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Just returned from STX and STT: some observations  

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mtdoramike
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May 6, 2014 12:16 pm  

Randy & Taj, I'm glad you made it home in one piece and enjoyed your stay. I wouldn't let Debbie Downer's distract you from your ultimate goal of becoming an Islander. Also, you will get used to the driving, it generally takes me a couple of days of driving on St. Thomas to get back to the swing of things and within a week, it's old hat. YES, you will get into accidents, fortunately majority of the time they are only minor fender benders and can be solved by pulling out a couple hundred dollars out of your pocket if it's questionable as far as your fault goes. No cops, no harm, no foul. You also need to take into consideration, you will become a minority once you move to the islands and I'm not referring to race. You will become a "STATE SIDER, YANKEE FROM THE STATES. But most locals you run into will be fine, but then there's that select few who will have an issue with you, cops included.

I say hurry on back, the fun in the sun is waiting for you.


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Native Son
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May 6, 2014 12:17 pm  

Doc, Taj spent the whole trip driving on STX, we didn't drive on STT, we used taxis.

She does agree with you that SEVERAL times she saw people stop and let another motorist turn or cross--- but in driving on the one divided highway---- speeds of the surrounding motorists were WELL OVER posted limits, drivers straddling lanes, not signaling before turning, etc. We saw many accidents and near-misses.

This is the other part of your assessment that I'm sorry, feels like exaggeration to me. While some people drive crazy on STX, most are pretty normal and many are very polite. Yes, as speee1dy mentions, sometimes stop signs are suggestions and some lights you don't stop for at night, but in general I never experienced the "NASCAR" experience you describe.

And I question how you saw "many accidents and near-misses" on a stretch of road that in many parts it's not possible to go that fast, and in the 7-ish miles where some people do speed I've never seen an accident in three years of driving on the island. How much did you drive on this road? You make it sound like a bumper car road rally.

The only accidents I ever saw on STX were generally at night on side roads after people had had a few too many rum cocktails, and generally were tourists driving on the wrong side of the road (rum drinks = forgetting to drive on the left) hitting oncoming traffic.

While it is clear that driving on STX had quite an impression on you both, I find this entire assessment to be a bit of hyperbole. Quite often on STX you are the only driver on a road, or one of a few. Most drive sensibly, even while ignoring some signs and speed limits, and you ignore the few nut jobs here and there, like other places.

Well I can tell you coming from the states, islanders drive CRAZY, I first learned to drive on St. Thomas and got my first drivers license there. I was involved in a total of 4 accidents in less than three years on the island, nothing major and this was back in the early 70's. But I have never been in an accident in the states in over 40 years. So yes, every time we visit family on St. Thomas and either get driven around, borrow a car or rent a car, driving on St. Thomas is a whole other animal than driving in the states and yes, when there, we often see fender benders almost on a daily basis. My daughter was on island a few months ago and while going to dinner, her uncle ran into a car while it was backing out into the road. Fortunately no one was hurt. Now, St. Croix might be a different situation, I've never driven there and have only been to St. Croix back when Eastern Airlines used to land in St. Croix from St. Thomas for immigration to check and verify citizenship before depsrting for Miami.

Interesting...

St. Croix is host to the Ironman Triathlon...happened last Sunday. Prior to the triathlon, there are hundreds of athletes cycling all over St. Croix, in our traffic. Not one of these athletes got hurt. As usual, people tend to exaggerate when it comes to St. Croix.

Monday morning, on my way to work, I stopped to assist a lady (Caucasian, for those of you who care about such things) who had a blowout. Within five minutes, another three motorists also stopped to help. We changed her tire (she had no jack or lug wrench so one of the guys who stopped went to his house and returned with a hydraulic jack). Nobody who stopped to help wanted anything in return...just a polite "thank you".

That's how we drive on St. Croix.


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Linda J
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May 6, 2014 1:19 pm  

There was a time or two when my car was disabled on the side of the road, probably empty gas tank. I was always amazed and a little embarrassed by how many drivers stopped to ask if I was ok.


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mtdoramike
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May 6, 2014 1:50 pm  

Doc, Taj spent the whole trip driving on STX, we didn't drive on STT, we used taxis.

She does agree with you that SEVERAL times she saw people stop and let another motorist turn or cross--- but in driving on the one divided highway---- speeds of the surrounding motorists were WELL OVER posted limits, drivers straddling lanes, not signaling before turning, etc. We saw many accidents and near-misses.

This is the other part of your assessment that I'm sorry, feels like exaggeration to me. While some people drive crazy on STX, most are pretty normal and many are very polite. Yes, as speee1dy mentions, sometimes stop signs are suggestions and some lights you don't stop for at night, but in general I never experienced the "NASCAR" experience you describe.

