Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Urban Open Road




The other day I was thinking how self-indulgent we drivers in the Chicagoland area are.  If you are on one of the tollways that make up the highway system in Chicago, and the traffic is moving ‘at speed’, then chances are you’re going 75 miles per hour or better.  At this speed, every one hundred miles the average car will pump 20 pounds (a couple of watermelons in weight) of additional carbon dioxide into the air versus traveling at the 55 miles per hour legal limit.

One day I decided to avoid pumping that additional CO2 into the atmosphere and discovered I could enjoy an even greater self-indulgence.  

I used to drive out West where the open road meant a relaxed and enjoyable drive with no traffic to worry about;  it meant no stress, no aggravation from other drivers getting in your way, and no frequent lane changes to keep up your rate of speed.  Now I have discovered urban open road driving right here in Chicago every day.  Here is how it works.

You get in the right lane, set the cruise control at 58 miles per hour, sit back and relax.  For all intents and purposes, you have no traffic to deal with.  Oh, there are lots of other drivers on the road going past you and around you; but at no point is anyone ever in your way.  In front of you it is nothing but open road.   It is calming, relaxing, and very enjoyable.
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