|View from inside the Prius, rolling north to Connecticut.|
Driving’s still on my mind, weeks after Lyn and I drove to Georgia and back home to Connecticut, more than 2,000 miles. Amazing, most of that drive including New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia and Tennessee uses just three Interstate Highways: 84, 81 and 75. We call it the Western Route, avoiding the I-95 Coastal Parking Lot.
You see a lot of driver types when you spend days peering down long roads. Intrigued by the variety of personalities behind the wheels, I began calling out keywords to Lyn, who jotted them down as I danced with the 18-wheelers and other road warriors, all of us hurtling through fog, rain, snow, sun and darkness.
Come ride with me, and let me introduce to you:
– The Zoomer. Often drives a “tuner,” a small bright-colored car with huge exhaust pipe(s) emitting thunder as young male driver pushes his little machine to dangerously high speeds. Sometimes found parked on shoulder in the company of highway police to the delight of other drivers.
– Weaver. Similar to Zoomer, but spends more time darting in and out of traffic, forcing surprised motorists to slam on brakes to avoid rear-end collisions.
– Racer. At times plays “tag” with kindred drivers. One catches up to another and tags him, then takes off like a bat out of hell, trying to avoid getting tagged – or causing a crash.
– Pack Rat. Usually drives a Bigmobile with roof rack carrying aerodynamic containers resembling kayaks. May be pulling small trailer loaded with bags and boxes. Inside of vehicle also filled to capacity.
– The Invincible. This one never meets a sharp curve or weather condition worthy of respect. Neither fog nor ice, nor rain nor dark of night is cause for reducing speed. Sometimes discovered in one-car smash-up.
– Hugger Trucker, also known as The Pusher Man. Big-rig driver who may be texting or talking while driving. Or just bored. This type roars along just a few feet behind a car, chasing the four-wheeler like a hound after a rabbit.
– Hugger Trucker Wannabe. Little man driving pickup on steroids.
– Close Follower. Apparently loves the company of others. Usually found poking along in little nondescript car, refusing to pass even the slowest vehicle, including tractor-trailers going uphill in low gears.
– The Throwback. His seat back approaches horizontal, recalling men of the 1960s with gangster leans. Like them, he eases along in Detroit's finest heavy metal. Never exceeds speed limit.
In this country of nomads, there’s no doubt that we who love the open road see more of America than travelers choosing other ways of getting from here to there. (Driving's price is right too.) Now that I’ve psychologically returned to home mode, I look forward to again cranking up the car and Willie Nelson’s anthem, On the Road Again.