Crossing the Georgia state line driving home from Lake Weiss last Sunday, I was reminded of crossing many state lines on my annual trip to northern Wisconsin. For ten years I left Griffin on Labor Day and drug my boat 1100 miles north, taking about 18 hours to get to Rhinelander.
I listened to audio books on those trips, they made the long drive better. But I also paid attention to scenery and the road. When I crossed a state line each state displayed their “Welcome to __” sign and some had mottos or sayings with them. I started making up my own for each state based on my experiences in them.
Crossing into Tennessee at Chattanooga and knowing the climb then downhill run of the mountains ahead, I looked for a “Welcome to Tennessee – Use Low Gear” sign. My experiences on the interstates in Kentucky made me think there should be a sign “Welcome to Kentucky – Watch Out for Potholes!” One I was unable to avoid on the interstate due to traffic I hit so hard it knocked my GPS off the dash.
I usually got to Illinois and drove through much of it in the dark. It seemed there should be a sign “Welcome to Illinois – Stop, Smell Skunk.” It may have been because it was nighttime, but it seemed there was a dead skunk every few miles. They replaced our dead possums. At least hit possums don’t stink up the air for several miles after they are hit.
When I finally crossed into Wisconsin there should have been a sign Welcome to Wisconsin – Watch Out for Construction Barrels.” Since it was the end of summer and it was still warm enough to work, it seemed every mile of road was lined with orange construction barrels.
My host, a lifelong Wisconsin resident, said they had four seasons there – Early Winter, Winter, Late Winter and Construction Season. More than one year I was fishing the week after Labor Day in my snowmobile suit in the snow and sleet! Another fisherman in our group said he wanted to invest in the construction barrel industry in Wisconsin.
Coming home, I was always very happy to see “Welcome to Georgia” but always wanted to add “Warp Speed, Scotty!” No matter how fast traffic was flying coming out of Chattanooga, everyone always sped up when they crossed the state line.
Now, on my trips to Alabama, I can only expect to see a sign “Welcome to Alabama – Stop, Become A Football Fanatic.”