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Help Lawrence: hit the gas for God's Sake!-North Lawrence detour/By Gnome


There's a problem at the North Lawrence detour, but you can't blame this on the officials, the road workers, or the people of North Lawrence.

I was by the detour for a while this afternoon and observed something funny. Drivers are flowing off the bridge onto Elm like water through a Funnel. This part is working swimmingly.

But there's a serious problem causing a lot of backup on that first block of Elm. A few drivers pull up to N. 3rd, and they just sit there! Apparently incapable of applying gas to their motors.

I observed two drivers at different times pull up, and sit for two ... three ... four minutes. In both cases they could have turned left according to the posted detour and continued on N. 3rd. Or, they could have driven east on Elm at that moment.

So, do these drivers have trouble with the concept of a detour? Are they pulling out their pocket dictionaries and looking it up?

Would you introspective types please just help Lawrence and give your car the gas for God's sake!

Are these drivers experiencing some existential crisis as they sit at n. 3rd and Elm? Does the thought of being in a North Lawrence neighborhood require a little mental adaptation? Anybody got any ideas about what's going through their minds at that point in their lives?



bearded_gnome 6 years, 1 month ago

The first time, it was just puzzling to see.

the second time, sure did make me wonder.

I mean, from n. 3rd, you can see the side of landscape the blocks the view of the levee and the river. you can look over your left shoulder and see a muffler shop. or ahead of you and your right is an abandoned shop.

there isn't even a drinking fountain at that intersection.

I am thinking I'll find something to sell and go back to that corner, maybe these drivers can use something while they're sittin' there.

bearded_gnome 6 years, 1 month ago

of course, I was standing near the intersection, so perhaps, just perhaps, it was my manly form causing a traffic problem? LMAO.

fairplay 6 years, 1 month ago

Bearded Gnome hot dogs--2 for a dollar. 3rd and Elm!.

Headline: Gnome's Wiener Shop shut down by City -- no vendor permit. Illegal Immigrant food stand allowed to continue operation.

RoeDapple 6 years, 1 month ago

perhaps it was the scent of cucumber from the pet copperhead you carry with you where ever you go, gnome! After all the years of driving professionally I have done, I have noticed many oddities in the way people drive. For instance, sometimes for 1 or 2 hours after traffic is tied up in a stretch of highway traffic will still slow to a crawl in the vicinity, remarkably acting like a school of ocean fish, staying in pattern to trick the predators into believing they are part of something much larger. Or there is still something to gawk at.............

bearded_gnome 6 years, 1 month ago

Fairplay, you want mustard with that?

honestly, people stop there, so you got it, we oughta sell something there. heck, maybe I should go copy maps of north lawrence and sell them each for $1!
although if I sell hot dogs there, I think I'll charge more than two for a buck, unless she's good looking.

Roe, that is strange. like some auto driving forcefield stays were the wreck had been.

gawkers I think should all be shot on sight.
but in this case, what're the gawkers gawking at, if this strange automotive phenomenon is tied to gawking?

driver "Oh, I've never seen this intersection before. I'm actually in North Lawrence. Wooooooow man. car, what car."

puddleglum 6 years, 1 month ago

more stoplights...more stoplights! they solve everything

bearded_gnome 6 years, 1 month ago

PG, be careful what you wish for!

I'm just glad that Merrill/Mr. roundabout didn't get a roundabout put in at n. 3rd and Elm!

interestingly, I think north lawrence is entirely roundabout free...I think that's the case.

bearded_gnome 6 years, 1 month ago

oh, I know I heard of the cheeto that supposedly looks like Jesus, think that's in texas.

there's something in North Lawrence that looks like Jesus?

if so, then at the n. 3rd backup we could have people pay for a tour, while they're on the detour.

Stuart Evans 6 years, 1 month ago

so you want to have people retour the detour for a jesus tour? you're gonna make a million!

Stuart Evans 6 years, 1 month ago

I completely agree with this. there is always one (or 100) people that can't navigate a simple left turn, or even maintain a decent rate of speed. The detour is extremely scary to them for some reason. maybe it that image of jesus (wherever it may be).

