Annoyances Driving Holidays Travel

Tuesday Night Grab Bag O’ Thoughts

It’s time for the informal debriefing of my recent long road trip. Let’s roll:

1.  First I’ve got some raw stats – 1,381.3 miles going from Homestead Florida to Allen Texas – and an unbelievably close 1,383.4 miles going from Allen Texas to Homestead Florida. That’s a difference of only 2.1 miles – or a mere 0.15%. That’s ridiculously close for both legs of the longest road trip of my lifetime. Here’s another crazy fact. I drove 0.0 miles from the moment that I arrived in Allen Texas on a Saturday afternoon until the moment that I departed the following Saturday morning. I meant to drive around and explore the local area, but I never got around to doing so. My brother drove us everywhere that we went, and I was happy with that. He has far more experience driving amongst the crazy North Texas drivers. He is one !

2.  I generally drive an overall average of about 21 miles per day – or close to 7,750 miles per year. (It’s great to live and work within 7½ miles of each other.) I amassed a grand total of 2,764.7 miles on this road trip from start to finish – or about 132 days worth of driving (nearly 4½ months) in a mere 4 days (2 days over and 2 days back). My car’s already due for its next routine 3-month preventive maintenance just a little more than 3 weeks after its last one !

3.  There were a lot of horrifying traffic experiences along the way to (and especially) returning back from Texas. It was truly a miracle from up above over and over again that I did not get hit by any other vehicles big and small by all of the various crazy lunatic drivers that were all around me. I knew that I was driving some busy highways on the busiest travel days of the year, but I always thought that the airports were busy more so than the highways. This past Sunday I-75 from I-10 to Florida’s Turnpike was so thick and congested that traffic occasionally came to a grinding halt at times – 0 MPH. The same was true over much of the entire length of Florida’s Turnpike all the way down to the Broward / Miami-Dade County line. Ironically the Miami-Dade County portion of the Turnpike southbound was the most peaceful portion of my trek as I hit the final home stretch en route to my home sweet Homestead.

4.  One horrific moment that’s still rather clear in my mind occurred high atop the mighty Mississippi River Bridge on I-10 on the eastbound approach into Baton Rouge Louisiana. It is apparently the highest bridge over the entire length of the river, and I believe it !  I was in the middle lane which came to a grinding halt (due to thick heavy traffic at the time); however, both of the other lanes were still moving slowly. As I was stuck in my middle lane for what seemed like forever at the time (but was surely for less than a minute) I could actually feel the bridge sway back-and-forth with the movement of the other vehicles. This frightened me to bits and pieces, and I decided that the best thing to do at that precise point in time and space was to grip my steering wheel harder than I ever had previously. I suppose that during that short ordeal it made me feel just a little bit more secure (for no logical reason whatsoever).

Mississippi River Bridge - I-10 - Baton Rouge Louisiana

5.  Would I do it all over again ?  Of course I would !  Before I embarked on this longest road trip ever I figured that once I got this out of my system that I wouldn’t want to do it again. That was then, but this is now. I want to do it again. I may plan my travel days a bit differently next time so as to minimize the horrific traffic experiences along the way. I really enjoyed the freedom of being able to take whatever I felt like taking on this road trip without any of the various space, weight, and security limitations that exist via flying. I made light of some of the horrific traffic experiences along the way, but there were plenty of peaceful, quiet, and uneventful stretches of this road trip as well. Those experiences made it all worth it, and I’m looking forward to doing it all over again – perhaps as soon as 5 months from now !