September 11, 2008

Passing fancy

The major highway in Michigan's Upper Peninsula is a two-lane affair for most of its route. This means that you might get stuck for miles behind a slow-moving RV or truck. So the highway features regular "passing lanes". That is, the one lane in your direction expands to two for a short distance, and this allows you to overtake the slow mover.

Now nearly every time there's a passing lane, there are also accompanying signs. They come in five flavours:

* Passing Lane Ahead

* Passing Lane, 1 Mile Ahead

* Keep Right Except to Pass

* Next Passing Lane, 5 Miles

* Next 127 Miles, 77 Passing Lanes

Four of those, I think I understand. The first two tell you that this is your chance to overtake Aunt Millie going 27 miles an hour in her Oldsmobile ExtremelyEnormousCar. So you had better be ready.

The third sign is for Aunt Millie, telling her she should stay right and allow the huge procession of impatient drivers she has held up for a week now to go by.

The fourth alerts you that if you don't step on that accelerator right now, you'll be stuck behind Aunt Millie for the foreseeable future, maybe another week.

But what's the fifth for? As far as I can tell, it's meant to make you say to yourself: "Ahhh, why bother? At 27 miles an hour over the next five hours, I'll get 77 chances to overtake Aunt Millie! So let me just trundle along and take in the scenery, maybe stop to buy some more trinkets I don't need, or for a delectable Whopper with Cheese at the next Burger King, yummy!"

In other words, is it a subtle message from the folks responsible for promoting tourism in Michigan's Upper Peninsula?

And if it is, it reminds me of Taking a toll.


Kavi said...

LOL !! I just wrote about some roadsigns on the Mumbai - Goa highway here... !

Aunt Millie seems to be quite a character !

Anonymous said...

10 Aunt millies make an Aunt senti. If you have one Auntie, that is 1000 Aunt Millies, then you have a poor chance of overtaking her in the next 127 miles even if you are try. But the question is, do they have the metric system in Michigan?

Honk for the next 10km if you want to kill me for the atrocious joke!

Vleeptron Dude said...

Michigan uses the English system. Here's a practice excercise: What's the speed of light expressed in Furlongs Per Fortnight?

Michigan is also roughly shaped like the palm of a right hand mitten. So if you travel around Michigan, you often see 2 people talking, and one of them will point with his/her left hand index finger to a point on the palm of his/her right hand -- they are showing each other where they live in Michigan.

I'm not from Michigan, but all my life I've loved the Michigan Hand Map! Some Michiganers have learned how to contort both their hands to include the Upper Peninsula, I guess they point to their town with their nose.