Well there you go, that is one of those warm & fuzzy feel good moments and I'm sure there are tons of them to go around.

And I question how you saw "many accidents and near-misses" on a stretch of road that in many parts it's not possible to go that fast, and in the 7-ish miles where some people do speed I've never seen an accident in three years of driving on the island. How much did you drive on this road? You make it sound like a bumper car road rally.

The only accidents I ever saw on STX were generally at night on side roads after people had had a few too many rum cocktails, and generally were tourists driving on the wrong side of the road (rum drinks = forgetting to drive on the left) hitting oncoming traffic.

While it is clear that driving on STX had quite an impression on you both, I find this entire assessment to be a bit of hyperbole. Quite often on STX you are the only driver on a road, or one of a few. Most drive sensibly, even while ignoring some signs and speed limits, and you ignore the few nut jobs here and there, like other places.

Well I can tell you coming from the states, islanders drive CRAZY, I first learned to drive on St. Thomas and got my first drivers license there. I was involved in a total of 4 accidents in less than three years on the island, nothing major and this was back in the early 70's. But I have never been in an accident in the states in over 40 years. So yes, every time we visit family on St. Thomas and either get driven around, borrow a car or rent a car, driving on St. Thomas is a whole other animal than driving in the states and yes, when there, we often see fender benders almost on a daily basis. My daughter was on island a few months ago and while going to dinner, her uncle ran into a car while it was backing out into the road. Fortunately no one was hurt. Now, St. Croix might be a different situation, I've never driven there and have only been to St. Croix back when Eastern Airlines used to land in St. Croix from St. Thomas for immigration to check and verify citizenship before depsrting for Miami.

Interesting...

St. Croix is host to the Ironman Triathlon...happened last Sunday. Prior to the triathlon, there are hundreds of athletes cycling all over St. Croix, in our traffic. Not one of these athletes got hurt. As usual, people tend to exaggerate when it comes to St. Croix.

Monday morning, on my way to work, I stopped to assist a lady (Caucasian, for those of you who care about such things) who had a blowout. Within five minutes, another three motorists also stopped to help. We changed her tire (she had no jack or lug wrench so one of the guys who stopped went to his house and returned with a hydraulic jack). Nobody who stopped to help wanted anything in return...just a polite "thank you".

That's how we drive on St. Croix.


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terry
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May 6, 2014 1:58 pm  

MTDORAMIKE,
I had the same experience. We had a flat on our Bronco II on Northshore road by Salt River.
Five cars past by with three offering to help. THe last one driven by a Rasta guy refused to take no for an answer. He had a little floor jack and did most of the work. Would not take any money, but did take a beer.
Here in AZ I always figured if I was driving my street rod ( custom or modified vehicle ) another hotrodder would stop to help.
Well, I was driving a customers modified 1956 Chevy on the freeway and had a flat. Turns out his lug wrench would not fit the lugs on his mag wheels. Probably more than a thousand cars past by before the tow truck I called came. Not one person stopped!
I'll take STX drivers any time.


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speee1dy
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May 6, 2014 4:02 pm  

native son, i really dont think anyone cares about the color as much as you think they do


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Native Son
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May 6, 2014 7:08 pm  

native son, i really dont think anyone cares about the color as much as you think they do

😀 nice to know!


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mtdoramike
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May 7, 2014 11:58 am  

I don't, I just appreciate the fact that someone in this day and age is willing to go out of their way to assist someone else. It doesn't happen in the states very often.


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speee1dy
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May 7, 2014 12:13 pm  

now with cops i found the opposite. here hubby had an accident. cop was behind him. cop told hubby another cop would be here soon and drove away.
in the states i was following my brother to take his car for service. he pulled to the shoulder and i followed him. cop followed us. came straight to me and made sure i was okay and not being harassed by my brother. he asked multiple times, then went to brother to make sure he was okay and that everything was fine.

too me that speaks volumes. here you have to wait sometimes hours just to get a cop to show up for anything.


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JulieKay
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May 7, 2014 1:17 pm  

Interesting...

St. Croix is host to the Ironman Triathlon...happened last Sunday. Prior to the triathlon, there are hundreds of athletes cycling all over St. Croix, in our traffic. Not one of these athletes got hurt. As usual, people tend to exaggerate when it comes to St. Croix.

Monday morning, on my way to work, I stopped to assist a lady (Caucasian, for those of you who care about such things) who had a blowout. Within five minutes, another three motorists also stopped to help. We changed her tire (she had no jack or lug wrench so one of the guys who stopped went to his house and returned with a hydraulic jack). Nobody who stopped to help wanted anything in return...just a polite "thank you".

That's how we drive on St. Croix.

