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July 20, 2015 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Taking a toll

It’s what was promised: wide open road, no lines at the toll booth, no speed limit, and Highway Patrol just nodding with a smile.

Commuter’s fantasy. (Might as well add a Hennessey C7 Corvette Stingray to that dream while you’re at it.)

With a Siren’s voice as she showed the seductive suburb homes, the realtor purred “It’s only 20 minutes to downtown.” (20 minutes? Exactly when? During Super Bowl? At 8 a.m. on a January first? Should have checked for fingers crossed.)

After the papers were signed and the moving truck emptied, reality cruises in: a long daily commute in heavy traffic.

Wide open curving road. EZ tag test on Grand Parkway (Screenshot Hennessey/You tube)

The promise. Only a mirage. (Screenshot Hennessey/You tube)

Those of the outer wastelands, drove initiatives for more roads.

Let the paving begin.

Each completed concrete ribbon was welcomed and celebrated. Party on the Pavement was born.

One Party on the Pavement featured the Goo Goo Dolls

All kids should be so lucky to have totally foolish parents who will happily drive a carload of preteen girls to where they will be smashed into a huge mob of people standing for miles and miles on the new freeway – up and down overpasses – in 95+ temperatures for hours in the sun of jumping, shrieking, dancing, while waiting for the main act at sunset. (followed by fireworks)

The original shake and bake.

The overpass so overloaded it actually vibrated and swayed from side to side.

But it was memorable. (Glitter and spray-on pink hair works so well with drenching sweat.)

close up of the pavement on 290. (Screenshot Hennessey C7 Corvette run/YouTube)

With heat waves coming off the pavement, we felt pretty green after a few hours even with all the Gatorade. Anyone suggest leaving? Not on your life. Goo Goo Dolls. Free concert. Gut it up.(Hennessey/YouTube)

The Hardy Toll Road Party rolled out differently.

First, October means the pavement won’t scorch so much on contact.

And secondly, it was a moving experience. The entire road was open for bikes,  skateboards, skates, walkers – anything without motors or engines.

Who hasn’t wanted to take to the road like that?

A rare chance for flatlanders to get the thrill of zooming down a hill (also known as an overpass) way too fast and totally out of control/unable to stop.

Competitive bicycle racers from out of town had to manuever around the little kids being pulled in red wagons and on trikes.

We only had one a flat tire in the group, but that person was happy to wait in the shade with the cooler. (They swore someone stole the beverages. We swore, too.)

Wonder if kids grow up and remember those outings.

They trade up to more impressive wheels so quickly.

Driving down a toll road at over 200 mph in a Corvette becomes the dream.

If only such fun was allowed.

police car escort. Hennessey C7 run on 290 (Screenshot/youtube. Hennessey)

Smile! (Screenshot/youtube.Hennessey)

No, not just being allowed. Being asked! Pretty please, asked! It happened.

The Toll Road authorities needed to make sure the EZ tag readers would be speedy enough to keep up with traffic along a new part of The Grand Parkway.

What? A totally new smooth road closed to other vehicles and no speed limit?

Hennessey didn’t have to be asked twice. Their C7 Corvette Stingray was ready to go.

Now that’s a morning drive of delight .

Commuters can dream as they drive those exact same lanes now.

Better remember the Highway Patrol isn’t nodding and smiling at any copycats.

Brake with care,

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

driver insideDriver and  C7 Corvette interior.S Grand Parkway toll road(Hennessey screenshot/Youtube)

Over the limit? Speeds ordinary commuters can only dream of. (Corvette C7/Hennessey screenshot/YouTube)

Read more?

Grand Parkway EZ Tag Toll Readers: No lines. No waiting...for this dream car.(Screenshot Hennessey C7/You tube)

Grand Parkway EZ Tag Toll Readers: No lines. No waiting…for this dream car. (Screenshot Hennessey C7/You tube)






  1. Jay E. / Jul 20 2015 3:59 pm

    Thanks for the reminder of why I don’t like urban areas.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 20 2015 4:10 pm

      HA! Just before July 4th week, every road – the entire road system was in log jam with bad wrecks on every single road. Total stop in all directions.All those who telecommute/have flexible schedules/vacation days left just went “Whew, glad I’m not out there”. What a mess. Thanks for parking a comment here.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. easyweimaraner / Jul 20 2015 4:22 pm

    my grampy enjoyed the wide open road on friday while sitting in a tunnel for more than two hours :o( seems some things are a worldwide problem :o)

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 20 2015 4:28 pm

      We’re worried the small car might disappear into a giant pot hole in town. Your grampy had the worst tunnel vision – I think I and Molly would have hyperventilated and freaked out. Hope things are returning to more normal-ish there…normal seems to be too much to ask these day..and what fun would that be anyway? Thanks for chasing down these roads


