Friday, May 22, 2015

Highways and Byways

We have traveled a little more than twelve thousand miles on our retirement trip.  Some of it with the trailer attached but the majority of our driving has been solo.  Adding up the gallons of fuel that we have purchased and dividing the miles driven by the total gallons we are averaging 15.53 miles to the gallon on this trip.

There has been a certain amount of luck involved in our trouble free traveling and with the exception of the one flat tire on the truck in Arizona, the trip has been incident free.  We have dodged some bullets as we have traveled down the highways and byways.  Containers that fall off other vehicles, rocks in the roadway, road kills in the roadway, cargo dropped by another vehicle and so on, but the number one issue is the condition of the pavement.

There are areas of the interstate where the wash board effect has total control in more than one lane.  As you drive down the highway your teeth chatter and you feel like you're riding a horse.  It can be sickening to someone with motion sickness (not me).  There are troughs along the interstate and if you aren't careful you can end up loosing control.  Then the rain comes and fills the troughs with water causing hydroplaning and really dangerous driving conditions.

There are entire sections of the highways and byways that should be replaced because they are cracking or have large deep potholes.  Every state that we have been in has a problem with their highway system.  They just can't keep up with the work that needs to be done.  As they lay asphalt on one stretch of highway, another is being damaged by constant travel.

And the bridges are suffering just as badly.  Most states can't keep up with the maintenance and repairs to the bridge systems and some of them are in really sad shape.  When you think about it as you cross some of the really wide rivers like the Ohio or Tennessee here in Kentucky it kind of gives you the shivers.  The rust and corrosion to the structures is causing weakening joints that will collapse at some point in time and there are lots of them.

We travel along and watch the poor state workers and contractors trying to keep on top of all the work that needs to be done and they are lucky if they can pave a couple of miles a day.  Some of the crews appear to be really working to get a lot of paving done while others have several members just standing around doing nothing.  I read somewhere that it costs nearly $700.000 to repave on mile of highway.  No wonder we don't seem to be able to keep up.

Guess we'll just keep bouncing down the road and hoping the bridges hold.

Hope all is well and thanks for visiting.

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