If you can see me in your rearview…GET OUT OF THE WAY!

Shortcuts…well…sometimes they are longcuts.

The commute to work this morning at 5:00am was very uneventful. No accidents on the Amite River Bridge, no over-turned 18-wheelers in the construction zone, not even a Baton Rouge City police officer doing a morning “fly-by” to make it to shift change (that subject is sure to make it into a future blog). With that being said, there was a time in my life that I could guarantee that there was going to be some drama on the road in the morning.

To all my fellow East Forsyth High School Alumni…I am sure you will appreciate this. When I was in high school, first period began at 7:40am. That meant you needed to get to school no later than 7:00am just to congregate by the heater in the 400 Building…not to mention get your choice of parking spot. Just to clarify…I am writing this in reference to my junior and senior year when I was actually allowed to drive to school and park on campus…sophomores were not allowed to park on campus…and if you drove as a freshmen, then you had other issues. I did however manage to secure a parking sticker from an upperclassman my sophomore year and park on the hill…but that too is for another blog. Now imagine this, I graduated with 333 or so other students in 1992…so let’s pretend there were just as many juniors that same year, plus the faculty, staff and other students who came to school on the bus. However you break it down, that is a lot of people going to one place at the same time…not to mention there was really only one entrance. Face it, if you got to school late…you may be parking a half a mile from campus. That gets me back to getting there by 7:00am. So, if you drove in from the east to school, chances are your main route was West Mountain Street…and so was the route of MANY. Anywhere along this route, you were bound to come upon a school bus with the same destination…moving along at or below the posted speed limit, with some making stops along the way. You knew though, that further down the road, you would have your chance to pass them ALL. After passing through Talley’s Crossing (you know, by Skate World), there was a side road that you could take to pass all traffic, including buses, that were traveling towards East Forsyth via W. Mountain Street…the well known Pisgah Church Road (PCR). Now I say it is well known…but I think the only time I EVER went down Pisgah Church Road was to pass all these buses…so I don’t really know how well traveled the road was during other parts of the day. I bet it was relatively quiet though. Anyway, there were a couple of decisions you had to make before turning off onto PCR…the first or second entrance? If bus traffic was light…take the second…if it was heavy…definitely the first. If you were to stay on W. Mountain St., the route is 1.1 miles which takes you two minutes to travel (thanks Google Maps), and if you take PCR, the route is 1.2 miles which takes you four minutes to travel. Therefore, if you do the math, you MUST exceed the speed limit while traveling along PCR to beat the buses. I can’t remember what the speed limit was along PCR but I can’t imagine it being more than 35mph. What I CAN imagine is testing the limits of the suspension on my 20+ year old 1969 Oldsmobile Cutlass that I drove while traveling down that road. I only wish I had my current vehicle to navigate down PCR back in those days…I would eat those curves for breakfast everyday…not to mention it wouldn’t have hurt my chances with the ladies. The Oldsmobile did have a huge backseat though…and front seat for that matter. The Olds wins that category! Back to the story…as I barreled down PCR with the V8 moaning, the suspension creaking, and the oversize tires occasionally rubbing my fenders, it all worked out at the end when I passed all buses and made it back to W. Mountain Street, successfully securing a front parking spot at school and a place to sit on the heater. You might be thinking, “Big deal…a shortcut…who cares?” Well…there was a big chance you took by taking the PCR shortcut…the morning train! You would never see the train before you got on PCR…because if you did…you would not get on it. If it did show up, it was always crossing the road you would take right before getting back on W. Mountain St. in front of the buses. Dammit! There goes my parking spot AND my seat on the heater!

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4 responses

  1. Barry

    Ask Kristi Yates about that shortcut! She did it in the afternoon trying beat beat buses and didn’t quite make it. Let’s just say another car coming west put her on the drain cover about 30 feet from the 2nd entrance (which is the one directly in front of the church that is no longer there!)

    January 25, 2012 at 9:59 am

  2. It was always more fun to try and actually pass the buses on W. Mountain. I think my personal best was 3 or 4 at once. I’m pretty sure this is sole reason why there is only a double yellow on that stretch of W. Mountain now.

    January 25, 2012 at 11:20 am

  3. Holy Cow! I had forgotten all about sitting on the heaters. Probably because I was always late and never got a chance to sit on them. AND because I was always late I had to park in the lot we referred to as “heaven.” That was the one close to the new gym that overlooked the football field. It got its name because of its elevation relative to the other parking lots. “Purgatory” was where the prime spots were, although some preferred “hell” back by the tennis courts.

    One of the most harrowing car rides I ever had in my life was on the way to school Freshman year on PCR. I was waiting for the bus one morning with Jeremy Small when this guy that was dating one of the Hirsch twins at the time pulled up. I can’t remember his name. He was older and had already dropped out of school. All I remember about his car was that it was fast and powerful. Now that I think about it, it was probably also stolen. He told us he’d take us to school and of course we accepted and of course we got behind school buses on W. Mountain and so we took the PCR. That road is a little curvy and I think this dude added a few curves of his own because I spent the whole time in the back seat alternately having my face smashed into the windows on each side as we traveled at break-neck speeds. I swear it seemed like he was doing 80, driving off of the shoulder on both sides of the road and fish-tailing the whole way. At the very end, just before you cross over the train tracks again, (luckily there was no train) there is either a sharp curve or an intersection. Either way, we did not slow down and I swear we went up on two wheels. We finished it off by pulling out onto W. Mountain mere yards ahead of a bus.

    I never got near a car with that dude again.

    January 25, 2012 at 1:24 pm

  4. Shelt

    I took that detour several times myself in the stang until I hit a dog one day… felt terrible afterwards and I don’t think I ever took that route again during my short driving career at East. Velez was riding with me that morning.

    I forgot why we just had to be at school by 7, before anyone else… I was just along for the ride after the stang bit the dust (or rather I sent it sent it nose-first in the dirt). I think I remember the heater gatherings each morning better than anything else.. Was it the 400 building? I remember it being the 300… oh well.

    January 25, 2012 at 5:20 pm

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