THE ROAD TRIP
Road trippin in my continental Gt speed... just kidding it's an equinox
As I drive the 543 miles to Chicago with my girlfriend and her mother, numerous things occur to me on the intricacies of the road trip. Oh how the road trip has changed from the exploratory stages of expedition on horse back, or even worse, walking, to the monotony of road travel on needle straight ribbons of tarmac. The famous Lewis and Clark covered roughly 75 miles a day, taking two years to trek from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean, and today I am covering over 500 at a comfortable 75 miles an hour, with far fewer rations of food and exceptionally less ardor. But how different the experience is; that the reason for the road trip is to get somewhere, and hardly ever about the storied cliché of the journey itself. Road travel and the automobile have made the road trip an impressive display of power in traversing land; however, it is no longer exciting, entertaining, enlivening, or exploratory.
Signage of the directional variety.
As I sit in the confines of an overly stuffed Equinox, I ponder what it must have been like to literally explore new territory, but what I truly think about is the difference between a vehicle that simply drives on the road during a long journey, and one that belongs on the road (here’s the car bit). My wonderment sits in the premise of comfort over a long journey. As I have never had the honor to sit in a Bentley Continental GT, for example, let alone drive one a great distance, I cannot imagine that a car can be completely comfortable over a stretch of 300 miles or more. Your legs cramp, your back hurts, you get the pent up need to move, and the just plain uncomfortable feeling of sitting for so long. I would like to think that sitting in an exceptional GT car is like floating down the road at 90 mph in complete bliss, hardly feeling as if the 500 mile journey even happened. I would also like to think that it is exciting and entertaining, while being relaxing and comforting. Especially with 600 rampant horses delivered in a raucous noise of fiery fury at the disposal of your right foot, while being cocooned in leather, wood, and carbon fibre (perhaps cocooned is not the most adequate descriptive for the latter two). I dream of making road trips in a GT car that eats up the miles with ease, alas, that time is not near.
A companion of the giraffe variety.
But as I think these things, I must return to the reality of making the current trip entertaining. My brother and I would always play a game on our road trips called Rubber Necker’s. The goal was to check off a list of items that you would spot out of the window, mostly absurd or obscure things, and receive points for them. For example, a pair of underwear hanging from a clothesline, a dog taking a poo, or a car with a plethora of bumper stickers. This passed the time very well, and usually channeled our competitiveness, which made our parents super happy. But today, I write and think, which passes the time just as well.
A car of the GT variety.
Photo Credit: Me, but not the Bentley, obviously.