October 17, 2007

Random Travel Notes.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 7:58 pm

Here are a few observations and thoughts that popped into my cruller during the round trip drive between New Jersey and Georgia.

Over-the-Road Trucks and Truckers

There sure are a lot of them.

I see trucks on the highway every day, but I don’t see as many as I did between Jersey and Georgia. There’s probably a good reason for that, but I’m not sure what it is. Maybe because the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area is the starting point and ending point for so much stuff that we don’t notice the in-between? Maybe it’s because there are just so many more cars on the road around here that I don’t pay as much attention to the trucks. Deep thoughts.

It occurred to me that if every single truck driver in the country decided to stop driving his or her truck for a week or two, the country would be in very deep ca-ca.

I wondered what kind of life it must be to spend days or weeks at a time driving alone in a truck and essentially living in the sleeper portion of the tractor, no matter how elaborate some of the sleepers are.

I learned from spending a few minutes listening to the Trucker’s channel on Ken’s XM Radio that truckers spend a lot of money tinkering with their trucks to get a mileage increase from, say, 6.8 miles per gallon to 7.0 miles per gallon. So, a cross country trip at 6.8 miles per gallon would require 441 gallons of fuel, while the same trip at 7.0 miles per gallon would require 428 gallons. That tells me how much driving these peeps do in order for that to make a big difference.


Every time I see a farm, I am reminded of how many things there are in the world that I don’t know shit from Shinola about.

I assume that those big, spindly looking things in various places all over the field are comprised of hay. How the heck does one make those spindly things? Speaking of hay, what the hell is “hay?” Is it just tall grass? If my lawn went a month or so without being mowed, would that be hay?

I also assume that one can become so accustomed to the smell of cowshit that one no longer notices it. I used to live in a town where linoleum was manufactured. Visitors smelled it right away, but I couldn’t smell it. I figure it must be the same for cowshit.

I saw quite a few people wearing overalls. I don’t know anyone who even owns a pair. What’s the deal with them? Why are they better than a pair of jeans? Is it because one doesn’t need a belt?

I figure that Jerry has this shit wired.


In Jersey we have a zillion diners, each with a menu that can weigh a couple pounds, and yet, I have never seen biscuits and gravy on a single one of them. Damned shame, that, but we do have Taylor Ham on all of ‘em. Oh, and I’ve never seen grits on a menu either, but that’s OK, because I still haven’t warmed up to grits. Reminds me of wallpaper paste mixed with birdshot.

Gas Stations

In Jersey we don’t pump our own gas (same with Oregon), which is a really cool thing. However, the down side is that we don’t have (at least anywhere near me) convenience stores attached to gas stations at which one can buy damned near anything. Gas stations here consist of pumps and repair bays. I think, on balance, I would still rather not pump my own, thank you. I can always find a 7-11.

Rest Stops and Roads

After traveling through states south of Jersey where state-operated rest stops are common (and in North and South Carolina are downright nice looking), one enters New Jersey via Route 78 and the only rest stop one encounters is a pull off into the woods. Pissing is either done in a Porta-John or the woods. Classy.

In addition, one can immediately tell when we’re entering New Jersey on Route 78, because the road (repaired with regular strips of tar) shakes the shit out of the car.

This is what happens when the rat bastard politicians in this state raid the Transportation Fund to fatten their wallets and/or to buy votes.

By contrast, on New Jersey’s toll roads (the Garden State Parkway and the New Jersey Turnpike) there are elaborate facilities, which include fast-food eateries and lots of what-not, all of which are franchised out to private operators in exchange for a fee to the state. It’s all about money to the state politicians.


In New Jersey, virtually everyone has an attitude, and we wear our attitudes proudly. However, I must confess that it is a pleasure to travel to places where peeps are a helluva lot nicer. It takes about five minutes for my Jersey attitude to evaporate when a total stranger passing you on the street says, “Good morning. How are you doing today?”

I’m turning into a real softie.

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