December 27, 2014

Greetings from Kansas.

Somewhere in the middle of Kansas, halfway between Austin, Texas and Madison, Wisconsin, your steadfast blogger has holed up for the night. You may now rest easy, knowing that the aggressive drivers of Texas did not kill me, the icy highways of Oklahoma did not waylay me, and the speedy interstate they call 35 did not lure me onward into that drive-'til-dawn madness that gripped me in my younger years.

ADDED: It's really too early to sleep. 7:53. But I'm tired of all the driving, and eager to make the end of today so I can get back out there tomorrow and be home again. What do you do in this situation, alone in the hotel? The car is there, the distance is what it is, but sleep must have its place. Being awake in the hotel is not much different from being in the car holding the steering wheel. And yet, good sense says, you must stay put. No more forward movement until dawn... or near dawn. These useless hours, pre-sleep, alone, somewhere in Kansas.

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

Drive safely. Am reading the fab. profile of Ms. Power. One thing the profile does not address: Benghazi (role between her office and State Dept. Clinton's office). The GOP is now totally supportive of Power, who will be the future Cabinet Secretary (State) in the Clinton Admin. She likes royalty - the UN job comes with a great apartment. Those who have tasted fame and prestige in govt. never leave!

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/12/22/land-possible

Big Mike said...

Glad you made it safely this far. Rest easy and take your time tomorrow. Weather map between Wichita and Madison seems to be okay for tomorrow.

Dr.D said...

That is a long, long drive. I have made it many times, and it never gets any shorter. I understand the temptation to drive straight through; we often left Wiscosin right after supper time in order to arrive in Austin the next afternoon. But if you have any trouble (as we did about 2 am in southern Oklahoma), it can be very, very lonely.

Drive safe, Ann. We want you back safely where you belong.

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks, everyone.

My most harrowing driving experience was yesterday, just trying to get downtown in Austin. The highways there are evil, and there are local fuckers doubling down on the evil, making it a nightmare. I will never drive in Austin again. Whatever good there is in Austin is severely diluted by the hell of its roads.

mesquito said...

I don't usually use the interstates but when I did last fall I was disconcerted by bumper-to-bumper 85mph traffic.

Laslo Spatula said...

Re: "the aggressive drivers of Texas did not kill me, the icy highways of Oklahoma did not waylay me, and the speedy interstate they call 35 did not lure me onward into that drive-'til-dawn madness that gripped me in my younger years."

Sounds like Kerouac if Kerouac had lived longer to write it.

I am Laslo.

roadgeek said...

Austin roads are why my wife and I work 4-10's downtown. We get on 35 at 6 am, while traffic is still moving. Go home at 6 pm when traffic is starting to move. It's not Houston, but neither is it Madison.

The Austin freeway system is saturated, and Austin suffers from a lack of good east-west arterials, with the exception of the Ben White Expressway down south. We also have a great many drivers of the illegal variety, and they bring their Latin American driving habits with them. The hit-and-run statistics in Austin reflect this.

We find ourselves planning our days off around the traffic; we live in south Austin and so we won't go north of the river unless it's before or after a certain time. UT football games must be taken into account, as well as festivals downtown.

jono39 said...

Agree with Laslo. Lovely writing.

Chef Mojo said...

Whatever good there is in Austin is severely diluted by the hell of its roads.

As a scarred veteran of DC area driving, I'll take it over Austin any damn day of the week. DC drivers are teh stoopid. Austin drivers are just plain mean.

Weirdly enough, I was ok with the rest of Texas on the roads.

What's the matter with Austin?

Ann Althouse said...

"Sounds like Kerouac if Kerouac had lived longer to write it."

Thanks! I've been rereading Kerouac. Love him.

Ann Althouse said...

"Austin drivers are just plain mean."

It's so crushing, the feeling that one's fellow human beings are assholes. It makes life hard. I am trying not to be like that. I move over to let cars into the lane that is "mine." There are a hundred opportunities, every day, to show another person that you care how they feel. Maybe that's the most important thing we do. Maybe that's how God is keeping score. I won't specify the things I've done because of that thought, but please, people, think about it. Why are we here?

Original Mike said...

"What do you do in this situation, alone in the hotel?"

Hey, consider what is was like before the internet.

Dr.D said...

"What's the matter with Austin?"

That is easy to answer. Austin is BLUE.

It is filled to the gills with self-centered ego saturated idiots who think that the whole world exists for them alone.

The rest of Texas (excluding Harris county - Houston and Bexar county - San Antonio) is very deep red and ever so much nicer (even though we too have idiot high speed drivers).

Meade said...

"What do you do in this situation, alone in the hotel? "

You can do what I'm doing - watching the Nebraska/USC game with the sound off while cranking up the heavy metal on my iPod, misreading people's emotions, and chewing a cigarette.

If only I had pillow.

Meade said...

Also, take comfort knowing only one more day on the road and then you'll never have to drive again ever.

Original Mike said...

Car trips also have the advantage that you can bring a library with you.

Original Mike said...

Big Ten is 1 - 1. Go Huskers!

Ignorance is Bliss said...

What do you do in this situation, alone in the hotel?

Hookers make house calls.

madAsHell said...

