So what did we learn?
If you saw Andrea Walker's article in Tuesday morning's Sun, by now you have absorbed a moral lesson on the folly of everybody at the beach departing for home on the same time on the Monday of a three-day weekend.
Too often we let these experiences drift away quickly into collective amnesia. But by doing a bit of post-mortem, we could perhaps learn to avoid some unpleasant experiences in the future.
For instance, if you wait to depart for home until a civilized hour on the Monday of a holiday weekend the question is not whether you will hit a backup on the way to the Bay Bridge but how many hours it will last. Getting an early start doesn't mean 10 a.m. or 11 a.m. It means something like 7 a.m.
Sadly, Walker's story made it painfully obvious that some folks don't know their Bay Bridge tipping point = the geographical spot at which it becomes more advantageous to go north around the head of the bay rather than use the Bay Bridge. She cited the example of one couple who live in Pikesville and were vacationing in Bethany Beach. They used the Bay Bridge and got caught up in an hours-long jam.
For Pikesville residents, even at the most traffic-free times, the Bay Bridge offers only a 10-minute advantage over the northern route in getting to Bethany. At times of peak travel, that advantage becomes a big deficit.
Let me be explicit: If you live in Baltimore, Towson, Pikesville, Essex, Catonsville or any of the nearby suburbs and you're heading to the Delaware beaches, you should probably forget the Bay Bridge ever existed.
Unless you're traveling a 3 a.m or at midday on a Tuesday. And perhaps not even then because anything can happen on that narrow bottleneck. You're much better off on Interstate 95 north.
(Click here for more details on when and how to reach the beach via the northern route.)
If any readers have reports on where the bad backups were during Memorial Day week travel, I'd be happy to hear about them and share them with others. I don't have much to report. I stayed home.