Dear Jennifer,

Jennifer Granholm, that is. Esteemed governor of the Great Lake State, aka Michigan. Jennifer, can we talk? Yaknow, the Zilwaukee bridge on the northbound side of the I75 SUV Speedway has been closed all summer. I know that and every time I take a road trip, I know that I can make a calculated choice about whether it’s worth it to take the risk of getting stuck in a trenormous traffic backup or go the Lansing route. Which is a little longer but a lot less insane without the huge numbers of monster trucks that insist on passing on the right. And yes, I also know that we are in yet another energy “crisis” (how many of them have we had now?) and I should prob’ly not be going on all these road trips. But. Hello? Whaddya do if you have property and octo-women up in the Great White North. To the best of my knowledge, there is no passenger train that goes up there and flying? You can’t get there from here. I’ve looked into flying to da Yoop and that’s prob’ly a subject for a whole ‘nother blahg post but the gist of it is that it would prob’ly take me longer than driving and then I’d have to arrange for ground transportation at the other end. Not to mention that it would probably leave a bigger footprint than me and my Cute Little Blue Honda Civic anyway. I don’t think so.

Yesterday, we were heading down the southbound I75 SUV Speedway. We were making really good time and I took what I *thought* was a calculated risk and made the asinine (as it turned out) decision to *continue* all the way south on the I75 SUV Speedway instead of going down through Lansing. It took us SIX AND A HALF BLASTED HOURS to get home!!! That’s at least one and a half hours longer than usual. Why? Because the SOUTHBOUND Zilwaukee bridge is now closed!!!! WHO KNEW??? Where was this advertised? The fancy lucky-shucky sign just south of Grayling — BEFORE the freeways split — proclaimed the message, “STAY AWAKE”. Fine. That’s really good advice for anyone driving a motorized vee-hickle. But what about programming the fancy lucky-shucky sign to say, “SOUTHBOUND ZILWAUKEE BRIDGE CLOSED”? Hmmm? Because I had NO idea about that until I was TRAPPED in the resulting jaffic tram. Er, traffic jam. Er, whatever. If I had seen that on the sign just south of Grayling, I wouldda grabbed the steering wheel away from Mouse and swerved us off onto US127 and on down through Lansing. Yes, there *is* a construction sign somewhere between Bay City (where the slowdown started) and I675 (the detour). Guess what. If you are in the left of three lanes of bumper-to-bumper traffic that are barely inching along, you cannot see it.

Jennifer? Not fun. Most of us cannot travel via helicopter or limo or whatever. And, energy crisis or not, I do have to make road trips to the Great White North. Frequent ones.

The photo does not have anything to do with this post. I just thought anyone who didn’t know Fin Family Moominbeach might be confused about our kayak/canoe trip to the island that I wrote about yesterday. The quick and dirty red arrows point out our approximate points of departure from the beach and landing on the island. It’s about a half mile between the two and you can kayak it in calm weather in about, oh, I dunno, six minutes or so? Really.

Oh. Just for Grandmothertrucker, when I talk about “monster trucks”, I am talking about big-profile SUVs, not 18-wheelers. And I’m even stereotyping about that. Crazy drivers inhabit all types of vee-hickles. Godspeed, young Grandmothertrucker.

Love y’all, KW

10 Responses to “Dear Jennifer,”

  1. Maquis Says:

    Gee Anne, it usually takes me 6 hours without traffic. Maybe I should switch to Honda Airlines?

  2. kayak woman Says:

    I’ve done it (I75, off season) in 4.75 hours. If you had to do it as often as I do, you’d do it faster too. I do speed (80 at the most in good driving conditions) but I am careful and I ease off on the accelerator when there are turnarounds in wooded areas. The whole West Branch area is a speed trap. I slow down 10-15 miles before and after West Branch.

    Also, I rarely stop for more than gas, a quick coffee, or you-know-what. And I combine those stops if at all possible.

  3. Maquis Says:

    and of course when I do it, I’m on vacation …

  4. kayak woman Says:

    yes. love you 🙂

  5. Dog Mom Says:

    The Ol’ Boy used to try to shave as much time as possible on his trips north. When he managed 4 hours (or maybe slightly less), he felt as good as if he’d been the first to break the 4-minute mile! That meant no rest stops, and I think he did it on a single tank of fuel. Oh, and he did it “solo”, too. No dogs to demand a stop, no passengers to demand a stop, just him.

