275 (December 2011; Winter Break, College Freshman)
I-275 is the nation’s longest freeway loop. It measures in at 86 miles long, passes through three states, and acts as the boundary line of the Greater Cincinnati Metropolitan Area. One night, in December of 2011, my friends Jack, Ben, and I decided to drive its entirety in one evening (something Jack wanted to do before he graduated high school the following spring).
Somewhere along the way we got off the loop and drove 40 miles towards Indianapolis. Upon realizing this Jack got temporarily frustrated, then considering the ridiculousness of the whole situation just pulled over to a gas station and topped off the tank.
When he got back in the car I pulled up Blink-182’s “Neighborhoods” on my iPod and we set off to hopefully complete our quest this time. The album held a special place in our mutual friendship group as we had eagerly awaited it, listening to each lead-up single immediately as they were released and always as a group. We were nearly silent for much of the album, occasionally singing along but mostly just enjoying it together.
When we reached Downtown Cincinnati, just 10 mile from completing our journey I suggested a brief detour. We took 275 around the city once then got onto I-71 North. The other two were relatively inexperienced with the cities interstates and thus were not prepared for the beautiful view of the city lit-up against the now pitch-black winter night sky as we crested the hill. Rather cheesily I queued up “This City” by Patrick Stump on the iPod, but the view was still enough to overwhelm all three of us.
We completed the last 10 miles and vowed that having driven the nation’s longest freeway loop in one trip that we would never do it again.