A lot of us go through our day to day life and tasks talking and thinking about the negative things in our lives. As a Truck Driver, there are numerous, not so pretty sights we see each day in our jobs. It looks like about every warehouse and produce market in the United States is located on the back side of a city, so to speak.

Think a little about some of the awesome scenery and some of the far better places we see each day as we are traveling down the highway. One of the great things about driving a truck is getting out away from all the hustle and bustle of our overcrowded cities. When you think about it, how many people who live in our larger cities never get out to see some of the much healthier places in our Nation?

The Best Scenery in the United States

One of the best things about being a truck driver is being able to get out and see some of the best scenery in America. Once you get your load loaded, weighed and get the old tractor filled up with fuel its time to start out, hopefully for a relaxing two or three-day drive. Not all loads you get are along scenic routes, but we have to take the good with the bad and there is always at least some nice scenery, no matter where you are going.

Interstate 80 is one of our original interstate highways. Construction started in 1956 and was not completed until 1986. The highway was built in segments and the final piece was completed on the western edge of Salt Lake City, UT. The west end of I-80 starts in San Francisco, CA and runs 2900 mile across the United States to end at the I-95 junction in Teaneck, NJ. I-80 is the Interstate Highway that most closely approximates the route of the historic Lincoln Highway, the first road across the US.

Not everybody gets to see all the sights and different scenery along this old highway and you could talk for days about all the history associated with this route. When you think about starting out on our eastern seaboard in Teaneck, NJ at an elevation of about 128′ above sea level, then going all the way across our Nation to San Francisco, CA where there is an elevation of 52′, it makes for an interesting journey. How much scenery is there to take in, how much different weather, and how many mountains to climb?

Traveling Interstate 80poconos

If one started a journey going west on I-80 in New Jersey, go all the way to San Fransisco, CA, how many types of scenery, places, and people would they encounter along the way? It’s a bunch, and it is truly mind-boggling all the beautiful scenery we have just along that route across our Nation. Then you add that to all the different cities and people you meet along the way, it reminds us of what a great Nation this is.

Eastern New Jersey is kind of hilly and very crowded, as there are a lot of people concentrated in that area that commute to New York City to work in all the financial offices we have there. Most of the people working on Wall Street and in the World Trade Centers during 9-11 live in New Jersey. After we get away from some of that, a person starts to see some of the beauty of New Jersey. Western New Jersey is when you start to see some of the beauty of the mountainous areas across northern Appalachia. When you get to the Delaware River the elevation has risen to 1545′ at Mt. Tammany, at which time a person crosses into Pennsylvania.

As soon as you cross into Pennsylvania a person encounters the wonder of the Pocono Mountains. Probably some of the most well-known tourist areas of Pennsylvania. This is home to some of the worlds best-known resorts. The Unity House, a 655 acre Pocono retreat provided affordable vacations for factory workers. Many honeymoon resorts, rivaled Niagara Falls as the preference of honeymooners. The heart shaped tub was invented in 1963 at the Cove Haven resort as a method to lure honeymoon customers. The tub was a symbol of the Pocono resort business.

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After crossing through the Poconos, one gets into Columbia County, rated one of Pennsylvania’s most picturesque counties. A lot of historic old American towns dot the landscape that is host to several wineries of the area. One crosses the beautiful and historical Susquehanna River, which was instrumental for the shipment of goods during the development of the region. Soon we get into the elegance of the northern parts of the Appalachian Mountains with an elevation between 1900 – 2100 feet.

Shortly, a person is traveling north of College Station, PA home to the University of Pennsylvania, nestled in the marvel of the surrounding Appalachian Mountains. After this, it is kind of downward travel through the industrial area of the state. This part of the state is known for its lumber, coal and steel. The downward part, I meant was that we traveled into the more level part of our Nation, the industrial section. Across western Pennsylvania and into Youngstown, OH and an elevation of 1102′.

steel millsThe Rust Belt

From Youngstown, OH to Davenport IA is about 550 miles. Much of this is through what is known as the rust belt. The route takes you around or thou Cleveland, Toledo, OH and South Bend, IN. Then south of Chicago, IL on to Davenport, IA. This is all through the cities and towns that were instrumental in the development of our Nation. Just about all the major steel companies are or once were located along this route. Some major manufacturing corporations make their homes in a lot of these cities. Just about everything from tires, farm tractors, bulldozers, automobiles, and steel of all kinds is produced in this area. There are not too many tourist attractions in these areas as this is where the people who built the products which in turn built our Nation, live and work.

What scenery out here along I-80 is the large factories, steel mills and manufacturing plants that make the equipment that builds cutting cornAmerica. Davenport, IA is in what is known as the Quad Cities, which is a four-city area in Illinois and Iowa, the elevation here is about 590′ and is the start of America’s farmland. Most all of you know the main crop of Iowa is corn. Nebraska is known for its soybeans, wheat, corn, and grain sorghum. Nebraska ranks #3 in total livestock production, so all the sceneries you see along this route are the miles and miles of spectacular farmland with cattle grazing. The other thing about cattle in wyomingdriving through Nebraska is the amazing sunrises and sunsets, one has the opportunity to see.

