Thursday, December 31, 2015

The end of three heart attack highway

The highway of the three heart attacks is no more. About fifteen years ago, I drove from San Luis to Mendoza in the early morning hours. I do not recall why I decided to drive in the darkness.

The road was a two lane road through the desert of San Luis, ending up about 3 hours later among the vineyards of Mendoza.

I refer to it as the three heart attack highway, as that was how it felt. First of all, to follow the general flow of cars, the speed limit is as fast as your car can go, which was about 130–140km/hr.

There several moments when your heart skipped a beat. First of all, not every car or truck had proper lights. So all of sudden you saw in front of you an object, unsure of what speed it is travelling at. I started to see vehicle-fantasmas continously: is that a car? Or that?

Secondly, there is the game of chicken you wre forced to play with passing traffic from the opposite direction. Worst of all was when a long haul bus passed another bus or a truck. That was a game of chicken I decided to lose. It is easier said than done: how do you lose, when you drive at 130 km/hr and there is no emergency section to the road, only loose dirt. There was your next heart attack.

Finally, there was the scenario whew an old beaten up truck pulled in front of you onto the road at 25km/hr. Holy $&@%£@!!

Several years ago, the province of San Luis, cut the heart attack rate in half when they built a four lane highway with middle divider. The portion from the border of the province of Mendoza to Mendoza city, remained the cause of plenty cardiac scarring.

Today, the entire stretch from San Luis to Mendoza is a wonderful 4 lane highway, fully lit, and with lightpoles in a rainbow of colors. It is a pleasure to drive to Mendoza now.

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