There's not much to it pictorially, though Dan Piraro, the brains behind Bizarro, managed to include a few bits of visual interest as compared to my submission sketch. The birds perched on the sign are a neat touch, and I like the composition better with the railing and underpass anchoring it.
The idea for this gag occurred to me while on a drive from Pittsburgh to Maryland earlier this year, although there were no missed exits, or any other mishaps. The first scribbled line in my sketchbook used the term "Existential Highway," which felt a little lofty, almost poetic--and the point of the sign is to bring the driver back down to earth. "Turnpike" is a satisfyingly mundane term, very utilitarian. It also has that hard vowel at the end, and, when pronounced (aloud or in the mind) its guttural sound works better that the breathier "highway."
I have no deep explanation or analysis to offer for this one, except perhaps to say that sometimes it's good to slow down and wander away from your planned route.
Please feel free to plow through all of my previous collaborations with the talented and generous Mister Piraro, and watch for new gags in January. As of today, there are three in the pipeline. They'll pop up on January 3rd, the 9th, and the 16th.
Speaking of Dan, I highly recommend reading his very entertaining blog, which often includes amusing insights into his creative process. You might be seeing Dan on TV sometime in the future as well!
Thanks to everyone who's followed along and offered encouragement, comments and critiques throughout the year. 2012 has been busy, productive, educational and rewarding, and it didn't end on December 21st!
I wish all of you a New Year of health, prosperity and peace.