Tuesday, December 28, 2010

On The Road: Miami -> Atlanta

From Miami we are headed to Atlanta via three Interstate highways: We’ll take I-95 to Jacksonville, and from there we’ll pick up I-10, which we’ll take to I-75. This will take us into Atlanta. See if you can figure out what directions we are traveling based on the Interstate numbers we are traversing. It won’t be as scenic a ride on the Interstates as it would be if we traveled along the old US highway system, but it will be quicker. It’s a long slog from Miami to Atlanta, so we planned to take the quickest route.

As we motored along, I had to chuckle at the many billboards we passed, each one extolling virtues of the place being advertised. “Paper shell pecans. $1 a bag!” Translation: We will sell you a tiny bag of pecans with the shells on. To eat or use the nuts in cooking, you will have to take the shells off yourself, a time-consuming task at best.” Another billboard stated, “A 3-pound bag of pecans for $1.25.” Think about this for a minute. It doesn’t take many pecans in the shell to equal three pounds. Other signs screamed out “Free juice” … that probably means you will get a thimble sized paper cup of juice for free. This reminds me of a particular grove stand from when I was a little girl. A grove stand is a small temporary shelter by the side of the road next to an orange grove. The signs leading up to this stand said, “All the orange juice you can drink for 10 cents!” The funny thing was that when you would stop to get all the juice you could drink for 10 cents, a smiling lady would hand you a tiny cup of orange juice and then would say, “That’s all the juice you can drink for 10 cents.” All in all, you get what you pay for in life, at least most of the time. Below are a couple of signs I took while we were stopped on I-95 because of a traffic accident.

Since people have been coming to Florida, roadside attractions have advertised alligators. What this sign does not tell you is whether or not the gator is alive or stuffed or even real. It could be, after all, the world's largest stuffed animal. :-)

I’m always surprised by how fast people drive. It seems that very few people follow posted speed limits. Yet, I have not seen anyone get a speeding ticket. In a time when we are running out of fossil fuels, it makes sense not to speed because it requires more gasoline. As I watched car after car zoom by, I recalled the speed traps from my childhood. It was not uncommon for Southern towns to have them as a way to bring in revenue. So, what is a speed trap? It is a way to get unsuspecting tourists to pay fines, but most of the time they do not deserve them! As an example, my father told me that one town in Northern Florida gave so many fake speeding tickets that the state, for a time, revoked its charter. Another way to take advantage of motorists is to put them in a situation where they can’t win. A town in Georgia was well known for its traffic light that would turn red as soon as you began to cross under it. There was no way to beat this because the light instantly turned red right after turning green. Many a driver got a ticket, and no amount of protesting changed that. These practices may be a thing of the past, but a few years ago one Southern state got caught giving out tickets to drivers who had done nothing wrong by charging them with “improper lane changing” as they traveled along I-10. Update: A few minutes after I wrote this, I saw three drivers getting speeding tickets within a short distance. I’m not saying the drivers didn’t deserve them, but it was right along the part of Florida that used to have well known speed traps.

Tomorrow, I'll begin seeing the sights in Atlanta. Tyler has made some excellent suggestions. Stay tuned.

1 comment:

Mellie said...

Hello Dr. M...I was searching for a piece of vintage comedy by a gentleman about US Highway Number One...in he told the joke about All the orange juice you can drink for 10 cents...you retell the joke here, can you tell me who he was? Thank you!