Random Thoughts Along The Road

Loneliest roadEvery ten years or so – usually after we’ve bought a new car – we embark on a road trip. This year’s route: across U.S. 50 and then south to Utah’s Monument Valley, and back west via Arizona and central California.

● The most important aspect of a road trip is a full tank of gas. The second most important aspect of a road trip is a back seat full of snacks.

● Not to be disrespectful, but is every overpass and interchange in America now named for some poor schmo who died in the line of duty?

● Do road workers have any sense of shame that they block off miles and miles of lanes on a two-lane road, and then stand around conferring over one little patch of asphalt?

● As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become far less interested in being the fastest driver on the road. I also can’t sit for as long as I used to (can’t do double features anymore for the same reason).

● Who would have thought we’d have dinner at a restaurant named Sassafras in Carson City, Nevada, that was so good, we delayed our departure to have lunch there too?

● Favorite highway sign: “Please report any noxious odors in this area.”

● Whoever designated U.S. 50 across the Great Basin of Nevada “the loneliest highway in America” was not prone to hyperbole. No billboards, no Stuckey’s, not even shoulders to pull over on, just scrub brush, straightaways, and an occasional climb over a small summit. I kept thinking of the Twilight Zone episode where the astronauts think they’ve crash landed on an asteroid but eventually find out they’re somewhere east of Reno.

● Whoever had the idea to put CD players in cars has my undying gratitude.

● Favorite example of local Nevada humor: “You know you live in Ely if, after you’ve watched a movie, you call the video store, find out who’s reserved it next, and drop it off at their house.”

● Why is the graphic designating an airport on highway signs a jet, no matter how small the landing strip?

● If they’re not going to standardize the remote controls in motel rooms, can they at least make the buttons bigger?

● I also hate “do not disturb” signs that fall off the handle when you open the door.

● We must lead charmed lives. Southern Utah and northern Arizona are known for amazing national parks. We might have been out of luck, except we made reservations months ago at a hotel on a Navajo Indian reservation, and so not subject to the shutdown. The highways have been pretty lonely.

● I think this will be our last long road trip for a while. This is not my decision alone. My butt also got a vote.


About middleagecranky

The Middle-Age Cranky blog is written by baby boomer Howard Baldwin, who finds the world, while occasionally wondrous, increasingly aggravating.
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6 Responses to Random Thoughts Along The Road

  1. Amy says:

    Wonderful! Particularly love the last line. And as usual i can relate, especially as we set out today to take sammy the schnauzer on his first road trip, in the newly leased toyota (my 10 year old nissan was no longer trustworthy) to see friends and check out the dog parks on the cape. Love to Monica and all the kitties

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. So, did you get a new car? Do tell!

  3. Dave Flack says:

    I’ve driven US 50 a dozen times, usually passing through Ely which bills itself as the Loneliest Town in America. Believe it or not there is one of the last Maytag appliance stores on Main St. So naturally I had to go in and ask the guy behind the counter if he was the loneliest repairman, in the loneliest town on the loneliest high…, by then his eyes are rolling around in his head like bingo balls.

  4. Collin says:

    My wife and I drove US 50 (in 1988 if memory serves); that was more than enough for us. Definitely had the same feelings about hyperbole and road workers. We pulled into some small town (too small to have a video store I think) and the toilet tank had a leak.

    At some point, one of us had to use the nonexistent restroom. Since we figured we could see someone coming like 10 minutes before they arrived, we just polluted the desert (I think the statute of limitations has run out on that particular offense) right there.

    Thanks for rekindling that memory for me. It’s a trip I’ll not forget. Hopefully the return trip was better for you; it certainly was for us.

    • I assure you, US 50 hasn’t changed a bit.

      But I’m wondering if “pit stops” like yours might be the reason for the sign reading “Please report all noxious odors in this area”?

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