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Road Trip 2009: Across the Rockies and Great Plains

id=”article-body” class=”row” section=”article-body”> Hoover Dam was a big hit from Road Trip 2007. What will be the biggest surprises of Road Trip 2009? Daniel Terdiman/CNET Networks

In the United States, the major east-west Interstate highways are denominated by multiples of tens: Www.factfaces.com (http://www.factfaces.com/) I-10 goes from Los Angeles to Jacksonville, Fla. I-40 goes from Barstow, Calif., to Wilmington, N.C. I-80 goes from San Francisco to New York.

The north-south Interstates, meanwhile, are denominated with fives. I-5 goes from the U.S.-Mexico border, through San Diego, Los Angeles, Portland, Ore., and Seattle and ends at the U.S.-Canada border. I-15 goes from from San Diego to the Canadian border near Sweetgrass, Mont. And I-95 heads north from Miami all the way to northeast Maine.

Over the last three years, I’ve spent part of each summer doing a project called CNET Road Trip, and each time I’ve driven long distances through a specific region of the country. In 2006, it was the Pacific Northwest. In 2007, it was the Southwest. And in 2008, it was 4,593 miles through the Southeast.

All told, I’ve covered 12,853 miles and 17 states. But one of the little details about the three trips that I’ve enjoyed the most is that combined, I’ve driven at least a few miles on every one of those north-south divide-by-five interstates, except I-35. I spent a lot of time on I-5 on Road Trip 2006; I touched I-15 and I-25 on Road Trip 2007; and I actually hit I-45, I-55, I-65, I-75, I-85 and I-95 on Road Trip 2008.

On Sunday, I’ll begin Road Trip 2009 in Denver. And looking back at that U.S. map, I realize that after this year’s journey–which will take me through Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, and Wyoming–I’ll have also driven on each of the divide-by-ten Interstates except I-30. Looking at that map, clearly there’s a hole in the country I need to think about for future Road Trips.