The Beauty of Being a Cheapskate: The Roads Less Traveled

we’re spoiled in California where most freeways really are free. add to that my uhh, frugality, and i’m not averse to driving a bit longer* if it saves me a couple dollars (or more, i’m looking at you, PA and NJ Turnpikes, where i’ve paid well over $10 each way) in tolls.

* my limit is about 15-20% additional time up to a certain point: if i’m driving for 5 to 6 hours, get me there as fast as possible!

as a result, i regularly tell my GPS (aka the Google Maps app) to Avoid Tolls. the very welcome side effect of this (in addition to moar munnies in my wallet) is that i get taken through the back roads, getting solitude and scenery, two of my favorite things when i want to get away from everyday life. for that stretch of time that i’m on a lonely stretch of road, it’s just me with nature passing by. over the past couple years that i’ve been coming to and driving through the Mid-Atlantic, i’ve had the great fortune of experiencing this pastoral side of life that i don’t easily get back home in the suburbs of San Francisco.

and i’ve snuck pictures. (some of these were featured in earlier instawalks and some are not necessarily the result of purposely avoiding tolls, but you get the idea.)

if you’re not in a rush, try avoiding tolls on your next mini-roadtrip and see where it takes you!

p.s. of course, that’s not to say you won’t have some adventures. be careful at night (these roads aren’t well-lit) and when it’s snowing (ugh, had to do one of these during a blizzard. white knuckles!!!).

p.p.s. warning if you’re expecting completely toll-free. in my experience, Google Maps is smart — it avoids tolls within reason. it won’t take me on a six-hour detour just to avoid paying a toll, but will detour me enough to avoid paying most if possible. it would be great if the app told you how much each route would cost, though. (suggestion!)

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