Friday, October 19, 2007

Rhode's Roads 2 of 2

The first thing I encountered on my initial trek to Rhode's roads was how easily I could burn some rubber from a standing start, quickly covering my lead foot by placing blame on my unfamiliarity with the vehicle.

Whoa nelly. Gonna really have to watch those speed limits

How ironic then that the second roady strangeness we encountered were the ridiculously low speed limits that nobody but a ticket cautious tourist in a bright red car was seemingly obeying.

Roads that appeared to be worthy of a 65 zone, were posted as 45.
35 mph was a luxury on the 2 lane country roads we took to and from our beach cottage.
25 zones were everywhere, regardless of there being only one house in sight for dozens of miles.

No kidding, we and our bright red Okie tagged car were the only ones approaching a close proximity to the posted speeds.

So, either RI neglected to follow suit with the rest of the country in leaving the federally mandated 55 p.m. max speed limit behind, or more likely, they just want to slow people down on the highways so they won't get distracted scanning their XM Satellite radio dial and miss seeing the state entirely.

That's right, the Ocean State is a definite "blink and you'll miss it" experience. We made it from Providence, which is approximately in the upper third of the state, to the furthest reaches of the southern coast in 45 minutes --- and that was via strict obedience to each and every posted speed limit. Meaning we could probably go end to end in about an hour.

Heck, I couldn't get from Malibu to Santa Monica via PCH in that amount of time.
Here are some other roadway oddities we encountered...

U-turns from the outside lane. It's funky and if you want/need to make a U-ey, you'll have to know ahead of time where they've constructed these special outside U-turn lanes to do so, but it sure makes it easier to head in the opposite direction while holding a cinnamon donut in one hand while turning the wheel with the other. Inside lane U-turns are virtually impossible in a front-wheel drive car with no power steering while simultaneously grasping a fried dough ring.

Stone walls lining the property borders - no cattle fence here. The fence builders of Rhode Island old saw no point in deforesting their property just to put up some fences. Instead, they picked up a few million of the VW engine sized boulders and made walls out of them. Whenever we spotted a rock wall in disrepair and running adjacent to a large tree, I'd look over to Wifey and say, "What, Andy? What's buried under there?"
To which she'd reply, "You'll have to pry it up... to see."
We both love that flick.

Lack of street signs - Rhode's roads are marked for locals, and no one else. Maybe I'm CalTrans spoiled and am so used to having my hand held as I navigate my way through unknown neighborhoods that I've lost my hunter/gatherer instinct and have become sign dependent.

But really, is having a single street sign at every intersection too much to ask for?

Just a single sign?

Hand painted on a piece of driftwood would do it.

Generally speaking, it's not a good idea to make men guess a direction when they're driving and searching, cuz stopping to ask for directions is NOT, I repeat, NOT an option.

Next up - Why do lighthouses and those Gorton's Fisherman-looking wooden figures with pipes and seagulls on their Skipper hats depress my wife so.

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