Grit Blogs > There and Back Again

Love to Drive? Driving in Kansas

Paula Ebert headshotOver Christmas, we went back to visit my daughter, who lives in New Jersey. When we lived there, I remember thinking initially that New Jersey as the “garden state” had to be a piece of false advertising. But there are sections in the Garden State that are actually quite beautiful, and plenty of gardens. I really enjoyed the farmer’s markets. We used to enjoy going to working old fashioned farms, where things are done the way they were years ago. Or we’d go to Washington Crossing Historic Park for the annual days when they demonstrated spinning, weaving, plowing with draft horses, and such. Oh, and the reenactment of the Revolutionary War Battle of Monmouth was great.  

There are other things that one can only get in a populated area – great shopping, and the Wegman’s supermarket chain, for example.  

The problem lies in getting to all those places. I don’t mind driving, in fact I rather like it, but I finally caved in and got a GPS after getting lost going “down the shore” as they say there, and also coming back. The traffic is horrific. Any time you have roads with 10 lanes, full of traffic, and special roads for cars only, you know you have trouble. People have no compulsion about cutting a driver off. Also, if you stop at a yellow light, the person behind you will rear-end you, so you’re basically forced to run all the yellow lights.  

Another thing that got me when I lived there is the area is so heavily forested that you can’t navigate by line of sight. Of course this is more for the summer months, but there would be an entire shopping center, hidden behind all the trees. Being from Colorado, I’m used to be being able to say – oh, look, the gas station is just there, even off of the interstate. It is funny, what you take for granted, and later, what it turns out you miss. Who knew I’d miss being able to see where I was going? 

I was reflecting on this over the weekend, when I drove to watch my son in a wrestling meet. It was an hour-and-45-minutes away, and I probably saw 20 cars on the road up to the main road, and then just the traffic was just moderate, at best. I’m driving along, listening to Willie Nelson, watching the scenery without being in a panic about the traffic. Lovely views over the Flint Hills. Then, a nice little town, then more Flint Hills – the occasional cow or farmer on his way somewhere. You may have to stop for the coal train, however. Oh well. It’s worth it.

richard hoffman
2/18/2012 5:49:56 AM

the wife and I like to drive around on the dirt roads and chk the wild life and look for native flowers for the garden.


nebraska dave
1/24/2012 4:57:32 PM

Paula, I live in an urban area of town that has 350,000 population. It does have it's moments with traffic especially when jams occur for whatever reason. I worked most of my career at night and avoided the high traffic volumes as much as I could. Now that I'm into retirement, I just don't go out when the traffic flow is its peak. That's the same with bad weather. I just open the drapes and watch the other neighbors fighting the weather to get to work on time. I've spent too many years struggling through the traffic and weather to really get too excited about going some where during those inconvenient times. I too like to make country drives but the price of gasoline has cut down the relaxing drives and increased the relaxing time of the front patio watching the busyness of people, birds, and animals in the neighborhood. Have a relaxing driving day.