Friday, August 23, 2013

Life Is A Highway....

When I get off the highway in my neck of the woods, I have to confess that I am never sure which direction I will have to turn once I get off the exit.  It's always a surprise right up until I get there.  I always know right where I am, I just can't remember if  I'm coming from one direction, which way that will put me when I get off the highway.

I know my mother is rolling her eyes, saying "you've done it hundreds of times, how can you not know?"

I don't know.  I still can't remember which bridge takes me where when I'm leaving.

Where I live, we have a real 2 lane highway but mostly, my family and I don't use it.  The only time I remember using it when we were younger was when we went on a trip somewhere farther than 30 minutes away.  Most of the time, we use back roads and roads that have highway numbers but they aren't like I-95 or I-75 or whatever you people have out west.   They are more like Route 66.

When I took Driver's Ed, some of the lessons were about highway driving and to me, that was pretty wild.  Fast driving, paying attention to exit numbers, changing lanes- it was all foreign to me and a great deal of effort.  I was so glad I didn't have to do that in "real life".

I had certainly seen highways before and understood that some can be 4 or even 6 lanes wide in one direction.   But highway driving wasn't what I was brought up with and it's still not what I do much of today.

The first time I drove in a city with an actual grid, I was like "whoa, roads that make sense?  CRAZY"  because around here, we don't have blocks and squares and nice grids to our roads.  They're mostly former dirt roads that have now been paved and don't make much sense.  Mixed in with brand new roads that are straight and do make sense.

It's no wonder my sense of driving is skewed.

And then the names of longer roads change like 3 times in the length of the road.  So they get called by all sorts of names.

When I went to college, I had no choice but to become very familiar with city driving once I started student teaching.  It became a normal thing to do, but it was very hectic.  I even drove back and forth to Nashville a few times and managed to figure it out.  

I was thrilled to come back home to simple roads.  I just don't love to drive and I really don't love to drive on highways.  It took me a while to learn that if you miss an exit or get off at the wrong one, it's not the end of the world, you can just backtrack.  It still causes me a panic today, though.

Where my sister a-ster lives, almost every trip out involves some highway driving.  And there's always traffic.  And you have to plan for all of that time to get there, do your thing and come back.  I don't know how she has adjusted to it all. 

With our super tiny bladders, it's a wonder we make it out and back without wetting our pants.  

That's not how it is here.  Unless I'm driving into the city, which I don't do very often at all, I'm mostly driving around 40mph  or less for like 15 minutes at a time. 

It's nice, I have to say.  A day full of appointments can be broken up by running home to do this or that because it's along the way.  My commute to school will be doubled this year because it's further away.  A whole 6 miles instead of 3.  I know.  Cry me a river.

Some people I know will drive into the city on a whim and not even care that it's 77 miles away.  Some people  need that connection to culture, the theater, better shopping, etc.  We just aren't those kind of people.  I have tried to get k-ster to go to Boston around Christmas time to see the pretty decorations but he just won't do it.  And I don't really care that much.

When people come to the campground in the summer, they say they love how quiet it is but when they've stayed for too long, sometimes they complain that there's "nothing to do".   They say there's a lot of traffic.  And it takes a while to get places.

And I laugh because I know the backroads and how to avoid a lot of the summer traffic.  But I don't tell them because that's part of the whole experience :)

So basically, when you want to live with scenery like this:

You have to put up with a longer drive when you actually need to get to the big city.  But the trade off is less traffic, less wild highway driving and more scenes like this.

And if I'm your driver, the fun of not knowing which way you'll turn when you get off the exit!

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