Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Highway Thoughts

This post is complete randomness of things I wrote regarding the actual act of driving / navigating the US as we drove many many many miles to and around Florida. Consider yourself forewarned ;)

So the rest stops that are just super clean washrooms and nothing else are very civilized. Less civilized is the need to leave the hwy to find gas and food. Not difficult but much slower and hit or miss.

So the highways in Florida - in some locations (eg going into the Everglades or the Keys) it’s one lane each way with no on or off ramps for excessively long distances. Since there was little to no traffic when we were there this made for consistently lovely driving. But, what surprised me, was with all this big open space, how I was fighting feelings of claustrophobia?!?! I really struggled with the idea that I couldn’t just get off the road or turn around. No reason I would need or want to but definitely some long since unnecessary instinct was triggered by it. Not an issue, just found it mildly interesting.

Similarly “there is a 20 minute delay; you are still on the fastest route.” Thanks Google lady, we’re on the *only* route lol 

Honking. Okay seriously Americans behave like toddlers w their car horns. Sitting at breakfast in a restaurant downtown - typical city traffic. But constant horns. OMG somebody six cars ahead was 2 seconds late off the gas!!! HEY that light is about to turn green! I’m not getting what I want right this second so everybody needs to hear about it. Or later - sitting in stop and go, nobody can move anywhere, traffic and still often horns? Like a definite boy who called wolf scenario. If everybody is always on their horns, nobody’s going to pay attention when it actually matters. And on top of that it’s loud and obnoxious.

One thing that really amused me in the keys were the number of cop cars parked as if to be speed traps that were just empty cars. Only saw one with an actual person in it, easily identified as it was parked in the shade ;)
Alas, we did not get to see an actual panther :(

So very cool - they have panther crossing signs. Which is cool enough but also, some of them flash when it knows a panther is near. How does it know? They’re tagging them with gps trackers that trigger the lights. So if it’s flashing, one of the previously caught ones is nearby. 
This seems to suggest the flashing lights might have a purpose

They also have night speed limits in animal crossing areas - we saw them for both panther and deer in separate areas - which are 10 or 20mph lower. 

Then there are these signs across Florida which made me realize they don’t have an emergency broadcast system…
I guess an emergency broadcast system would be impinging on freedoms??? ;-P

Speed limits are consistently higher than in Canada, which is lovely, and about as much (or as little?) respect is paid to them…. More of a guideline ;).  I can’t get used to 100km/h speed limits on roads with lots of entrances and stop lights though. Some of those were a little dodgy.

Traffic congestion warnings are way better in Fl than we have at home - they identify where the congestion stops and ends, even more accurately than the Google lady! Although she’s better at giving alternate routes ;)
If we knew where we were going, this might've been very helpful ;)

As long as you’re not on a hwy golf carts appear to be road legal?!?! Lol can’t get over how many we’ve seen just puttering their way around random towns. And honestly, with no snow, why not?

Tolls and parking are both generally cheaper than home, even w the exchange rate factored in.
WTF is fog smoke?!?!
We didn't see it, so remains a mystery...

Hwy lane exit info painted on the road is super helpful- definitely wouldn’t work where there’s winter, but was lovely here.

Our credit cards often don’t work in gas pumps, so we have to pay inside in advance which is just a royal pain.

Billboards everywhere - the US is just one big ad. Which, around the cities alright, but where it really got to me was when they cut down trees solely for the billboard. I really struggled w that one.

Summary - will miss the high speed limits, the advantages of no winter, and the clean restrooms with no expectation of purchase.  I won't miss the literal and visual noise.


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