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Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Kawazu-Nanadaru Loop Bridge

I'm the type of guy who likes to drive a car.

I'm not good as a passenger, as my brain races along deciding what the driver has done wrong, should have done or should do. I don't vocalize it, which is why I am still allowed to be a passenger.

But as a driver... there's just something about being able to get behind the wheel and drive.

It's a real effing pity I live in Toronto, which has grid lock worse than what is made fun of in movies about Los Angeles.

Actually, that's just incorrect.

Drivers in Los Angeles spent an average of 104 hours each driving in congestion during peak travel periods in 2016, beating Moscow at 91 hours, and New York City at 89 hours, according to a traffic scorecard compiled by Inrix, a transportation analytics firm.

Globally, Canada's worst places to drive were Montreal in 23rd place with 52 hours, 38th-ranked Toronto at 45 hours, and Vancouver at 30 hours.

I wish I knew what it really meant. I have to drive 33 kilometers to work, for a 66 kilometer round trip. I spend 2 hours a day. That's 10 hours a week. So... somewhere between 450 and 500 hours a year. Just for work.

Now, I drive on highways, where the limit is apparently 100 kph. Ergo, I should be able to get to and from work in about 30 minutes each... and yet I do double that. So... I'm at around 225 to 250 hours spent in traffic.

Oh... and that's on the good days... bad days... I've spent two hours just one way.

All of which means that time is only relative to the observer. Someone write that down... I have a feeling it's going to be relatively important one day.

Someone remind me why I like driving a car...

In Japan, there's a bit of driving awesomeness once you get out of the city gridlock and off the small-town streets doubling as goat paths that meander through the rice paddies.

In the photo above, you can see the Kawazu-Nanadaru Loop Bridge.

Although the speed limit is only 30 kilometers an hour, the 1.1 kilometer spiral bridge offers spectacular views.... I'm unsure what the driver can see other than the road in front of him/her, but looking at the photo it sure seems spectacular.

The Kawazu-Nanadaru Loop Bridge is a double spiral loop that takes cars up and down 45 meters (148 feet), as it bridges the different elevations of two mountains.

Finished in 1982, this is one of the most awesome bridges I have ever seen. It's on Route 414 south of Tokyo as one drives towards Izu peninsula.

The bridge is 80 meters wide, and only offers single-lane driving each way. Luckily it's not situated in a windy area.

I'm unsure if this bridge is something I could drive.

On two high altitude drives, one driving down from the Canadian Rockies into British Columbia, and the other driving down from Hoover Dam in Nevada, the sheer driving drop made me dizzy, and in both cases I had to relinquish the wheel, as I became ill. Probably an inner ear thing.

I have had my nose straightened and my deviated septum aligned, so my sinuses aren't affected... but since then I have become susceptible to headaches when thunderstorms come in... IE, a change in air pressure.

Strange but true.

But... I think I would like to take a run at the Kawazu-Nanadaru Loop Bridge. Can you imagine doing the Tokyo Drift around that sucker?

By the way, I recall an episode of Myth Busters that proved that drifting was NOT any faster than standard braking and speeding up around a corner... but a Tokyo Drift sure looks cooler.

Andrew Joseph

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