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Road to DC: Stuck in Pennsylvania

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Noon (eastern) Jan, 15---

And I thought Nashville, Tennessee had the worst drivers in America.
I left the new Ditka's restaurant just north of Pittsburgh in a light but brittle snowstorm during Wednesday's rush hour. I made it to the Best Western Garden Inn in western Bentlyeville, Pa. It took me 2 1/2 hours to crawl through traffic on I-79 South to I-70.
Leonard, the reserved night clerk at the Best Western, told me that normally is a 45 minute drive.
Good thing I had Coach's Pot Roast Nachos before I left....


There were no accidents on I-79. There were no big suburbs like Naperville or Schaumburg people were trying to get to. Everyone just freaked out about the snow. It wasn't even pilling up. Electric signs said "Winter Weather," like we didn't know that already. Man up. I thought the Pittsburgh area was known for Mike Ditka, Willie Stargell, Andy Warhol and other rugged characters. My CD player bounced between John Hiatt's "Slow Turning" (not fade away@!) and Bob Dylan's "Cold Irons Bound"--a tremendous road song. So move over, Nashville. Outside of New York City (a world of its own), my three worst big city driving experiences are now:
1. Pittsburgh, Pa.
2. Nashville, Tn.--Where I once actually saw I guy shaving in his car's rear view mirror.
3. Chicago--The Birthplace of Gapers.
That said, I am enjoying my ride in my rented Red Mustang with New Jersey plates. I feel like a cross between Dennis Wilson and Bruce Springsteen. Gotta check out now. Its finally a sunny day as I close in on D.C.


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Dave Hoekstra

Dave Hoekstra has been a Chicago Sun-Times staff writer since 1985. His collection of Sun-Times travel columns, "Ticket To Everywhere," was published in 2000 by Lake Claremont Press. He was lead writer for "Farm Aid: Song for America" (Rodale Press, 2005) which commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Willie Nelson inspired effort.
He won a 1987 Chicago Newspaper Guild Stick O-Type Award for Column Writing. Hoekstra wrote and co-proudced the WTTW-Channel 11 PBS special: "The Staple Singers and the Civil Rights Movement," nominated for a 2001-02 Chicago Emmy for a documentary program/cultural significance.
He lives in Chicago.

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This page contains a single entry by David Hoekstra published on January 15, 2009 11:09 AM.

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