The Official Interstate Symbol
You may or may not know, I recently made a roadtrip (nine states, 1741 miles, six days, most of it at 70 MPH) to attend an awards dinner, see my folks, and scarf some of my lovely niece’s (www.momminitup.com) time and knowledge to set up this blog. I couldn’t have done it without her and I couldn’t have done it without Ike. I’m just not a flyer. I will, but there has to be a serious infusion of valium or some other sedative and me likes to drive!!
President Eisenhower, who, when he came back from kicking hiney in Europe (for the second time) realized that Hitler’s a******iness aside, the Germans had one good idea. And being a Great American (which he was) did the American thing the American Way, he stole it.
It is called The Interstate Highway System.
The Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, commonly called the Interstate Highway System is a network of limited-access highways in the US. It along with NASA, the Microwave Oven, Instant Replay, Teflon, the Internet, and “Dancing With The Stars” is one of, if not the best creations of the 20th Century.
It connects the country in ways we never knew before 1955.
It’s a Godsend.
It’s a miracle.
As of 2006, it had a total length of 46,876 miles (75,440 km-for international readers) making it both the largest highway system in the world and the largest public works in the history of mankind. (Take that Great Wall of China!)
It was authorized by the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956. On June 29 to be exact, I was four years and three days old. It had been lobbied for by The BIG THREE (now currently the BIG ONE). They knew if Americans could get there, they would drive there. They would buy more cars.
Ike had no idea what it would become.
It would make commercial and private traveling easier, but his real thought was, if the US gets invaded, we need a way to get troops around
A federal highway system was planned as far back as 1921, but nothing like the interstate was thought about until Ike came into play.
And thank God he did
When we moved from Virginia to Ohio on the last day of 1957, we took US 60 across Virginia and West Virginia until we hit US 35, then 35 across Southern Ohio and into Dayton, where we hit State Route 4 to Germantown. It is a beautiful, but exhausting ride.
There were seven of us, Mother and Daddy and the five children. One was a 10 month baby, two others were carsick the entire way. I was not one of the carsick ones. I had to ride on the hump in the middle as baby brother had taken my place in the front seat (no I’m not over it), and the two hurlers needed ready access to a window. Really, one did not want to be between them and the windows. Just not a good plan!
Oh yeah! It was a picnic.
It took about fourteen hours!
But eventually, all that changed.
As the years passed by, more and more interstate was added and completed. (Kudos to Nebraska for finishing theirs first…trying to get out, or trying to bring people in…who cares, they were first.) I remember Mother saying when we were on the Interstate, “we’re making good time, this is good road.”
She was, as always, right on the money.
That trip from Germantown, Ohio to Lexington, Virginia is now a seven hour trip.
Not only did it change my ride from a horrid trek to a pleasure trip, it changed the country, Towns grew because of it. Towns went away. People got to see things they would never have bothered with simply because they were on the way. Billboards grew, barns got painted with “See Rock City”, and “Burma Shave” started an ad campaign that made riders and drivers smile.
Thanks Ike, I still like you!