Long-distance traveling by vehicle became an extremely popular form of transportation in the U.S. in the fifties, and continued into the early sixties. Today, the new technology, better cars, and modern development of major interstates have facilitated road trips in ways the road-travelers before us couldn’t enjoy. Yet even with all the improvements, there are still some downsides to road trips, along with some fun experience.
One major disadvantage depends on the length of the trip overall. Personally, most road trips I’m used to are no longer than three hours — four hours max if you include traffic in some places. But I recently took road trip that was a seven hour drive. I wasn’t the only one driving, but I drove the bulk of the distance. The drive taught me a lot, and the experience was worthwhile and necessary as I do plan on taking future trips by car. I’ll start with the bad and end with the good, as I list things I liked and disliked on the road.
Long drives: Double Con In Bad Weather
I was happy and energetic on the way to my destination, but not so much on my way back. I seriously wanted to just get there already after only an hour of driving. You may sometimes find yourself driving for hours and still not reach your destination, and this can be tiring and exhausting. It’s important to take rest stops if you want to do a non-stop drive, or stop at a motel to completely rejuvenate yourself for the next day. Driving in heavy rain can be difficult, but driving in sleet or a bad winter storm? It’s horrible. On my last road trip it began to snow on the way back. The thick snowflakes combined with darkness and the high-beam lights made the road look like a Twilight Zone spiral. It seriously made me a bit dizzy and affected my eyesight, making the ride back longer.
Some places have such low populations that many states don’t even bother placing light poles on their freeways, creating a spooky drive. The reflector markers are helpful, but the roads can be so dark for hours until you reach a well lit part of the highway. Luckily, if you have awake passengers, it won’t seem so bad.
Multiple-Wheel Trucks and Speeding Truckers
Truck driving is an honest job, but some truck drivers can be really inconsiderate. If you have a fear of driving near 18-wheelers, sit it out. It’s common to hear about devastating car accidents caused by a speeding truck. And trucks that big sometimes don’t feel the impact. In bad weather, they speed past and throw puddles after puddles on your windshield. The thought of a collision with one of those things is scary.
Signs like “Falling Rocks,” “Icy Bridge,” or “Deer Crossing,” can deter your trip. Nature may delight you with the awesome scenery, but it can also cause roadblocks. It’s really common to come across a deer, and in other areas even cows. It may seem fun watching it in a movie, but this will delay your trip for several minutes, maybe even hours. Driving along huge mountains that warn of rocks falling is the scariest thing ever. And of course, bad weather is a scary inconvenience as I mentioned above.
I don’t consider myself a hardcore animal lover, but I do have a heart. Seeing animals lying dead on the road can be excessive. If you love animals and can’t bear to see roadkill, then maybe road trips aren’t for you. The saddest sight I saw was a dead fawn careened under a railing on the side of the road.
Lack of Good or Healthy Eatery
Hopefully you’ve packed your own food and snacks to avoid worrying about what to eat next. If you want to eat something healthy or homemade, you’re out of luck due to the amount of junk food available at many rest stops. While many U.S. interstate highways are home to a good old-fashioned American diner, even they can be a dime in a dozen compared to the abundance of fast-food joints you’ll find. And of course if you want something quick to bite, the wait time at a diner isn’t the same compared to how fast you’ll get a value meal at McDonalds. If you’re in a for a five plus hour drive, and on a healthy diet, you best decide on your meal plan before embarking.
Unlike boarding bus rides that have short rest stops, or constant ones, driving yourself to your destination allows you to take as many or as few rest stops as you want. You can even spend a longer period at a rest stop compared to the usual 15-30 minute ones you would spend as part of a bus group. And when you do reach your destination, you don’t have to worry about your next mode of transportation, like a taxi or public transportation.
Seeing nature at its finest is one of the main reasons to enjoy vehicular traveling. It’s an even special viewing if you’re from the big city, and not used to seeing hay, farms, cows, and fields of veggies and fruits.
In one of my first road trips, my friends and I took a detour through Trenton, New Jersey. I was familiar with some parts of Jersey, but never the capital city. The visit wasn’t planned, but the impromptu trip was worthwhile. We took photos of historic places and monuments, including the infamous quote on the Lower Trenton bridge that I always saw on drives to Philadelphia. If you’re not planning a multi-city trip, doing this at least once can be lots of fun.
Though it’s not much, the combination of scenery, nature, self-dependence, along with a few awesome friends can be a stress relief session. You can forget about any problems you have and just enjoy your road trip. Who you go with of course, is important. If you’re accompanied by a good friend, you guys can catch up on all old times and memories. Even if it’s a new friend, the trip in general will give you lots to talk about, so enjoy it while it lasts. This is good for your health.
Those were some of the things I liked and disliked about taking road trips. Though there are slightly more cons listed, it could be shortened if you’re not paranoid about a few things. Road tips are really fun! They’re not always about hitchhikers, seedy road side motels, or killer truckers.
What are some of your likes and dislikes about road trips?