Over the years I have put in some serious road miles. You name it and work has taken me there. The usual procedure is to get an early flight and off to my destination. Once landed, it’s find the rental car bus and a then a short jaunt to the rental car lot. Jump in the car and take off to the client’s office or hotel. Oops, I never fail to ask for map at the rental car check out booth although I usually already have one.
If I am going to a place for the first time, I like to drive around a little and check out the sights. You know, find the super market or something interesting along the way. Hotel food is great but for extended trips, there is nothing like a supermarket dinner. This practice has given me a pretty good understanding of where I am and what’s up there. I recommend you try it next time.
Business travel has changed a lot of the years. The days of the geeky tech guy with the pens in the pocket and calculator has given way and now we have the management guy on his was to Dallas, lap tops are a thing of the past. It is strictly Blackberry, iPhone, water bottle, and khakis with white button down donning the company logo embroidered above the pocket. You even see guys with running shoes these days on the plane. Will Brooks Brothers ever sell another suit?
I was comparing notes with a road warrior buddy and we had a laugh. I wanted to share with you some of the adventures of driving while on the road. I picked three of my best. Here goes.
You guessed it. The Disney exit. I have learned that the right hand lane is the most dangerous in the state of Florida. Especially the last 2,000 feet before you exit into the Disney complex. Here’s what happens. You are unwittingly cruising along headed south on I-5. If you find yourself in the right hand lanes there is a very good chance that a Disney crazed tourist in a green mini-van full of damn screamin’ kids is in the far left lane and running out time very quickly just ahead of you. Usually the Dad is driving and he is experiencing heavy pressure from the wife in the passenger seat. She has the map so she knows what SHE is doing. Should he miss the exit he will have to endure up to 2 to 3 hours of grief as the wife repeats “I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU MISSED THE EXIT!” He’ll be lucky if that ends by lunch. What is the solution? Dive bomb the Disney exit. That’s right. Signal the right turn the cut across seven lanes of southbound traffic. Wave. Make it to the exit and even run thought the pebbles a bit and you are a hero. Way to go, Dad! You did it. Now, for the rest of us…. Hint. No, make this an arm tattoo. Stay as far left as you can for the 3 miles approaching the Disney exit. Not negotiable. Just do it!
Headed south on 15 splitting North County San Diego
This is a true story. I used to have to go to a client office up in the hills in Poway, California. This is a place home builders and office park developers found and woke up about 15 years ago. Big name companies call Poway home these days. And how cool is Twin Peaks? I loved going there because I could stay at Rancho Bernardo Inn up the road a few miles. One morning, I was driving to the client office and found myself headed south on I-15 traveling from Rancho Bernardo Inn to my exit which was the Scripps Poway Parkway. It is mostly an easy cruise and downhill until the long exit off ramp. Minding my own business I floated down the hill and happened to catch a glimpse of a high speed Miata gaining quickly on me. Top down. I hadn’t yet arrived that the exit ramp. The driver, a woman, was wearing a big floppy hat, big sunglasses and a tank top. She pulled up to the driver’s door of my car and flipped me the biggest bird you ever saw then sped away. I will always remember seeing the full flex of her bicep supporting a middle finger just for me. I figure I had ruined her morning by going so slowly that she probably had to brake when she didn’t want to. Her way to telling me good morning meant a full on bicep flexing, and special delivery, “BIG F.” Evidently, karma rules on this road. There must not be a speed limit. Regardless, I felt welcome and special.
Where 114 and Stemsons Parkway meet in Dallas
Just before you get to the Market Center there is a fork in the road. Well, let’s say speedway… no highway in the road. This is where 114 and Stemmons merges via the fork. I did this a lot and was always amazed that the traffic joined without a major accident. No really. Two high speed lanes connect into one. The average speed of the ubiquitous V-8 pick-up truck is about 85 and I am talking about 22 hours a day. The left lane of the 114 and the right lane of Stemmons blend together. Quickly. I am not real sure how the Texan does this. It is an amazing feeling knowing the you have just run out of your own lane and now share it with another car or truck doing at least 75 mph.
Thrilling. I have the frequent flier miles to prove it. Trust me.