OUTBOUND, INBOUND – THE ROAD GOES EVER ON AND ON

I don’t know how many times we’ve driven to and from Tom and Ellin’s house. While we never are lonely on the road — there’s always been company — it was an easy drive. Even when it was raining or snowing, it was never difficult.

We had a great time all the way around. The dogs were a bit dramatic, though I think had they a few more days, they’d have ironed out their differences.

But oh my, the traffic! It was heavy all the way down. Lots of bumper-to-bumper, stop and go — on both sides, north and southbound. Coming home, it was not only slow, but there were a lot of nutsy drivers out there. The speed demons who cut you off with inches to spare while going 90 MPH or the people on the phone who don’t know they are drifting into your lane — and you. It was worse for the people on the opposite side of the road. Some of them are probably still trying to get wherever they were heading.

It got me thinking about the upcoming infrastructure bill. Basically, it will mean for any number of years to come, virtually every road in this entire huge country is going to be under construction. At the same time. From major highways to little back roads, it’s going to be endless construction. If traffic is bad now, it’s going to be so much worse. Who knows for how long? Road construction never gets done on time. Ever. It’s a thing.

Photo: Owen Kraus

We need railroads. Like they have in Europe. Rails that go everywhere. If you want to go, you can leave the car at home and get to your destination in reasonable comfort. Not after spending who knows how many hours behind the wheel.

It has been close to two years since I’ve spent significant time on the road and my back did not appreciate the experience. Even with Owen driving, the endless vibration of the car on the road left me barely able to move.

Bring on those trains!

If everyone in the U.S. didn’t drive everywhere, you didn’t see so many homes with four or more cars parked in the driveway, the air would be better. We wouldn’t need to keep digging for so much oil, and we’d all save money.

We were supposed to go away again next week, but we’re expecting a hurricane tomorrow night — a pretty big one for this latitude — that might last well into Monday. There is no way I’m going from the storm to another three hundred mile jaunt on Tuesday. Garry’s in no shape to do it and I don’t know if I am ready to be a passenger.

The storm is the seventh of the season. Fred, the sixth, just passed us while we were away. The “G” storm must have fizzled before it hit the mainland, but Henri is already bombing up the coast. How many hurricanes are we going to have this year? It was always a rarity for these big storms to come this far north and have much power left. It maybe once every five or six years, not twice in one week.

Time and the weather are beginning to catch up with us.



Categories: Anecdote, construction, Photography, Traffic, Travel, Weather

Tags: , , , , ,

8 replies

  1. Your governments like ours are not very interested in trains. They don’t want to pay for the infrastructure. Nearly all country and interstate trains in Australia are privatised and the iconic ones, The Ghan and The Indian Pacific are pretty much run for tourists. They are costly “experiences” not a quick convenient way to travel from one place to another. I don’t mind that the cross country trains are slow myself. I love a long train journey in a train with a dining car and a sleeper but it’s not a cheap way to travel.
    Every now and then the plan for a high speed rail connection between Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane comes up . I used to get enthusiastic, now I just think an election must be due. Nothing ever happens and nothing ever will.

    Like

    • We have trains, but the tracks are so neglected, there are many place the trains can’t travel. We’re supposed to fix them, but somehow, the money is never there. It’s so incredibly STUPID. At one point, I thought it would be great to get to Arizona by train. It’s not even expensive, but there are so many place where the train can’t go because the tracks are broken, it would have taken 72 hours to get there vs. 3 hours by plane. We took the plane. I tried. I really tried. It was just ridiculous. There were half a dozen train changes and in some places, you had to take a bus between train stations — and you had to haul your luggage yourself. AND you couldn’t even get decent seating on all the different trains.

