Watching Mad Max Fury Road a few months ago, something struck me as all too familiar. Crazy highway chases. Oddly customized cars. People being a little bit uncivilized.
Oh wait, I must be watching a documentary on Highway 395.
Let’s face facts, as traffic grows on our little two-lane highway, things can get a little hairy driving to Spokane or Colville. There’s nothing particularly dangerous about the road itself unless a deer tries to commit ritual suicide by becoming a hood ornament on the car you just finished making payments on. It’s just the fun mix of drivers that choose to call this stretch of road their home.
Some drivers are more suited for bumper cars, some look like they’re trying out for Spokane drag races and some look like they took inspiration from the Beverly Hillbillies on how they tied down the stuff in the back of their pickup.
Perhaps you’ve run across these people, but just in case you’re too busy trying to not die on the highway — as opposed to looking at the drivers — here’s a handy-dandy guide I’ve come up with.
You know the 95-year old cruising down the highway going 40 m.p.h. You’ll be cruising along, heading to Loon Lake for some water time and BAM! There’s somebody in front of you going the same pace as a spirited jogger.
These people are also completely oblivious to the 20 cars behind them and usually throw their hands up in the air in disgust as a line of rigs pass them. How dare someone not want to go the speed they want to go – which is 20 m.p.h. below the speed limit.
Maybe they want to play it safe but really what are they worried about? Getting the Delorean up to a speed that would send them back in time?
Fifteen miles over the speed limit? 10 miles under it? This guy on the road keeps you guessing. They’ll scorch past you in the passing lane and then five minutes later, you’ll find them holding up traffic. Why? Because they like to keep people guessing on the road, that’s why! You dare not pass them because as soon as you get in the other lane, they kick it up another 5-10 m.p.h. Because… I dunno, some people just like to watch the world burn.
They dare not pass in the passing lane, but they’ll certainly let you know that you’re only going the speed limit. Who does just the speed limit? In Stevens County, the speed limit is this magical number on the side of the road that at one point in human history, people followed.
Anyways, this person’s headlights will be holding a conversation with you in the front seat of your rig and then when a passing lane comes up, this special driver will continue to tail you like they’ve been instructed by the CIA to keep tabs on you.
The Incredible Hulk
It’s a requirement: When you have the world’s biggest truck, you have to constantly remind people you have the world’s biggest truck. After dropping more than you would on a down payment for a house, somebody has to show off a rig that would make a Bigfoot monster truck blush. The person usually sets his rig up by installing two flag poles on the back, a pair of inappropriate genitalia hanging from the tow hitch, bumper stickers that remind you that “I DRIVE A BIG TRUCK” and of course the obligatory exhaust pipes that pour out enough black smoke to melt the polar ice caps.
Oh and don’t forget the lift kit that also doubles as the tallest building in Chewelah.
… and yet they still take the railroad tracks on Quarry-Browns Lake Road at 3 m.p.h.
The Human Torch
This person blazes past you like they’re trying to break the land speed record.
…then you catch up with them at the first stoplight in Spokane.
Every Subaru ever
YOU’RE OUTDOORSY. WE GET IT.
Deer Park Drivers
Considering some people from my church read this paper, I will not repeat the obscenities said while getting pulled out in front of for the umpteenth time in Deer Park.
The “headed to the garbage dump” people
It’s always fun being stuck behind these people and realizing the only thing preventing their monthly trash pile from depositing itself on your windshield is a few loosely hooked together straps flapping in the wind.
Bonus points for these people when they manage to get a couch in the most unsafe position on their pickup and say “good enough, it’s heavy enough we shouldn’t need to tie it down.”
Good bless you guys and gals, actually. I don’t know how you put up with us amateur drivers that think you can 1) stop on a dime, so when passing you we whip right back into your lane at roughly the same location as your hood ornament and 2) go faster than speed limit speeds up a steep incline fully loaded with a mule train. COME ON TRUCK DRIVERS GET IT TOGETHER, I’VE GOT TO BE IN SPOKANE IN 20 MINUTES SO I CAN BUY A BUMPER STICK FOR MY PICKUP.
The driving political movement
I’m not sure how some people can fit so many bumper stickers on the back of their car, and I’m equally as unsure about how they can keep up with all the political causes they proudly display on the back of their rig.
So there you have it. I’m currently submitting this to Nintendo to make a Highway 395 GO game, where people can catch these road characters and train them to be actual good drivers.