Thursday, September 06, 2007

How not to miss your plane


The Husband and I just returned from a holiday in Maine. It was a great trip...a couple of days at Moosehead Lake, a Windjammer Cruise, then a few days in Rockland. We came home dreaming of return visits...until we hit the Maine Turnpike/I-95.


What should have been a 15-20 minute section of the turnpike turned out to be 90-plus-minute exercise in fuming. The problem: Heavy traffic backed up at the toll plaza.

Can we say Missed our Flight?

The irony: Just before the toll plaza, lovely State of Maine tourism people were handing out the State of Maine's annual gift to travelers, this year a cute moose cookie cutter. Add in the packaging, and I'm guessing the cost of the gift wasn't that much less than the toll we paid. Which led me to think that a better gift would have been my time...and a day of toll forgiveness.

Or just doublecharge on the way north, and forgive all charges on the way south. Which would make sense, since it seems that this toll-plaza backup occurs nearly every weekend -- not just on Labor Day, according to the various Southwest airline agents who helped us find a routing to get us home.

The moral of the story: Whenever possible, ask the locals for advice. Because we had driven north on this very road just days before, we thought we knew how long it would take us to return. If we'd asked at our B&B, we might have learned that the southbound I-95 corridor backs up regularly.

We're still a little mind-boggled about how a state can charge tolls on a federal interstate highway, but we're sure there's an explanation somewhere. If I find out, I'll pass it on. If YOU know, please post the answer by clicking on Click to Comment, below.

And if you've had a similar experience ... in Maine or elsewhere ... or have other ideas for checking out such problems in advance, please post a comment below!

---

PHOTOS: COPYRIGHT JANE WOOLDRIDGE 2007
Top: On the coast of Maine
Center: Windjamming on the Victory Chimes

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