      It’s stupid — especially in your country with all those open spaces. But governments are stupid. I’m not sure what they spend the money on, but it isn’t on US.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Global warming any one? My goodness!! Take care of yourselves wherever you are! O_o The film “Who Killed Roger Rabbit” has a sub-theme about the reason the old trolley lines were dismantled, and even though that film is decades old now, it’s eerie how true it rings. Salt Lake City had a trolley line in the 1930s and 40s — clear up to the 1970s probably. By the time I was old enough to drive though they were all gone. They turned the old trolley garages into a trendy tourist trap place “Trolley Square”. On February 13th (I forget the year), a mass shooting occurred there. I don’t think the place has ever recovered because people died, were injured and suddenly the world didn’t feel safe any more. There weren’t many mass shootings when this occurred and the young man who did it committed ‘suicide by cop”, but they claimed he had a long history of mental illness. Who knows? I know I WISH they had a trolley up here. I’d rather ride one of those than drive sometimes, particularly when my blood sugar is off or my eyes aren’t working properly.

    For the time being anyway gasoline is king. It’s jumped in price to a dollar and fifty cents more than at this time last year, and I don’t see the price going down any time soon.

    We’re sadly ruled by a government of dim wits, who couldn’t see a big picture if you shoved it up their nose. Bring on the TRAINS!!

    Like

    • Ditto, right down to the “Trolley Square” in Worcester where they just put a new AAA ball park. We had trolley’s in Uxbridge up through the 1940s then they removed them. Now, we have NOTHING. If you don’t drive, there are no buses, trolley’s, or trains. I’d settle for a minibus!

      Trains would solve SO many problems for so many people, but we ain’t got’em. I don’t get it.

      Like

  3. We have trains in the UK but the roads are still much as you describe in your post, although thankfully we don’t tend to have to drive very long distances. Actually, I’ve found US roads on the whole to be much quieter than UK ones, apart from in the cities of course. Your rural interstates are a pleasure to drive compared to our motorways!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Things have gotten much worse in the past year and a half. They are just LONG parking lots — and when you get anywhere other than our small town or something like it, there are no places to park that don’t cost half a week’s salary. AND the prices on gas are jumping too.

      The rural interstates ARE great, but the entire coast — east and west — is endless bumper-to-bumper traffic. Actually anything near any major city is BAD and is about to get worse. Presumably they will eventually finish and it will be better, but it will be YEARS before that happens. It took 12 years to finish renovating Boston and most of it didn’t accomplish anything except to put the expressway in a tunnel rather than on an overpass. Whoopee for that!

      Like

  4. Yeah we need more railways, more trains! Years ago I saw an American politician on a British documentary about high speed trains and he was espousing the superiority of the car, but I’m not sure he had ever BEEN on a high speed train. Most people would far rather go by train than by car, if they could. What we hate is trains so slow and so far apart in time it’s just not practical. (I imagine parts of America are like this, but am not 100% sure.) Or trains so overcrowded it’s like being a battery chicken riding a cattle truck. Really stressful and horrible. A lot of London commuters would agree with this. It’s so horrible when I go into Central London sometimes and get stuck in the evening rush hour trains so full you could faint and not hit the ground.
    I heard you used to be able to go coast to coast by train on multiple routes but now you can’t…? That’s a shame (if it’s true). American trains look so much better than British ones, they’re HUGE! We can’t have double-decker carriages because our bridges and tunnels are too low. In London the old deep tube lines are so tiny, it’s like pygmy trains coming through. I’m not mega tall but my head pretty much touches the ceiling when I stand up in those things.
    The locomotive you pictured looks a lot like one we used to have called a Deltic. That’s the only type of train I actually know the name of. They had a huge big “nose” sticking out and were used for passenger trains till the early 80s and on freight till a lot later. Beautiful things!
    I heard they want high speed rail linking LA and San Fransisco, wouldn’t that be great!
    Also if we could dial up a car and it delivers you where you want to go by rail, just for you, a mini train. Wouldn’t that be fantastic. Maybe in the future…

    Like

    • It is the same here. Commuter rail is a tragedy in slow motion. It’s like the subway, but the ride is longer and hotter and miserable. The few places where the trains work are few and far between and I don’t see them getting better any time soon because THE TRACKS ARE ALL BROKEN from neglect.

      Like

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