No Mileage Restrictions
I’m not talking about a road trip or vacation destination in a packed minivan. I mean long distance driving: No clear destination except for a state line or a landmark finish line. No hotel reservations or packed lunches. No mileage restrictions. Just the open road and as much speed as you can handle without being caught by exhaustion or police.
Maybe I’ve seen the same 1970’s road movies once too many times. The quotes from those movies are now tattooed in my subconscious and making me yearn for the open road and a high revving V8 screaming across the middle of nowhere.
I’m sure if I dig deep enough I’ll find a psychological answer. Something like me projecting my shyness and self-loathing on to my favorite personal hobby - driving. Running away from my insecurities under the mask of a faceless driver racking up the miles with no particular place to go. A millennial nomad without a hashtag. I wish that wasn’t the case, but it most likely is. If I don’t fit in I won’t try to. I’ll hit the road and be at peace instead. Gas money and lumber support is all I’ll need.
Perhaps I’m attracted to the challenge. Some people find their kicks climbing mountains or camping in the wildness to test their survival skills against nature. My kicks just happen to be 1,000+ miles in a given direction with a time to beat. The idea of racing against the clock seduces me. It’s the best opponent you could ask for. It doesn’t trash talk, will never cheat, and doesn’t care if it loses to you or not. The only variable is my right foot and I’ll hold it down until I start to hallucinate. A race against time is a race against the universe.
Is it dangerous? Very. Anything can happen on the road in this era of distracted drivers. Deer, drunks, speed traps, break downs, blow outs, or UFO’s, can catch you off guard at any second. They say that the line between bravery and stupidity is so thin that one never knows they’ve crossed it until their dead. All that means to me is that if the worst does happen I’ll be long gone before I get a chance to feel stupid.
But even in a race against time, and facing the unknowns of the road, I find peace. It can be lonely out there, but at least on the road the loneliness is accepted and self-provoked. I am 600 miles from home, alone, but because it was my decision to jump in a car and drive. There was no heart break, no fallen high hopes, no last minute disappointments, or an opportunity missed. Just passing mile makers and my thoughts in the rearview mirror. When they try to chase me down I just go faster.
Freedom. Nothing reminds you how small you are like a long distance drive. Passing through one mile towns, massive urban cities, and nothing but open country in between. You get lost thinking about how big the world is, and how little you’ve seen.
You wonder how people go about their lives in small towns just as much as you wonder about people in the big city. You observe society rather than be a part of it. A spectator of life. A high speed Anthropologist. Being a highway nomad is one of the best ways to be a ghost, with a pulse.
I don’t know why I love long distance driving so much. Is it Cannonball fever? Partly, I’ve been day dreaming about doing a solo drive across country since I was 17. Changes in society will probably prevent me from ever actually doing a record run, but I’ll settle for just completing the journey.
Why do I love long distance driving so much? I don’t know… Guess I’ll have to take a drive and think about it.