Vox Newman

Road Trip Season | February 22, 2011

Road trips are like a cult TV show.  You hear about it from one of your friends, and it doesn’t sound like anything you’d be interested in: you might even wish they’d shut up about it.  You might think, based on what you know about road trips, that there’s a group of people that can’t stand where they are and need to get the hell out of Dodge as soon and as often as they can.

I don’t think that’s it.  This seems more likely to be the case of the frequent traveler who relies on airplanes to take them to far off destinations or the obsessed traveler who needs to find themselves by backpacking through [insert continent here].

The Road Tripper goers from A to B, but generally speaking A is always a fixed point, and therefore, the trips always extend out from that, like spokes on a wheel.  That might make the difference as far as I can tell.  It seems like the frequent flyers, generally speaking, are at a loss when their trip is over: they have to return to ‘reality’ and they’re in a funk as soon as they land.  In contrast I like to believe that most Road Trippers are like me: they feel energized when they know that they’re almost home.  They like coming home as much as they like leaving in the first place.

When relying on the wheel to get you from point A to point B, you can allow point B to be fluid or completely random.  Try doing that at an airport.  Of course, if you’re crossing national boundaries you have to tell the border guards something, but you don’t necessarily have to adhere to that once you get through: they won’t be shoving you inside a cramped aluminum box that you’re only going to be released from when you arrive at where you said you wanted to go.

In addition to all that, you get to choose which machine will take you where you need to go.  I’d suggest that the truck, van, and car are all the same but vary in how much gas you use.  The motorcycle is something different, though.  I tend to take a car, my friend Pat drives a motorcycle.  The latter seems to me to be more ‘pure’ somehow and the former seems akin to taking your Ipad on a camping trip.

This analogy seemed to hold up when Pat shared with me his list of things he needs to bring with him:

On the motorcycle, particularly an uncomfortable supersport racing bike, storage space is limited.
You don’t want to carry more than a hat and a bottle of water in a backpack as the weight on your already extended back would be exhausting after a few hundred kilometres.
The solution for touring on a racing bike is a tailpack or sport saddle bags.  You are still limited however, to only a few necessary items!
Must haves include:
Clean socks (essential), Cell phone / camera, Spare batteries for the GPS, Comfortable shoes (to wear as soon as the gear comes off), Ziplock bag (for wallet, passport, money, receipts etc.), Change of clothes, Hat (helmet head is a bitch), Nylon cover for the bike, Sunglasses (for looking cool), Toolkit (including electrical tape, zip ties, a tire pressure gauge and various multi-tools)

I don’t really have a list.  I just load things into the car the night before because I need them or I think I need them, or I don’t need them but they’ve been in the car for weeks and damned if I’m gonna bother bringing them into the house this late at night.

Technically (at least in a car) Road Trip Season lasts all year.  But at least for me, winter tends to dissuade me from taking a trip.  Maybe that’s because most of my road trips involve my photography and, snow covering everything a) throws off the white balance and b) makes everything look the same.  So, for me, Road Trip Season generally straddles Patio Season, and it seems to do so for the two wheelers too because most motorcycles are packed away for the winter.

As soon as the melt begins, however, you’ll notice a change in the Road Tripper: they almost salivate when they look at a strip of tarmac.  Hell, sometimes it starts sooner than that: ask them what their resolutions are on New Years Eve and they’ll reply with destinations.


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