Is this I-680 or the Donner Pass?
Original post made by Jeff on Sep 29, 2010
September 29, 2010
I'm writing this in case I do not make it. My family and the world need to know how our last days were spent trapped on the freeway trying desperately to reach the new Toll Lane in Sunol. We were promised a faster commute, but have been stuck in a level of hell only surpassed by those waiting in line to audition for American Idol.
Like many others, I joined the long line of cars creeping along 680 south at the Bernal entrance. We crept along listening to reports on the radio of congestion extending north to the Oregon border. We measured our commute not in miles, but in inches. By day 2, I had made it as far as the Sunol Blvd exit. I toyed with the idea of getting off the freeway and returning home to my family. But my job beckoned and promises of commute nirvana up ahead in the new toll lane kept me queued in the long line of frustrated drivers.
By day three, all the food and water I could scrounge from my car and along the side of the freeway were gone. Other commuters and I started talking about sending a scouting party ahead on foot to see if there was an overland route we could take. 4 brave souls struck out in their wingtips and ties, but they returned 1 short later in the evening. The details of their harrowing trek will be the stuff of legend if this journal survives. The lost member of their party will be remembered as a hero due to his actions to save the others. We are still not clear as to what occurred, but the survivors seem to imply commuters further south had turned to cannibalism due to the lack of food and coffee. The three remaining members did manage to bring back his Bally wingtips and leather belt. We may try to eat those later.
By day 5, the smell along the freeway was fetid and rank. Most cars had run out of fuel, so the drivers were pushing their vehicles anytime the long string of cars inched forward. Only those driving hybrids seemed to still have power, but none of them were as well armed as the many SUV drivers, so they were easily overrun and their fuel supplies taken. Armed gangs began terrorizing the weakened commuters. Barter systems were setup, people trading bags of airplane peanuts for a few ounces of fuel. I tried a desperate attempt to hike back up the freeway to home, but was forced back into my car by a roving band of Caltrans workers threatening anyone who dared to leave their car and not experience the glory of the Express Lane.
Day 7 dawned over the Eastern hills. I was delirious from the lack of sleep, hunger, and Starbuck's withdrawal. I was awake most of the night fending off a horde of what my little community of commuters called "tollbies" - similar to zombies, but without the insatiable appetite for human flesh. Tollbies had lost their sense of humanity and reason, seeking only to experience the FasTrack enabled rush of Express Lane joy. These poor lost souls wandered down the freeway in small groups between the camps of stranded motorists, waving their FasTrack transponders in the air hoping beyond all hope for that reassuring "beep" signaling they had reached the Promised Lane. My encampment used our laptops and spare tires to create crude barriers to keep the Tollbies from overrunning us. Our latest plan for rescue involves tying a note to a dead cell phone and seeing if we can throw it at a passing ACE train, but we hold little hope any rescue is on it way.
A few of our group have scouted the Northbound lanes for any sign of rescue, but were met with resistance from those stuck in the miles long backup from the evening commute. Small wars are now occurring between the North and South bound commuters as the Northies try to claim the southbound HOV/Toll Lane. The Northies feel they are justified in their seizure since their commute has been horrendous for many more years than the Southies and they have never benefited from a HOV lane. All hope of reconciliation, rescue or free flowing traffic appear to be abandoned.
If anyone reads this, please tell my family I love them. My Blackberry is almost out of battery power, so this will be my last entry. I only hope they have FasTrack in heaven.
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