After more than 2,700 kilometres on Interstate 80, I was more than ready for the sign directing me to I-65 north. The Accent’s gas gauge was nearing empty so I pulled off only to find four gas stations – all dry.
I didn’t know when the next chance to fill up would be so I back-tracked eight kilometres to the previous off-ramp. Two stations were deserted and there was a long line-up at the third. I joined it and paid 40 cents a gallon – $4.25 – over the usual price.
“Pure gouging,” the station owner agreed cheerfully as he directed traffic.
The blame was being put on Hurricane Ike the previous week which reportedly shut down a bunch of oil refineries. But it seemed odd that only Nashville was affected. I’d had no trouble finding gas the previous day and, once I’d crossed in Kentucky not too far up the road, there was fuel in abundance.
The Texan at the next pump declared it bull. . . feathers. Hear, hear. But, as always in this kind of situation, we all bonded as we waited and exchanged stories about limping in on fumes. The two women ahead of me were from Kitchener and had driven as far as Bowling Green, Kentucky, when one of them realized she’d left her purse in Nashville. They weren’t happy but they smiled anyway.
The station didn’t have anything but regular – which was fine – and the pump was sloooooow. It didn’t shut itself off either when the tank was full so I got an expensive half litre on my foot before I noticed.
As I went from I-80 to I-65, I got too close for comfort to Nashville’s dumbest traffic cop. He was sitting on the shoulder and, as the fairly heavy traffic sorted itself out, suddenly shot into the middle lane and sat there, lights flashing, at 40 km/h.
Everyone slammed on their brakes to see what he’d do. He picked out a Mustang in the left lane – who didn’t seem to be doing anything, certainly not speeding – and shepherded him back to the right shoulder. More hard braking. If there’d been a pileup, the cop would have been to blame.
More heavy police action north of Nashville, including a couple of drug taskforce SUVs pulling people over.
I drove by the Corvette museum in Bowling Green without a second glance. ’Vettes have never done it for me, with the possible exception of Jim’s daughter Olivia’s customized ’03 model.
As I got close to Cincinnati, I spun the radio dial but there was no sign of WKRP. The traffic between Cincy and Dayton, though, was like the 400 between Toronto and Barrie on a bad day.
Ohio, I have to say, threw the worst traffic and the most ill-mannered drivers of the trip at me. They seemed to take the smallness of the Accent, and the fact that it was running with the best of them, personally. Or maybe they just tailgate everyone.
Did I want another day of this? I pulled into a rest stop – that’s the mileage figure at the top of this blog – to do some thinking. . .