehow seems wrong. Tax money comes in, there is a budget, don't spend more than that....I guess I'm too simple minded.


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