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Highway 34 flooding

Mid-valley flooding on the Willamette River is seen from the air last week.

With an interview scheduled at 10 a.m. in Philomath, I figured I had better get an early start on the drive from Lebanon. I left my house at 6:20 a.m., picked up a 20-ounce Americano from the Human Bean and headed toward Albany.

The reason for the detour was because the Highway 20/34 intersection was closed because of flooding. Yes, it disrupted the lives of a lot of us.

My cellphone’s GPS informed me that the drive from Lebanon to Philomath would take 50 minutes on my chosen route. Well, my smartphone is stupid.

I won't go into all of the details but will offer the following observations:

• If you leave the house in the early morning hours and travel on common routes, you'll likely encounter school buses loading children and on certain days, garbage trucks picking up trash.

• It does no good to get angry about the situation. A road was knocked out by nature and we don't have a lot of options to get around it. I learned a lot about what radio stations we can get in around here.

• Don't venture out into intersections when traffic's backed up unless you're pretty sure you'll be able to get out of the way when the light turns red.

• Expect a certain number of aggressive drivers who think they can save time by getting out of line and then forcing their way in up further. Perhaps it does cut down on their wait but it worsens the bottleneck effect, which creates frustration.

In all, it took 2 hours, 15 minutes to reach Philomath. After finishing my scheduled interviews at around noon, I decided to just get out of Dodge and head home. The trip back at that time of the day wasn’t nearly as bad. In fact, it probably only took about 20 minutes longer than it should have.

Surprisingly, we apparently didn’t have any serious flooding in Philomath. Sure, the rivers were high and there were wet spots, but nothing like we’ve seen historically in the community.

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