Saturday, March 25, 2006

I drove all night

Twice this week, as a matter of fact. Tuesday night I started down Interstate 35 at about 10PM and parked in front of my parents' house in Texas at around 9:30AM or so. Then last night I started out from my parents' house at 10PM and pulled into my driveway in Des Moines at around 8:30AM.

Reasons for the time differential, in case you're wondering: on the way down, I was stopped for speeding in Kansas City. Before you cluck-cluck-cluck your tongue at me, let me assure you that I believe this particular instance of highway patrollery was a violation of my civil rights. It was 1:30AM, there were like, oh, seven or eight or more lanes of emptiness, and I had just come over the border from Missouri (where the SL is 70) into Kansas (where the SL is 60). I had my cruise set and I was behaving myself nicely. The patrolman sat waiting for me and promptly flashed his lights at me. When I gave him my DL, I offered him my registration and insurance and this was what he said to me: "With this nice of a vehicle, I know you have insurance."


Am I the only person who finds that just insufferable?

I wasn't disturbing anyone. I wasn't being unsafe. I wasn't intoxicated or weaving between lanes. I was minding my own business.

And now I owe the stupid state of Kansas $104. But at least it was dark the entire way through their wretched state and I never had to LOOK AT IT, not even ONCE, not going or coming.

One more complaint about Kansas, though, explains the rest of the time differential between my two voyages. A goodly section of I-35 in that bleak wasteland is earning more $$ by being a tollroad. There are two or three places where you can pull into a median area and there's a gas station and a convenience store and a McD's. They all look exactly alike, but they're facing different directions. I pulled into one of them on the way down there, gassed up and went to the bathroom. When I came out, I was turned around and didn't realize it. I traveled all the way to the next one before I realized I was heading back north toward KC instead of south to Wichita. It's easy to do in Kansas, because it all looks the same, especially on a cloudy night when there aren't any signs of life or civilization ANYWHERE. Again, though, it just made my trip an hour longer... and since it was still dark, I still didn't have to see the moonscape I was driving through.

On the way back home, I had to stop at one of them again, but this time I made sure to ask the clerk to point toward KC. Can't be too careful.

One of the things that kept me completely awake and alert for both trips was listening to podcasts... specifically, the BBC podcast of The Naked Scientist with Dr. Chris and all the gang. I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone who's even a leetle bit interested in anything scientific, even if you're not particularly science-literate. Hilarious, brilliant and fun -- there's something for everyone. Do not miss it.

I'm telling you, an iPod and 52 oz. of Mountain Dew and crushed ice -- these are the two essential items for Kansas travel.

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