Saturday, August 15, 2009

The League of Sane People Against Interstates (AKA Vacation, Part 2)

I don't remember all the details of day 2 of my travels to New Hampshire, but apparently some part of it — or even most of it — was horrific enough for me to tweet (that means "post to my Twitter account," which one can do from most cell phones) that "I never want to drive on another interstate highway as long as I live." Aside from the stress of having to ride hard among the truckers and their fierce turbulence, the defining moment was a multi-mile traffic jam where four lanes constricted down to one to allow for roadwork.

Now, to people in cars, this is merely an annoyance. To someone on a motorcycle, it's oh, so much more than that. I had inched forward in traffic so many times that my clutch hand was getting cramped. It was a hot summer evening, and was wearing my full gear, sitting on top of a toasting engine, breathing the exhaust of a thousand idling cars. I didn't know whether I was going to pass out, or throw up.

At that point, I justified something that is legal in California: lane splitting. If you can prove what state I was in, I'll pay the fine — it should be legal everywhere, in my opinion. Of course, in doing so, I figured out pretty quickly why it's not: grumpy drivers, particularly the guy that opened his car door in front of me and spat on the ground. I don't think it was a coincidence that he did it in front of me, even though I was going all of 5 miles per hour. But the moving air did do what I needed it to, and I tucked back into the non-moving traffic until I couldn't stand it again. An hour later, at a rest stop, I was an utter wreck, both physically and mentally. Too many people, driving too-big vehicles, in too big a hurry.

By the time Paul and Deborah caught up to me, I was ready to go on (being able to see the Milky Way from where I sat helped — I hadn't thought I would be able to see it from that part of the country, but there it was) but still with little love for the route and road we were taking. At that point, Deborah got out the maps, and plotted me a new route altogether. It was lovely, and I was utterly alone on it.

So, who's with me? The League of Sane People Against Interstates? Is "sane" redundant? Do we need a better acronym? Chime in on the comments.


Jonadab said...

For real distance travel (crossing multiple states), interstates are usually (barring road construction or traffic backup due to an accident) the *fastest* way to go. That is the primary advantage of taking them. So yeah, most of the drivers you encounter on the interstate are going to be in a bit of a hurry.

Linus said...

Acronyms should be pronounceable...LSPAI? Doesn't really work... Sane Automobilists Not Expressways (SANE)? Or Byways Are Motorists Sanity (BAMS)? No Other Transportation Except Xylophone Playing State Wizard Yields (NOT EXPSWY)?

Jonadab said...

If you want a pronounceable acronym, drop the redundant word "league" and just go with "Sane Motorists Against Interstates", SMAI, pronounced like the first syllable in the word smile.

But actually, I'm glad the interstates exist. They take a lot of traffic load off the other roads.