Oh look! It's raining. For a change there's blue sky visible by nine o'clock, but it wasn't warm and there were Ominous Clouds on the horizon. The first bit of the route followed I-79 north. This refers to itself as the "I-79 Hi Tech Corridor" or somesuch, but the highest tech thing I saw for the first fifty miles was a tree. Somewhere a bit further up the road - I think in Bridgeport - is a building with a brace of GBFO satellite dishes on its roof, which sort of made up for it.
Bear right onto I-68 and into Maryland. The scenery is much the same as it has been since SE Indiana, but the hills are getting progressively higher, topping out at a tad under 900 metres. The constant up-hill-and-down-dale shenanigans are a little uncomfortable on the ears. They're also a little uncomfortable on the feet. This is why:
Most cars sold over here are fitted with cruise control. Few drivers over here appear to use it, i.e. they overtake, pull in and slow down. They are idiots. Anyway, here is a Tablet Cast In Stone, in Maryland:
|I do not intend even to attempt to pronounce that...|
- A dead skunk, and
- Something bearing a strong resemblance to a lighthouse
On the Lighting of Law-Enforcement Vee-hickles: Back in the old days it was easy enough to spot a uniformed police car. They had huge lights sticking out above the roof like Mickey Mouse's ears. Although I did have a series of false positives in southern Utah in 2004, misidentifying a string of oncoming pickups as the polis. What I was actually seeing was the handlebars of one or more motocross bikes being carried in the back. But now they have developed low-profile lights, so that every neutral-coloured car with a set of roof bars sets off the alarm bells. Coppers, as they say, is cunning bastards. But no, I haven't been stopped. Yet.
Wowsa! After fighting through a traffic jam on my old chum I-70, I manage to get the roof down for the first time since Sunday and cruise through a warm and sunny landscape while dreading the maze of freeways enmeshing Baltimore. If I'd had to rely on a map I'd still be there now. But Emily sees me right and I fork over my six dollars for the privet hedge of being allowed to cross this:
|A bridge, yesterday|
- Provides engine braking on big diesels by doing Clever Things with the exhaust valves, and
- Sounds like a woodpecker being relayed through Motorhead's PA system.
On number plates, part 2: Over here it is relatively easy to have almost anything you like on your car's licence plate, as long as it is not considered offensive. What constitutes "offensive" in a nation that underwent paroxysms of outrage at Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" during half-time at the Super Bowl a few years ago is left as an exercise for the reader. However, post-modern ironists in Florida are often able to slip one past the DMV by treating the picture of an orange in the centre of every FL plate as a letter "O". Anyway, here are some of my favourites from this year:
- ROADMAN. This is on the camper van belonging to Jun's mate Danny. Said van was used to power the timing gear at Battle Mountain. It has a fridge. The timers had cold BEER chiz.
- HERTZHZ. On an ex-rental Corvette. An Illinois plate, so probably not the one I had in 2008.
- 4, and
- SEAL 1
It was on a Saab. Saabs are driven by shaven-headed architects with ultra-expensive rimless glasses, not by rufty-tufty Special Forces killing machines. FAIL.
New states visited: Maryland