Saturday, March 31, 2007

quick aside about driving in MO

When i go to a new town I like to drive about and get a feel for it. Traditionally, I end up finding both the scariest and swankiest neighborhoods that any town has to offer and St Louis was no exception. The run-down and abandoned roads by the riverfront were a stark contrast to the Tudoresque splendor of Forest Park. Like Phoenix, AZ the city of St Louis is surrounded by suburbs that are actually tiny incorporated cities. Unlike Phoenix which has several major neighboring cities in the metroplex (Mesa, Chandler, Ahwatukee, etc) St Louis appears to be surrounded by a "city" every 2 blocks; from downtown to my hotel by the airport i passed through a dozen different incorporated cities, each proudly proclaiming their population of about 2000 people. Who keeps track of that? Who pays to have all of those signs made? The strangest thing i saw while driving were sign for highways marked by letters. The signs were just like numbered routes, with black writing inside of white boxes, but they were letters! So you might need to take I-64 to Hwy U. So very, very strange to me. You - much like me - are probably saying to to yourself, "that's a dumb system, you could only have 26 highways" but no, no we are both wrong on that point. As i left St Louis and struck out into the wilds of MO i saw that they had double-letter highways as well, which extends the number of highways you could have, but leads to intersections like this: I am sure that never gets confusing! nope. The biggest problem i encountered with this system - besides the sheer freakiness of it - was that very late at night in terrible thunderstorms, it started to seem like the signs were talking specifically to me: but i don't WANT to turn right here, sign. I need to keep going straight, please don't make me turn right. No more freaky lettered highways!

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