There is a highway that runs about 30 miles between the college town of Arkadelphia, AR (where I currently reside, but will never refer to as home) and the resort town of Hot Springs, AR. It is a highway I travel often as the only thing to do in Arka-do-nothin is visit Wal-Mart. This makes a trip to Hot Springs mandatory if locating a decent restaurant or go shopping or even catch a movie is on the agenda. My hairdresser is even in Hot Springs.
"Everything in life is somewhere else, and you get there in a car." ~E.B. White
The name of aforementioned road is Arkansas Scenic Highway 7. You know what "scenic" stands for, don’t you? "Scenic" is the U.S. Highway Department codeword for "really curvy road" and Highway 7 does have its share of twists and turns, but the speed limit is 55 mph (pardon me, those of you on the metric system) and individuals (like me) who know the road well typically drive at that speed or a wee bit more … or a lot more.
"Scenic Highway 7 is just that, one of the loveliest drives in the state. It winds and curves and crests hills and skirts rivers. It is more than just a way to get somewhere in Arkansas, and there are some great little places along the way." ~Patti DeLano, Insiders' Guide
Here’s the thing: Hot Springs is a resort town. There are a lot of people who come from around the world to visit the first National Park in the United States and have a spa treatment or engage in one of the many activities available. Hell, there’s even a horserace track. However, the city is located "off the beaten path" as it isn’t directly on the U.S. Interstate system and visitors must take one of the smaller highways in order to reach Hot Springs from any direction. One trip down Highway 7 is all you need to prove that drivers from Oklahoma, Louisiana and Texas have no clue how to navigate a curvy road.
"To know the road ahead, ask those coming back." ~Chinese Proverb
Inevitably, either going or coming, I end up behind a vehicle driving either 35 mph for the duration of the distance between Hot Springs and Arkadelphia because they are afraid of the curves –or– I end up behind someone who tries to drive 80 mph on the few straight-aways and then SLAMS on their breaks at as the entrance to every single curve. "Aaaaaah, it’s a curve!" You can almost hear the driver’s thoughts every time the break lights flash into your eyes. It drives me crazy … and without a doubt, the license plate of the individual in front me will read: Oklahoma, Louisiana or Texas.
"Improvement makes straight roads; but the crooked roads without improvement are roads of genius." ~William Blake
I wonder if driver’s education in those states eliminates all curves in their instruction simply because the bulk of roads in those states are straight and flat. Whatever the reason, I am tired of yelling, "Learn how to drive!" or "It’s just a curve!" throughout my excursions to and fro.
"Patience is something you admire in the driver behind you and scorn in the one ahead." ~Mac McCleary