The Long Ride Home…

Driving along Highway 5 in California (especially between Southern and Northern California) can be a pain in the “you know where” (due to the long hours of sitting in traffic). Given the two-lane roads in both directions, this has contributed to the traditional “are we there yet?” type of car ride. It’s better in the summer time too (sarcasm).

My drive home from SoCal was no different this year except that delays can reach one-and-a-half hours as trucks had to rev up their engines to advance into the one-lane road to freedom. So what did I learn from this trip?

Well, first of all, pack plenty of water and snacks but pace yourself with the fluids as getting off to find a bathroom is impossible at best. If that nasty car won’t let you into their lane as you prepare for the two-lane merge into one, how do you expect to get off the freeway in the first place?

Then there’s the issue that the merged lanes are usually in the middle of …

NOWHERE!!!

You can not even hide behind a tree. Yes, planning is very critical when dealing with such a traffic mess in central California off “the 5” (as the SoCal folks would say).

Once you achieved the funnel to freedom, there is the urge to want to drive FAST to make up for lost time. Who are you kidding? At the speed of 80 mph, you will inevitably encounter (wait for it)…

ANOTHER orange triangular sign that tells you to merge yet again!!!

But wait! There’s that same car who sped off only a half hour ago to “make up for lost time” and yes, those trucks are back for more fun (it is like squeezing five pigs into a two-pig gate). So once again, I am forced to sit patiently and drive on first-gear for the next half hour, inching my way to freedom once again.

Finally, my turn to take the lead through the funnel and make up for lost time again (uh, I mean.. just keeping up with the traffic on lane #1).

As fate would have it, another hour passes and yes, once again…

Another darn orange triangular sign instructing us all to merge left (or right). What should have taken us less than seven hours to drive home ended up being nearly ten+ hours (not counting the pit stops to stretch our legs and eat some excellent fried chicken for dinner).

The one thing that kept our sanity was something I have never done before –

Books on CD!!

Oh well, I hope next month’s travel will be better….

 

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