We’ve written posts about dastardly roads before. (Martha’s, Justin’s , Willy’s, Mine) Many are windy, narrow ones that snake around mountains. One of my worst stretches of road, I’ve decided is I-75 between Lexington, Kentucky and Cincinnati, Ohio. I drove along a several mile unlit portion of the highway after dark, not once but twice (!)this past weekend.
A relative of mine died earlier in the week, and with the funeral south of Hazard, I corralled my daughter into this impromptu road trip. With a full day of things that needed to be done on Saturday, we left Columbus at 5:30 PM for a night at my aunt and uncle’s house in Lexington, Kentucky in order to make it to the Sunday funeral. No problems until we reached south of Florence. Northern Kentucky is fairly populated with many exits. There is a sense that people are tucked in their homes not too far away–plus the road is straight and easy to follow. Then, about the I-71, I-75 split with I-71 heading to Louisville and I-75 continuing to Lexington, the scenery changed and I began to wonder where every one went. It didn’t help that it was pouring rain, and the road, from what I could see of it, started to have curves. Each curve seemed to come up at the last second before I needed to turn the wheel to not go careening off into a field or forest. I don’t know which; I couldn’t see.
Without many cars out on a Saturday night, there weren’t any tail lights to use as markers to locate where I was heading. I kept thinking that certainly Kentucky couldn’t be that broke of a state that there weren’t enough funds to do a better job showing the edge of the road. Guard rails were also few and far between. The numerous deer crossing signs reminded me to be on the alert for Bambi or his mother. I kept thinking about the news articles I’ve read lately about the number of cars that hit deer this time of year.
When we finally reached my aunt’s and uncle’s house, after I unclenched my fingers from the steering wheel, I was so happy to drink that glass of wine they offered me, that I had two. The funeral was worth the trip, but when I reached that stretch of road going the opposite direction back to Columbus, in the dark and pouring rain–with some fog mixed in, I envisioned a glass of wine waiting for me at the other end.
If Kentucky, or any other place with unlit roads wants to help drivers feel a bit more relaxed after dark, there is a solution. At Intelligent Traveler there is a story about Astucia SolarLite road studs in Great Britain that are solar powered panels that light up at night. From the picture they look a bit like bicycle reflector lights. It seems to me that on major highways in particular, having some method to light the roads is worth the expense.
The photo of the deer with a red blinking light was taken by Kate Shepard and posted on Flickr. She lives in Austin, Texas where someone was putting Rudolf noses on signs. It kind of fits the season, and the post, so there you have it.