Saturday, December 11, 2010

Everyone Loves a Parade

Except me. And — based on the road rage that was spreading like wildfire over the course of an hour — pretty much every driver passing through Gibsonville this morning, at least those who weren't there for the express purpose of seeing the Christmas parade. The local brain trust closed the main route through town (which is the only route through town, unless you know some magical shortcuts), without providing any advance notice or laying out a marked detour, which created one of the worst tangles of traffic I've seen since I got stuck for six hours when they closed Lakeshore Drive in Chicago for the Fourth of July fireworks in 1994.

Get this picture:

I'd been caching near Elon College and I'm now heading home. Traffic is getting heavier and heavier, and soon, it slows to a crawl. Then it just plain stops. Thirty minutes later, once it starts moving a snail's pace...I realize we're behind a dozen little bastards riding go-carts up the road. Next, here come some tractors pulling floats, which the cops allow to get into the traffic stream. Oh, joy. They're queuing for Gibsonville's Christmas parade, and I have managed to get stuck right in the middle of it. Surely...surely...there's a detour around this thing. I mean, they do plan these parades in advance, right?

Nah. There are just a few cops directing traffic — poorly — and as I watch, they become slowly overwhelmed by all the cars converging from several roads, all trying to find a way through. A couple of officers throw up their hands in utter frustration, as — apparently — they didn't expect CLOSING THE ONLY GODDAMN MAIN ROAD THROUGH TOWN, without a marked alternative route, to foul up the works.

Fortunately, after just over an hour of this mess, I was able to find a couple of side roads on my GPS map that took me five miles out of the way but at least out of town — and I only had to break a couple of traffic laws to do it. Talk about poor planning on the town's part. No, wait. Non-existent planning.

Way to generate some Christmas cheer, morons.

Prior to the parade, while hunting for a geocache deep in an underground pipeline, I discovered a cache of black widows. You'd think they'd all be dead about now, but no. Dozens of 'em, all clustered in a roughly 5' x 5' underground chamber. It was fairly shuddersome, but given the choice between the Gibsonville parade and the black widows, I'd take the friggin' spiders.

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