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On the Road Again

This opening should have as background music the song, “Remem-mem-mem-rememba memba.” Remember getting ready for that summer vacation trip to the beach or the Catskills or Florida? The trunk was beyond full. The worst of thoughts was, “What are we going to do if we get a flat?” Triple-A was not going to empty the trunk to find the spare. Often times the trunk was packed with more than it could hold, so out came the twine or laundry pole rope to artfully loop through the trunk lock and fender. Don’t forget the “stuff” tied to the roof. Nor did the occupants get full use of the insides. Things were stuffed under the family’s feet and in any place that looked like it could hold something. Think Caribbean bus or Toonerville Trolly, though most of us didn’t pack our chickens or goats or sheep for the ride. Sometimes the dog was often thrown in for good measure.

Immediately the radio became a problem. First, was who got to control the dial. Second, was the volume; with the windows open, the faster you went, the harder it was to hear the radio over the wind slashing around the car. Then, of course, the ultimate frustration. At some point, the station you wanted to listen to disappeared into static, and you reached the outer limits of his bandwidth. Then someone had to go dialing around for the next strong signal, which might be acquired just as you were leaving its airspace. Once you got into “the boonies,” you often had to settle for poultry futures and preachers.

You gassed up, made your way, Trip-tik in hand, to the appropriate highway, let’s say US 1 for Florida, and off you went. There was no Maine to Florida I-95, so the drive went through towns big and small, passed attractions good and bad, and ate at food stops from kitchy to near poisonous. For better or worse, you got to see America, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Mostly if you were a kid, you didn’t care, but nonetheless, it was there for the seeing and doing. Then came I-95.

It put many mom and pops out of business, their stores being replaced by gas stations and the remnants of what was offered before. But instead of mostly 35 or 45 miles per hour stretches dotted with speed traps in the person of small-town cops hiding behind billboards, you now whizzed along a concrete runway that looked little different one state to the next. We just finished such a trip. Here are some impressions, some goofy, because driving that ribbon of highway can make you goofy.

First, good and bad news. Trucks. Maybe you like Biden, perhaps you don’t. Incontrovertibly he’s right about one thing. America is on the move. I’ve never seen since Covid so many trucks en route to wherever. There were hundreds and hundreds of them, both ways. Goods were being delivered locally, regionally, nationally, and to the ports. The bad news is that getting in the middle of a pod of 18-wheelers is not good for the blood pressure.

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