Sunday, December 22, 2013

Long day

I have meaty and thoughtful posts to write, but for now I am still processing yesterday's drive up the East Coast so I will just go stream of conscious on it.

The day began well.  Although we left, typically, some 45 minutes later than our nominal start time, we did it without anybody getting particularly mad with anybody else about running behind schedule.  I won't name names.  It is an intricate dance between family members between those running late and those getting mad, normal co/interdependency that makes us a family.  The main thing is getting better about it.

There was a lot of traffic on the 95 corridor.  I'm sure that surprises no one.  As a change of our normal arrangement, I had Mary do the driving through the crucial Fredericksburg, VA to ~Delaware Memorial Bridge segment of the trip so I could concentrate on a new, data-driven navigation methodology.  Which is to say, I more or less stayed glued to Google Maps/Traffic and attempted to do real-time route adjustment in response to traffic conditions as they arose.  And it actually worked pretty well.  We skipped the nasty piece of 295/Balt-Wash pkwy just north of DC, where for some reason it's always backed up, hopped back over to 95, and probably shaved 20-30 minutes off of total drive time.

And then, after taking 895 under the Baltimore harbor, we hopped on 40 and missed a lot of the volume as the 95 ecosystem goes back to a single pipe (after the considerable redundancy of 95 tributaries in the Washimore delta).  Not that that there wasn't traffic there.  Nor, for that matter, was there a Starbucks, as the demographics don't support it, but at least we kept rolling, for the most part.

But it was tiresome.  And then we took 95 north through Philly, which seemed rational, and the traffic kept flowing until, for seemingly no reason, there was a bunch of backup near Yardley, PA, normally a sleepy Bucks County seat of ruling class good taste.  And we, worn the hell out, were like "what's up with this?"  And as we passed the exit for Yardley, we saw:  a massive, industrial-strength installation of Xmas lights.  Not naturally occurring, for sure.  The most uber-Griswoldian thing I ever saw, and at the same time just another gross commercialization of the season ($20/$25 a carload)*.  And here it is:

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