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This is a big country. We know because The Mahatma and The Fabulous Babe have recently driven from the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex to our nation's capital to the Hampton Roads region of Virginia. And then back to little old Arkansas.

The whys of these travels matter not. What matters is what we learned.

We learned that "metroplex" is a synonym for "humongous place spread out over vast prairies and including enough roads to drive to the moon and back."

We learned that going from one part of the metroplex to DFW Airport involves an hour drive. One way. From our house to Bill and Hill Airport? Maybe 14 minutes.

We learned that on Interstate 30 in Arkansas, from mile marker 36.3 to mile marker 56.43, or 19.312 miles, the highway is under repair, that the project is scheduled to be done in mid-2020, which seems like a long time, and that traffic in this zone can be a booger.

We learned that Tennessee has thousands of redbud trees blooming along Interstate 40. Same for Interstate 81 in Tennessee and Virginia. The dogwoods are less prolific, but beautiful as well.

We learned that traffic in Knoxville, Tenn., is ridiculous.

We learned that traffic in Nashville is equally ridiculous, and that next time we plan to take Interstate 840, which loops way around Music City.

We learned that Nashville has more giant construction cranes in its downtown area than Lake Conway has catfish, that the metro area population approaches 2 million, and little old Arkansas has about 3 million people total.

We learned that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is located in Arlington, Va., in a huge building with many thousands of workers, all of whom presumably perspire profusely to make sure our money is safe.

We learned that drivers in Arlington who pass through pedestrian crosswalks in front of the FDIC building have the same regard for pedestrians as drivers everywhere. That is, not much.

Let's review: When a pedestrian is standing at a crosswalk, and there is no signage to the contrary, drivers are supposed to slow down and stop to let that pedestrian safely cross.

We learned that speed suggestion -- excuse us, speed limit -- signs everywhere have the same effect on drivers as we often see in little old Arkansas -- slim to none. Fifty-five mph on urban interstate highways? Ha! Give them some space, and it's 75 mph.

We learned from the Arkansas Department of Transportation that traffic on Interstate 40 between Little Rock and Memphis averages 39,000 vehicles over a 24-hour period. This is in contrast to 10 years ago, when the average was 36,000.

We learned that trucks on I-40 between Little Rock and Memphis are now 57 percent of traffic, but 10 years ago were 36 percent. Meaning that over 24 hours, about 22,230 trucks now travel that route, as opposed to about 12,960 a decade ago.

Fjfellone@gmail.com

Metro on 04/20/2019

Print Headline: DRIVETIME MAHATMA: Mahatma's road trip brings tips

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