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Donald J. Handel:
Behold the World and realize that nothing is so constant and inconsistency. (20th century)

"We weren't really heading anywhere but home again, anyway."

The modern American road system was expressly designed for freight trucks, not passenger cars. We see the resulting confusions, as cars struggle to wend their way around trucks, resulting in great frustration for all parties. The government ceded the highway system to trucks when it became obvious that it lacked the power to reign in the railroads' malign monopoly over their segment of society, forcing businesses to rely upon trucks to transport goods. Under the old highway system, trucks could not efficiently transport anything, so the government created the interstate highway system. The railroads were, therefore, able to cherry-pick what they would transport, prioritizing bulk items over passengers, and the American society began its slow descent into its current self-inflicted purgatory.

Toodling attempts to reintroduce sanity into the human portion of our thoroughly compromised transportation system by judicious injection of Inconsistencies.
Efficiency despises Inconsistencies and attempts to eliminate them so the system might be more appropriately managed. Management demands predictable schedules, so uniform units must be created. Few things ever created by humans match the uniformity of freeways. Whatever the context, they adhere to the same simple constructs, literally leveling the playing field. Speed limits vary little from context to context, the very few exceptions proving this rule. If one had infinite fuel, one could drive from coast to coast at a constant speed, almost achieving that otherwise mythical efficiency.

Toodling revels in differences and so avoids industrial efficiencies. Even when forced to drive on freeways, the Toodler will steadfastly refuse even to attempt to "make time" there, recognizing the folly and futility in the notion. The Toodler will, instead, take time. Given the option of trying to set some new land speed record, the Toodler slows down to see what he might have missed the last time he passed through. He will notice long cuts and at least attempt to take those, like when The Muse noticed a few stretches of the original US Route 66 still on the map through the Mohave Desert. We tried to take that long cut, but the road access was closed, perhaps due to washouts from recent atmospheric rivers. No trucker in his right mind would ever even attempt to take the long way around anything, for this notion does more than fly in the face of efficiency; it renders it absurd.

But then, efficient driving amounts to an absurdity, anyway. It amounts to fussing over differing degrees of wasting energy. I agree that the truckers should own the road and that my primary responsibility might be to find routes truckers avoid. I dare not even attempt to dabble in their business, for they are the true kings of the road. We Toodlers are the paupers and dare not affect many airs. We go where time doesn't matter, for we drive not to make time but to take it. We travel because we have too much time on our hands, not a shortage of it. We choose our routes not to arrive on time but to discover things we never suspected we'd find. We drive, seeking distraction and inspiration, understanding that the best we'll ever achieve might be to end up precisely where we started but irrecoverably changed for the excursion.

I'd target Napa as our destination because The Muse has been reading a series of books about Napa's descent into wine industry insanity. Walla Walla seems to be tracking that same trajectory, so we wanted to see what we might avoid. It was sorta kinda on our way. Our route helped us avoid The Bay Area and took us across some of the Sacramento River estuary, low country filled with fields filled with feeding geese and even a few Whompin' Crames dancing. Few trucks followed us as the road narrowed. We spent a few hours lolling around that valley's back roads, gawking at estates with familiar family names before regaining US101 heading North. The roadway wended through the Sonoma Valley high country, making tight turns around rocky hills. We'd accumulated enough road buzz from the twisty turns that we decided on an early evening, making barely half the distance we'd made the day before when escaping The Great American Desert. We were closer to home and prepared to revel in our welcomed lack of progress. We dined leisurely at the quirky Left Coast Fish Company. We weren't really heading anywhere but home again, anyway.

©2024 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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