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Friday, August 5, 2011

On the Road to Muncie - Part I

Before I begin today's blog, I want to say hi to my new Followers.  Welcome to the vagaries of my mind, and I hope you get a smile out of what you read. 

On Tuesday, we headed out to visit the Perfect Grandchildren. As we approached Cumberland, MD, there were signs warning that the right lane would merge ahead. I have this romantic idea of Cumberland in my head. Maybe it comes from a song where I think Cumberland Gap is mentioned although neither my husband nor I can think of the song. In my mind, it evokes images of mountains rising from beautiful meadows with the gap slicing between. It evokes pioneers and nights with the Milky Way spilling down the sky. It evokes simpler – albeit I doubt pioneer days were happier – times. I have always loved our drive through Cumberland because of that slicing gorge (if you go one way) or the beautiful drive (if you go through the town.)  
Now, though, I’ve experienced “Right Lane merges, and I am SO over it.

"Right lane merges in 1500 feet."  Everyone slows down and, politely, I must say, gets in line. Sure, a few people zip as far as they can in the right lane and then force their way in, but an astonishing majority wait patiently. Access to only one lane slows the drive through Cumberland considerably.

On the far side of Cumberland, a third lane appears on the right. Both the right lanes are blocked by red cones. We’re still driving. Slowly. Five slow miles further, we drive by a state trooper who is sitting in his squad car in the rightmost lane – bored out of him mind, I imagine – to ensure that no one dodges the cones and tries to speed ahead. You could, though. It would be perfectly safe. Nothing is going on there.
Steve asks, “Where are the workers? Why are the lanes closed off?”
I respond, “This project is shovel-ready.” We both bust a gut laughing. Then I realize, “You know, they didn’t say they were working on the highway. They just said the lanes were closed. And they are.”

A couple of  miles later, we do see a couple of guys talking, one sitting on some machine. Another mile and we see a man driving a machine with a wide brush roller in front cleaning the road’s shoulder. Another mile and a street cleaning machine is dumping a load of dirt into a truck. (I know, I know, I’ve never seen those street-cleaners do that either, but that’s what it was doing.)
It added 30 minutes to an 11-hour drive to our PERFECT GRANDCHILDREN, but I can attest that Rt. 68 through Cumberland is clean.

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