    Come to think of it, that HAD to be *not* during orange-barrel season… And on a day that didn’t see heavy traffic, either… hm

  6. kayak woman Says:

    the ol’ boy and i seem to share that little scrappy bit o’ DNA.

  7. l4827 Says:

    Bay Road, Exit 160, head toward Saginaw to Tidabawasee Road (sp) [Fashion Square Mal]. Then turn left on Tidabawasee Road towards 6-75 (about 1 mile). Re-enter traffic on 6-75. This saved us some of the more major time problems. There was a lot of stoped trafic when we left on 160.

  8. Kathy Farnell Says:

    You need a map like the one I have that shows you the back roads to get around that mess! It takes a little longer than usual but at least you are moving. I’ll try to remember to pick one up for you. See ya this weekend I hope. I’ll tru to bring a map to HL and leave it there for you in case you aren’t there.

  9. Dog Mom Says:

    GPS (like Garmin) have a loverly “detour” button, too, which I’ve used. Not for the Z-Bridge, but in other situations!!! Nice!

  10. grandmothertucker Says:

    Hi. The Garmin is good, but I can’t use it, as it takes you anywhere a big truck is not supposed to be, just like all the other GPS equipment, except for the big expensive one that is over $300. I can see over the cars and talk to the other drivers. The best solution, a CB radio. Get a cheap little one, ( wallmart $25 ) especially if you make a lot of road trips. You’ll have to put up with smart alecs, and get an antennae and a microphone for it too, but guess what?? All the truck drivers talk to each other and warn each other about road hazards, traffic jams and all that stuff, like girls in little cars with low cut tops and short skirts…. ( girls, we can see down into your car, we see EVERYTHING! ) When you see all the big trucks get over into one lane, or suddenly they are all getting off the highway altogether, that’s probally the lane that is open, or the whole road is closed, follow them. When a sign says, “lane closed, merge”, if you try to cut around them, they will tell each other to not let you in. When it’s time to merge, merge. USE A TURN SIGNAL. They will warn each other about a shut down highway. Sometimes it’s entertaining and funny, sometimes it’s annoying. They tell jokes, they fight with each other, and are usually just disgusting. But, you will know what is going on, and why it is shut down, AND if you follow them, they will take the quickest route around it. I have waited in line in all kinds of weather to see some horrifying accidents. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s not just construction.

    I waited 4 hours for a trailer full of race horses to get “hosed” out of the way. It flipped over, no way around that in Texas. If there are human fatalities, you will wait for the coroner and investigation crew to finish, before they let the tow trucks in to remove everything, hours….. I get out the atlas, and find a way around it, unless I’m screaming to a halt, and already stuck in it. ( It takes the length of a football field for a truck going 55 mph to stop. ) Do not get in front of the big trucks, get behind them, please.

    For the holiday, I am driving from Detroit to Las Vegas, ( Ford ) and sitting there until Tuesday afternoon. They won’t take it on Monday, because it’s a holiday…. I’ll be at a nasty truck stop called the Wild Wild West, waiting to see if someone breaks into my truck if I leave it alone. They are SUPPOSED to have ALL construction removed from the highways on holiday weekends by 3pm on Fridays. Don’t count on it, ever….. Then I have to go to LA, pick up something on Wednesday and bring it back to Detroit.

    As of this minute, my big truck won’t start, and I am stuck. I may not go anywhere, and I do mean anywhere. It is HOT outside… All this new electrical stuff, a bad relay or some thing… I need a new one of those. Anybody got $350 to get a Volvo repair man out to a big truck on a holiday weekend?? The boss is not going to be happy about his bill…..

    As far as those smart alecs in their SUV’s, they are a pain in the butt. Just as bad a motorcycles cutting in front of me. They think if they pay a lot for their vehicle, everybody has to move out of their way. Too bad they can’t afford the “turn signal” option when they bought it. Must be extra…..

    I wish I was at the cottage…….