Skepticism

AI: Road Trippin’

By the time this posts, Tim3P0 and I will be on the road, headed for warmer climes.  We’ve decided to escape winter for a little while, and we’ll be making our way to California via a slightly meandering route; stopping to see friends along the way.  Neither of us has ever done anything like this before, at least not in our adult lives where we are the ones driving.  I’m very much looking forward to it.  I like the flexibility of car travel.  Even though we do have a skeletal itinerary, it can change on the fly if we want it to.

How do you feel about road trips?  Do you enjoy the journey, or would you rather just get someplace and get on with it?  Do you have any fun road games to suggest?


The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear daily at 3pm ET.

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28 Comments

  1. If the purpose of the trip is to get somewhere then the driving is just work. If, on the other hand, it’s about the journey and seeing the sights then I enjoy the trip. Sometimes we try to combine the two but the things to be done at the end of the trip always seem to intrude into the mood and turn it into a exercise in getting to someplace.

  2. Love road trips as they usually end up at National Parks or other such places. My wife is a professional story teller among her other talents and I really enjoy hearing her read books out loud while on the road.

  3. I’ve been cris- crossing the country for years. From the bohemian days, fueled by amphetamines and one david bromberg cassette played over and over again, to the more recent times with an ipod loaded with podcasts and audio books, and more music than I know what to do with. Always wanted to take my time and see all the sights, but there always seemed to be a ridiculously tight deadline or a ridiculously tight budget. (crossed the country once with 300 dollars for food, gas, and lodging. Slept in my car, cooked on my campstove, and lived in my car once I arrived.) I still get off on it, a little. I’ll do it again. If you are going from Minn. to Cal., you might want to cut south to avoid all the weather that comes down from Canada. I once got caught in Cheyenne for 2 days by a huge snowstorm. I read Public Enemies recently, and it was pretty interesting how the automobile made that type of crime possible. Those gangsters really put on the miles.

  4. Love road trips, but don’t do it enough. I grew up shuttling between San Diego and northern Arizona (my parents were divorced), and loved the trips. Other than I had to travel with my younger brother and sister, whose only entertainment was making me miserable. Now I can travel by myself, with nobody kneeing me in the back or screaming in my ear.

    But I rarely have the time for a long trip now days, just drives to the desert for hiking.

  5. @davew: by your logic, we should all be luddites and never leave the town we were born in. i’m sorry, but i’m just not buying it. i have one go round on this earth, and i intend to make the most of it by seeing as many places and experiencing as many things with as many great people as i can.

    and it’s not like we’re driving a bus. our corolla gets nearly 40 mpg, which is better than almost anything else on the road.

    given the complex situation we find ourselves in regarding carbon emissions and developed vs developing countries, and our economic dependence on the system we have now, i really think the climate change problem is one that will have to be addressed through technology rather than any large-scale lifestyle change on the part of the masses. sorry, i’m just being a realist.

    is some bad shit gonna happen? maybe, but most of the science suggests that we’re sort of past the tipping point, so our fate is pretty much sealed no matter what we do. if the worst case scenario comes true, well, we adapt and move on. it’s sort of what we do.

  6. I spent 5-6 years following the Grateful Dead around the entire country. Since Jerry died, I spend as much time as possible going to music festivals. Everything from Magnolia Fest in Florida to String Summit in Oregon. Good tunes, good friends, and a reliable set of wheels make the journey as enjoyable as the destination. OTOH, the ride back home after 3-6 days of balls-out revelry can and will often suck. Badly.

  7. I tend to listen to books on tape, podcasts, and comedy cds to get my through my road trips, Mitch Hedberg and Lewis Black (just a couple of examples, I do bring many others) have really gotten me through some rough drives. This past summer for my vacation, I drove down to Chicago to see Blue Man, the next day I drove to Minnesota to a place that would let me drive a tank and crush 2 cars with it, totally worth the drive.

  8. @carr2d2: is some bad shit gonna happen? maybe, but most of the science suggests that we’re sort of past the tipping point, so our fate is pretty much sealed no matter what we do. if the worst case scenario comes true, well, we adapt and move on. it’s sort of what we do.

    I agree to a point. I think our fate is sealed because the vast majority of people will make exactly the same sort of self-serving rationalizations that you just made and keep doing what they do until the worst happens. I accept this. What I have a harder time accepting is that why so many otherwise intelligent people would rather be part of the problem than part of the solution. And no, your reductio ad absurdum argument is not a solution.

  9. I have always loved road trips. I will almost always drive before flying unless time prohibits the drive. I don’t have a fear of flying, just a complete disgust of the airline industry and the whole process. Sorry I can’t help you with the games. I quite often don’t even have the radio on.

    The only advice I would offer is to avoid Wyoming at all costs. While I was driving trucks over the road, Wyoming was pretty much a guarenteed place to get stuck for a while.

    If you have time to take the long way. Go on Google maps put in your start and finsh and then after your route is calculated click on show options. They have a wonderful little box that says avoid highways. I used this on a recent trip and it was amazing, not a single interstate for over 1000 miles.

