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Spiritual Signs on I-57

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You can find philosophy posted in the strangest places.
Earlier this week I was driving home on I-57 from Northern Mississippi. I began to feel tired as I approached Carbondale, Ill. I had been driving for six or seven hours.

The skies were cobalt blue and the temperature on my car dashboard read 73 degrees.
I pulled off into a rest stop. I took out my Michael Jordan beach blanket and laid down on the freshly mowed grass. A cool breeze washed across my face. I closed my eyes and thought of road trips into the sunset. I was lost in the moment.......


...This was one of the best moments of my week long vacation, next to discovering Los-Po-Boy-Citos at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

Then I saw the sign.
"AFTER 11 HRS DRIVING YOU NEED 10 HRS REST."

Who came up with that? Than I began to metaphor this philosophy to life:
After 11 hours of eating red beans and rice, you need 10 hours rest.
After 11 hours of listening to Radio Margaritaville, you need 10 hours rest.
After 11 hours of sex, you need 10 hours rest. You get the drift.

I called my new friend Jae Miller at IDOT (Illinois Department of Transportation) to see where this sign came from. At first she was stumped. After two days she told me IDOT put up the sign around 2005. The numbers were obtained from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's 18-page handbook "Interstate Truck Driver's Guide to Hours of Service."
Do not read this while driving.

And there it is on page 3: "....During the 14-consecutive hour duty period , you are only allowed to drive your truck for up to 11 total hours. There is no limit on how many of those hours you are allowed to drive at one time---you may drive for as little as a few minutes or as much as 11 hours in a row. Once you have driven a total of 11 hours, you have reached the driving limit and must be off duty for another 10 consecutive hours before driving your truck again."

Understood.
I have now written 300 words. I will rest for 200 words.

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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 May 2, 2013 1:03 PM.

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