Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Marking the Miles

For a long time, only in the Florida Keys had I known residents and travelers to give directions using the mile markers.  After visiting numerous times, I understood the need which was especially useful at night when the landmarks were virtually invisible.  

I-20 in Georgia changed for me in late 2010 when it became my daily commute.  Even when driving the portion of interstate from my parent's home in South Carolina to Atlanta over the course of many years, I only marked the exits.  After Augusta and Thomson, the exits were few and far between along with any gas stations.  If you forgot to get gas in Thomson, you had a very long stretch to the next station.  It was and still is a desolate patch of highway broken up only by exits ten miles apart and the low bridge crossing Lake Oconee.  Cell phone signal could be challenging, too.

Mile markers mean something to me from Augusta to Covington, Georgia.  For over five years, my husband had a similar commute and the mile markers quickly became part of our daily conversation.  "Where are you?" at the end of the work day would be answered with a number.  164 meant I had just got on the interstate and had a long way to finish my journey.  154 meant I had passed my husband's exit.  124 meant I was close to my exit and would be home shortly.  The responses he would give me could be a cause of concern.  "149" and "I hope I make it" meant he passed the gas station and hoped he could reach the next one in eleven miles.  We also communicated other important information.  "151" and "ouch" meant an accident.  "147" and "cop" meant a speed trap.

We still mark the miles even though his commute takes him to Atlanta.  He can mark the exits until he reaches Covington.  As he enters a similar no-man's land to mine, he reverts to the mile markers with "98, 105, 112" all meaning something on his drive back home.