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May 25, 2011

Getting There

by JHW

I was on the road this week, which means two things:

  1. A short and fairly off-topic post inspired by my travels
  2. We will be back to our regularly scheduled car content on Monday!  See you then…

I hate to fly!  The thought of being 30,000 feet in the air going 700 mph has always been terrifying to me – I am a frequent business traveler, and hate the experience more each time!  Thank goodness I am an auto enthusiast, and a tremendous fan of the great American road trip.  I have driven clear across the country three times (in three years) and yearn to do it again… and again.

On Monday morning I woke up, packed the 911, and headed to Las Vegas for a long night of food, drinks, entertaining & financial loss.   I woke up hours later for meetings, and sprinted back to my car, excited for round two of my (tease of a) road trip.  The opportunity to spend a few hours alone in my car is a therapeutic release & mental cleansing – a time to bond with my machine, and experience all of its capabilities on the open road.  With a garment bag laid out on the rear shelf, and overnight bag on the rear seat – the car was transformed into trekking mode (In a 997 Carrera, I recommend engaging sport mode for easier long-term throttle modulation, going wing-up for better cooling, and latte holders open and filled at all times).  There is something about a road trip… you wake up each day ready for an adventure, and there is usually ample opportunity to find one!  In these times of technological overload, it is one of the few escapes our connected society allows for.  My Blackberry was switched to silent, iPhone to vibrate and stashed in a bag, iPad deuce and laptop out of reach in the back – ahhh…  time to put the hammer down and un-think.


Bear with me as I tiptoe dangerously close to cheese…  there is something romantic about seeing the country through a windshield.  So much is lost when you fly from one place to another – New York City turns into Los Angeles in a blink (ok, in 6 hours), and there is no transition in scenery except the seatback in front of you.  When you drive, cities melt into suburbia, then grow into farmland.  You can pull off at any time and see how people live, how foreign their experiences are from your own.  One of my favorite parts of agenda-free travel is to exit at random, and get to know a town for an hour or so.  These seemingly unremarkable “fly-over” states are filled with meaning.  People are born there, raised there, they fall in love and die there – and experiencing a sliver of it enriches your life story.  I have accidentally stumbled upon some of my favorite roads & restaurants just by stopping where most wouldn’t.  I partied on Bourbon Street, got fitted for a Stetson in Texas, discovered a great beach town in Alabama, nightlife in Indiana, the best steak I have ever had in the middle of nowhere Oklahoma.

Sure, it’s not all fun and games; during my various long distance drives I ate the worst meal of my life (Gallup, New Mexico), experienced the outer edge of an F5 tornado (October 9, 2001 disaster in Oklahoma), almost got clipped by a police chase, witnessed an 18 wheeler jack-knife a few lanes over, and had my car stolen for a joy ride.  If you drive for 3,000 miles, there is strong potential for something to go wrong, but an equal and opposite opportunity to build lifelong memories.

I leave you for now with some imagery from this weeks travel, as I look forward to my next adventure.

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