November 12, 2014

Interstate Travel is Secretly Trying to Destroy Me

As you have probably realized looking at this blog, I do some travel occasionally. Whereas I try to vend within a close distance of home, (close = 5 hours approx driving) sometimes the siren call of a fun convention sounds and I can't help but take it!

This means my husband and I drive all over strange places of the countryside trying to get to our destination(s). He loves adventure, so often times we'll be taking side tours of places he's gone or heard of that I've never been to. Unfortunately, I have recently discovered that Mountains and I Do Not Get Along.

Also adding to this list: Other State Signs Make No Sense To Me, Why Is This A U-Turn It's a Michigan Left, and Why Are There No Reflective Markers at Night On this Road Oh My God I'm Going To Die.

I hail from the lovely foreign country of Michigan. Which really I can't decide if we're a little piece of Canada that the US adopted, or a little piece of land that Canada gave to the US because they didn't want it. (Either way, I get Tim Horton's Donuts, so I really can't complain). We're the Motor Capital of the world, the Birthplace of the Car, assuming you follow what we put on all our postcards. So naturally we're more inclined to vehicular travel (don't ask us about our roads, even WE don't get why they're ground up so bad). We have things like Michigan Lefts (where you turn around on big boulevards to prevent random left turns and lower accidents), and lots of big green signs, with road names that we actually call our roads. You know, civilization.

The rest of you states are clearly trying to kill me in various ways. Or capture me for nefarious reasons of one or another.

Once we hit Virginia (after finally crawling out of Washington DC - WHY DO YOU NEED 8 ACCIDENTS ON ALL THE FREEWAYS ON A THURSDAY AFTERNOON), it was edging on darkness. We began seeing signs on the side of the road that read "Speed Enforced by Aircaft". Can somebody explain to me what this means? Are you guys doing strafing runs on the freeway aiming for anybody over 70? Am I being watched by drones? I JUST NEED TO KNOW HOW TO LIVE IN YOUR FOREIGN COUNTRY.

On top of the possible air strikes, as the sky got darker, and it started to get a little rainy, we promptly discovered that the paint lines on the road weren't exactly... how do you say it, REFLECTIVE. We're also traveling at a downward decent (still), and there are little to no lights on the sides of the road. After NOT stopping at the last Rest Area (Half of it was dead and we were directed to port-o-pottys on the other side. I kid you not), we were trying to just GET to the show. Thankfully we made it, but I was a tad... out of sorts to say the least.

Once the show was over we decided that we'd hit some landmarks on the way home, which this time meant "Gettysburg. Making our way past the now thankfully not accident covered Washington, in the daytime, we entered Pennsylvania. Getting to the city is a little interesting because it's not on a "main freeway", but we made it. We only had time for the museum and plan to go back, but I think I'll take a different route next time.

I was desperately trying to avoid mountainous paths as I had a Not Very Good Time with them on the way out. So I found a not horribly winding road, which lead me to believe that it wasn't a switchback mountain path. Seemed easy, right? Until I started being unable to tell where we were. And I had a phone with Google maps on it!

Every time I'd get us on a path, all the signs would NOT match the road I thought we were on. And then when we were driving through a little mountain town we came to a signpost that looked something like this:

Some details may have been embellished...

Things that should be north and south were labeled east-west, numbers changed at what was seemingly random intervals. I think my compass might have been bewitched too. Neither myself or my husband could figure out where we were going, and I was severely stressing out. About 3 more turn-arounds, and we finally made it back to the freeway. Ish.


It was during one of our "the blue dot has LEFT THE LINE" moments in traveling, that we got to go through some lovely little... hills. Namely huge grade S-Curves (thanks Google Maps, it didn't look that curvy on the PHONE), so bad that trucks were told to only go 25 MPH, and at the bottom of the hill as we headed into the town, there was a "runaway truck ramp". Which, for those not in the know, are for if trucks are having problems slowing down and need to use physics to get themselves to stop. This is normal for mountain paths, and I'm okay with them having it, but as we approached, we saw there was literally a HOUSE made within 50 feet of the end of the ramp. WHY WOULD YOU PUT A HOUSE THERE.

It was after that tiny town and a few more "detours", that I have come to the realization that the only reason people are living in Pennsylvania is that they got lost, and gave up, and decided to live where their car stopped working.

Also the huge downward slope across I-80 wasn't all that pleasant either. Seriously, highway, you don't have to tell me that we're passing the HIGHEST POINT ON I-80, and now we're headed down because that will only serve to trigger more anxiety and door clutching.

After we began our decent into the fiery pits of Ohio, I did everything I could to distract myself from the road. Husband was a trooper and handled the hills with Bravery and Ease. Bless him.

I did have one good thing that I got out of the harrowing journey, and that was learning that there are apparently more stars than just the big constellations. There are STARS BETWEEN THE STARS and it was really pretty and it distracted me enough to get us onto the Ohio Turnpike.

Husband says that he'll take me to see the stars some day. I told him okay as long as I'm not driving down a hill.

We finally made our way to Ohio, which is well.... Ohio, but at least we had billboards, and rest areas that weren't deadly looking, so it was kind of plus. Even though it was Ohio. We were certainly relieved to have hit the bumpy Michigan Roads, because we knew resting was soon to be had.

...the biggest things I've learned from traveling to other states is I'm even more certain that Michigan is it's own Foreign Country, and other states really need to Get With The Program. Get some better speeds, label your dang roads properly.



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