Thursday, November 11, 2010

 

ROAD STORIES...

There was a time when I'd have posted a number with (and to) these "road stories". frankly I've lost track from having commuted between Ottawa and the "Sunshine State" dozens of times since my first road trip in 1987 in my brand new Buick "Sommerset".

GONE: AMERICAN MODEL OF EFFICIENCY - It's obviously a generational thing. In the aftermath of World War II, the "international" border area where I was born and raised was home to Loring Air Force Base: At the time America's largest "Strategic Air Command Operation" - Read: Atomic Bomb carrying aeroplanes - It was the height of the Cold War and American know-how and efficiency in keeping the "bad guys" at bay were held-up as a model to the world. On Wednesday, at the Thousand Islands International border crossing, I was the one to point-out to U.S. border officials that they'd forgotten to open their "trusted traveller" (Nexus lane). Down the road a few hundred miles in Pennsylvania, road "under construction" warnings ended just about a mile before the "actual" construction site started. Speaking of the "Cold War" - If travels take you on Interstate highways; you may have wondered about the frequent "Eisenhower Interstate Highway System" signs: They occur wherever a highway is "one mile" straight. A design, to this day financed by the U.S. Federal Government, meant to allow World War II era aeroplanes to land in the event of war.

IMPACT OF THE ECONOMIC TIMES - Times are tough, states and counties are struggling with massive deficits which are the result of historic unemployment rates and the collapse of the U.S. housing market. It's hard to believe that desperately raising cash is not a key motivator in the unusual number of police "speed traps" along the nation's highways. Something I've never seen before: It's not just the State Troopers out in force, but local Sheriff's Officers along whichever stretch of an interstate highway cuts through their county.

YES!...BUT EXCEPT NORTH CAROLINA - There is a sense of economic gloom through most eastern seaboard states: Not North Carolina which exudes prosperity and optimism. This state is open for business, and it shows. Near Fayetteville they've even built a highway interchange leading to a "future" Highway #295. It seems America's "war on terror" has been very, very good to the NC people. The fore mentioned Fayetteville area is home to Fort Bragg, the Marine training facility; and to Pope Air Force Base, one of the largest in the U.S.

CONCLUSION: WHERE ARE THE QUEBECOIS RV'S - I've whined for years about the convoys of Quebec Recreational Vehicles and Mobile Homes towing every manner of worldly possessions clogging the Interstates and heading south towards Florida at this time each November. This year; they are nowhere to be seen. My conclusion is that this fall's parity of the Canadian dollar with the U.S. Greenback got my fellow (french-speaking) Canadians unto the highways earlier than their usual mid-November. Amen!

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