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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Travel notes

I am travelling again, this time by car. I came up with some random thoughts during the long ride today. I have been making the trip down I-95 since the early to mid-70s. (if I was being fair there was the illicit trip in my father's car when I was 16, but I digress) In fact, the first six or seven years we made the trip you had to leave I-95 at many points because it did not exist yet! (anyone else remember the old, decrepit, bridge in Savannah, Ga?) I found myself doing it again today. This trip was a bit different because I did it alone. I am not sure I have made the trip alone before. If so, it has been very rare. With six kids and a wife, there was usually a few or more other travellers. Even when I was going down for business as I was this time, and have a few times in recent years, I usually had my wife with me to combine a visit with family in Florida. This trip was done alone. Nine hours in a car alone can give you a lot of "thought time". So, here are some of them. I never cease to be amazed at the capacity of the State of Georgia to always be doing road work on I-95. In the early days, as I stated in my opening remarks, the construction was understandable as the road was being built. But, in the 36 or more years I have been making the trip to at least southern Georgia, once or twice a year each year, I do not remember getting through Georgia without a major construction project. Now, I have to give credit where credit is due; they have finished the highway in fine fashion from the state line near Savannah to almost Darien. It is a fine road with at least three lanes in each direction. Then, just north of Darien -here come the barrels. Georgia is the home of orange barrels on the eastern seaboard. At least from Virginia to Key West where I am familiar with the drive. The barrels there are as plentiful as sand on the beach. The barrel making industry has to be very enamored of Georgia. Another thought I had was concerning construction of another sort. When I car or truck takes out a bridge/overpass concrete side rails or the guardrails on the side of the road, why do they put an orange cone there? I can see the poor soul that has lost control of their vehicle heading for the side of the road wondering if they are going to make it, thinking -"Oh, I can't crash here! There are orange cones!" I know of very few (in fact NONE) incidents where people choose the section of guardrail or bridge they hit. I also saw a rare site today. An orange cone in the wild! I whizzed by it at 70+ mph, so I did not get a great look at it; but I saw the orange peak rising above the grass and weeds on the side of the road as it took a tentative look at the traffic. I was very upset that RIM decided not to put a camera on my Blackberry. I would have loved to take a shot of this unusual event. I did not get a good enough look to know if it was an escaped construction cone, or the even rarer feral cone. It was gone in an instant. FYI, it was a Georgia cone. Probably a descendant of one of the original construction cones from when the road was first built. Other things of note today. One is the number of people I saw texting. In two cases they went speeding by me (which reminds me of another classic George Carlin quote - "Have you noticed anyone going slower than you is an idiot and anyone going faster is a maniac?") and I was NOT going slow! Crazy, definitely idiotic maniacs. We should make cars in which the seatbelts and airbags deactivate when the driver is texting and let them cull the herd, so to speak. The last note is one of profound sadness. As I stated in my opening remarks, I have made all these trips to my memory with my wife. She was to go with me on this trip, and I was going to drop her at her mother's house for a visit. We have had some very memorable and enjoyable trips along this route together, the most recent last October. Her illness and the logistics of her care prevented this one from being another. I missed her companionship. She would have enjoyed the cone in the wild.