Saturday, June 24, 2006

Hunting Hurricanes

I have decided to chronicle our trip this year, since I won’t have much time to post my normal political rants. My daughter (#3) graduated from high school, and her big present is a cruise, much like my son’s when he graduated two years ago. Hers is a little better than his, at least according to him. Two years ago we sailed from Baltimore to Freeport, Bahamas, visited the RCCL private beach island, went to Key West, FL, and then up the coast to Port Canaveral, FL. It was a nice trip, but to him, the western Caribbean seems more appealing. Maybe he’s right.

Our trip pales in comparison to my friend Buffalo’s, whose magnificent journey is beautifully described on his Web site, Buffalo’s Path (#2), linked on my BlogRoll in the right column. Buff and his partner Kat are touring the U.S. on his Harley and have been some 9,000 miles so far. They’ve been to a lot of wonderful places, and he keeps us well informed on Buff’s Great Adventure. Ours won’t be so interesting, but it will at least give me something to do in the down times.

Day 1

The trip to Charlotte was marred by problems. A good sub-title would be "Traffic Jam." I-77 south is a stretch of highway that typically is a pain in the fanny when you get to exit 36 at Mooresville every summer when vacation traffic is heavy. Today was worse then the usual unbearable nuisance it most often is. Normally a three-hour drive, we lost a half-hour because of—first—a construction project near Sparta/Elkin that involved a section of one lane that was about 150 yards long. That little distraction backed up traffic for five miles and took an additional 20 minutes to get through.

Next, there was a heavy rainstorm—the second one, but the worst one—that brought traffic speeds down to 35 mph for several minutes, followed shortly thereafter by a minor traffic accident, probably due to the heavy rain and the general inability of many/most drivers to know what to do when driving conditions aren’t perfect. Maybe it’s an overabundance of caution, but anytime anything happens on the highway, people lose all common sense and do the wrong thing. In this case what apparently happened is that because there were two vehicles in the accident pulled over to the side of the road, along with two state troopers, some drivers thought that was their cue to drive 5 mph. Maybe they wanted to gawk; maybe they thought they were being safe. The result was that traffic behind them slowed way down and stopped and started many times before getting past the site. That added another five minutes.

Then we got to Mooresville, where for no apparent reason traffic always becomes bumper-to-bumper and stop-and-go for several miles. Eventually, we got to the Huntersville exit where the Red Rocks Café is in Berkdale Village, a very nice shopping area. By that point we were thirty minutes behind schedule. After an hour and a good meal, we continued to Charlotte and checked into the hotel at around nine p.m. or so.

Anytime you have a three-hour trip that takes three-and-a-half hours, that isn't good.

Today we hit the Charlotte-Douglas Airport around 11, and take wing about 12:50, bound for Houston, Texas, where after checking into our hotel we will meet up with two of my cousins and their families who live nearby.

1 comment:

Buffalo said...

Your friend Buffalo is sitting in an over-priced motel in Olympia, WA while his scooter is seriously ill at the Harley shop next door.

It's all good, my friend. I'm thinking it is about quality, not quantity.