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well lit and happy

Here where I live in Tampa, most of the roads are very well lit at night. And in all honesty it's difficult to find roads without street lights. Sure, if you look hard enough you'll find a few, but you do have to actually search for them.

Last night I encountered one of the rare and few roads that wasn't well lit (and only because there's some construction on it at the moment). It brought back memories of dimly lit driving from years ago.

Back at the stomping grounds where I grew up, it was very easy to find roads that had no street lights at night. But even though that was the case it was still relatively safe because there were reflective lines painted on the road, reflectors on the guard rails and mailboxes, and lights from peoples houses that lit up driveways and so on. You at least had frames of references.

And even though I classify Rhode Island as the worst state to drive in because of its drivers, Maine as the most dangerous because of a lack of.. well.. everything.

The northern half of Maine (roughly from Bangor and up) is a place where the locals, known as Mainers, are totally used to pitch black driving at night.

I'll attempt to explain what that is.

Imagine you're driving at night on a long lonesome road to get to wherever it is you're going. The road has no painted lines, guard rails, reflectors or street lights. You literally have to guess where the sides of the road start and end. If you're fortunate you'll see a mailbox reflector every few miles. Add to that the road is cracked, crumbled and crowned. All you have is your headlights with no frame of reference and the night is pitch black.

That's a very small glimpse on what driving in northern Maine is like in many areas.

The locals are totally used to it, but when I first encountered it I was literally frightened. I was on a skinny little residential road that followed the description above exactly.

I was thankful for two things at the time.

First, thank God I had GPS; it literally had to act as my eyes in some spots because I literally could not tell where the road curved or turned.

Second, I'm glad it was a clear dry night. If it had been raining or worse yet snowing, wow. I don't even want to think about it.

Tampa, thankfully, is lit up like a Christmas tree. 🙂

090301

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