I hope by Monday morning everyone figures out that the detour is full of little old ladies and decide to take the KTA instead.

Leslie Swearingen 6 years, 1 month ago

Its Bin Laden, people, I think its the beard thing that causes confusion. They are stopped because they are being hypnotized and on the other side of the track they will be dedicated fighters for the cause. Since you were the first one to spot this Gnome, it is up to you to halt this vile conspiracy. Save the Gnome, save the world.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 6 years, 1 month ago

It's the "Toto-I've-a-feeling-we're-not-in-Kansas-anymore" triple-take.

parrothead8 6 years, 1 month ago

Stop blaming us introspective types. I'm introspective, and my first thought when seeing a Detour sign is usually, "Hey, I'll go that way. It couldn't be that bad."

I think the people sitting there not knowing which way to go are NOT introspective...they're just plain dumb.

bearded_gnome 6 years, 1 month ago

"retour the detour into the jesus tour" LMAO! that's funny.

and AreUNorml, at least one driver I saw sure didn't look like a "little ol' lady," unless she was wearing a good disguise!

Irish, you might be onto something. it can now be revealed, over hear in North Lawrence, we know we can be scarey to the southlanders who gingerly cross the bridge.

we do have a secret unit in North Lawrence.

and maybe people are shuddering with fear there, their last turn before they commit themselves to become changed by crossing the tracks. [insert Twilight Zone theme here]

indeed some people perhaps shouldn't drive at all, its just too darned scarey and unpredictable.

can we make the signage more helpful at 3rd and Elm? put in an electronic board with a moving arrow pointing to the left? show a little video loop of a car actually turning left there?
of course, if people have hot dogs in their hands, they'll get ketchup on the steering wheel. wasn't there an article recently about how flat out dangerous it is to eat and drive?

bearded_gnome 6 years, 1 month ago

well Multi, confession is good for the soul. so in that moment, the detour sign did trigger a multitudinous cascade of processes in your head. but at least in your case nobody was stacking up behind you!

yes, that sounds like the underling just did what she was told, without trying to figger it out!

parrothead8 (Anonymous) says…

Stop blaming us introspective types. I'm introspective, and my first thought when seeing a Detour sign is usually, “Hey, I'll go that way. It couldn't be that bad.”

@Parrothead: I don't know, you might be a nonruminative introspective. perhaps you don't rehearse and rehearse over and over in your mind the potential choices in a given situation.

maybe you're part of a subset of introspectives?

but you're right, might not be introspectives at all! I was just guessing. heck, it could be granola's wondering about where to stop en route through North Lawrence to score some weed...

or maybe they're KU Anthropologists, stunned to be discovering an actual modern civilization north of the river!

or, perhaps they're some of the posters on here from a week or two ago who strongly opposed putting a firetruck over here...they think about the irony of what they opposed even as they create the traffic jam demonstrating the need for it!

SandCoAlmanac 6 years, 1 month ago

As a rebel and certified non-conformist, I'd drive straight ahead and get out of the sheeple line. Damn the torpedos! Break the jam!

hail2oldku 6 years, 1 month ago

bearded_gnome (Anonymous) says…

PG, be careful what you wish for!

I'm just glad that Merrill/Mr. roundabout didn't get a roundabout put in at n. 3rd and Elm!

interestingly, I think north lawrence is entirely roundabout free…I think that's the case.

Now you've done it. In an emergency re-design, the new intersection is being turned into a giant roundabout right in front of Johnny's.

Just think of those poor drunk b@st@rds trying to navigate that thing at closing time.

twinetowngirl 6 years, 1 month ago

OK, i have a question. Elm st is a one way street normally, but with the detour I now see a big sign up with those arrows that go both ways, as in traffic is allowed both east and west. Is that just so folks can get to that car shop or is all of elm street now fair game for west bound drivers? (which would make no sence, but hey, i dont put up the signs)

bearded_gnome 6 years, 1 month ago

wow Twinetowngirl, I think its only two way down there by the big mess and you're right I bet its to get to the shop.

H2OKU: Now you've done it. In an emergency re-design, the new intersection is being turned into a giant roundabout right in front of Johnny's.

Just think of those poor drunk b@st@rds trying to navigate that thing at closing time.

---oh gawd, that's so funny! LMAO! the one saving grace is if Merrill tried to put in a roundy there at 2nd and locust I think some north lawrence special forces folks would just take it out with some explosives.

you know if a roundy were there, we could sit down there and take bets on who's gonna make it outa the rounday and who's not!

bearded_gnome 6 years, 1 month ago

Seriously: it was about sunset tonight, a sunday night, and there were a dozen or more cars stacked up on Elm!

maybe an officer really is necessary at 3rd and elm, just to keep things moving.

I suspect things there are going to be a real mess in the morning!

Sandco: As a rebel and certified non-conformist, I'd drive straight ahead and get out of the sheeple line. Damn the torpedos! Break the jam!

---so, we infer Sandco is driving either a duce-and-a-half or a D12 dozer.
will you charge for the salvage Sandco?

RoeDapple 6 years, 1 month ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

bearded_gnome 6 years, 1 month ago

oh man, I didn't know White Owl was going north of the river man! wow, lock up your daughters!

witchfindergeneral (Anonymous) says…

gnome, this happened to me for the first time today. The driver in front of me only stalled for 20 seconds or so, but it confounded me nevertheless. My guess: they're probably just painfully stupid.

---WFG, yeah, that's why I wrote the blog. its like this: haven't these people ever seen a detour before???

what's so incredibly difficult?

maybe we need to put the state drivers license bureau on that corner, in the abandoned shop building, and people who sit there like deer in the headlights automatically lose their licenses!

bearded_gnome 6 years, 1 month ago

the face of charles manson!

yes, I think our grain elevator is haunted, just listen to the fan on it when its running!

you know Roe, it helps to leave off the psychadelic mushrooms before you drive to north lawrence. but when you're here, we grow giant mushrooms here!

bearded_gnome 6 years, 1 month ago

backed up way on to the bridge this morning.

maybe people will learn as time passes.

hope so.

bearded_gnome 6 years, 1 month ago

Good news:

this evening about 6pm, no cars were stacked up at all!

overwhelmingly people weren't even slowing down as they entered the intersection at 3rd and Elm.
some swung north according to the detour, more kept on going east.

this is very good to see. hope it continues.

RoeDapple 6 years, 1 month ago

I worked for Farmers Co-op in the late '60's gnome and have been in and on both Lawrence elevators plus the one in Edgerton. Can't say I ever saw any ghosts, but my knees sure turned to ectoplasm when standing on top looking down! And even on days the wind isn't blowing at ground level, it howls like a banshee up there.................

David Lignell 6 years ago


Did you consider the unconscious spell you might be unknowingly casting on these hapless drivers? Back in Michigan, don't cha know, bearded gnomes use magic to guide people along the wooded and otherwise unfamiliar areas. Somehow you're drawing them to Elm and keeping them spellbound for your amusement.

Holy moly! It all makes sense now: lure them to Elm and then post a blog about it. Have you no limits to your teasing? You're like a cat with a mouse, only in this case you've captured several mice.

Let them leave now; you've had your fun ;-)

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

Roe, oh you've worked up there! oh my!

yes, walking past there I've heard that from ground level! plus the ventilation system in it, it sounds like a bucket with lopsided ball bearings rolling around in it!
that's why I'm convinced its haunted...maybe why you saw that face you thought was Charles Manson.
but Charles manson is still alive so he can't haunt it...unless he knows how to project himself through space and time!

hey, how high is that on the 4th st. grain elevator anyway?

okay David, I'll admit it, you're right that gnome's do have secret spells, besides knowing secrets and guarding underground treasures. [I wish I could find me some underground treasure!]

but I'll admit it here, yes I'm just toying with the motoring public of Lawrence. no, I won't stop! soon, I'll cast a spell at 6th and Mass st. too. bwhahahahaha! its a little complex to keep two spells going at once though.

mania, the signage for that idea I don't know if they could make it work. I agree it would be nice to somehow separate the north lawrencians from those passing through!

personally I think we open the gates on the levee and people drive on that for just the emergency, from n. 2nd down to n. 8th by the boat ramp. I'd give that up to help.