  3. Kate Crimmins / Jul 20 2015 4:24 pm

    Can’t even imagine how hot that must have been!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 20 2015 4:32 pm

      Heat exhaustion and a swaying road bed was enough to make me queasy. There were some shade trees and grass by the road in one spot. I staked out space there – and could hear just fine. Thanks for joining the comment chorus

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Robin / Jul 20 2015 4:38 pm

    Sounds super hot, but one of those things that will create good memories.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 20 2015 4:57 pm

      The elevated roadway bouncing and swaying was a bit unsettling, but how many time is there a chance to play on the freeway? Thanks for passing a comment this way


  5. Carrie Rubin / Jul 20 2015 6:45 pm

    Waiting on a freeway under the sun in 95 degree temps for a concert? Oh my, I don’t think I’d have it in me. Even if it was for Elvis Presley reincarnated…


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 20 2015 8:43 pm

      Spur of the moment decision that defied common sense. We didn’t pay as much attention to temps back then. We had hats! (or I carried them and tried to hand them out…and as locals knew where to head for a bit of shade and for an AC breaks once the car parking spot was secured). The sound system was quite good considering it was on a freeway. We did haul a big cooler in the red wagon (that red wagon was the best baby gift ever…still have it.) Thanks for joining the chorus


  6. sustainabilitea / Jul 20 2015 7:29 pm

    Sounds like a driving version of hell. 😦



    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 20 2015 11:27 pm

      Long commutes in heavy traffic aren no way to spend a life.We feel really sorry for people moving into town without realizing the morning drive times. Quite a few companies are building out of the city so employees don’t have to battle to get to work. Walkable communities, telecommuting/teleconferencing, flex time makes life much more normal.(And someday metro will get started on those rail lines that people have voted for for over 25 years.) Enjoy your much calmer mornings. Thanks for turning into this lane with a comment


  7. Littlesundog / Jul 20 2015 7:31 pm

    Again… reasons why I’m a country hermit!!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 20 2015 11:32 pm

      Good plan! (Is there anything worse than getting a tan on one side from sitting in traffic?) Enjoy the carless wanderings. Thanks for halting a bit here

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Paul / Jul 20 2015 7:40 pm

    Cool video of the race car Phil. Having driven for a living I was taken by the view out the window at 200 mph. Amazing. Under special circumstances I have had tractor trailers going 120+ but not much beyond that. Fascinating. Over the years I have had occasion to walk interstates – they are so wide and it is so far between things – like an interchange from beginning to end can cover the better part of a mile. It feels surreal to be walking an interstate.

    I’ve never seen a party for a road before – ha! – sounds like fun but very hot. I’m glad you had a good time. Commuting can be such a drag – it is the fact that it goes on for your whole working life that makes it so depressing. I recall getting a new job and once I was sure it was for me (about 3 months) I moved closer to work – it makes an enormous difference in your day and life. The lower cost and all the reclaimed time and reduction in frustration – much nicer.

    Cool post Phil.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 20 2015 11:47 pm

      Chuute, mon, you had that tractor trailer moving (downhill or desert?)
      The video was on the Grand Parkway (the newest “outer” ring around the city segment connecting across NW to W freeways.Thought you’d enjoy the ride and scenery. You know this area – any excuse for a party – always something going on for just about any age group.It can be a little crazy.
      Most of the time I either lived within walking distance to work or been in sales (airplanes/driving on flexible schedule to clients).But one meant driving to the research centers at the downtown med centers – double UGH. There was flex time, but still far too much sitting in car. (I dreamed of owning a giant truck or road grader….) Perfectly happy to leave that.
      Walking down a interstate – going over the elevated parts – it was pretty Twilight Zone-ish.
      Glad you drive in tho chat. Thanks and paw waves from the Realm


      • Paul / Jul 21 2015 4:47 am

        I only had a little over 400 horsepower (Cat) Phil so typically that will only drive a tractor-trailer about 105 mph – after that the wind resistance is greater than the horsepower. The higher speeds I could only get downhill loaded. In Newfoundland, where there was little traffic, there were some hills that went into valleys and then back up a hill on the other side. That was pretty much necessary as the brakes would just explode if they were used with a load on at that speed. There was one dandy hill like that coming out of St. Anthony’s (we loaded at a fish plant there) – on the tip of a 250 mile (400 km) peninsula with very little human habitation. There was a huge regional hospital there that serviced Labrador and parts of Quebec in the North. Lots of young nurses there and no men. 😀 Whew!

