Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Good Ole Boys

Police at Play
Photo Source: Legacy City

This is the first post as I try to recapture the events of the past week of wonderful vacation. I am back-dating the posts to keep them in some semblance of the correct chronology.

One thing this vacation reminded me of is that I hate—let me emphasise the word hate—driving in Georgia.

I made good time on Monday, in spite of having left the house much later than I wanted. I ended up stopping within fifty miles of the designated midpoint and was able to eat dinner and get to bed before eleven. I am not one of those who advocate driving for twenty hours or more, even though I have driven big trucks—maybe because I have driven big trucks.

So I woke up Tuesday morning, ate breakfast, and started driving with the stated intention of not hitting a major city at peak traffic. The second half of Alabama was fine.

Then I hit Georgia. I stopped for fuel at Exit 8. I had not even got back up to highway speed when I saw a sea of blue flashing lights coming at me in the oncoming lanes. I started slowing down, knowing something stupid was bound to happen.

Chrysler 300 The Chrysler 300 is too awesome a car to destroy
in a random police chase!
Photo Source: Auto Online

Sure enough, it did. About a half-mile in front of me, a silver 300 attempted to cross the median. That move almost never works. Medians tend to be softer than pavement. Plowing into them at highway speeds usually ends up being just that—plowing. Not only did the bad guy plow new furrows in the middle of I-20, so did a dozen of Georgia’s finest. Someone even managed to start a grass fire in the process.

So the traffic stopped. One trucker put out the grass fire with his federally-mandated fire extinguisher while we waited for the cops to sort things out. We sat there on the Interstate, waiting for what seemed like hours while cops came and went.

Finally, they opened up one lane. Then the other. Traffic crawled past what was left of the crime scene. The 300 was up on a flat bed wrecker. The car had some damage to the front end and at least one flat. I counted three (maybe more) cops changing the tires on their cars after crossing the median in hot pursuit.

But that wasn’t the end of the fun in Georgia. Traffic came to a stop again at the Atlanta by-pass. Rather than risk having my ass kissed by a dump truck, I detoured a couple of miles through a slum and caught the by-pass from the opposite direction.

The by-pass turned out to be the smoothest sailing in Georgia.

Once I turned onto I-85, traffic was just stupid. Speed up. Stand on the brakes. Ensuring that this idiocy was maintained, the Georgia Patrol had a car stationed under every second or third underpass. Literally, traffic was smoother driving through the part of Alabama where construction had closed all but one lane than any part of Georgia.

Within five miles after I crossed the South Carolina border, traffic had smoothed out. People started driving sanely again. It was as if we had passed out of the influence of the intelligence-dampening ray that covered Georgia. And it’s not that there were fewer people or more lanes. Once they got out of Georgia, everyone breathed a big sigh of relief and started thinking again.

I won’t be going back that way unless someone pays me a lot of money to drive that route. From now on, when Georgia is on my mind, it will bring with it more than just a little apprehension.

Although to be fair, it was in Georgia that I came up with a name for the triangle of interstates that connect Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio—The Texas Traffic Triangle of Torture. But that’s another story.

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