Sunday, July 24, 2005

Road Thoughts...

Yesterday, I was driving to the local mega home-improvement store when I counted a total of 3 red-light runners. You know, you see the light change yellow, you slow down to stop, and the car/truck/vehicle in the lane next to you (or even worse-behind you) hits the gas and guns through the intersection after the light has turned red. As I have gotten older (and my insurance company happier) I have become more aware of these things. Yes, the responsibility of car payments and Lavie and Al have helped that. I've been on the recieving end of a few fender-benders.

Other rants--people who merge onto freeways using on-ramps at high rates of speed and then feel they have to merge in front of you, rather than ease off the gas and slip in peacefully behind. I try hard to watch for these. It seems that if you are in the freeway and slow down to let these drivers have their way, the vehicles behind you may not adjust (got rear-ended this way). I accept that drivers will speed. Fast. In any weather condition. I can deal with that. It's the blatant red-light running, refusing to yield right of way, using the median turning lane as a merge with traffic lane. Those little bits of road-courtesy that we are loosing more and more that concerns me. We should be following traffic laws to be safe and kind to each other, not to avoid traffic enforcement officers the the hassle of tickets. Maybe we don't respect each other any more--insulated in our cars. Maybe we just don't care.

Sometimes I wish I had the money to buy a full size hummer-not an H2 but a real-Marine Corp hardend one, but the fuel would be a lot as well as the enviromental cost. (This one is cool and enviromentally friendly.) But then while a large, hardened vehicle might protect us, it could be too dangerous for the occupants of the other vehicle involved in a hypothetical collision. Oh well. I guess being a defensive driver is the safest bet--and praying a lot--and maintaining my patience and goodwill to man....

Anyway, I didn't mean to rant. The Texas Highwayman has a link to some good Texas Road-Rules. Don't forget the Texas Department of Public Safety as well. When I used to travel the summers with my grandparents in their big red Lincoln, pulling their AirstreamJunior Brown song springs to mind.

I mentioned in my previous post. I really like the old road-maps he has collected and posted. It is very strange to see most of the major interstate roadways we depend on missing. The clip above is taken from this 1952 Humble Oil map (warning, big file!). There are also tons of historic photos of the Houston area roadways, such as this traffic tower
trailer across the country, Grandpa would alway be working the CB radio checking out where the "smokies" were with the other CB'ers. He was a retired federal special-agent in law-enforcement so I always thought that was funny--I wish I could remember what his "handle" was. Every-time I see a black and white state trooper, a certain (we run over those rubber tubes stretched across the roadways now), Houston's Sea-Arama, an historical article explaining why civil engineers created that railroad span above I-10 west just before the 610 Loop that looks 5-times bigger and wider than it really needs to be that I always wondered about driving under, and stuff on the 610 ship-channel bridge construction. Wow.

Finally, there is the quintessential document of the glories and granduer of all that we know and love about Texas--Texas Highways magazine.

See you in the skies.

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