Anyone who read the posts on here from the last weekend knows that I spent a lot of time in Eastern Washington over the weekend. Michelle and I went back to Pullman, WA, to watch out two teams (Oregon State and Washington State) play football.
I am done rehashing the pain of the game (scarred for life I am telling you) tonight I decided to discuss something I noticed during the trip. Namely passing on a 2 lane highway!
This came into play this weekend as there is no way to get to Pullman (aside from a plane) with out driving LONG miles on one state highway or another, with one lane going each way.
Now I have been on these roads my entire life. When I was growing up, my folks would pile all of us kids into the VW bus, or, later, the Jeep Cherokee, and we’d drive all over Washington. We’d go to the mountains, the beach, and everywhere in between. Invariably, we’d end up on a road like this, and, without fail, behind someone going slower than my dad.
My dad HATED being behind slower cars. It’s not that we were in a time crunch, nor was there any danger of the mountains or the ocean closing before we got there. It was simply that when he got up to speed, he wanted to maintain that speed. Slowing down was almost like a personal insult.
So, when faced with this, there was only one option. PASS THEM! Friends and neighbors, my dad was a fearless passer. Passing zones or not, hills, blind curves, or narrow roads. If the man thought he could do it, he would! I remember many MANY times he would start passing and my mom would start yelling! (mom swears my exploits have caused a gray hair or two, i think his driving did more!)
He would come up to a line of vehicles in front of him, and start passing one by one, making them let him in, until he was in front and able to get back to the “correct” speed.
One time in particular, on the way back from Mt. Rainier, I remember him doing just that. He had worked his way to the front (in the red VW bus) and was ready to fly. Just then, 3rd grade me chimed up from the back “I gotta pee….” I saw some seriously angry eyes in the rearview glaring back at me! But, after a deep sigh, he pulled into a picnic area, and just I came out of the restroomI saw that line of cars he worked so hard to pass, go blazing by.
He caught them and passed them again!
This all came back to me watching traffic on the roads this weekend. I’ve determined there are 3 different types of passers.
1) There are the ones like my dad. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead! They would pull out to pass, or pass multiple cars at once. They are the ones that make you cringe and wait to hear a crash.
2) The cautious passers. This is me. Maybe I was scarred by my dad and I am sure all weekend he was looking down (or possibly up?) at me and shaking his head saying “Just Pass them!!”
My rule though, is much different than his. I have no qualms passing people, but I want to see FOREVER before I do so. I will trail another car for quite a while until I make my move. I may take risks on the bike, I have skydived and bungie jumped, but I am NOT gonna die to get ahead of a car.
Hell, this weekend I passed two at once, I can’t remember the last time that happened, but I could see 2 miles down the road, so why not! It might take me a bit longer, but I get there!
3) Finally, there are those who aint passing nobody! They don’t care how long it takes. This is all well and good, but they are the reason you sometimes have to pass that line of cars. If you get 3 o 4 of these in a row, you first have to get around them, and THEN, pass the slow car. This is annoying because there are only JUST so many opportunities to pass….
This is what I saw after putting over 500 miles on the car this weekend. I will tell you, it made me appreciate my bike more than ever. On the bike, people can blaze past me, and I can take my sweet time. At 13 MPH, it may take me a while, but I will sure as hell get there, less frustrated, and after having MUCH more fun.
So if you drive these roads, pass with care, its more important to get there, than to get there fast!