Sure you can fly. But have you flown lately? Enjoyed the stratolounger seats, the gourmet delicacies, the legroom, the relaxing security process, the all-in pricing, the on-time arrival?
No, given a distance of, say, 800 mi or less, I’d rather drive a Porsche sports car. Especially here, out west, where I live. All in, I estimate that it takes just as long, and it‘s probably cheaper. And you can take a full-size tube of toothpaste, as well as anything else you damn well please.
To say nothing about the fact that you have the freedom of wheels, your wheels, with you at your final destination. And, since you can only fit one other full-size adult, you won’t be called on to do rental car-pool duty to that favorite I-hope-they-feed-the-poor-with-the-leftovers steakhouse. Which has the added advantage of letting you to imbibe your favorite libation with complete equanimity.
This was all reinforced for me on a recent jaunt from Denver to Las Vegas and back, across the expanse of southern Utah. Just make sure your P-car has working air and cruise… these are mandatory, as is a radar detector… and you have an excellent long-distance GT.
For an able-bodied comparison, please check out the “running” commentary being provided on this site by “Ketch Me,” the Cayman Blogger, as she takes a more southerly route from sea to sea. Just scan the posts, or do a search.
I did my recent drive solo. Not that I haven’t done a long-distance drive with my wife, many times. She’s a good sport for infrequent potty stops… make that very infrequent, and a day-long sugar high. I call it a junk food junket.
But, with all due respect, and accepting that we’ve been doing this for 32 years of married life, I kinda like the solitary nature of a solo excursion.
Not that I’m in silent meditation the whole way. I always have the audio system on. What I do is, leaving home, I keep the radio tuned to the local stations until I’m out of range. You never know, ships could collide in a harbor, asteroids could pummel Siberia. And, if I‘m not listening in, I’d never know. So I keep the radio going and, whenever I’m passing through any towns of a size that would warrant a radio station to listen to, I scan for news as well.
But, in between, it’s all iPod, all the way. With the magic of Shuffle play. Surprise me, I say. A good mix is mood-altering. You don’t want too many songs in any one format, because that induces boredom, and boredom is your enemy. Or worse, especially if you hit a series of “slit your wrists” failed love songs that could entice you to aim for an overpa…. No. Keep it upbeat, keep it mixed up, keep it fresh.
I’m apt to sing along. Who cares? It’s not like I’m in an airplane cabin. Actually, I’ve got a play list called Road Tunes, which is just about everything I’ve got. And with Shuffle, well, it’s all “surprise me” music, all the way.
I keep the top up. Regardless of weather. And I have a Boxster. It’s not that I don’t like putting the top down. But let’s be real. Ten plus hours of windblast is going to leave you looking like that guy in the old Pioneer audio ad, stone-solid, hair windblown back, staring, in shock, at space.
It’s when I exit the interstate that I put down the top. In celebration of another great zip across this vast nation of ours, with a wave to Eisenhower‘s great contribution to the Military Industrial Complex. Then, and only then, do I trundle, open-air, to my final destination.
Keeping your legs from cramping up is the next challenge. And that’s where Cruise comes in. It allows you to move your right foot in a series of placements that keep the blood flowing and the miles passing.
And this is supplemented by a right-shift, left-shift, sideways lifting movement of your tush.
My P-car has sport seats. For my first cross-country jaunt, I was nervous about whether it had room for me to do the side-weight slide to take pressure off my rump. I knew from previous experience in flat-bottomed seats that the movement is a necessity, or when you pit-stop you’ll do the 95-year-old humped-over limp and shuffle to the latrine.
What I found was that the high side bolstering was actually a blessing. You could just prop yourself up on one side, and that would be good for a good hour, easy, which is when it’s time to replicate the process on your other side… and then repeat, until it‘s time to get gas.
The only problem is that this technique, while great for the super slab, is useless on a two-lane. Say you want to detour over some scenic sports car roads for, oh, a couple hundred miles, which is common in southern Utah, and well worth it. Cruise is out… you’re changing speeds continually, based on the road, conditions and so forth. So your right leg ends up basically in the same position on the gas pedal, over long periods, and that’s not good. And forget the side-shift seating maneuver.
This is a real conundrum, isn’t it. I don’t have a solution.
Until you hit that open stretch, where the road just disappears into the horizon, and the vistas seem to rise up and merge with the clouds, far, far away. It’s amazing how much punch the Porsche has, in Cruise, when you push the control forward to accelerate toward that vanishing point. As much punch as you want. As much as you dare. It’s a bit like flying… like a bird.
And, oh by the way, I saw 29 mpg, average, on the trip computer. Try that with jet fuel!