Saturday, March 19, 2016

Recap of a Traffic Snarl

This is another retro post from our 2006 travel year.

We awoke on Saturday morning in Salvisa, Kentucky. It was May 13, 2006 an we were still exhausted from our drive the day before. Being stalled in traffic on I-75 for over four hours, then having to drive in unknown territory in the dark wore us out and we still had not recovered. I am not sure why being stuck in traffic was so exhausting, but it was.

When we first encountered the traffic jam, Kathi and I were fresh and alert, thinking things would get moving soon. We were in the left hand lane and we noticed a little movement in the right hand lane, so we knew there was an exit nearby the locals were using. We were hesitant to take an exit, because we had been down many detours before and usually with a bad outcome. We often ended up on country roads that went on for long periods of time with nowhere to turn around. Many times we had to unhook our tow vehicle and turn our motorhome around 180 degrees on two-lane dirt roads. It was never fun and sometimes scary with narrow roads and deep ditches. So this day we sat.

One benefit of traveling in our motorhome, in addition to having our bathroom and bedroom, was that we had our own kitchen. Since we were not moving anyway, Kathi decided we would have lunch. She usually prepares meals ahead of time when we travel, so she can warm our meals in the microwave or on the stovetop when we arrive at our destination after a long day. Since we were still hoping for a break in the traffic, Kathi served tuna fish sandwiches and chips for this meal. We ate and put everything away and still waited for a chance to move along.

After about three hours we decided to change to the right hand lane, just because it was inching forward a little. None of the cars would let us move, but an 18-wheeler finally got positioned behind us and let us move over. Our experience has been that drivers of big rigs are the friendliest people on the highways.

We inched forward as more people got tired of waiting and soon there was a steady stream of cars passing us on the right shoulder. It was getting late, so we decided to join them and take our chances. We got on the shoulder and decided to follow the car in front of us, thinking he had to know more about the area than we did. It was about two miles ahead before we got to an exit, so we followed. There was a small community and I suspect they got more traffic through town than they had in all their history. We started moving at the speed of red lights changing. This was better, but the unknown was still nerve-wracking. Within half an hour of getting off I-75, we were through town and back on I-75 past the accident. Now it was getting dark.

We had our headlights checked every year for state inspection in Texas, but that was the only time they were ever turned on. Driving in the dark in our motorhome was new, but the lights worked. The only bad part was they were not high enough to read the street name signs. We had a map on our computer, but had to stop several times and get out to read a street name. We were thrilled and relieved when we pulled into the Cummins Ferry RV Park.

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