Out of the Quad Cities to Cheyenne, Wyoming is about 800 miles, all ranch land, and farmland. Cheyenne, WY with an elevation of 6063′ is the start of the long climb into the Rocky Mountains of the United States. Some of the most beautiful scenery in the US are located along this route across Wyoming into Salt Lake City, Utah and some of the more rugged. At times, in the winter it can be the windiest and coldest drive in our Nation. When driving across I-80 in the winter, in Wyoming, a person has to be prepared, as a blizzard can blow through at any time and the interstate will be shut down until they can get it cleared.

elk mountainBut, it is one of our better scenic drives, up over Elk Mountain, elevation 11200′, across western Wyoming, into Green River where the fur trappers gathered each spring to trade their furs. Then into Evanston, elevation 6750′ all makes for a very scenic and unforgettable drive. From Evanston, it is up into the ski areas of eastern Utah. Coalville, Wanship and Park City, then that big downhill route into Salt Lake City. A fantastic drive if you take just a little time to appreciate the fantastic surroundings.

Desert Mountains

After all the ups and downs of the trip across Wyoming and the downhill run into Salt Lake City, we can take a little time to relax, because it is time for a little flatland driving, alongside the south side of the Great Salt Lake and across the Great Salt Lake desert. I always wondered how people traveling through this area survived the trip many years ago. Not too many plants or animals out in this wilderness, but it is a stunning sight, seeing white sand for miles and miles.

old gold mineThen it’s into Wendover, NV where we can stop for a few slots and then continue the trip across the high, mountainous desert of Nevada. The drive across Nevada in unique and picturesque in its own way. We all know gaming is the main industry in Nevada, but mining is another industry that does well and you pass close to a lot of the gold mines along I-80 in Nevada. After leaving West Wendover one comes upon the Ruby Mountains close to Elko, NV, one of the more spectacular views along I-80. It is about 410 miles across Nevada, which ends up at the start of the breathtaking Sierra Mountains by Lake Tahoe and Truckee, CA, elevation of about 5800′, which has a beauty that is indescribable.

To me, one the greatest beauties of the mountain desert of northern Nevada was the view at night. The night sky where a person could take in the beauty of the stars and our solar system, no lights or pollution to obstruct the scene. This is something a person that lives in a large city all his life may never see. One of the better aspects of truck driving.

donner passTruckee, CA is the start of the approximate 100-mile treacherous mostly downhill journeys towards Sacramento which has an elevation of 30′! If you have driven for very long you know the hazards involved, but not as bad now that we have Jake Brakes. The thing to do is simply take your time and check out some the most breathtaking surroundings in our Nation.

From there it is just a hop and skip straight to San Francisco and the end of our approximately 2900 mile trip across all the different land, scenes and countryside in our great Nation. This is just some of the scenery a truck driver can take in, on a regular basis. We get to see things and experience different scenarios that are not available with any other jobs in the US.

My Summary

My conclusion to all this is that we can all talk about the negative aspects of truck driving, and there are many, but we are a lot better off than we were years ago. I felt that one of the great things about the job, was when you got loaded and had a few days travel, you have an opportunity that no one else has. Seeing all the greatness of this Nation, visiting with the unique people who live in all the various places is something very few get to experience.

Traveling along thinking about all the hardships people went through to settle this Nation and the toughness that was required to survive, makes you wonder why anyone would complain about all that we have today. When you think about it, we have trucks with more conveniences than the houses had in the pioneer days. I have to wonder why people can’t do a lot more to preserve the beauty we have left in our Nation.

One last thing! Would you like to get out and travel and take time to visit some of these great places when you retire? Some of you know, I am a member of Wealthy Affiliate, a great group of people, that have taught me how to build a great website such as this. We can teach you how to do this in your part-time. I am just an old truck driver like you and they were able to teach me! No credit card and absolutely no charges for your first seven days, which gives you plenty of time to check this out and see if it is what you would like to do. You can start part-time and build up your income so that when you get tired of the road, you can sit back and enjoy your retirement years!

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3 Comments

  1. Thanks for the article! Living in northwest NJ myself, I can confirm that your summary of that area was spot on. There are some really nice landscapes and hiking trails thanks to the Appalachia. This is where my love for nature and exploration stems from!

    I am planning my first road trip across the US to Colorado and possibly SF as a final destination. This article has me extremely excited and looking forward to all the sights I will see! It’s crazy how much there is to explore in our own backyard. Everyone always talks about wanting to travel to other countries (and don’t get me wrong I can’t wait to do that too) but there is so many breathtaking sights right here in America.

    Thanks for this post! Really interesting perspective from a truckers view, and I like that you try to always focus on the positive over the negative! Which of the areas you went over is your favorite?

    Jordan
    1. Hey Jordan, Thanks for visiting my website, glad you enjoyed my little post. I am sure you will enjoy your trip to Colorado, a lot of beautiful scenery to see. Just take your time and enjoy. As far as my favorite places along this route, it would have to be the trip across Nevada to Truckee, CA and on into Sacramento, but every place along I-80 has a beauty of its own.  THX Wayne

      Wayne
  2. I like the article your wrote, it brought an image through my head when I read your article, you explained everything so in depth about the many fantastic views you can have when being a truck driver. I never knew truck drivers drive so far that they would see many scenery. I can tell you put thought into this and like being a truck driver.

    Brian

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