Death Race Kansas (Part 2)

19 Aug

When you get off the interstate, you discover many things: abandoned buildings, lots of farms, and a lot of traffic crammed into narrow lanes. Having grown up in the rural Midwest, this was not that surprising, but then I met the orange semi.

But first, I needed to get around Great Bend, Kansas first, since I ran into two crippling construction SW of town, so I was going to vary my trip to add a few miles south to save half-an-hour. However, as I was laying on the gas NE of there, I got busted by the state troopers for going 15 mph over the limit within 10 minutes of reaching the Kansas highway. This was really stupid on my part since I always believe in the 8 mph over the limit principle… or the cop’s motto: “over 9, you’re mine.” I was more annoyed that I was in the flattest, most open area of Kansas… not a city, not even a small town, FARMS and this guy busted me. But that was on me–now I gotta see if I can pay someone to fight it or pay the… rather reasonable $150 fee. Considering red light cameras in AZ are closer to $250, it’s relatively inexpensive. Still a pain, but… (shrug).

I kept with my 8 mph limit after that on these two-lane highways. The main difference on these highways is that trucks block five cars behind them and make convoys. And there is rarely NOT traffic coming from the other direction. So I had to book it to 90 mph to get around these semis and then pray I didn’t get hit. Along the way, I saw many interesting things, including the stock yards, fields of (what I later confirmed to be) sorghum, and one guy flying a stars-and-bars (first Confederate) flag in panhandle Texas. I really appreciated that, having studied the Civil War and having met many reenactors, the “Heritage not Hate” is conveyed by not flying the more common southern cross battle flag.

Unfortunately, you can’t see it in the previous picture, but here’s a better shot.

The coolest small (mostly abandoned) town I passed through was Nara Visa, NM. All the stores were closed, even though there were a lot of trucks parked there, they obviously didn’t make enough business to support the old Ira’s Bar or Truck Terminal. Ira’s Bar looked like a really cool building, though. It was past here that was the most dangerous.

This one orange semi was holding up five cars going 58 mph down a road that was listed for 65. No big deal, this happened all the time, except now there were no passing lanes, no easy moves to get around it, and of course, no chance in hell he was going to getting off the road before Tucumcari. So I had to bolt it to get past him and the other four cars that were behind him. Boy, was he pissed. He flashed his lights, slammed his horn, and didn’t give it up for a solid minute. So I was determined to get the hell away from this guy.

The only problem is that you can only go so far without getting behind another semi. So every time I was getting more minutes between me and pissed off trucker, I felt like there was a lot more chance that Mr. Orange Semi would catch up. Of course, Asher had to go pee in Tucumcari, so sure enough, we had to pass him again once we reached the interstate. And because my boy was downing water like it was going out of style, had to stop and pass him AGAIN before we reached the brother-in-law’s place. I was sure I’d have to have a slugfest at some truck stop.

Did you ever get some guy who decided to become your driving nemesis? Tell me in the comments below!

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