Observations on the drive home

My 45 minute commute just got a bit easier today and I must say that makes me happy. Even though the law has been on the books for a few months now and I knew it was coming, I could not help but smile as I passed the signs that now read 70 mph as the rural interstate speed limit. Considering that 40 of the 50 miles I travel to work every day is on rural interstate, this is a beautiful thing.

Yes, I know, an additional 5 mph on the speed limit won’t mean very much per trip. I calculate it at about 2-3 minutes less if I were to increase my speed 5 mph. Given that I was already traveling around 78 mph in a 65 zone, I don’t really see me increasing my speed that much, if any. Still, it is nice to know that I can go about 80 now without much fear of getting a ticket. A friend in the KVE division tells me that most coppers won’t look at a motorist twice for going 10mph and many not until 15 mph. Too much paperwork and too little time.

So why am I in such a hurry? Where do I have to be that requires me to speed at such a rate? Not always anywhere in particular, but the less time I spend in the car and out doing other things is all the better for my sanity. Not that I don’t enjoy the time in the car, I most definitely do. If it were not for time in the car, I would not hear about wonderful, new artists such as Mocean Worker and hear the great news coverage on NPR in general. Even with all the radio shows, I still manage to take a look around on occasion and notice the wonderful, and not so wonderful sights.

Today the sky was especially wonderful to behold. For too long we’ve been in drought conditions, with nary a cloud to be found. What a spectacular surprise I beheld as I wove through car after car; a tapestry of white on blue. For weeks now I have felt the sky to be a washed-out remnant of its former majestic, blue self. The white, puffy clouds just made that azure sky all the more wonderful.

But all was not well in the world. I am a firm believer that sometimes progress requires a bit of pain, but some hurts a bit too much to bear. A particular stretch of the highway, about 8 miles of it, is in need of much care and attention. The ride is rougher than a trip on a local roller coaster. Thankfully, about 6 weeks ago, crews began the process of restoring this portion of highway. The hard part is what I did not expect them to be doing… namely, bull dozing the majority of the greenery in the median.

I have always enjoyed the trip through this section of highway as both sides of the road are framed with large trees which hide the rest of the world, making the interstate feel more of an enclosed and scenic drive and less of a commute. I will admit that it was probably overgrown, but that only added to the enjoyment of watching nature retake what was once its domain. To watch vehicles pumping out CO2 while destroying the very plants that can remove that gas from the atmosphere is disheartening.

Yes, I know, I am the guy putting 100 miles on his vehicle every day, all in order to take a better job in a neighboring city. The same guy who is lamenting the additional CO2 and the fewer trees. At least I purchased a used, fuel efficient vehicle in which to make this daily trek, and sidelined my gas-guzzling pickup to the back driveway of my house. I am not totally ignorant of my own hypocrisies.