Rethinking the ‘long haul’ ride.
Freedom—it’s the best part of owning a car. Go where you wanna go, do what you gotta do. I think the classic road trip is a mixture of needing to get somewhere and enjoying the ride.
When I lived in LA, road trips were a regular part of my life. Mainly because gas was cheap and family was far. On a good day it was 4.5 hours see a couple of siblings and niece & nephews, 6 hours to get to my dad’s, 12 hours door to door to my mother’s and the holy green chile of New Mexico. My other sister’s family is a bit too far at 3-5 days—thank goodness for planes. For as much as I hated car trips when I was a kid (we moved a lot), I didn’t mind so much when I was driving. I even half think that my husband became my husband because I took him on a road trip the year he came to visit me.
Now that I am in the UK, I don’t take as many long car trips. You’d think in a country smaller than Florida, we’d be exploring every weekend, but that is simply not practical. The capital of Scotland may be only 400 some-odd miles away, but that would be a very long trip here. Let me put it into perspective. Week before last, we headed down to the Jurassic coast. It was amazing, but it took forever to get there. Two and a half hours to go about 90 miles. I had to have a pee break half way through. We had to get fuel. Two and a half hours for 90 miles. This was due to fog, my evil sat nav, many, many tiny roads and traffic that comes with them.
You just don’t have the same long, sensible stretches of highway (motorway) here. It’s not a bad thing—necessarily—it makes you pay attention. You have to slow down going through a village, or stop at a level crossing and let a train pass. You see more of the countryside, see more of the people living here. I like it. In theory. Sometimes, I just want to get where I am going—faster.
This trip was good, we were honouring my sister, visiting a beach she would have liked. When we finally made it to the coast, the view was incredible and although we didn’t find any fossils, we did have a nice picnic on the rocks. We came home covered in chalk, tracking sand, and poor Smartie Pantz was layered in dirt and muck from the wet, muddy roads.
Last year we had two big trips in The Mistress. We went to France for both (one Chunnel ride, with no breakdowns, and one ferry crossing). Road tripping in a Daytona is not exactly fun. Well not for me, anyway, I am only a passenger soaking up the petrol fumes. Fortunately, we had a lot of lovely stops (and lovely champagne) and great people to meet up with as we went. We honored my father-in-law on the first of those trips, which felt right. He would have loved it.
Moral of the story? I guess I’m not so ready to give up on road trips, even if I have to adjust my thinking about how far is far and fill up way more often. As I cleaned the dirt and sand off the car on Saturday, I was already thinking of where we could go next. After all, I have my freedom.