All Shook Up

Amidst a heavily scheduled day, I had to run out to Holland to deliver one of my prints for an upcoming show.  I left early enough to arrive just as the gallery was opening, so I could get in and out without much delay.  The route is a familiar one for me as well, and it being a Saturday morning, not packed out with traffic.  There was, however, one unexpected event that occurred on the way there, well, maybe like four “events”.

I’ve noticed on the way to and from my parent’s home that when my Jeep hits a certain spot on the expressway (a completely different spot on the way there from the way back) it goes into convulsions.  Let me explain.  It seems to have something to do with a break or bad patch job on the road.  When I drive over it the entire vehicle shakes … violently, like it’s going to break apart at any second.  (I can only imagine what damage is occurring from these shakes.)  My first impulse, when this happens, is to slow down which actually helps quell the convulsions.  The only problem with slowing or hitting the brakes is, well, I’m in the middle of the expressway and there may be drivers behind me.

Having been to Holland and back, as well as other locations, without incident, I didn’t give it a second thought this morning when I set out.  That is, until I drove over a rough patch and … the convulsions started.  Yeah, okay, hit the brakes only this time I really did have drivers behind me.  So, I pulled off onto the breakdown lane, slowing down as I did so which brought the Jeep back to its normal self.  Without much of a stop I got right back on.  Then, only minutes later, yup, another patch and another full on convulsion fit.  This time I tried speeding up.  Nope, that didn’t work.

All total, it happened four times.  By the time the fourth one hit, drivers were going around me without me even slowing down, so it much have been obvious something was happening that wasn’t quite right.  As you can imagine, I was just a little bit unnerved by the time I reached my destination and handed in my piece.  Unnerved because I had to return home yet and who knew what awaited me.

In a moment of clarity I decided to do two things.  One, I would stay in the right hand lane simply because it gave me easier access to the breakdown lane in if I needed it.  Secondly, I drove slower – 60-65 instead of 70.  My reasoning for this was quite simple.  I, like any other Grand Rapidian (or Michigander) know the condition of our roads, not only on expressways and highways but also in town and residential areas.  Nearly every day I’m driving over a bump or pothole (not on purpose of course) because sometimes they’re unavoidable.  When I do so though, my Jeep never goes into fits like this.  So, maybe speed is a factor.

I kept these two factors in mind on my way home which happened to be a stretch of road that is almost entirely blemish free.  The ride couldn’t have been smoother.  Well, that didn’t help any.  There were, in fact, moments when it felt like the Jeep “wanted” to break loose and start shaking, but it never happened, thankfully.  Okay, well, that’s one for my mechanic and perhaps an alignment is in order as well.  Here’s hoping whatever is causing this gets fixed before I have to return in December to retrieve my piece.  I don’t need to be shaking and sliding all over the road.