I-95: The Wal-Mart Interstate

As someone who has driven around million miles in my life, I can say I have been on a few interstates in my time. It’s funny, they all seem to have their own personalities. Take I-20, for example, through South Carolina. Despite some heavy traffic at times, all in all it is a pretty sedate interstate. It lounges across the state like a hung over frat guy. It doesn’t really care much about what’s going on or that fact that some people might be in a hurry. All in all a pretty easy crowd. It also has one set of rest areas along its 130 miles, so I hope you don’t have to pee.

In stark contrast to it, take 285 around Atlanta. A frenzied, chaotic highway, 285 is Like Lindsey Lohan on meth. A ride on it is a terrifying, fatalistic journey into the depths of madness. You drive 85 in the 55 mile zone just to keep from being run over. Everyone is bumper to bumper at speeds such that if someone eats it, everyone around him will be taken out, and likely they will have to identify some people by their DNA.

Which is why I hate I-95. It’s a nasty interstate, connecting two places I really don’t want to go – South Florida and New England. It’s full of all the attitudes of both places. It’s grumpy old men meets the Sopranos, with some good old “don’t mess with me” hot tempered Latino attitude. The only problem is, there’s little choice in taking it when you have to. It’s like Wal-Mart, it sucks, but you have to go there. Where else are you going to go? Down Highway 1 or US 17? Please… and stop at every whistle-stop shit town in the process? I don’t think so.

Even worse, the problem with I-95 this time of year is all the snowbirds returning north now that the place they chose to live is actually finally habitable for most normal folk. It’s like Wal-Mart after lunch at the First of the Month… wall to wall people. So here I am, taking my spring break trip to Disney World, and I have to go bumper to bumper with everyone from New York, Quebec, Ontario, and New Jersey at 45 miles per hour for 300 miles. Thanks…

And what is with the phantom stops? You know what I’m talking about. You come to a complete stop on the interstate, wait for a minute for the cops or something to go by, when suddenly everyone starts moving again, like there is an invisible red light that everyone else saw but you. You look around, hoping to see mangled metal or a smoking husk of a car, or even a smear of something greasy on the road, but there’s nothing for your troubles. It boggles the mind.

Not only that, but there are the people that think you are there just to hinder their movement and that miraculously if you get over, the sea of cars will part and they will be able to see their destination. There’s five hundred thousand of us driving along ten feet apart, and the jerk drives up behind you in the left lane, gets right on your bumper and flashes his lights. Seriously? I move over, the guy goes five feet further up, and then the right lane speeds up and he wants back over. Sorry dude, you’re riding next to that truck for the next ten miles. I don’t care if I am riding 45 miles per hour. It’s a lot more sane if everyone else is riding 45 miles per hour and picks a lane to stay in. No sudden braking and shifting fools.

But, we made it home again. Another spring break trip is done. Hopefully my photos will finish processing from RAW files to jogs so the rest of you can see them. Even if all you want to see is the freaky “People of Disney World”. Yes, I took plenty of those again.

But, seeing as how it is spring, It’s about time to start discussing some backpacking stuff again. I’ll have to get back on track…


Author: theosus1

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