Tuesday, July 24, 2007

On the road again

Random thoughts while driving around the region:

* Given that you can fit what I know about automobiles on the little finger of my right hand, I shouldn't be shocked when I try to start my car and discover the battery is dead. But I can't help but wonder why there isn't any warning. I mean, I leave home without a problem, make a couple of stops, turning off the engine each time and then, boom, nothing. No juice, nothing. One minute I'm on my way. The next minute I'm calling AAA for a jump. Is it too much for new cars to have "battery is low" warning systems? My cell phone has one.

* If there's a constant in the summertime, it's traffic-slowing repair work on the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge. I can't be critical of preventative maintenance, but it seems like this span gets more attention than any other in the region.

* Speaking of roadwork, they're doing some down on Route 209 near the Ulster-Sullivan border. On the night I passed through, a traffic light, not a flagman, stopped motorists, with only one lane open. First time I've ever seen that. Normally, when work is done for the day, they manage to get two lanes open. The light seems to be effective, but I couldn't help but think it could go from red to green with a driver still dangerously heading in the direction of previously halted traffic.

* I have one of those portable GPS devices to help me get where I'm going. It's a remarkable invention and it hasn't steered me the wrong way yet -- except a few weeks ago when I got lost in the Ulster County hamlet of Glasco. If you know Glasco, you know it's not easy getting lost there. Don't ask me how it happened.

* If you're in the mood for a scenic drive, take Route 22 south from Hillsdale, Columbia County, to Millbrook, Dutchess County. I belatedly discovered it not long ago. It's one of scores of similarly beautiful treks throughout our region. (Pay particular attention near Silo Ridge in Amenia. Spectacular!) When you live here, it's easy to take our surroundings for granted.

* I'll have to ask our newsroom to update me on the timetable for the new pharmacy that was supposed to go up at the corner of Broadway and East Chester Street in Kingston. As I recall, there were environmental problems. But I thought they had been rectified. Meanwhile, what remains is an ugly lot surrounded by a chain link fence.

* Whenever I drive on the Taconic State Parkway, I'm certain a deer is going to jump in front of my car. It's happened once, but it just clipped me, so no damage to me, the car or the deer. I may not be so lucky the next time.

* Talking about an accident waiting to happen, head towards Woodstock on Route 28, just before the turn onto Route 375, and there are several small streets for which drivers slow to a crawl to safely make right turns. And I do mean slow to a crawl. You can't expect them to go quicker or they'll make too fast a sharp right. But when you're moving along at 45 mph, or maybe a hair faster, behind soon-to-turn crawling motorists, you risk ramming them from the rear. Probably would be a good idea if I stopped worrying about this kind of stuff, don't you think?
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