        Anyway, sorry, got sidetracked there. **Wipes sweat from brow** So there was one really good hill where you could see for about 15 miles – straight down, then straight back up again. I would typically let it runout at 80 or 90 mph but one day I decided to see how fast it would go, so I started down the hill already speeding and let it go. The speedo only went to 120 and it hit the pin about 1/2 way down the hill. It was fast.

        Those were my young and foolish days. 😀


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 21 2015 1:59 pm

          Who could have resisted hill surfing in a big rig? (With knowledgeable vehicle/road caution)
          (After driving into town yesterday, I’m ready for a place with fewer vehicles.Every hour is “peak driving time” now – totally nuts.)
          Everyone should travel when young. Nothing is more valuable than those memories.
          Hope the day is a smooth enjoyable drive today

          Liked by 1 person

  9. Roxie / Jul 20 2015 11:24 pm

    near me, to my west, is the BMW plant and road track, your post reminded me of the unbelievable speed people can drive in someone else’s car, for a price, LOL. Just a smidge north of me is the Charlotte Motor speedway, and they often allow people on the track, though I swear some try those speeds on the interstate!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 20 2015 11:56 pm

      Using someone else’s car would be the only way to really enjoy without a care. (Your interstates sound like ours.)
      One of the nephews is a design engineer in the Gm muscle car sports division. He gets to do a lot of test driving all over the place, mountains, beaches, snow, desert…life is hard. (Hmmm, do you think it’s genetic? He was born on a ranch but had zero interest in horses or rodeo…it was always cars cars cars.)
      Thanks for clocking in with such a speedy comment


      • Roxie / Jul 21 2015 11:38 am

        Tough job, but some one has to test drive, lol. Yes, genes, genes and more genes, modern cowboy, lol.


  10. EllaDee / Jul 21 2015 4:11 am

    Roads are the veins of a country, and people have always been fascinated by them, and the possibilities how fast and how far they can take you. Last year when the freeway link opened near my Dad’s there was an open to day launch it. They of course had to attend. And the G.O.’s mum is intently monitoring progress of their town’s bypass work… she lives on the highway and says she’ll miss seeing the traffic! [but not the semi’s who have had numerous near miss collisions on her strip…]


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 21 2015 2:09 pm

      “Roads are the veins of a country” What a great line! Now we live well away from busy roads, but growing up when we slept with windows open, I remember those night sounds of trains and trucks in the distance. Always sounded like the opening to a movie or a book setting. The way people drive now, better to not have a house too near a busy road. What’s with all the cars crashing into houses? I know they may be annoyed, but cars having a death wish? Or worse…are they practicing hunting down humans ( like fish in a barrel). MAybe we ought to worry about those Google robot cars…
      Thanks for getting geared up for a comment


  11. shoreacres / Jul 21 2015 12:14 pm

    How can it be that I never heard of these parties? My rock is a lot larger than I realized. Of course, with no tv and no Chronicle, you’re my primary source for all things local! (Can’t count on KTRH any more — they just report what’s trending on Twitter.)

    I do remember the construction of Interstate 80 through Iowa — and sitting on the front steps after it opened, listening to the whine of the big rigs drifting over the mile or so of corn fields that separated us from it. It was so exciting — such a sense of possibility. Urban freeways? You can have them. The open road? I’m there.

    How about this for capturing the essence?


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 21 2015 1:36 pm

      Actually One-of-the-pink-hair let me know it was the Bangles where the elevated roadway swayed and I got freaked out. The Goo Goo’s and Huey Lewis were other adventures.We searched for anything free to keep kids busy and sort of corraled.
      I think we should all get a chance to run down an open road: once, please before it goes to “normal” occupancy? Draw like 25 names out of a lottery? (Surprised METRO and the county hadn’t thought of that as a way to raise money…)
      Given up on media in all forms – no news there.Why do they think I’d want to hear what viewers are tweeting/emailing? Really? We’re talking about people who have time to do follow and comment to media – and considering the high school passing rate/education level…..and personally I don’t tune in to hear babble about anchors/new people’s lives. Don’t care about their birthdays, operations, hobbies – what are they thinking? Oh, twitter brains might care.)
      Love the image of sound traveling across the fields. (reminds me of reading a book with the imagination filling in vs a movie specifically telling you what something was like)
      Cool link. Thanks for stopping along this highway


  12. aFrankAngle / Jul 21 2015 1:53 pm

    The thought of a clear sailing & voom-voom drive is a hoot … especially in metro areas. But the Vette was making great progress. Meanwhile, time to go play in the traffic in a shopping area.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 21 2015 2:18 pm

      City dwellers can only dream of free range cars while enduring the sport of parking lot bumper cars. Thanks for turning the wheel this direction

      Liked by 1 person

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