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Love and Hate on NH 13

I live in rural New Hampshire, and despite childish desires to drape myself in animal pelts, sling a flintlock rifle over my shoulder and hike through the woods eating squirrel jerky - economic reality intrudes.  Once a week I must throw on a suit and head south at 4:30 AM for business appointments in Connecticut, New York City or New Jersey.

There are two southbound route options.  I can backtrack east and pick up the interstate, adding at least 35 miles to the drive, or I can take Route 13 which winds due south for 25 two-lane miles into Massachusetts.  Inevitably, I choose the latter - because I'm a hypotenuse kind of fellow.

Traffic on Route 13 at 4:30 AM is a toss up.  Sometimes the road is empty and I can move along at a safe, prudent speed.  Sometimes I get stuck behind a driver who insists on driving at exactly  the posted 35 MPH.  Every time their speed creeps 2-3 MPH over the limit, they immediately stab the brakes, as if this extra speed will immediately and spontaneously cause their car to hurtle into the woods and tie itself into a half-hitch around the nearest spruce tree.

This makes me want to smack myself in the forehead with a mallet. Several times. Hard.

I'm a strong advocate for safe driving, but not a fan of precise adherence to posted speed limits.  Some speed limits were established in the early days of motoring, when cars DID spontaneously hurtle themselves into the woods to wrap around a spruce tree - impaling the driver on chrome, lucite tipped heater knobs, shifters and horn buttons shaped like tiny Atlas rockets - and guaranteeing the unlucky bastard a starring role in a grainy driver's education movie.

But cars are far more roadworthy and safer today - and 35 MPH on a straight, wide and dry stretch of smooth two-lane no longer makes sense.

Sometimes I wind up behind a like minded driver on Route 13.  I feel enormous gratitude when they move along at a nice prudent 45-48 MPH, apex the turns just right and don't stab their brakes constantly and randomly.  It feels like we're a team - working together to get to our destinations safely and just a little bit quicker.

So driver of the black Dodge Stratus, with NH plate beginning in 297 - thank you. You're one of the good guys. I'd follow you anywhere.

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