  10. @davew: You clearly have intellectual command of the situation. Unfortunately, this isn’t an intellectual problem. It’s a social problem. Because almost all people will continue to follow the current norms until there is enforcement of new policies, which are clearly coming ‘soon,’ there is no incentive for individuals to self-regulate.

    You act like we are out of resources when we aren’t. The rest of us act like we are almost out of resources. When organisms are almost out of resources, they use the resource at an increased rate (a form of hording). The idea is to get as many genes out into the world as possible. And, yes, it is doubtful that carr2d2 and tim3p0 are mating with other people at all the locations they are going to. However, that resource consumption behavior is still present and expected in sexually reproducing species.

    @Everyone: As far as car games go? I like to just open my mouth and listen to the soothing sound of my own voice.

  11. @slxpluvs: As far as car games go? I like to just open my mouth and listen to the soothing sound of my own voice.

    This led to my divorce… which, on the whole, was a good thing.

    On my last long car trip I decided that 14 hours in a car was a perfect time to finally get through the Silmarillion on book tape. This was an atrociously bad plan, but nearly succeeded in ending my carbon footprint.

  12. @slxpluvs: “..it is doubtful that carr2d2 and tim3p0 are mating with other people at all the locations they are going to..”

    dammit, you’re on to phase one of my diabolical master plan to take over the world with an army of me! luckily phase 2 went into effect 15 minutes ago while you all were flying down to my secret Antarctic fortress.

    Now at the push of this big red button, i shall make everyone get into their gas-powered vehicle and drive somewhere. mwuuuuahahahahahahaha!!!!! mwuuuuuuuahahahahaha!!!!! mwuuuuuahahahahaha!!!!

  13. Unless we’re really trying to get somewhere fast, I try to find interesting stuff to do and places to eat along the way. But if we’re going somewhere far, I would rather just get there. I bring lots of books to read and my husband has his Sirius and/or iPod.

    Usually, the trouble with a long road trip is that the whole time you’re there you still have that long drive home and that can put a shadow over everything. Honestly, I would rather drive twice as far to get there and then just be able to zap myself home instantly.

  14. I’ve always wanted to cross the country via the northern route, on Rte 2, which is a secondary highway that crosses through all the northern states. I’ve thought about a camping/motorcycle trip during september, along this route, since I was about 16. Still haven’t made it. One of these days….

  15. I’m a fly-there girl. I hate road trips.

    I also have a love for O’Hare. I know most people hate it, but O’Hare has been the last one to see me off and the first one to welcome me home after almost all of my adventures.

    Though with the new TSA crap, I might have to become a drive-there girl… I don’t travel well without my electronic entertainment.

  16. @Carr2d2, we are making the same trip as you are, only about one week later (and we won’t be stopping at @Starstryder’s en route :). And we only get about 8 mpg in our house. I hope to get to LA by the first week of January. If so, maybe drinks or dinner with you guys and the Surly crew.

  17. In 2005, I went on a road trip with two friends from São Paulo over Rio de Janeiro and Curitiba to via the Foz do Iguaçu (with one unfortunate detour into Paraguay) across Argentina and finally to Valparaiso, Chile before returning to Brazil by much the same route except ending up in Belo Horizonte. It was a fantastic trip. And while all the stuff we saw was fun and exciting, I remember some of the best times as being just sitting in the car as we were driving from town to town, listening to loud music on the stereo, eating oreos (which the brazilians call negrescos) and goofing off.
    A few lessons we learned:
    – Paraguay is to be avoided at all costs
    – When going to see the Iguaçu falls, don’t actually drive into the town of Foz do Iguaçu let alone stay at a hotel there
    – The roads in Argentina are fantastically good. The roadsigns are either absent or wildly misleading.
    – You can still drive pretty far just on the fumes when the display tells you the tank is empty.
    – In Argentina, all food is made out of meat.
    РDriving through Ṣo Paulo during rush hour is very significantlt slower than walking.

  18. @Rei Malebario:

    I don’t know much about traveling through South America, but what I have learned from the movie Up is that it’s best if you just travel using your house and balloons, but don’t cut the balloons too soon or you’ll end up miles short of where you wanted to land and you’ll have to haul your house on your back.

    Also, don’t tell anyone if you happen to see any cool birds. And bring chocolate.

  19. I love to travel by car, second only to canoe. My beef with most modern travel is the way it hides the world you are travelling over. Trains are nice and motorcycles would be perfect if not for my safety first mind set brought on by parent hood.

    @ DaveW
    Not sure what to say, you’ve got a view that is clearly unshakable. Can’t say I disagree with it entirely but personally I think we’d be better off if more people got in thier rides and saw this world we are supposed to be saving. A few road trips a year are nothing compared to the cost of transporting the ocean of shit so many of us are commited to consuming. Sure it’s my justification, but hey, you’ve got yours.

  20. I tend to side with Eric and Elyse.
    I’d rather “be there” on the whole, though I do love to fly. (Don’t, PLEASE don’t, ask me about my aborted trip to MO over Christmas to see my new grandson. Just…don’t.)

    For me, the trip tends to be a boring (I don’t like long-distance driving much) interlude between leaving for somewhere and arriving. I’m probably tailor made for the ST Transporter.

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