Austin drivers are just plain mean.

yeah....but they are all inclusive, and want a conversation about that.

Big Mike said...

What do you do in this situation, alone in the hotel?

I check the weather channel in case something's blowing in late -- maybe it'll be prudent to hit the road earlier than intended. I check Fox News to see what's new. I stay at places with WiFi so I connect to my company's VPN and check Email. I may do some work.

And of course I call the spouse and chitchat for a bit.

Oh, and FWIW, asshole drivers are, in my experience, highly correlated with the extent to which the locale is politically "blue." The locals in Boston positively boast about how terrible their drivers. Driving in Philadelphia? Sucks. Driving elsewhere in Pennsylvania, not so bad. And Northern Virginia has steadily gotten worse as those idiot New Yorkers and Marylanders have moved in, fleeing the hellishness of their former residences but bringing their driving habits and asinine voting habits with them.

Meade said...

Big Mike makes a good point. Most considerate drivers: rural Nebraska, rural Wisconsin, rural North Carolina.

Really, rural anywhere America.

Big Mike said...

@Meade, thank you, sir.

Dr.D said...

Ann, here is a suggestion for your drive tomorrow, to make it a little bit nicer.Ss

When you get to Des Moines, continue north on I-35 just a little ways past Ames. You will intersect US 20 which you can take east to Dubuque. It is two lanes, but very lightly traveled in nice open country. Takes you through Waterloo. When you get to Dubuque, you can hook up with US 151 and you are practically in your own backyard at that point. My wife and I have done this many times, and we like it much better than traveling I-80 over to US 151.

Curious George said...

Why don't you fly?

Ann Althouse said...

"Also, take comfort knowing only one more day on the road and then you'll never have to drive again ever."

Going to let my chauffeur
Going to let my chauffeur
Drive me around the
Drive me around the world
Then he will be my lover boy, I will be his girl

sydney said...

"What do you do in this situation, alone in the hotel?"
I watch trash TV.

Michael K said...

When I used to make long car trips, I would leave at 4 AM and stop for breakfast about 6, then drive until around 4 PM and start looking for a motel. That was I got a ,to of driving done and broke up the day well.

The only downside was in South Dakota one time when I hit a pheasant at 6 Am doing 100 miles per hour. If he had hit six inches lower on the windshield, that would have been it for me.

Original Mike said...

"Why don't you fly?"

Man, you're asking for trouble.

Meade said...

"Then he will be my lover boy, I will be his girl"

Mmm. Slide on over, girlfriend. I'm taking the wheel.

ken in tx said...

Austin traffic is intimidating. Whenever I can get her to do it, I let my wife drive. She is more aggressive than I am. I had to use the GPS to find the driver's license office and the boat registration place. You got the Mopac expressway, the Capitol of Texas Highway, the Ben White Expressway, and I-35, all with spaghetti junction intersections. I once lived in DC and survived that, but I was younger and thought I was invincible.

james conrad said...

What do you do in this situation, alone in the hotel?

You take a long nap, 4-6 hrs, shower and hit the road again. That's what i do anyway.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

@Dr.D
"What's the matter with Austin?"
That is easy to answer. Austin is BLUE.


That's my take on it. Goes for Laredo also.

Like Austin, Laredo has street layout and traffic saturation problems - some due to geographic constraints, some to past poor decisions.

Phil 3:14 said...

Carry on my wayward son
There'll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don't you cry,

Francisco D said...

Austin is worse than Chicago or Boston?

In Boston, there must be a rule that your front bumper cannot be more than six inches away from the rear bumper of the car ahead of you - and that's going 75 MPH.

In Chicago, some of the highway entrance and departure ramps are so poorly designed that you have to quickly speed up from 50 to 80 MPH to exit safely, and then brake quickly. Driving aggressively is driving safely there.

I now live in Iowa where drivers never honk, give you the finger or speed up when you are entering a road. At first, I was frustrated at people stopping to let long lines of cars onto the road. Now, I am trying to get used to drivers who go below the speed limit (the unmitigated gal!) and those who will only make left hand turns on a green arrow.

Francisco D said...

Don't let me get started on Nashville - the most terrifying driving year of my life. Very nice people, but very crazy drivers. I saw more accidents in a year than 50 years in Chicago.

pst314 said...

Francisco D "In Chicago, some of the highway entrance and departure ramps are so poorly designed that you have to quickly speed up from 50 to 80 MPH to exit safely"

I do not recall any exits such as you describe, but downtown I-94, with its notorious entrance ramps on the left lane (!) are enough to shock anybody.

Biff said...

Maybe there is something to the blue state hypothesis. I see more sociopathic behavior in the aisles of the Cambridge, MA Whole Foods than I do around the methadone clinic down the street. Then I watch these people get in their Volvos...and drive! (The Whole Foods shoppers, I mean. Hey - it is Cambridge!)

Anonymous said...

My first job after college was at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. On my way out there, I drove from Minneapoolis to Ft. Collins, 900 miles.

But I was much, much younger then. And very stupid!

Terry Ott said...

I go to a nearby greasy spoon or comparable and overeat. Then when I get back to the hotel I flop on the bed and intend to watch something on TV (what? = doesn't matter much).

Belly full, sleep happens within a half hour; often less. Then you wake up.