The Wisdom of the Foolish Road Trip

January 12th, 2013 by

Road TripIf you’re old enough to drive, there’s probably a pretty good chance that you’ve lived long enough to have done some foolish things in your life. While I know that not everyone has embarked on their own epically foolish road trip, after telling the tale of my post-high school road trip, I’ve found that many people have undergone similar adventures.

The Plans of Mice and Men

As the saying goes, the plans of mice and men oft go awry, and no matter just how much my friend Tyler and I planned out our post-graduation cross-country trip to Seattle, something was likely to go wrong. At least it sounds better when I tell myself that now.

Diplomas and graduation cash in hand, the two of us decided that we wanted to drive from our hometown in central Illinois to Seattle. This was before anyone but the wealthiest families had GPS, when Mapquest was not unlike a game of Russian roulette, and before either of us owned a cell phone.

So we grabbed an atlas, mapped it out, packed some clothes and snacks, and hit the road in my ’89 Chevy Beretta.

I wish we had the benefit of being behind the wheel of my current vehicle, a 2008 Honda Civic, because then we may not have run into car trouble just an hour into Iowa. After some costly repairs and an incredibly reckless decision to push on with a crippled budget, we were on our way back out of Iowa.

The remainder of the drive, about 25-30 hours, was made mostly without stopping, including a solid 10-hour night drive across Montana. We’d refuel and trade off driving and sleeping because it seemed like a good idea at the time. Somehow it still seemed like a good idea despite the many times we woke each other up thanks to the highway-adjacent rumble strips.

Another one of those cliché sayings that holds true is that getting there is half the fun, and from our time in Seattle, I have to assume that getting back is the other half. That’s not to say we didn’t enjoy ourselves, but when we reminisce about the trip now, over a decade later, it’s about the drive, not the city.

So Where’s the Wisdom?

I promised you wisdom in the foolish road trip, didn’t I? The wisdom comes from the fact that a great deal of the fun we had, including the reckless, foolish bits, would not have happened if we took the trip today, with cell phones, GPS, credit cards, and other conveniences that we, at 18, lacked.

I’m not saying to leave all of those things at home the next time you take a road trip, but if you leave a few things up to fate, to chance, you’ll probably have some good stories to tell when you get back. Drop by Middletown Honda and trade road trip stories with our team some day, we’d love to hear them.