The German autobahns (Autobahn, plural Autobahnen) form the nationally coordinated motorway system in Germany. In German, they are officially called Bundesautobahn (plural Bundesautobahnen, abbreviated ‘BAB’), which translates to “federal expressways”. German autobahns have no general speed limit, but the advisory speed limit (Richtgeschwindigkeit) is 130 kilometres per hour (81 mph).
Germany’s autobahn network has a total length of about 12,845 kilometres (7,982 mi) in 2012, which ranks as the fifth longest highway system in the world behind the National Trunk Highway System (NTHS) of China (95,600 km), the Interstate Highway System of the United States (75,932 km), the expressways of Canada (17,000 km) and the highways in Spain (15,152 km). Really? . . . Thanks Wikipedia!
I live in an area a bit out of the San Diego city sector. I live along a stretch of I15 north of Escondido that I refer to as The Autobahn. It is frequently traveled at high speeds by travelers and commuters. Traveling at high speeds means well in excess of 100 mph. Why . . . because it’s there. I know because I recently took the Touring Elite for a quick test at 115. I backed down because something about traveling in a mini-van at that speed just creep’d me out. She was in for more, but maybe the next time. One reason is because I don’t know what the tires are rated at. I have had the Avalon up to 122 before the governor starts to impede my progressive speed. It still climbs, but at a much slower rate; usually resulting in me needing to slow down before I start to encounter traffic at a safe distance and speed. I also know that my tires are rate at only 118. I guess I’ll never know how fast the Avalon will do.
Why do I mention this? Because, I use my back yard a lot to just go out and throw something in the grill or have an afternoon cocktail in the sun. Just being in my back yard while lighting the “Q”, I get to witness these jokers getting up to speed without much effort from me or the car. My backyard pool overlooks about 3 miles of the Autobahn in an area where traffic is minimal most times of the day and throughout the night. The motorcycle sport bikes are the most interesting because they gotta be going over 150. Whether I’m cooking that tri-tip, grilling the flounder or sipping a good cup o’ coffee at 3am, the viewing is often times quite thrilling. Turn up the outdoor sound system; now dip the sunglasses and sip the martini . . . there’s always something to look at.
Having a view of the Autobahn also comes with many surprises and interesting viewing. Just this year on the 4th of July we got to witness aerial water drops on a flare-up along the freeway just by our house. Yes we kept a close eye on that one. Way too close for comfort. Two years before that on the 4th of July while hosting a celebration BBQ, we witnessed another hillside nearby that again played a threat on our celebration. Not nearly as close but much larger, again gaining the attention of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) aerial fire teams. We usually see one or two fires along the freeway in the general area caused by car fires. Sometimes they just seem to start. Dunno . . . lit cigarettes? Perhaps!
The location overlooking the Autobahn also matches my background and current lifestyle. I spent well over twenty years working around aircraft. Daily along the Autobahn travels one of the military’s various helicopters or tilt-rotocraft (USMC V-22 Osprey) that are stationed at one of the many nearby military bases. A lot of aircraft fly over our house, or just in front, using the freeway to trek north and south along an easy path. Whenever MCAS Miramar has its annual airshow, we get to see the final show on the Sunday when multiple historic aircraft travel northbound toward their home airstrips within the state or perhaps further. additionally, we can usually hear them coming from far away because the noise in the canyon travels quite well through that corridor.
Living along the Autobahn we see people getting pulled over all the time for who knows what. The Dept of Homeland Security Border Patrol making stops and the fire brigades making their way to the next freeway scorched vehicle. Then, as the traffic begins to thin and the day begins to quiet, you’ll hear a small internal combustion engine wind up quickly to somewhere around 14,000 rpm and take off to reach that new milestone speed, then another . . . and yet another racing each other until the safety factor drops below the good threshold. All this makes for another day on the Autobahn.
So today out watching the Autobahn I made some Habanero and Smoked Paprika Halibut. It really only took a moment and the traffic was traveling quite slow so I finished the plate with Sautéed Rapini and Panko-Crusted Romano-Polenta Fries. All it needed was a nice Aioli (thought of it too late).