Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Crossing Kansas

Okey, dokey, on to another “new” adventure. However, this is not an untried trip like I often take, to unknown and never visited places in the American West, but an old “familiar,” where I spent the summers of my childhood in Northeast New Mexico. My grandma had a lil’ ole’ cabin in a tiny community called Idlewild near Eagle Nest, New Mexico. There, my cousins, siblings, and I had the run of the mountains, exploring, climbing, hiking, and generally creating mischief and mahem, every summer. Ranging from ages 4-8, she’d let us loose every morning, to wander at will, sometimes with a packed lunch, we might be gone all day. One can only imagine letting as many as ten children run wild for hours in today’s world, but back in the good ole’ days, she didn’t need to worry. These many childish adventures, no doubt, led to my adventurous spirit today.

So, I’m off to Emporia to pick up my cousin Reletta, who was also one of those very same rambunctious children crawling about the mountains, and begin a trek across Kansas, stopping at every sunflower field and wind farm, as well as a few small towns for photo opportunities. Our final destination of the day is Ulysses, Kansas, about 400 miles from Kansas City, and located in the severe southwest portion of the state. Both my cousin and I grew up there and my Dad and Reletta’s brother still live there. So, we have a little family visit before we're off again.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Going Slow in the Passing Lane

Now, I know I'm not the only person this drives crazy, cuz I've ridden with too many people that go more nuts than I do while riding behind someone in the passing lane that's doing a leisurely 55 miles/hour on the interstate. I've already posted this to my forum, but suprisingly, there was no response. So, I'm going to re-post it here, plus add a few additional comments, that will, no doubt, get me blasted.

Forum Posting:

This is my very biggest pet peave while driving. Are these people ignorant or just trying to create road rage? I don't care if they're going the speed limit or not. When drivers just coast along in the passing lane like they're on a Sunday drive, while others are forced to pass them in the right lane, it creates not only the potential for road rage, but also for accidents.

I usually give these people a look as I pass on their right, and I swear, I think half of them do it to "intentially" to piss people off, as they stare back at you with a smug look on their face. In some states, they will actually ticket you for lollygagging around in the "go lane" and I notice that I don't see people from those states doing it nearly so often. "Slower Traffic Keep Right" means exactly that. If people are passing you on the right, then you need to pull out of the passing lane.

The left lane was not made because you got a little bored and needed a diversion, it's for "PASSING." Or, if you think you're being a "do-gooder' and slowing down the traffic, because you're going fast enough, well think again. In some areas of this fine nation, being a "Left Lane Vigilante" can get you run of the road or shot dead by some Road Rage Mental Case. The worst part is, it's not just you and the speed junkie trying to pass you that you're are endangering, but also anyone else that's on the road.

So, what's prompted me to write again is a terrible experience over the Labor Day weekend. I've thought for some time, after traveling all over the American West, that Oklahoma drivers are the very worst offenders of this practice of "cruisng in the go lane." This last trip only reiterated that concept, though Missouri drivers are bad about it too. Obviously, they don't teach the purpose of the "go lane" in driver's education classes in those states. Anyway, this one Oklahoma driver was one of those smug SOB's that I spoke of before.

It's like some kind of game. Get in the go-line and ride at the same pace as the person in the right lane. When people tried to get around, and a few did, he would then pass them again and repeat the whole process. Now, up until a couple of months ago, this was fair game in Oklahoma, but the state just passed a law against "going slow" in the passing lane, but evidently, the law hasn't given enough citations, as the practice continues. The fact that they passed a new law tells me that I'm not alone in thinking this is a problem with Oklahoma drivers. (Sorry, to those Oklahomans that are not guilty.)

In any event, Mr. Game Player continued his "entertainment venue" darn near all the way to Dallas, weaving in and out, slowing down some 20 cars behind him on a busy interstate on a holiday weekend. That was until Mr. Texas (I've not seen this go-lane problem in the Lone Star State) just about mowed over his little car with his big 'ole Ford 350. Thought I was going to see "road rage" at it's best there for a moment, or worse, a crumpled little silver car. In any event, little Mr. Silver Car got humbled and stopped entertaining himself and we made it to Dallas, stressed but safe.

Come on folks, if you're bored on the road, play a verbal word game, sing a song, dream about your future, but get OUT OF THE GO LANE!

Why is it that the screaming "do-gooders" with their many protest signs, lots of time, and lots of speeches, seem to never hit those things that drive the rest of us crazy. Shoot, I just might just have to start writing letters to the powers that be or start some darn campaign. Gawd forbid!