This is why I was surprised at RandyNTaj's assessment of driving on St. Croix. In my years I never saw what they described more than once or twice.

A good friend of ours had his truck break down in the middle of Times Square one night at 2am - he and his girlfriend on the way home from bar hopping - they were really nervous that they might meet trouble there that time of night. Instead several men came over and helped him push his truck to the side of the road, and sat and had beers together while they waited for his friend to come pick them up.

Another good friend got a flat tire in front of the housing in Golden Rock - same thing, many people came to help her change her flat.

The general attitude in driving on St. Croix is more laid back. Yes sometimes around Sunny Isle things back up, but it's a bumper-to-bumper inch-along thing, not people driving crazy. I think the only thing crazy about St. Croix driving is some of the roads have blind curves and are narrow (like South Shore, in places) and coming around a curve and finding a cyclist or other car in front of you is nerve-wracking. A friend of mine got hit on his bike that way. But the "road rally" stuff described, in my personal experience, I rarely saw, just the occasional high-speeder on the highway.

I could never drive on STT - every time I visited there I got the willies scared out of me. The steep hills with the switch-back curves, the general volume of traffic and narrow roads, I couldn't deal with that. Not a dig against STT, just a different island with different conditions.


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singlefin
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May 7, 2014 3:25 pm  

About a month ago I pulled to the side of the road to answer a cell phone call. When I was done, I pulled back out onto the road and took out both driver's side tires. Apparently there was an old survey marker attached to 1/2" steel rod (rebar) hidden in the grass. A common problem I found out latter on STX. I sat at the corner of MIss Bea and East End rd for about a half hour waiting on a friend.
I also had about a dozen people stop to ask if I needed help. Old / young, black / white, beat up pick-up trucks to a high end BMW.


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Alana33
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May 7, 2014 3:49 pm  

I had a lady reverse into the backend of my newly restored and freshly painted truck a couple weeks ago while I was sitting in the truck having just come from the Recorder of Deeds Office. She obviously didn't look where she was reversing as the first thing she said was "you weren't parked there when I pulled in." I had to laugh as my truck is quite a bit larger that her car and hard to miss.

I decided not to make a fuss or call police to file a report since I had a busy schedule, needed to keep to it and granted, while I wasn't happy about this fresh dent in my newly restored pick-up, I figured it was inevitable. We exchanged numbers as she said she'd have her mechanic fix it and would call me later that night. She didn't call that night but did the next day, gave me her mechanics number and when I had time went by to see him and arrange repairs. The repairs were done at no cost to me, you can't tell it ever had a dent as it looks perfect, the lady and I continue to chat on the phone before and after the incident and repair and am glad we were able to work things out without any ill feelings and become friendly. She could have blown me off or given me a wrong contact number so it was a refreshing experience, all in all.


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Iris Tramm
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May 29, 2014 7:02 pm  

Ok, now you have to identify to protect others from this very unprofessional business.

You have a point. Sigh.
Olympic Car Rental and it went under ACE when I made the reservations online.
We wouldn't do that again--- we'll stay with the big names at the airport, and that's what we'd recommend to our clients/guests.

OMG. The poster who said you went with the worst agency is absolutely correct. I know the owner and used to sail with his brother. They and the staff there are rude, change policies and prices at a whim, and take horrible care of their cars. Avoid like the plague and purchase your own vehicle as soon as possible. I rarely had to rent vehicles in the decade I lived on STX as I had my own, but I usually stuck with the Airport national companies.

Best of luck. Glad you enjoyed STX. The driving is INSANE, but you do get somewhat used to it. If you're in a car. The only time someone should ride a bicycle on STX is if they're competing in the Ironman.

IT


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Iris Tramm
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May 29, 2014 7:03 pm  

St. Croix is host to the Ironman Triathlon...happened last Sunday. Prior to the triathlon, there are hundreds of athletes cycling all over St. Croix, in our traffic. Not one of these athletes got hurt. As usual, people tend to exaggerate when it comes to St. Croix.

But the roads are CLOSED during the IM. Totally different than trying to ride a bike with drivers.

IT


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islandjoan
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May 29, 2014 8:02 pm  

Iris, they said PRIOR to the triathlon, which is true, there were lots of cyclists on the road. Also joggers.

If I was driving closer to the left, and faster, I might have come close to hitting 2 joggers who were heading towards me on my side of the road, as I headed from west to east, around the last blind curve before the Buccaneer!


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speee1dy
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May 29, 2014 8:58 pm  

today on the way home from work on a curve as usual, bicyclist in the middle of the road and a scooter in the middle of the road going as slow as humanly possible and trying really hard not to pull over so i can pass and at least do the speed limit.

many times i have almost hit both joggers and bicyclists, they are just not as careful as they should be.


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