In case you are wondering, yes, we did make it home safely from North Carolina and our great Family Weekend! We left the Hampton Inn, Wake Forest about 10 AM on Monday, and backed into our driveway in Ocean City, NJ at about 5:30 that afternoon. Clear sailing with good weather, and only a few slight slow downs as we went around Washington, DC. In fact, after a brief 2 night stay in Ocean City, today we headed back to Long Island, where we will stay for about a week and continue dealing with sorting stuff to take or leave, and getting closer to making the move to NJ official!
Since leaving Long Island last Thursday morning, we have driven over 1,000 miles, and spending that much time in the car has given us time to think and talk about our travels. One thing that we were talking about is the stupid stuff that mars an otherwise pleasant trip. For me, that usually entails being stuck in traffic. This then, is a look at some of the reasons we have been stuck in bumper to bumper traffic, crawling along at 5 miles an hour, or even stopped dead!
I guess one of the ones that really ticks me off, is when there are road issues because of an accident. If you are like Susie, you are probably sick and tired of me complaining about the way people drive today, so if you fall into that category, you might want to skip the rest of this paragraph! Here goes….what the hell is the matter with people today??? Have they no clue that they are hurtling through traffic in a 2 ton implement of death, and that this is real life, not Grand Theft Auto??? Oh my God, the stupid, careless, selfish stuff we have seen people do in a car! From driving at 90 miles an hour when everyone else is at 60, to cutting in and out of lanes when there is no room, to driving off the road, into an entrance lane to pass someone on the right, we have seen this and so much more! And what’s with everyones refusal to use their directional signals??? I mean, if you are going to drive like an asshole, at least give the rest of us a clue as to where you might be going!!
This past Saturday, while heading down I-95 just before Washington, the interstate almost stopped dead. We were a couple of miles from the I-495 bypass around Washington, that we were planning on taking, when we came up to a flashing digital sign that said, “ACCIDENT. Two Left Lanes Closed on I-495 Before Exit 28”. Well this accident not only impacted on I-495, but every other road surrounding Washington, as people in the know looked for alternate routes. Thousands of people were delayed and inconvenienced because one or two yahoos had the misfortune of not finding someone who would avoid hitting them. Their luck ran out, and so did the rest of ours! Back in October, when we were leaving Atlanta on I-85, we stopped dead, and sat without moving for 25 minutes, again because of an accident. That was the second time in 2 days we’d had something like that happen! No telling how much time we lose as a nation, just because folks drive like shit!
Oh, and then there’s construction. You know things like “roving pothole” repairs, which can turn a road like the Belt Parkway into a parking lot. Or one that we seem to have a lot of experience with lately, “guard rail replacement”. Yeah, I know, one of the crappy drivers probably had an accident, which took out the original guard rail, necessitating delay of thousands so it could be repaired! Then there’s the “phantom” repairs…..miles and miles of closed lanes, with nobody working! That was the case Monday in North Carolina, when we drove about 40 miles on I-85 with one lane closed for the entire stretch, and we only saw about a 1/2 mile of active construction! Of course, the selfish even get into the act when there’s construction. You see a sign that says “right lane closed 2 miles”, so you get out of the right lane, but does everybody else? Nope, some manage to stick in that lane till the barriers are at their front bumper, causing a slow down as they must now push their way in front of you. Sure, you may have done the right thing, and gotten out of the closed lane in a timely fashion, but let’s face it, they’re more important than you!!
Then there’s the road that is in such bad shape, that there is no way traffic can maintain the posted speed limit, without inflicting damage on your vehicle. There was an area like this on the eastbound Long Island Expressway, just at the fairgrounds, for many years. About a mile of the LIE was a pot-holed, moon-cratered roadway, that predictably stopped traffic, night and day. Our tax dollars at work! Oh, and how about the way we no longer seem to bother doing repairs on roadways at night, when there’d be a lot less traffic? Hey, it works for them!
But today, we saw one that I don’t think we’ve ever seen before. Coming home from Ocean City, we came across the Verrazano Bridge, and exited onto the eastbound Belt Parkway. With all the major construction that’s been ongoing on the Belt for years, we expect that this will often be a major source of delays when we are going to or from Ocean City, but today was special. We seemed good at first, and the Belt was fine as we exited the bridge, but then the road slammed to a stop, and we crawled for probably 5 miles. Crawling along for close to 25 minutes, Susie found on a phone app, that it looked like it got a little better just after Knapp Street. We got to Knapp Street, but we were still crawling. We were wondering if the backup had to do with ongoing construction, when as we drove up one of the new bridges, we saw an NYPD car in the right lane, with it’s elevated warning lights blinking. We wondered if it was an accident, but as we got closer, we realized there were no cars in front of the police car, and the lane was open. WTF??? As we passed, Susie looked to the right and saw directly in front of the police car a huge swan with a bandage wrapped around it’s body! Well, that was a new one for us! Traffic delayed due to injured bird!
As they used to say on TV, “There are 8 Million Stories in the Naked City, this is just one of them!”