Friday, July 16, 2010

Tunnels are evil

We went to see Jamestown this morning (by which I mean Jamestown Settlement, the recreated version of Jamestown, rather than Historic Jamestowne, which is more about actual archaeological work), and the kids loved it. They had a great time checking out the fort and the Powhatan dwellings and the ships, and they gleefully wreaked havoc on my MasterCard in the gift shop. So that was fun. But alas, on the way back we ran into the usual bane of travelers in the Hampton Roads area, a tunnel blockage. We had left for home at a reasonable time (later on Friday afternoon all the tourists are heading for the oceanfront, exacerbating the usual traffic problems, so it's best to get back early), and I was just congratulating myself on my luck in missing any major travel problems when I got onto the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge Tunnel and saw the signs: ALL TRAFFIC PREPARE TO STOP. I hoped we'd get through anyway, but before long we then saw red lights and the words ALL TRAFFIC STOP, and we found ourselves stopped exactly three cars back from the head of the line.

It turned out that someone had had a wreck in the tunnel (why wrecks inevitably happen in tunnels, I can't tell you), and for some reason it blocked the entire tunnel. You'd think they could have gotten a lane open so that traffic could crawl through in single file, but noooooo. I sat there in the car for two full hours with four tired, thirsty kids. Fortunately we had a lot of books in the car (I'd left my Kindle at home, so I wound up reading my son's encyclopedias), and no one got too cranky. Still. Traveling anywhere in this area is fraught with peril. You think you're ten minutes from home, and suddenly... you're not.

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