RoeDapple 6 years ago

gnome, could be wrong but seems I was told the elevator was 300 ft high. Seem much more when you're looking down! There are a series of buckets on belts to take the grain to the top. You may be hearing the wind gently moving them, like 100 yard wind chimes throughout the inner walls. I could definitely see how an abandoned structure like that would be spooky at night!

Ronda Miller 6 years ago

I'm so ashamed to know two such frequent bloggers and commentors (tormentors) and to see they have been red flagged by Jonathan. Have you no shame! :) hehehe

I think if what twinegirl says is true about the flow of traffic normally being one way that two way traffic would certainly be reason enough to make anyone take a moment's notice.

If it didn't pose a danger to people, it would almost be tempting (especially to someone with the mental attitude of DavidL) to go out in the dark of night and move things around a bit. In particular, it would be fun to place gnome at different key points. I think all of us should dress as gnome and stand in the twilight....would that frighten people or what! ;)

gnome, start writing your poem to go on N. Lawrence's roundabout...you know its coming......

btw, I enjoy kraut and mustard on my doggie.

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

okay, and Ronda, yours would definitely be two for a dollar!

oh no, dress up as gnome and show up around town! are you trying to start a citywide panic???

Roe, 300ft! oh, that's a lot of pullies! I'll bet the view from up there is mighty good though.
I still say its haunted. and maybe that's what's causing the small but problematic minority of drivers to pull up to 3rd and sit there, stunned, lost, uncertain what to do. it might just be the grain elevator ghost.
but then, what kinda ghost inhabits a grain elevator? maybe his name was in life Buckwheat?

RoeDapple 6 years ago

Well, I did know of a man named Milo Fields, could be a deceased relative of his........

(Clover Fields?)

(Al (Alfalfa) Fields?)

Strawberry Fields? Forever?

David Lignell 6 years ago


As you might have guessed, I had to behave myself at work today -- it's an HR thing. I suppose, too, it explains, in part, why I have free reign on blog "ding-dong ditch it" recently. (Only I use my real name, so it sort of defeats the purpose.) Still, it's fun (for me) and you can just call me Loki now. Brewhahahahah! (He laughs insanely.)

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

we could create a whole different traffic congestion phenomenon if you come down to 3rd and elm in your bikini Ronda!

no, I refuse to have my poem on a north lawrence roundabout! I'll instead assist the north lawrence special forces in taking it out, now that would be really poetic!

David Lignell 6 years ago

That's just silly, gnome. How could Ronda stop traffic in a bikini if she were "Running Naked With iPhone?"

(Oh, I'm going to pay at our next gathering = ;-0 )

gccs14r 6 years ago

Eye height. That's why something looks taller when you're standing on it than it does when you're on the ground looking up at it. You're adding 10-12' of height to the object by changing your perspective.

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

That's just silly, gnome. How could Ronda stop traffic in a bikini if she were “Running Naked With iPhone?”

---David, you're toast now!

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

today at the detour:

about 3;30p.m. north bound was backed up across the bridge causing backup on east bound 6th st for a block or two downtown.

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

and later, about 4;15p.m. the traffic was only stacked up halfway across the bridge. however, then a utility truck pulled up to the corner where traffic turns on to Elm. ... yes, the utility truck just stopped! took the driver a minute or two to resume forward motion and continue onto Elm. at that time Elm did not have traffic backed up.

there was no reason for the utility truck driver to pause unless he was contemplating either his Omphalus or the new construction site before him.
"hit the gas for God's sake!"

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