Driving Me Crazy

Posted: Thursday, December 31, 2009 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Hello from Gallup, New Mexico!
What a day it’s been; four states covered as we continue this year’s frazzled attempt to motor west to Phoenix.
A few miles out of Dodge City, this morning we suddenly encounter the remnants of an overnight snowfall that didn’t amount to more than three inches but literally put the skids on travel in states that don’t seem to have a clue about how to deal with it.
We spent most of the morning plogging along at 45 miles an hour on route 56 which was either snowpacked and slippery or wet and slushy..either way..just plain dangerous as several motorists discovered standing in the ditch talking on cell phones next to their overturned vehicles.
Like Wednesday, Linda and I hung on tight as we crept along that two lane road in our old Lincoln which was being baptized with road spray from every passing truck and vehicle in front.
It didn’t end until we finally reached Interstate 40 east of Albuquerque..which presented a whole new set of driving challenges. More about that in a second..but first it’s been a day of coincidences as well. At breakfast this morning we visited with a couple who were staying at the same hotel. “Where you from,?” I asked. “Sioux Falls,” came the reply with a smile. “Thought I recognized you from TV, Ken said. “ Put on a couple pounds since then eh?”
Then later this afternoon, we stopped at a little gas stop in Guymon, Oklahoma to buy a few snacks and more windshield washing liquid. As I’m going inside, a guy held the door for me. That guy turned out to be an old friend and broadcasting colleague, Dean Sorenson. We got together a couple times last year while in Fountain Hills and plan to again this month. He didn’t seem all that surprised to meet a fellow South Dakotan along some lonesome highway in Oklahoma. And, he’s right because a huge number of cars we managed to pass had license plates from the Dakotas, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska.
Geezers gettin’ our kicks near route 66.
As Linda and I were getting back in our car..who should pull up for gas but the Sioux Falls couple we’d had breakfast with.
We had a little chat about road conditions. “Ain’t usually this rough,” Ken said.
“How far you going tonight?” I asked.
I should have known it would be Gallup..same as us.
I was a little shocked they had chosen a different hotel this time, though.
Back to the interstate.
I don’t know what has happened to driver courtesy on the ol’ super slab..but it’s long gone.
Truckers who don’t have enough power to pass other trucks will signal and pull out anyway. It doesn’t matter if you are already approaching in the passing lane at 75 miles an hour forcing you to slam on the brakes so they can bully their way over.
So there we are following along behind at a snail’s pace while they duke it out side by side for miles and miles.
It’s not only the truckers who are so ill mannered. Motorists also pull out right in front of you rather than tap the brake..get out of cruise control and wait their turn. Plus it’s gotten to be fashionable, I guess, for people to drive in the passing lane..refusing to budge..so we get to gamble going around on the right wondering if they’ll turn into you.
But we’ve survived this far and should be in Sunny warm Phoenix on New Year’s Day..provided that stretch of road in the Sitgreaves National Forest hasn’t snowed shut again.
I wonder how much it would cost to fly Allegiant next year and rent a car for the month? Hmmmm.Oh, I snapped this photo last week of our desert daughter digging out a car in our driveway. Is it any wonder she was anxious to get back home to AZ?

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