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Time to Talk Freeways Again

     I haven’t talked freeways for a long time - not since I sold the Buick Regal Gran Sport and bought myself a Ford Fusion. But now I’m ready. My daily commute is from East County going twenty miles west to downtown San Diego and back again. I get the best of both worlds – easy ride in, horrific ride out.

     What, you say?! Well, I have to admit, my life wouldn’t be worth living without a few traffic jams. Imagine driving a whole twenty miles without another car in sight! How would you know when to change lanes?

     I go in to work a little before nine in the morning. No problem there. The early morning traffic jams have cleared and it’s an easy ride in. I find myself watching the digital information system: how many rpm’s I’m doing and how many miles per gallon I’m getting and how many miles to empty and…

     Oops! Miles per gallon went down! Better ease up on the pedal. You have to watch what you’re doing with that pedal or your rpm’s go up and the mileage goes down and that’s what was happening then.

     I was spoiled by my Gran Sport. Twenty-five hundred rpm’s and it was cruisin’ – engine kickin’ back, miles per gallon good to go. No strain on the V-8 engine. The Fusion struggles more; doesn’t like its rpm’s much over two thousand.

     The Gran Sport didn’t have an Information Center so I used to have to wait ’til I filled the tank and calculate the miles per gallon, but it got good mileage. Good as the Fusion – sometimes better.  Fusion’s not as peppy with its V-6 engine - although it sure fooled me when I test drove it from the dealer’s up onto the freeway. Hummed and zoomed up the ramp, smooth as honey.

     Oh! Yeah – s’posed to be talking about freeways. Where was I?

     Watching the rpm’s on my drive to work. Like I said, the drive to work is smooth. Sometimes traffic backs up at the junction with Interstate 5, but I’m almost all the way to work by then. And backups don’t bother me anyway - as long as no one cuts in at the last possible moment. Gives me a few minutes to get excited about another day at work.

     After my exciting day at work it’s time to hit the freeway again. Darned hard getting there. Traffic’s heavy as I drive off the parking lot, staying snugly close to the curb so I can make the right turn onto Grape Street at the first corner. Streams of cars, SUVs, and airport shuttle buses float over Pacific Highway onto Grape Street while I wait patiently. Or not patiently. Depends.

     Finally the light turns and we’d make our right turn except there’s no room on Grape. Traffic’s hanging out over Pacific Highway. The railway crossing lights are on. The Coaster rumbles across the tracks, the crossing bars go up and traffic slugs its way on up Grape Street.

     We turn into the wake of traffic and drive through three – four? – intersections before we finally get to the ramp to Interstate 5.

     What a madhouse! Two lanes narrow to one but no one knows where they merge. Cars coming off the ramp try to move left into five lanes of traffic on Interstate 5. Cars on Interstate 5 are trying to blink their way into our lane to get to the State 163 offramp.

     This way! I wanna get in! That way! I wanna get out!

     Gosh! It’s time to go and I haven’t even got to Highway 94 and when I get there, it’s another fifteen miles and two more freeways before I get home. Before I get home, just wanted to say one thing…

     Aren’t you glad I didn’t mention the price of gas?

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