Here’s how to find amusement on the road

Adam Tumino

Five hours of vehicular misery seemed to be in my destiny this past weekend. On Saturday, I took the 132-mile drive to Evansville, Indiana to cover a pair of Eastern volleyball matches.

I had a wonderful day overall, but the interminable and excruciating drive through rural Illinois threatened to undermine my enjoyment.

But as I sat behind the wheel of my 2012 Nissan Versa, driving through the foul-smelling, low-hanging country fog that perches atop the farmland at the crack of dawn, I was inspired.

I was inspired to find any way possible to enjoy my drive. I did so by finding the beauty in road signs.

Every time I saw a flimsy slab of metal on the horizon, I was overcome with anticipation. The best signs to find are ones that say “shoulder” on them.

I passed several signs that said, “shoulder dips ahead,” so after a few moments, I began to raise and lower my shoulders to the rhythm of whatever song I was listening to at the time. I think the first one was “I Can’t Get Next to You” by The Temptations, but any song will do.

Allowing even more freedom are signs in construction zones that say, “shoulder work ahead.” These allow for many creative shoulder movements. Just be sure your driving ability is not impaired.

Discretion is key, however, when you come across a sign that designates the number of miles that the shoulder work goes in for. If it is anything over two miles, you may tear a rotator cuff.

Another one of my favorite road-sign games is finding exit signs with two towns listed that sound like a person’s name. I can’t remember any specific examples from my Evansville trip, but Exit 283 on I-57 is one of my favorites.

The exit is for the towns of Gilman and Chatsworth, but seeing it on the sign as “Gilman Chatsworth” always makes my day. Gilman Chatsworth sounds like a wealthy, British railway tycoon or the villain in a Bugs Bunny cartoon.

Unfortunately, some road trips have a disturbing lack of road signs. In these cases, you can always fall back on the classics.

It is always fun to pretend you are in the middle of a long car race or count the number of former raccoons on the side of the road. Just remember that even if the raccoon is split in half, it still only counts as one.


Adam Tumino is a junior journalism major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]