Editors note: This is the fifth and final installment of a multi-part series on our summer road trip to NJ. They are not in sequential order. Some of this will be akin to eye wateringly boring home movies. Anyway, you’ve been warned.
As I said in an earlier post, we were riding free all the way back to Knoxville, Tennessee. Usually on a trip that long you’re gonna run into some type of traffic jam from an accident, toll booth pile ups, normally on I95 in Maryland, or a bunch of jerk-weed 18 wheelers running in the passing lane, something.
The consternation usually starts around the toll booths. There are no toll roads from Virginia into Knoxville. So once we navigate through the myriad of tolls in Jersey and through to Maryland it’s clear sailing. And on this particular trip we shot through toll booth alley with ease. So much so it worried us a little.
I mean, we would have to pay for that somewhere right? No way we scoot through there unscathed without hitting a major road block somewhere, a stop dead and get out of your car to stretch your legs in the middle of a six lane highway, type jam.
So now we are worried and paranoid. Every time the jack-leg in front of us, no matter who it was, hits the breaks I think, oh crap here it comes. We’ll be sitting here till doomsday. Whenever we saw the opposite lanes of traffic look suspiciously empty I thought, bet some chooch flipped his BMW and is blocking all lanes, probably going to stop dead any minute now.
Folks it’s a long 13 hour trip. The mind does what it does. Especially mine.
After about 7 hours down the highway, my mind was finally right, we are coming to a dead stop. Relief and anger. I can stop being paranoid. By the way, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean a 5 hour traffic jam isn’t about to happen.
Anyway, we are only stopped dead for about 10 minutes. Then we start the 2 mph creep. That lasts for about 2 miles. The tail gunner (Grammy), thinks she sees a merger ahead that might be causing the problem. She was right, sort of.
There was a merge going on but that was not causing the problem. This was:
A single solitary cone was sitting about 1 foot inside the white line on the side of the road. It was not blocking traffic, it was not causing anyone to go around it, it was just sitting there, doing what cones do. Which is to say, nothing.
Although, it was doing something, it was causing a lot of mouth-breathers to slow to a stop and stare at it. A phenomenon that will go unanswered till that great and terrible day.
It was also causing us to lose valuable time in the rush to get home.
A cone without it’s flagman, a traffic gnome without it’s fairy godmother, a ship without it’s captain, … dare I go on.
It reminded me of a scene from the movie Patton, where Patton’s armored column gets stuck on a bridge in Italy because a local can’t get his mules to move off the road. In the meantime two German fighter planes are strafing the armored column and men are dying. Patton rushes to the front of the column where the mules are, almost has an aneurysm when he finds out what’s going on, draws his pearl handled pistols and blows the brains out of the two mules. Problem solved.
I mean we weren’t being shot at by Germans or anything, but we were making good time and all of a sudden we weren’t. And if it’s one thing dudes hate, it’s not making good time when driving a long way. I’m not sure you can quantify the pressure of getting home even ten minutes faster than you thought. Somehow it makes the whole 15 hour trip seem not as bad.
Don’t even try to do the math, you might tear the space time continuum.
All I’m saying is, good thing for the cone my pearl handled pistols were packed in my golf bag.