Through The Windshield


My addiction with travel began with a road trip at the age of three. Since that time, I have seen the United States from border to border and ocean to ocean most often from the driver’s seat, and yes, occasionally, from the passenger’s seat, and even once or twice from the back seat. What was ahead of me, either in my line of sight, or what lay ahead n my future, could best be seen as I looked through the windshield.

Whether journeying somewhere new, criss-crossing a stretch I practically know by heart, double clutching with eighteen wheels behind me, or taking a chance on a new-to-me rental car, adventures appear ahead of me and I drive towards them.

  • What’s Going On Up There?

    Please note: The travel described here occurred in the past. Today, I do not recommend that anyone who is, or may possibly be, pregnant travel to this state. A miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy cannot be safely treated under this state’s current laws. Please care for yourself and travel to places where your life and health are valued.

    Driving Versus Gawking

    Even with GPS and map apps, traffic alerts and navigational systems, sitting in motionless traffic happens from time to time. As annoying being parked on a highway unable to move forward at much more than a crawl, often I wonder why the traffic is backed up. What’s up ahead? Is it a narrowing of the road to fewer lanes due to a paving project? Is it a fellow traveler getting a personal invitation to the policemen’s ball? Is it more gruesome and perilous? I won’t know until I make it to the front of the long line, and when I get there, I am ready for the most direct route through the clog so I can be on my way. I’m definitely not a rubber necker.

    I tend to be more attuned to the knot at the front of the chaos when I am heading in the opposite direction. When I approach the head of the snake and a line of vehicles backed up behind it, I check out the cause. For example, when driving across the westbound lanes of Interstate 55 over the Mississippi River, an unhooked 5th wheel blocked the right lane, leaving miles and miles of eighteen-wheelers and commuters heading from Arkansas to Tennessee. I imagine all vehicles who haven’t made it to the girders wondering what activity up ahead is leaving them idle and motionless. I wonder how long it finally took them to find out.

    Miles And Miles Of Mayhem

    Driving one late night across Interstate 70, I saw flashing lights ahead through the rain. Between the curvature of the road and the distortion of the water on my windshield, I could not tell which side of the road would feel the brunt of the impact. Granted, the flow of traffic continued onward, but whether due to the weather or the pending possible obstruction, the pace slowed. The weather already slowed my forward progress, so I hoped the blinks and flashes were on the other side of the road. When I finally reached the problem point, I still could not tell whether it was police activity or an overnight road closure. The only certainty in the mess hit me ten miles down the road when I reached the end of the back-up, relieved that I happened to be on this side of the jam.

    On yet a third trek from New Orleans to the Dakotas, I did know what was coming: the closure of Interstate 40 just a few miles north of the same cross-river route of Interstate 55. Do I take a wide detour, or do I suck it up and join the thousands of other vehicles braving the one route across the Mighty Mississip? I decide to forge forward – choosing the shortest distance between two approaches. The warning signs remind drivers to use all lanes until they merge, so I follow the posted directions and find myself flying past the parked miles and miles of mechanical mess. I feel guilty, but I am 100% following the posted signs. I easily saved an hour being parked in Tennessee and expedited my arrival in Arkansas, and then paralleled the same snarl headed east – and off I went.

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