A massive 18 wheeler swooshes by as I drive in the right lane of highway 17 from Phoenix to Flagstaff. He must be doing at least 100 km p/hour, or 60 miles here. For a country that -driving wise- seems to entirely be made up by a population that is old and slow, American truckers certainly are the exception to the rule.
Driving here is easy: the roads are big, the lanes are wide, and the speed limits are ridiculously low. When we were in Washington DC, the speed limit didn’t exceed 55 miles per hour (that’s not even a 100 km/h), not even when the highway was 12(!) lanes wide. So strange. There’s no speed cameras around, yet everyone seems to be obeying the speed limits, even when the highways are empty and abandoned.
Great big flyovers tell you you are in the red-white-and-blue country
Big shiny trucks speed past you all the time.
Americans are a polite bunch, and that shows in the way they drive. Approaching an intersection here, for example, suddenly becomes a rather interesting mating ritual. Where in Europe we have the rule that you yield to whoever comes from the right, there is no such rule in Americaland.
As a matter of fact, the rule is that there are no rules.
Instead, it’s a matter of whoever arrives first, gets to go first. In theory. In reality, Americans are so busy with being polite, that even if they arrive first, they wait until other cars drive up. Sometimes when I pull up as car number 3 at the intersection, everyone signals me to go first, leaving me all confused. “I arrive third, why should I go first? YOU go first!’ This then results into some weird automotive Mexican standoff where I, with my European charm and politeness refuse to be outdone by my American brothers and sisters.
One of my favourite American muscle cars, the Dodge Challenger.
And then there are the views as you drive across the different landscapes. There’s desert, forrest, metropolitan area, I’m like a sponge trying to soak up all the things, all the colours and all the trees. It’s magnificent. Around every bend there’s some new incredible scenery waiting.
Highway 180 to the Grand Canyon
The historic Route 66. I love everything about this photo.
It’s such a treat to drive around here.
Police cars here are about as cool as they can get, no Opels or VW Polo’s for the Americanos. Instead they drive big, black and white four-by-fours with fat tires, a big bullbar on the front bumper, and many blue and red flashing lights. My brother Bas would love them.
But there’s much more to be seen, like the crazy big pickup tricks with tires as big as my legs, or massive, shiny trucks with more wheels than you can count, cars with funky bumperstickers or campertrucks.
Our rental car and a monster of a pickup truck. To give you an idea, our rental is about the size of a big European Mercedes.
My all time favourite, though? This next one. Chilling on the passenger seat of a pick up truck, with his head out of the window: the coolest dog in America.
READ NEXT: MY BIG FAT AMERICAN WEDDING
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