Helpful (?) highway hints

Last weekend I had the occasion to toss myself violently into Edna, my van, and hit the open road on a wild voyage into the unknown territories of these fine United States.

Now, did that seize your attention or not? I'm trying my best here. Normally such an opening sentence would be followed by a confession that I only trekked to a nearby campground or some such. This is not the case as I really did actually ramble a few hundred miles.

Anyhow, in addition to discovering that Edna indeed has cruise control, which actually works, I also made some thought provoking observations along the way.

The first is that Ohio drivers are hideous but their roads are superb compared to ones located in this fine Commonwealth.

I'm sure that comes as no surprise to anyone who/whom has crossed the causeway. The second the state line is reached, the skies suddenly turn blue, roads are silky and bluebirds must be swept from shoulders of various vehicle operators.

OK, was that a long enough intro? I have to back up again and say that I've always wanted to say, “I had the occasion to...” and now, that life long dream has been realized. I'm nothing if not an easily entertained, low-maintenance broad. Plus, I digressed, which just made my week.

The main thrust of this piece, (yes, there is one), is the fact that some *signage, (I just laughed whilst typing that insane word), is totally dumb.

For example, didn't we learn in high school that one should move over to the left lane if there are flashing lights ahead on the right shoulder? Well, evidently this information needs to be imparted, via permanent banners, every 15 miles, give or take.

Also, the scientific fact that bridges will freeze before the surrounding roads is fairly well-known, or so I thought. A reminder accompanies every single solitary bridge, don't cha know.

The most bizarre “literature” I took in was located in the back of a school bus window. For the life of me, I cannot recall the exact verbiage used but, it was something like this: “No longer passengers on board.”

Wow! How exciting. Does the above-mentioned mean that I now have permission to get as close to said bus as humanly possible, blow my horn like a banshee, illustrate obscene Italian hand gestures and, in general, wreak havoc whilst maneuvering through traffic? Oh boy. That sounds like an excellent time. Extract the dynamite and get prepped for some real action. I'm sure.

What on earth is that particular notification all about? Is it a warning to would-be kidnappers of children that they best try their luck elsewhere? Does it mean that we can carry on like a band of traveling gypsies since the delicate youngsters have been removed from the mode of transport?

Moving along, I simply adore those huge map-like signs found on interstate roadways across the land. The ones of which I speak are those on which various exits, entrances and the like are drawn out. They resemble a vein and artery map of the human body with a bunch of loops, swirls, arrows, merges, etc., thrown in as an extra suicide inducing measure.

Plus, they are always located in some super heavily traveled area near tunnels, mountains, low flying aircraft and other jazz. It's all a touch dangerous if you ask me, and you didn't but, what's new with that? By the time one calls in a team of experts to decipher the data directly above, it's far too late to cross those five lanes in order to hit Such and Such in the northbound lane. Not to mention but, I'm all about mentioning to the max, a chiropractor must be seen directly after gazing upon said sign due to the neck craning factor.

Whew, I'm in the aerobic state from bloviating about those horrid large helpful aids overhead.

Traveling back in time for this next part: I have taken note of the following whilst whizzing through West Virginia in years gone by.

As I was hugging curves and exceeding the limits of speed, through the London fog, (not of the raincoat variety, mind you), I caught a glimpse of a warning sign ahead. I removed a machete from the passenger side seat in order to cut through said low clouds so that I might absorb the info being presented to me along the roadway.

Well, the flashing words before me where none other than, “ATTENTION: High Fog Region.” Hmm, I would have never known that tidbit of info had I not practically wrecked the vehicle, due to said moisture, in order to garner the info being presented.

How could I forget the local sign situation along Route 6? Good gravy. I have been dodging said warnings concerning how the highway is closed ahead, for about a month now. They have the *$#@!%^ obstacles in an area so close to the actual road that I feared for my right side mirror's life every time I'd go by. Mother said the same thing so it's not just a Lisa Housermanism.

I've been so intent on not hurting poor Edna that I didn't even soak up the words displayed on said sign. Therefore, I found myself turning about several miles west on 6 a few weeks ago. What is the bag? Do they have to place this jazz literally on the road? It's sheer madness, I tell you.

I really don't have much else to say this week. Stop with the ticker tape parades, applause and cheering. There is no catchy column ending scenario planned out so just pretend. I will now explain this deal * in terms of the signage stuff way above...

*Years ago, when I first began to cover those super exciting, heart pumping municipal meetings, I couldn't help but notice that the word “signage” was used rather than just saying plain old “signs.”

I wrote about it but thought I needed to torture newcomers a bit with a brief summary. That way, this column can be never ending and I will have done my job this week.

To me, this signage jazz is absolutely asinine. Why can't the word sign simply be utilized? Also, it really puts me in the mind of some sort of nasal drainage disorder. “What kind of SIGNAGE is legal?” It's just all too much for radio and not quite enough for television.