To Travel Over the Road…

…or, more importantly, with the RIGHT travel partner on a Road Trip.

For many years, I found domestic travel a bit, almost, pointless (for the sake of this blog post, please understand I am including the continental parts of the U.S. and Canada as “Domestic”).
I didn’t understand the point of putting for the same (or more!) amount of money and flight time to travel across this continent when for pretty much the same investment, I could wake up in an other. So, for a very long time, *travel* in my mind meant flying to Europe and going from there. This was so true in my head that quite a number of the trips I had taken domestically almost “didn’t count” in my mind.

Then… a situation arose that changed my perspective.
See, I never considered anywhere I could get to in one day, by car, a “trip” or a “vacation,” even if I drove there and stayed for a day or even a week. Also, I hadn’t gone on a road trip that couldn’t be completely within a day (even if that day was 17 hours of driving).

Life happened (as it will) and asked me to take a trip that would take several days, each way. I was called upon to deliver a car to my sister. Now, I could have shipped it. It would have only cost me a few hundred dollars to stick it on a car carrier, however… my sister was living far away and desperate for familial contact. The decision was made I should deliver the car and fly back.
THIS particular situation actually ended up necessitating two trips out on that same route, ending in Phoenix, Arizona.

As I have gotten older, I have self-imposed limitations on the number of hours I will drive in a day. This limitation is not only to combat fatigue, it is also because I am too old to not enjoy the journey. I want to stop for the stupid things on the road side and for coffee and potty breaks. I want to stop for stupid photographs and all the things I didn’t know I needed.

On the first of these trips, I could have gone it alone but I happened to have a friend who didn’t get out much nor have much chance to. I offered for her to come along to shorten the trip, also as a chance for her to get away, under the promise that I would pay for expenses in exchange for her driving at least half the way.

I usually try to look on the best side of things, “find the good,” as I always say. There were several things about the journey that, in hindsight, bothered me. However, in the moment, I made the best of the situation.

Really, I had one major problems traveling with this person.
Now, Dear Reader, you should understand two things: The first being that I was not only financing the trip, but the owner of the vehicle. Second, that she INSISTED upon driving the entire route, (I never asked her to drive the entire route), to the point of not letting me drive, under the guise that she “enjoys it” and it is her “job,” thus making her a “professional” (and the unspoken insult being that she is presumed better than I at it, but that is not something proven by sheer fact of employment).

My companion really does not travel much and I am never a hurried traveler. I thought this would make us ideal companions on the route… however, I was wrong. I live by the travel philosophy that “it’s the journey, not the destination.” She, however, wanted to simply GET THERE.

This did not bode well with me.
At one point she actually said she didn’t want me to drive because she was afraid I would stop. She drove through the night and so much in one day it stressed the car. There was actually a point she *scolded* me for having to stop, which really, given the circumstances of the situation didn’t go over well.

Listen… I am a stop-along-the-road-to-see-the-giant-ball-of-string sorta person.
Or… a very strange sign:

Yea... that's a "Donkicorn" - For no apparent good reason, I found this sign up on the side of the road in the middle of the desert, somewhere near the southwest of the state of Arizona.

Yea… that’s a “Donkicorn” – For no apparent good reason, I found this sign up on the side of the road in, in the middle of the desert, somewhere near the southwest of the state of Arizona.

When you take your time and explore the places you are in, you see some *interesting* things.

My companion did not want to stop at all, not even at night.
I honestly think you are very remiss if you drive through the night, you miss a LOT. Landscapes change, and it’s a beautiful thing.

Painted Desert - Arizona

Painted Desert – Arizona

A short time later, I had to repeat the trip for different reasons.
On the second trip, I traveled with a completely different type of traveler…

Unfortunately, that person was someone who thought the moment we got in the car was a party. Understand, I am not adverse to a cocktail or three, but everything has it’s time and place, plus I am VERY adamant about NOT drinking and driving. While traveling, the person in question thought every opportunity called for a drink. It is no fun to drive when your companion is more interested in liquor stores than the road or when they claim they can drive their turn, but have three cocktails with lunch (NOT going to happen).

I am not (wholly) complaining, I did have good experiences with both persons. However, hindsight shows me where I feel each trip could have been better. Each trip was a learning experience that taught me things I do not wish to compromise on when embarking upon a trip. I am not unyielding and I know compromise is necessary, but not when it costs me the enjoyment of the journey (such as driving with no stops and through the night) or becomes potentially dangerous (drinking and driving).
I do not think I am being unreasonable on those points…

Second trip west:

Somewhere in New Mexico...

Somewhere in New Mexico…

Az1

This all has come up because I have been asked to take the same route (to Arizona) again this summer. I’m considering it. Previous trips along this route have lead to many adventures and wonderful things seen, but I do not feel I have yet experienced ALL along the route I want to.

This time along the route I would be traveling with a companion out there, but returning alone. This is an appealing situation, as I would have company along half the route and the other half the route would be solo (which would not be a new experience for me).

I always welcome solo travel and the opportunity to get deliberately lost. I really like just seeing where the road takes me.

Somewhere in Missouri... (I don't recommend feet on the dashboard of modern vehicles with airbags. I only put my feet up for the sake of the photo, as it isn't safe)

Somewhere in Missouri…
(I don’t recommend feet on the dashboard of modern vehicles with airbags. I only put my feet up for the sake of the photo, as it isn’t safe)

It is very appealing, however, my foot must heal first.
I am back on the crutches as I have re-broken it!

Ready to go but first I must get off the crutches!

Ready to go but first I must get off the crutches!

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2 thoughts on “To Travel Over the Road…

  1. Our travel philosophies differ slightly in that I am preferring to thoroughly travel my own country before venturing too far abroad, but I do believe you and I would make perfect travel companions! I am also very excited at the prospect of you coming back to Arizona this summer.

    • I feel there’s still a lot in Arizona I haven’t had the chance to see – every trip out has been a ‘mission’ – with little room for leisure. I am still not 100% committed to the journey, and that is largely dependent upon my foot – I really don’t want surgery! But, I would like to revisit Arizona in the relatively nearish future (but then there’s always so many places I haven’t been! But that’s the joy of driving back alone, I can take any route I wish!)

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