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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    South Central Orange County
    Posts
    249

    Default What drives you to hit the road?

    This question touches some issues included in the Road Trip Profile, but I want to go a bit deeper.

    What makes you drive to a distant destination instead of flying?

    For example, I am planning a trip from So' Cal' to central Oregon (near Bend) this coming summer. My wife would probably prefer to fly up to Portland and take a short hop to Bend from there. If that were too expensive, her second choice would be to rent a car from Portland and drive as little as possible? Why? Because she values speed and comfort.

    In my case, I would rather drive. I had to think of the reasons why I prefer driving to flying. Here's my list:

    1. Cost
    Driving is usually less expensive than flying and renting a car, unless the trip were from a hub on one side of the US to another. It would be far less expensive for me to fly from L.A. to Atlanta for a few days than to drive there. For most of my trips, however, driving is less expensive. I generally go off the beaten path, and it would be much more expensive to fly from Orange County to Bend, OR than to drive.

    2. Adventure
    This is the biggest reason for me. There are so many opportunities for side trips on the way to and from a destination that I can't resist taking the better ones. Oftentimes historic markers, town names, geologic features, and other things we come across whle driving inspire me to read up on and explore them.

    3. Education
    I can learn a lot more about these United States by driving through them than by flying over them. Stopping along the way sometimes brings me new accents or expressions, food, or other things "foreign" to me as a Southern Californian. Sometimes the drives include long stretches that may seem monotonous. Even those help me to better understand the areas. Some geologic features, flora and fauna, climate, etc. in one state look similar to those in another, and I like to learn why. I also like to learn why they can be so different.

    4. Relaxation
    Believe it or not, I can unwind better by driving along long stretches of country roads and highways than I can by flying as a passenger. The stress and strain of commercial airports doesn't lend itself to mental recreation. I'm so worried about making my flight, getting to my connections on time, making sure my rental reservations are in, etc. that I don't reflect much on anything else. When I drive my mind can play more. This doesn't mean daydreaming or "zoning out", but rather things I see get me to thinking about all kinds of things I normally wouldn't while sitting at home. It could be seeing a classic car, unusual topographic features, animals, historic markers, signs, or other things that gets me to pondering all kinds of things not related to work and other stress-inducers.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Interesting Post.

    Yeah, I have often thought about this. I will drive any day, no matter how much cheaper or more expensive it is. For me it does not come into the equation. It is numbers 2,3, and 4 which drive me (pun intended!).

    But most of all, it is my itching feet! A couple of months out of the car and I can't wait to hit the road again... to anywhere. Not so much interested in the destination, so long as I am cruising along to the horizon.

    Lifey

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default Freedom !!!

    I just love to drive and get out there to explore by my own free will. I like to wander off the beaten path, whether it be in the car or on foot and like to stay well away from the Package Holiday, organised tours and where possible, Airports etc.

    With that in mind I guess my top two would be Freedom and Independence. I agree with all that you have listed apart from cost. No matter what the cost [as long as I could afford it] driving will always be my first choice.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,545

    Default

    We only fly if we absolutely HAVE to. And by HAVE to, I mean we need to go somewhere and only have a short time to get there. For a few years, my husband's vacation time was limited to two weeks, and so we usually flew to see the family. But I'd rather drive...

    I love to see the scenery, no matter whether it's desert, green trees, mountains. I love the differences in the weather patterns. I can't see much of that from 30,000 ft!

    Other than that, I'd say "ditto" to the other posts. If I can't get out on the road, then I delve into planning the next trip(s)!


    Donna

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    South Central Orange County
    Posts
    249

    Default

    I love to see the scenery, no matter whether it's desert, green trees, mountains. I love the differences in the weather patterns. I can't see much of that from 30,000 ft!
    Yea, verily.

    I was surprised at how much different a trip was when I walked. At the time I was living in Japan and walked from my town to the Japan Sea (about 85 km). When driving it took only 1 1/2 hours, but walking took 2 days. I found that the dialect from my town continued pretty much unchanged as we followed the river north to the sea, whereas going an even shorter distance away from the river would bring out differences in vocabulary, intonation, and verb conjugation. The river was an old trade route, so it made sense.

    I would not relish the idea of walking from Southern California to Central Oregon, but I'm sure if I did I would notice differences in the Central Valley that I wouldn't have guessed before. When driving up I-5 (or "the 5" as we call it in So' Cal'), everything looks almost the same from the Grapevine up until Stockton.

    So driving gives you a much better appreciation for the land than flying, cycling more than driving, and walking more than cycling. I'm not in good enough shape any more to walk for days, but at least I can still drive.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 01-11-2012 at 06:50 PM. Reason: added the quote format

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default One of the Maxims here

    Every time I drive an old familiar route, I notice something I've not seen before. That's the essence of road tripping for me -- every trip is different. Different weather, different mood on the part of the driver and etc., different season. Whenever possible, when I'm on errands around the city I take a different route -- Driving around and through residential neighborhoods is one of my secret pleasures.

    Conservatively speaking, I've driven Interstate 15 between LA and Las Vegas at least 234 times over the last decade -- EVERY SINGLE TIME I'VE SEEN SOMETHING I've never noticed before. That's why I'd prefer to drive than fly. (Of course, I love to fly and love to look at the geography of the land masses from 30,000 feet...) I've chartered small aircraft to cover this same route too -- That's very cool. Riding a bike or walking -- yeah, that would be an adventure!

    Mark

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    South Central Orange County
    Posts
    249

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sedenquist View Post
    Every time I drive an old familiar route, I notice something I've not seen before. That's the essence of road tripping for me -- every trip is different. Different weather, different mood on the part of the driver and etc., different season. Whenever possible, when I'm on errands around the city I take a different route -- Driving around and through residential neighborhoods is one of my secret pleasures.
    Mark
    I'm with you, brother.

    A: "Why are we taking the long way?"
    Me: "Because we've never gone this way before."
    A: "What's different about this route?
    Me: "I don't know."
    A: "Then why are we taking it?"
    Me: "Because I want to find out."

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    My primary reasons are actually somewhat different.

    I despise airports and cattle cars - err - commercial airliners. I love flying - I spent over 20 years as a crewmember on a Navy aircraft, but I was more in charge of the situation and had the freedom to consider the whole interior of the aircraft as "my territory". I also generally have plenty of time to burn and don't need to get from point A to point B in any kind of hurry.

  9. #9

    Default

    I believe travel is in your genes. My wife says if there is a corner I have to look round it – I can’t help it.

    My horizons were awaken as a teenager when I was drafted into the army for a couple of years. I was sent abroad to many places and the urge to travel has never ceased. Even with a young family we would load up the car and travel to new and fresh places in Europe normally camping.

    Over the past few decades the USA has always attracted us back and back - so much to see and do – and the folks always make you most welcome. The western states, are a favourite, have so much natural beauty and there are some wonderful places to stay. The big trees, mountains, lakes, coastal scenery and animals are features we never tire from.

    Read of travelers who like to “wing it” but I am a planner and try to pick places and route that arouses curiosity and will inspire and it seems to work for me.

    Rolling, rolling, rolling………..

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