Friday, February 12, 2010


I love to travel long distances by car. In 24 hours I'm good for about 1200 miles, driving by myself. If there's another driver to do a few hours driving now and then, add another 500 to that. In a car with three good drivers, I'd have no qualms about traveling nonstop coast to coast.

There's something that often happens during a long car drive. It's a special thing for me. For a time, I might be struggling to stay awake, then I'd get in the zone and be good for hundreds of miles more. It's like a meditative state -especially on a long nearly deserted road late at night. There's a head space a long trip puts me into. I miss it when it's been too long between road trips.

It's pretty cool to leave the snows of NH on a Friday and by Saturday be lounging on a warm beach somewhere in the south.

When my wife and I decide to go on a trip, we can be out of the house in a matter of hours. That's if we take the time to do all the things necessary to be away for months at a time. If we decide to go on a weekend trip, we can be packed and out of the house in 20 minutes. I know, we decided to go camping spur of the moment and I timed it. I packed the camping gear while she put the suitcases together. Grabbed some food out of the pantry on the way out the door and we were set for the weekend. 20 minutes flat. Some people can't leave the house that quick if it's on fire.

The days of free and easy travel in the US may be coming to an end. In a couple states I've run into checkpoints run by the Border Patrol. It's a weird feeling and a bad sign. Totalitarian states have internal checkpoints, not free countries.

There are other things that can doom car travel. Travel may become too darn expensive. Fuel could go to $10/gallon or more. The roads could deteriorate to the point of uselessness. It could just become unsafe to be on the road. What's a guy with wanderlust to do?

I've toyed with different travel ideas. Forget public transportation. The airlines treat people in a manner no self respecting free citizen should tolerate. Train travel can work, but not everywhere. I've traveled the Hudson River corridor into NYC that way. However, there's a lot of places trains don't go. The same can be said for buses. It can be a chore to get across the country using buses. Once calculated what it would take to go see my dad in FL by bus. There are no direct routes to his town. Some layovers would be up to 12 hours long. Did not sound like my idea of fun.

Maybe in my younger days I'd have traveled across the country by bicycle. The thought no longer excites me -too fat for those bicycle seats. Hitchhiking? It's still car travel, just with random strangers driving. I've had some success with hitchhiking. Didn't have any other transportation choices at the time. Much to my surprise, people picked me up. I'd won't pick up a guy who looks like me. Still, not a reliable method of travel.

Thought of learning how to fly a small private plane -perhaps something in the sport class. Expense is a problem. Fuel is an issue. I don't trust the petroleum distribution system with my car. That's why my vehicles can run on waste veggie oil. Aviation gas might be hard to get when I need it. While flying is tempting. Hey, it's flying! The downsides are just too risky.

Sailboats caught my attention. There are plenty of bargains out there as people unload toys. Good seaworthy sailboats can be had for the price of a used car. The wind is free. I could sleep and cook on the boat. I do love the water. There are possibilities. I can picture myself heading south in the fall and back north in the spring. Heck, I may even be able to get my wife on board with the idea.

I could visit friends and family along the coasts. However, it might be tough to visit my friends in Kentucky. Sorry Dan. (Of course, if I could sail up the Mississippi . . .)

Anyway, for now, it's car travel. I tend to drive the speed limit or less. I'm no longer getting paid to drive fast. It's all about driving steady. My vehicles can go a long long way on the veggie fuel tanks and there's always room for my copy of Jack Kerovac's "On the Road."


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