Circling Vergennes

It’s about a five and a half hour drive home from New York City, and by the last hour of that drive, you really want it to be over.  This is why it is so cruel for those signs for Vergennes to be messing with you so much.  Vergennes is a city about half an hour south of my house (the smallest city in the U.S., by the way), and as you approach it you begin to see signs letting you know how far away it is.

As I drove homeward yesterday, I saw a sign telling me that the city of Vergennes was a scant 19 miles away, putting me about an hour from home.

But then, a short while later, I saw another sign.

Okay, well, those signs were less than a mile apart, and maybe they are just rounding.  That’s fine.  Or at least it was fine until I saw the third sign.

Seriously?!  Have I gone no distance at all?!  How can Vergennes still be 19 miles away?  Am I caught in some sort of rift in the fabric of space-time?  Bridport does not seem to be getting any closer either.  And just when I think it cannot get any worse, I come upon a fourth sign.

So I am driving continually on a path, and no matter how far I go, I am always 19 miles away from Vergennes.  Mathematically, I must assume that I am on a road that is circling Vergennes, and the circle has a radius of exactly 19 miles.  But how to solve this problem, since I have to travel through Vergennes to get home?  The only solution is to diverge from the path and travel through a corn field in hopes of someday reaching the center of the circle and the road home.  But luckily that was not necessary, as the city mystically appeared before me, emerging from the snow like the mythic town of Brigadoon.  Perhaps Vergennes only materializes at certain times, and so the road could not get any closer to the city until the proper hour.

Or maybe those signs are stupid and someone is just messing with us weary travelers.  Either way, it drives me crazy.

Posted in Driving, Math, Photo, Vergennes.

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