The Adventures of Me & My Shadow #17 in MD, VA 7/1/98
From Virginia Beach, VA, Hi Everyone
I made another $18.00 payment on the Bay Bridge Tunnel, I left a lot undone on the list of things to do at Jeff's, Jenny's, & Mark's and came to VA Beach to do a few things before heading to the Navy reunion in Corpus Christi, TX. It sure feels good to get in the drivers seat after parking the motorhome for so long. I got several projects done on the motorhome and have some more to do when I return in September. So far all the projects are turning out better than expected, I know I will enjoy the new vents in the cockpit on the way to TX. I am now working on a sail switch to automatically turn the roof vent fan off when I am driving and turn it on when I slow down or stop, I have to remember to do it by hand now.
I haven't any adventures to write about so I would like to tell about some observations I have made over the years and my conclusions made from those observations. First I want to point out that we all see things from a different point of view, I know some of you will have seen things differently and have different conclusions. I don't expect you to agree with me, this is how I saw it.
I'll start with when I got my first drivers license, I was 16 years old. To me then, exceeding the speed limit was about like robbing a bank. It was against the law. As I got older and did more traveling, I found I sometimes had a long way to go and a short time to get there. Yes I exceeded the speed limits and paid a few tickets. I never argued with the officer, I knew I had exceeded the limits and got caught. Some times it really hurt, like the time in California. I was in the navy and had gone to El Centro in a navy truck. I told my wife to drive our new 1957 Olds Convertible over when it was time to go back to San Diego and I would burn the carbon out of it going across the desert. There was a little Town called Plaster City just west of El Centro, as I was leaving Plaster City there was a lot of west bound traffic and very little east bound. With nothing but desert and mountains to San Diego, I wiped that Olds into the left hand lane and put the peddle to the metal. I was watching for east bound traffic and failed to see a CHP in a 1956 Pontiac come out from behind a billboard and take up pursuit. The highest number on the speedometer on the Olds was 125 MPH, I had the needle past that and tucked out of sight. By the time I got to the mountains that Olds was purring like a kitten, all the carbon gone. I slowed down and pulled back into the right lane. I looked in the mirror for the first time, when you are passing everything on the road you have no need to look in the mirror. I saw this flashing red light way back there, I knew who he was after so I pulled over to wait for him. I don't think he could have caught me but if he did, he would have made things real complicated. He asked me how fast I was going? and I told him I was going as fast as I could. He asked me why? I told him I was burning the carbon out of the engine. We had a real nice visit and he told me a lot of ways to get the carbon out of an engine including taking the heads off and scrapping with a knife. He told me he had a tach-recorder that recorded his speed and he had to give me a ticket or try to explain to his boss why he was running wide open for so long. He said if he wrote me up for going over 90 MPH he would have to take me in and book me, so he wrote me up for 90 MPH and it cost me $75.00. Christmas was right around the corner and along with new car payments, it hurt.
Now it's almost impossible to find any one who does not exceed the speed limits, about two years ago I did ride in a vehicle for 130 miles and not once did it exceed the speed limit, they ranged from 25 MPH to 75 MPH. No!, it was not with an old lady in an antique automobile. A young man was driving, and no!, he was not driving a hearse in a funeral procession. He was driving a big Kenworth tractor, capable of exceeding the speed limit any time any where, pulling a flatbed trailer with my motorhome on it from Kingman, AZ to Albuquerque, NM. When we started the trip in Kingman I see every one passing us. I see the speed limit was 25 and we were the only one not exceeding it. The limit went up to 35 and then up to 55 before we got out on the interstate where it was 75. At all times we were the only one not exceeding the limit. We started down a long grade on the interstate and no smokies were in sight, I thought sure he would let her go, but no, as soon as it got close to 75 he flipped a switch on the dash and an exhaust brake came on, it slowly gained more speed and got almost to 75 and he flipped another switch on and it slowed down again. I always thought exhaust brakes were either on or off but he told me there were three switches, the third one would bring it to a stop. I'll bet that he exceeds the limits with his car.
Now, what to do about everyone exceeding the speed limits? I say raise the speed limits. On US 50 in MD and on US 13 in MD and VA both divided highways, the speed limit is 55 but most traffic is going 65, so raise it to 65. The only thing that would change would be fewer drivers exceeding the limit. Limited access highways nation wide should be 75. All other roads and streets should have the limits raised. Then raise the penalty, for each 5 MPH over the limit a $1000.00 fine or a week in jail. If you show up with a lawyer to try to beat it, the lawyer gets fined $2000.00 also. Be consistent, remember when the 55 MPH limit was on. You could get a ticket real easy going 58 MPH out on the open road but in heavy traffic in the cities everyone including the cops are going 65 and nothing happens. I recall an incident from back in the 50s on the Naval Air Station at Norfolk, VA. I had received a call from the pilot of a commercial airliner. He had delivered a load of Navy men to the Air Station and had a problem and wanted me to come out and check it out. It was about 11:00 PM and I was on a road that went out around the runway to the passenger terminal the speed limit was 35 MPH there was no other traffic. I was doing 40 or 45 and an Air Station cop pulled me over and gave me a ticket that got my car kicked off the base for two weeks. Shortly after I got my car back on the base I was on the same stretch of road, still 35 MPH limit and I'm in heavy traffic going 55 and a cop at the intersection was motioning for us to go faster. How can I win?
Out west on the Intestates the limit is 75 and traffic is moving at 75 and a lot of it at 65, there are a few speeders but most of the drivers are within the law. Back here in the east the speed of the traffic is about the same but most of the drivers are outlaws and subject to fines. I can't see why IL wants trucks & motorhomes to go 55 and cars to go 65, if they did obey the speed limits they would be constantly passing, this to me would be more hazardous than with every one going the same speed, most trucks and motorhomes keep up with the cars but are subject to fines.
Stop signs are another problem. Most cars slow down, some cars stop and yield to other cars, some cars stop, look both ways and pull right out in front of an oncoming car. I am a firm believer in 4 way stop signs where two highways cross, in most other places the yield sign would be better, if there is traffic you yield, if not you keep on going. I think the California pedestrian law makes better drivers, when a pedestrian at a cross walk steps off the curb all traffic stops. It teaches respect. We all need more of that.
7/8/98 Till next time, Dallas or Dad if it fits.


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