Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I've Been Around the World... And the Whole Place Stinks


I’m back. Wait, did you even know I was gone? Well, I was. Now I’m back. I spent a week and a half gallivanting through the South in the car with the family. Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas. I came away with a few thoughts.

1)      Alabama has the worst bathrooms in the United States. Period. This cannot be questioned. If you doubt me, drive through the state and stop to use the restrooms while there.
This isn't the only one, either. 

2)      Texas has the most insane speed limits I’ve ever seen. 70mph through neighborhoods? Believe it. Folks are putting out their trash and mowing their grass in what looks a lot like the middle of a Nascar Track. Scary.

3)      Louisiana has the worst traffic management when doing road work I've experienced. I drove through Baton Rouge and we got stuck in the worst traffic jam I’ve been through, maybe ever. Cars were backed up for miles and miles, bumper to bumper, at a dead stop. Why? Because someone decided to repaint the stripes on the road. 4 lanes were shut down for this. Not cool, Louisiana, not cool.

4)      I put more than 2000 miles on my car. Damn.

5)      I got burnt, despite copious amounts of sunblock AND spending most of my time outdoors underneath a parasol.

6)      I probably shouldn’t have used the word parasol. I think it undermines my Action Hero image.

7)      I bet I don’t have an Action Hero image anyway. But the parasol thing isn’t helping me cultivate one. And I should probably stop talking about it.

8)      Also in Texas, apparently it’s cool to have a slaughterhouse right there in your back yard. Complete with bloody tools. And they wonder why they have a reputation for chainsaw massacres.
Not creepy at all! Now hand me that bloody sawblade.

So, in conclusion, if you’re in Texas, the speed limit is 70 pretty much anywhere you go, probably because if you stop, you’re going to be near someone wielding an axe of rifle. So the powers that be decided it's best to just keep you moving.

In Alabama, don’t stop to use the restroom.

In Louisiana, make sure you’ve used the restroom before you get there, because they’ll keep you in traffic for as long as they can.

In Georgia or Mississippi, well, I’ve not got anything to say about them. I enjoyed my trip, but it’s good to be home.

22 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Traffic worse than Atlanta or St. Louis? Skipping Baton Rouge then.
And you did lose man points for the parasol thing, but not enough to revoke your Action Hero status.

KarenG said...

You compensated for the parasol mention with the bloody chainsaw photo so all is well in Rusty world again. Very succinct image of a tour through American's southern states, and I am rofl. I'm surprised you didn't mention the humidity.

Susan Roebuck said...

Welcome back! As a Brit I loved reading this and your take on your journey is fantastic...don't worry your action hero status is intact. For now. I'll be watching closely :-)

PT Dilloway, Superhero Author said...

Hard to believe there's a department of transportation dumber than the one in Michigan. Really if you're going to be painting the road, why not do it at night when there are fewer people? And it would seem obvious to only shut down a couple of lanes, then after the paint is dry to change over to the others. I guess they're just lazy and would rather shut down the whole road.

What I never get either is when they have crews out throwing that black tar shit on potholes at peak traffic times. What's the point? Cars just drive over it and scatter it all over the place. I can't get behind that!

Jo said...

You probably got wind burnt, happened to hubby once. Why not say umbrella instead of parasol. More macho surely.

Annalisa Crawford said...

For some reason I have a picture of Arnie under a parasol right now... I don't know why... :-)

Teresa Coltrin@Journaling Woman said...

the word parasol makes me laugh.

driving trips are not for the faint of heart, weak bladders or bathroom phobics.

Bob Milne said...

Not to dwell on the issue, but if you do stop somewhere in Texas, it's probably best not to have that parasol showing. :)

M.J. Fifield said...

I've used some restrooms in Russia that make me think I could probably handle the ones in Alabama. =)

Still, thanks for the travel tips. I knew there was a reason why I was avoiding Texas...

Welcome back!

Tonja said...

I am certain the bathrooms in Athens, Ohio are worse. They were bad when I went to college there and exactly the same now, twenty-something years later. Not the college - all the restaurants and bars in town. No doors, sinks that don't work. Those disgusting cloth towel dispensers that never have a clean spot to wipe your hands. Doors on stalls optional.

Matthew MacNish said...

I hate the south, and I live here.

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

That sounds about right from my experience in Texas.

Andrew Leon said...

I knew you were gone. I even gave you a wookie comment the other day for one Briane's questions because I missed yours so much.

Speed limits in west Texas are even higher.

LA has to paint stripes during the day, because they can't afford those big lights that allow road work to happen in the evening.

Mississippi is the ugliest state I've ever been in.

Brinda said...

This post delighted me. I laughed through all of it. Sorry to find some humor in your scary albeit helpful travel observations. I in FL right now and may argue that Mississippi's bathrooms are worse.

Lara Schiffbauer said...

Thanks for a great laugh. I'm not ever going to Texas.

M Pax said...

Wow, sounds like quite the adventure ... maybe your next novel straight to film. After the horrors of Alabama and Baton Rouge ... then there's Texas. Rev the chainsaws. Brilliant.

Honestly, I'd love to see men using parasols. It's a lovely idea.

lizy-expat-writer said...

Well, if you enjoyed your trip it is difficult to work out where or why!

The Golden Eagle said...

Welcome back!

It surprises me that the speed limit is 70 mph in neighborhoods in Texas--around here they're more like 35 or 25. Then again, it is Texas . . . :P

Nancy said...

was it a pink parasol with ruffles? Because that is what I am picturing to my great delight especially if you haven't shaved for a few days.

Nicole said...

Haha! I think the world needs your travel guide. :)

Donna Hole said...

Are you now talking with a deep southern drawl? As long as you talk like a Texas Ranger I suppose you can be forgiven for the parasol.

Loved the chain saw pic :) Glad you had fun with the family.

Yeah, I noticed you were gone . .

.......dhole

Briane P said...

I think you're forgetting about Parasol Man, who was an action hero back in the 1960s. He would float in on his parasol and help people with their troubles. There was this one time that Parasol Man went to live with a British family where the father wasn't really invested in his family and the kids were sort of mopey but Parasol Man was able, with the help of a local Chimney Sweep...

... No, wait. That was Mary Poppins. You're right. Parasols aren't manly.

Glad you're back. I have to drive to Florida next week with 5/7 of my immediate family to meet up with my in-laws. I am doing what we in the business call "Making the Best Of It." But at the end, I will be able to say (A) I did not touch an Alabama bathroom and (B) No parasols, because I am at least that much more manly than you are.