congestion

4 January 2010

If I were in the habit of taking photos, I’d have kept the digital camera I’m borrowing for a while in the front of the car with me on my drive back up here instead of carefully wrapping it in a warm hat for padding and putting it in my luggage. That way I’d have been able to take a picture of the traffic signal perched high up on the edge of a cliff along US 101 somewhere on the northern California coast where a slide and the resulting road construction has forced the highway down to only one lane for a few hundred feet. I was the third car in line and had to wait about five minutes while the oncoming traffic – I saw only a single car go by – passed and then the light turned green. That would have been more than enough time to get a few shots of the non-intersection.

On the other hand, not having the camera near me might have saved me some time. Most of 101 up to Florence, where I turned inland to meet I-5 north of Eugene, is quite beautiful and I easily could have found myself stopping each time the road dropped down from the headlands and hit sea level. As it was, I drove for about 14 hours on Sunday, after 11 on Saturday. I can confirm, however, that it is possible to drive all the way from southern California to Vancouver with only one overnight stay along the way – and still avoid the mountains and their unpredictable weather near the California-Oregon border. Possible, but very tiring. I got to Eugene at about 3, Portland at about 5, Seattle about 8, the border 10, and my apartment just before 11 last night. I started driving at 8:30.

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