Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Holidays will kill you

So...hubby, child and I go from BFE, AL, up to Indiana to meet up with the in-laws for the extended holiday weekend. It's the first long trip in the new Saturn and I'm hoping we get good gas mileage and a safe trip. Needless to say, the first was pretty good...the second, not so much.

Before we ever left the state, I got to see my life flash before my eyes. For anyone who's ever driven in Birmingham, AL, first off, I apologize on behalf of my state. Secondly, where I-65 crosses over I-20 (I believe it was) is a totally messed up area. I65 acquires traffic from two on-ramps - one on each side - so traffic is merging from both the left and the right. Also, there is an exit about a mile from these ramps. Well, we're driving along on I-65 when a semi carrying cinder blocks merges from our left. He, of course, needs that first exit. So, without looking to ensure he's not the only creature on the interstate at that particular moment, he crosses four lanes of traffic in order to get into his turn lane. I'm nearly standing my poor car up on its nose to keep from losing it to that obliviot. [Obliviot - contraction of the words 'oblivious' and 'idiot', it is a noun used to denote people who do stupid things while seeming to notice their environment] 

Then we get to Nashville. Again, for those who've driven north on I-65 through Nashville, I deeply sympathize. That route was designed by a brain-dead monkey engineer on crack-laced meth. The roads split about four times as you go through the city and, each time, I65 splits from a different direction. The first time, you have to be in the left two lanes; the next time, the right two. And don't get me started on lanes that simply disappear without warning! Of course, this is the same state that, four years ago, told us for three miles worth of construction that the right lane was going to end but, when it finally did, it was the LEFT that went away. Talk about a clusterfuck!

Kentucky merely had stealthy cops on the prowl. One was in the high median grass looking like a tiger stalking his prey. Being that the car was mostly black, perhaps that should have been a panther? Whatever it was, it did give me a bit of a giggle (especially since I was doing 80 and didn't get stopped by his prowly self). We were kinda bummed to realize that GeoWoodstock was going on the day we were driving through Louisville. If we hadn't been on such a schedule, we would have stopped. As it was, we met and talked to some cachers at a Cracker Barrel near Georgetown and I got to sign someone's jeep! Yes, their jeep. They had it set up like a cache and the driver kept Sharpies so you could sign it. I got a front fender. Too cool.

Our second brush with death was just inside Indiana. Again, it involved a semi. What is up with you guys? You used to be the best drivers on the road and then it all went to hell somehow. Anyway, Mr. Semi had gotten caught up behind a 1000 year old woman who shouldn't be driving a Hover-Round much less a car and was doing 50 on the interstate. Where are those cops when you need them, hmmm? Stalking the prairies, I suppose. Well, there was a gap in front of this Chevy Blazer in front of us about the size of a Smart car. The trucker decided to use it and zipped over...nearly claiming the Blazer's bumper as a souvenir. The Blazer nearly took to the grass, I'm standing on my brakes again while praying I don't get rear-ended, and the granny is cheerfully oblivious to the chaos around her.

It would take far more words than I want to use to describe my disgust with Illinois drivers so I won't even start. Needless to say...you folks need help. 'Nuff said.

Gas wasn't the problem I'd thought it'd be until we reached Indiana. In our town, we gassed up at $3.21 on Friday morning. In TN/KY, we cringed at the $3.45 for the second fill. Indiana made us want to cry. The lowest we found was $3.76, a full 55cents higher per gallon than at home. We learned that it'd been outrageous for some time and not just the holidays. We also learned that the Indy 500 was running that weekend and they were whining about how HOT it was going to be. *snort* It was barely 95F in areas of concrete/asphalt - definitely not HOT. They whined; we sniggered. It wasn't nice of us, but there you have it. lol

On the way home, there were fewer moments of hair-raising terror. Tennessee has learned their right from their left. Stalker cops were stalking...but thankfully had prey other than my little Ion on their minds and in their sights. The only really bad thing that happened as we headed back south was a nasty nasty looking wreck on I65 northbound just south of Silver Hills, TN. From what we could deduce, a semi had wrecked in a spectacular fashion and was causing all three lanes to be blocked. Traffic was at a dead stop. The trailer was being doused by the fire department. Cops and ambulances were on hand. Not pretty.

We made it home in one piece - no wrecks, no tickets. Today, I unpack, wash, and pray I don't have to get in my car any more than necessary.

But Illinois drivers...yeah, get classes.

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