This 500 mile figure has also proven to be a nice figure in another way for me. 500 miles is a good round figure for the number of miles one can drive in one day without stretching it too much (I have done a nearly 800-mile epic excursion from San Francisco to Seattle before, which convinced me even more that 500 miles was a much more reasonable figure.)
Back out west, if you drive 500 miles, I can still be in California if I took the right roads. Even if you drove the right way, the number of states you can reach from my old stomping grounds is pretty much limited to two states outside of California (Oregon and Nevada.)
In contrast, Columbus is within 500 driving miles of numerous cities in many more states. Being traveling fiends, Mrs. 614orty-Niner and I have used this fact to take many trips since I've moved out here, and in our travels we've visited many wonderful places, restaurants and other interesting destinations.
From this emerges my future IWD500mi posts: Ohio has been and remains completely wonderful to explore, but I think it's pretty terrific to find so much other interesting things out there just beyond this state's borders.