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The Packerland 300

March 24, 2009 - Ron Deuter
I made a trip back to Palatine, Ill., last weekend to visit family and friends. The roughly 300 mile drive between the northwest suburbs of Chicago and Iron Mountain has become second nature to me. It also seems to get quicker by the year. When I was younger, once you left Green Bay, it was single-lane highway all the way north to the U.P. You’d have to slow to 25 m.p.h. in each and every little town along the way. Now, the double-lane highway is knocking on the door of Crivitz, leaving a manageable 45-50 miles of single-lane driving until you reach Iron Mountain. I love it. On some of my heavier-footed trips with cooperation from my bladder, the weather and Milwaukee traffic, I’ve clocked the run between the Ill./Wis. border and Iron Mountain in under four hours. There’s nothing better than setting the cruise and making good time. But, there’s nothing worse than having that experience interrupted by drivers whom seem completely oblivious to the world outside their car. My first complaint: the left lane slowpoke. The left lane is for faster traffic. If you’re out there and a car is getting bigger in your mirror, move to the right. Second, it is possible to go fast and still exercise patience at the same time. A prime example is when a truck attempts to pass another truck. No matter how clear the stretch of highway, it seems as soon as a truck veers to the left lane to pass, a row of cars on brake lights stack up behind it. Then as soon as the trucker clears the rig he’s trying to pass, three or four of those flustered cars whip to the right lane to swerve around the truck in the left lane. How bout waiting another two seconds to let the passing truck complete his pass? He’s not planning on staying in the left lane any longer than it takes, but when you’re too impatient to let him get back to the right, he ends up stuck out there tying up more traffic behind him. And back to cruise control. Most of the time I cruise in the low seventies, enough to feel fast without awakening the law. What is with you drivers out there that feel the need to speed up only when being passed? I can’t tell you how many times I come up on a car going 60-65, pull out to the left lane to pass, only to have the same car zoom by me a few minutes later at 85. Then in a few more minutes I’m right back on their bumper because they’ve slowed back to 60 and the process repeats. Pick a speed and stick with it already. Anyone else have their own highway pet peeves?


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