Friday, December 05, 2008

On the road

Today is the 50th anniversary of the opening of the first motorway in Britain. Interesting no? Why do we call them traffic jams? What has jam got to do with it?

In Cornwall no motorway has dared come within almost 50 miles of its borders, the closest one being the trusty, almost cosy, M5 in Exeter, that leads on to the more workmanlike M4 towards London or Swansea, or upwards to the M6 and beyond...

Motorway service stations are one of the most horrific places you can go to; overpriced, sanitised, drab and soul destrorying. Yet I once knew someone who said they were his favourite places and loved visiting them to have dinner there. He was 20. Yeah I never got that either.

Despite 50 years of motorways in Britain and the roads stretching the length of breadth of the country (though not in Cornwall as noted, or almost the entirety of Wales - too hilly) there is no real 'road trip culture' that is so idealised in the US and to a lesser extent in Europe. Perhaps there is no comparison between saying "I'm driving from New York to Route 66 and on to Las Vegas" to "I'm leaving Reading on the M4 and heading for Taunton."

Anyone got any good motorway stories / thoughts to share?

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