If folks wonder why I love Montana so much, there could be many responses--the fresh, green, nippy mountain air, the incomparable hiking-to-waterfalls, the friendliness of the folks--but the one simplest answer is that there is no traffic!
No traffic? There's still a place on this planet with a zip code and no traffic? Look at the photo of my road home in Montana. There is no one on the road--not a vehicle, not even a deer, which we do have to look out for. It's so relaxing to drive on Bridger Canyon, Hyalite, the Gallatin. You don't have to grip the steering wheel extra-tight, and calculate your exact route down to the precise minute, and you don't have to worry about being "late" and apologizing because of traffic. You can glide along these slow, easy roads and even enjoy gazing up--at the snow-covered mountain ranges (yes, still snow-capped in late June). You can pull into any of the many available parking spots with having to possess good parking karma. I smile as I'm driving. And if a cowboy driver in a hotrod pick-up truck cuts me off, well, that's also the wild west.
Contrast that with driving my road home in Southern California. To say that the 4-lane Pacific Coast Highway is filled beyond capacity, is an understatement. Every day we receive a bulletin regarding road conditions, a vehicular accident, and expect delays. There is one particularly juicy, accident-prone 3-way intersection at Las Flores and PCH where there is an accident almost everyday. Don't you think CalTrans, which oversees the highways in California, and the local Sheriffs could work with highway construction engineers and study the thousands of accidents that have occurred at that interaction and engineer a way out of that nightmare? But no, that's hasn't happened in the twenty plus years I've lived in Southern California. That would make too much sense. Recently, it's not unusual when a trip that was once a hour has become a two-hour trip. By the time I arrive at my destination I'm frazzeled.
I'm wondering about all the other drivers--my friends and family. Is there a place where you still love to drive, where you still enjoy hoping in your car and just going for a spin? What a concept. Come visit us in Montana and I'll show you a road or two where it's still a old-fashioned pleasure to get where you're going. I know. I know, we're supposed to be driving less. But if you have to get somewhere and there's no public transpiration, and so you have to drive, isn't it lovely when it's a pleasant experience? I'm curious, when was the last time you had a pleasant experience driving?