Thursday, March 23, 2006

Driving Lessons

Tuesday I spent over 6 hours on the road. I was sent up to Florence, SC for a job that lasted about an hour and a half, drove three hours each way. Six hours is a fair amount of time to spend in the car by yourself at one clip. I do a bit of driving in the course of my job. That’s why they’ve seen fit to supply me with a company car. But most of my work is within about 2 hours, so a six hour driving day is a bit more than I am accustomed to.

I find there isn’t much to do when I am driving by myself like that other than listen to some tunes and think. I mean what else are you going to do when you are told at noon that you have to leave for Florence? It’s straight up I-95 from Savannah, just point the car north and set the cruise control. Since there was nothing to do but think, I found I actually learned some things out there on the highway.

  • It is good now and then to go someplace different. I’m on I-95 fairly regularly. Our office generally covers the area from Savannah south through Brunswick and down to Jacksonville, FL. I’m back and forth down that stretch of road a couple times a week. I know where all the construction zones are and where they end. I know all the little spots where the cops tend to hang out to nab folks who just want to make it to Florida (or make it home) a little too quickly. And I know which exits the gas stations have cheap gas, clean restrooms and good coffee. But I-95 north is a bit more foreign to me, especially once you get past the Charleston exit. I mean, it’s like South Carolina. Two lane highway all the way, and the view is mostly either swamp or tobacco fields. You see the Palmetto Moon everywhere. But they do have clean rest stops, and lots of them.

  • Sometimes it seems everyone is going your way, sometimes it seems no one is. Tuesday was one of those days when most of the traffic was heading northbound. And that meant for some slow going because once you get to the SC state line it closes down to two lanes. It can get a little frustrating for those of us who prefer to set the cruise control and never touch the brake. The good news was that coming home was a breeze because on Tuesday everyone was leaving Florida so it was cruise control all the way, baby.

  • That big truck whose bumper is obnoxiously filling your rear window might just back off after you have to jam on your brakes because the traffic in front of you slows unexpectedly. Now I’m not an advocate of intentionally jamming the brakes for no reason other than to get a tailgater to back off. I did that a lot in a past life. (But that was evil Chris. We killed him.) However, I did feel vindicated when the traffic made me do it. And yes, I may have hit the pedal a little harder than I actually needed to. I have to admit that I was actually surprised when the truck backed off to a sane following distance.

  • The cops in South Carolina have some really cool unmarked cars. I didn’t see any law enforcement on the road until I got right near Florence. There was your traditional cruiser sitting under a bridge. But I saw three working the north bound side when I was heading home. One was in an older, very plain looking black Suburban. Another was in your traditional dark blue Crown Victoria. But the third was in a bright blue Mustang Cobra, which was cool even if it was the older body style. He had a poor schlep in a Mitsubishi Eclipse pulled over. Oops.

  • Finally, even if you are unexpectedly called to head out of town for a job at noon and you don’t get home until 8 PM or so, it is no excuse for not getting your Gorgeous Wife something special on your anniversary. ’Nuff Said.

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