“It was an Elan. A delightful little thing famously made of Kleenex and unicorn farts.” ~ Sam Smith
DAY FIVE – There are three careers I can think of where you can be wrong more often than right and still keep your job. In fact, you may even advance despite poor performance. These jobs are; Politician, Traffic Engineer and Weatherman. I was under the influence of all three today.
The forecast for heavy rain was wrong for the second day thankfully. It did rain lightly and the sky was mighty dark to the west, but I was on the very leading edge and soon outran the weather. It just kept getting brighter as I headed southeast. It was really pleasant driving through the forested panhandle with a smooth road running through dense stands of Southern Yellow Pine on both sides of a mostly empty highway. There are actual hills and curves in this part of Florida. Granted the hills are gentle grade changes much as one would reach on a highway overpass but more stretched out, and the curves have about a 4,000 foot radius and only bend about 10 degrees but that is far better than Mississippi or what would come later.
After I reached Chieftain, FL I started taking county roads and zigzagged my way through small towns and alongside big ranches with both horses and cattle. There was a very upscale equestrian center and riding facility with miles of split rail fencing and a very upscale appearance right in the middle of nowhere. It must be a destination for those horsey types who are in the know because it surely looked successful.
My constant companions until late in the day were the logging transport trucks. Both empty with bare stakes showing and full with forty foot long logs piled high, they were everywhere. Going both ways and loaded or not both ways they were everywhere. Every time I would pass one there was another in a few miles. This part of Florida has more timber activity than anyplace I’ve seen other than the Pacific Northwest.
The Traffic Engineer
Every small town had stop lights every block and each turned red for the main highway as the stream of traffic which had just accelerated from the last red light approached. My eternal questions are these: 1. Doesn’t a US highway or a state highway have precedence over a shopping mall entrance or a neighborhood street? Should it? I think so and yet that is clearly not the case, and 2. If the lights can be timed to turn red every time, exactly when the traffic approaches, wouldn’t it be just as easy to make them green using the same computer? If it sounds as if this has become a pet peeve it is because I am in a small, hot car with a tall first gear, behind a logging truck which takes a mile or more to reach cruise speed. Over and over and over. Along with this rant.
As I mentioned above the two lane roads in Florida are very smooth, gently curving both horizontally and vertically, yet the speed limit is 50 or 55 much of the time, sometimes even 45. In Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Alabama the speed limit on the two lane roads is typically 65. Now perhaps Florida drivers are not as capable as those in other states even though the job is much less demanding here, or perhaps there is a real revenue stream by having artificially low limits. I don’t know the answer, I’m just the observer.
Impressions from the fifth day:
• I left the top up again and when there is not a lot of variety of scenery as it was today, that is a more pleasant, though warmer, way to roll. That’s why I didn’t take any photos. Sorry.
• We seem to have a visual image of Florida with either sandy beaches or Disney and while both are present there is a lot of green farmland and pine forest to offset that image.
• I must be just ahead of whatever weather front is forecast each day because it has been very windy for three out of the five days I have been on the road. The good news is that I have avoided any real rain. Yea!!
• I am psyched to reach my first leg goal tomorrow and then to stay with my sister and her husband for some real companionship tomorrow night. Then I meet with my other sister and her husband Saturday on my way northbound, so I’ll have a staggered family reunion which may be just as cool.
Hi, I’m Ross and I’m a tripoholic. I love driving especially in my old cars and then writing about the adventure that always follows. I’m old enough to know better but that doesn’t stop me. If you like stories of the road, every word true no matter how far fetched it may seem, then grab a beer or a cup of coffee and join me!
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