By Grant McGee: Local columnist
I have recently returned from spending a few days visiting The Lady of the House’s family in her hometown of Fort Walton Beach, Fla.
I’ve heard there are some Air Force folks who are a bit anxious about giving up their home there on Florida’s Emerald Coast to be posted at Cannon Air Force Base.
Some, apparently with tongue firmly in cheek, have come up with a new name for our area: “Af-Cannon-stan.”
Folks from Fort Walton Beach or any of those other towns on Florida’s Emerald Coast near Eglin AFB and Hurlburt Field might just find a few things are better here.
Home insurance here doesn’t get abruptly canceled because of high hurricane risk. The humidity is much lower so you don’t have to keep reminding the kids to close the potato chip bag.
There are more sunny days here so you can work on your tan and, most important of all, the traffic is not as bad.
When I think of going to Fort Walton Beach, the first thing I think of is having to deal with the traffic. It seems constant, heavy and slow moving. I believe there are more people in the Fort Walton Beach area than the roads were designed to handle.
When we’re visiting in Fort Walton Beach, decisions on where to go and where to shop are based on which side of the street the place is and which way we’re turning when we’re through.
For instance, one of the main streets of Fort Walton Beach is Racetrack Road. The traffic seems to be endless, like a moving roadblock.
Making a left turn onto that road without a traffic light is no easy task. I mean, I’m sure people execute this maneuver regularly but they’re probably the same folks who bungee jump, parachute out of planes or drink milk a week after its expiration date.
One day on our visit we were trying to decide where to go for lunch.
“I want to go to my favorite hamburger joint,” said The Lady of the House.
“Where is it?” I asked, as I’m a stranger in a strange land in Fort Walton Beach.
“It’s on Racetrack.”
“Oh, I see,” I said. We went to some other burger place.
Making a left turn onto Clovis’ Llano Estacado from Wally World’s back road or a left onto Prince around 4 p.m. on any weekday is far easier than making a left without a traffic light anywhere in Fort Walton Beach.
The way we handled left-hand turns while visiting Fort Walton Beach was to turn right, go to a place where we could turn left then execute a u-turn or uey.
It was while doing this that I experienced, for the first time in my life, a synchronized uey.
I was making my u-turn and a guy who pulled up behind me did his at the same time. This stereo uey gave me a weird, spooky feeling … but it felt good to know I wasn’t alone in dealing with Emerald Coast left turns.
Come on out to Clovis, folks. We have wide-open spaces, things are a little cheaper, the school folks have been working to make our schools tops and the overall vibe is just a little more easy-going.
And I guarantee the traffic is better than Fort Walton Beach’s. Well, except for Commerce Way and Prince around 4 p.m. weekdays. But they’re working on that.
Grant McGee hosts the weekday morning show on KTQM-FM in Clovis. Contact him at: