Day 186: Violate a tollway

March 8, 2011 § 1 Comment

Tollways don’t exist on the west coast.

Not like they’re mythical or anything, but we literally don’t have them on our freeways. When Steph and I drove from Portland to Chicago this summer, we didn’t hit a tollway until on our way out of Denver. So maybe that explains why I missed five of them on my way to and from my practicum at the flavor chemistry lab a few weeks ago and now have to pay an $104 fine.

I’m still getting used to the confusing six lane Illinois interstates. They’ll have “express lanes” on the left hand side that break off from the main drag for a few miles, or a freeway will split and every lane will fork in a different direction. As far as tolls go, you have to take an exit off of the freeway to pay unless you have a special “I-pass,” and even then there are special lanes for temporary passes. At the cash lanes you have to toss 80 cents into this giant bin, and I can never seem to remember to carry change.

Even when I have change in the car it doesn’t seem to matter. I missed the same two tolls five times in three days, which is why I was stuck with the fine. I drove under one of the giant beams that apparently takes a picture of your license plate. I’ve now been told that once it takes your photo have a few days to go online and pay, and that there are signs along the freeway that supposedly indicate this, but either I’m oblivious or they’re very poorly posted.

Either way, I’m out $100 and pissed at the Midwest.

CORRECTION: I’ve been informed that tollways just don’t exist in Oregon and Washington. Those of us in the PAC NW don’t count California. It’s pretty much its own continent.

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