I’ll admit it. I’m torn.
Part of me really wants to tell you about a wonderful new adventure that’s right under your nose (no matter where you are)! The other part of me really, really wants to keep it under-wraps – to preserve it as the best kept secret – to keep it all to myself always and forever.
But, I’m going to tell you anyway. First, because I’d be doing you a disservice if I didn’t. Secondly, most folks won’t do it anyway, so I guess I figure it’s safe to talk about. Third, if you do take my advice, you’ll not only have the most amazing road trip that you’ve had in a while, but you’ll also be helping keep small town America alive.
The funny thing is that it’s not a big secret, just a forgotten one.
The last time you planned a road trip, I’ll bet the farm that 99% of you planned your trip to take the fastest route. Gotta hurry up and get there, right? That means freeways and big cities. It does have it’s benefits: you get there faster and you have easy access to gas, food, truck stops, rest stops, and hotels (if you want them). Granted, these are all important things. But it also means that you’re driving in city traffic (or at the very least, with city drivers who still think they’re in the city). You’re probably also traveling at a pace that rivals that of the Millennium Falcon. But, let’s face it… gas mileage isn’t great at warp speed, nor is your view.
To be perfectly honest, the further I get from our old life of rush-rush living, the less I can tolerate that kind of driving. Maybe it’s because I’ve worked so hard at undoing it’s affects in my life. Being in that traffic brings back the familiar flood of stress hormones that make my blood pressure rise right on queue. But these days, I’m not used to the “stress rush.” It is surprisingly alarming and nearly triggers a “flight response” for me. Not pleasant.
So, why not, instead, add a few years to your life by allowing yourself a bit longer to drive from here to there. Take the country highways. There are thousands and thousands of miles of them in this country. What’s more, you’ll be very surprised with how little traffic there is on them. At least, I was. Traffic was so light, in fact, that it was reminiscent of what the roads were like 30 years ago. It was a bit like stepping back in time.
Additionally, you’ll have a much more enjoyable drive and you’ll get to see so much of the countryside that’s never seen from the interstate. Take your time and study the terrain, the farms, the factories, the towns, and the people you pass along the way. Stop at the little homesteads that are selling chicken and duck eggs! There are so many delightful people to meet and experiences to be had along the way.
Since there’s not the constant barrage of exits with gas and fast food, you will need to plan ahead a bit. Don’t wait until your gas tank is on empty to try to fill up. It can be a long way between gas stations on these country roads. Plan your meals to coincide with when you’re passing through a town. If you need something, stop and shop, and help keep these little towns alive in the process.
Now with all of that said – if you’re still addicted to the Han Solo mode of driving, please don’t ruin it for the rest of us. Save yourself (and us) some frustration. Keep on traveling at warp speed with your own kind on the interstate! Meanwhile, we’ll stay out of your way and will enjoy the journey along the way.
After all, isn’t the journey supposed to be as important as the destination?