How many of you like trivia? Me too! And what’s better than motoring trivia? That’s right nothing! I found a great new site, Motoring History, which strives to provide a rundown on some of the iconic models and designs that shape the motoring pantheon, one model at a time from Karl Benz to the Jetson’s car! The link is to their website, an they are also active on Twitter. Check them out, and let know what you think!
That’s right kiddies, yours truly has slain the dragon. That is if the dragon was a de-tuned* Sprint Cup stock car. I did it, and survived to tell the tale. If you’re interested in both the on-track experience, and the days leading up to it check out the story about my very own Richard Petty Driving Experience.
*de-tuned is sort of a misnomer, I mean after all if it’s 650 horsepower versus 850 does it really matter all that much? I mean did the astronauts flying the space shuttle feel less like kick-ass explorers when NASA said the burn cycle for the boosters in low orbit would be 30 minutes versus 45 minutes? Hell no, I mean if it ends up delivering the mail who cares? If this failed to appeal to your senses I can also make a Chuck Yeager or X-Games analogy. Just let me know.
I’ve been wondering why it seems like it takes the same amount of time or in some cases even longer to get to the same places around town on the weekend as it takes during the work week. Am I missing something? Am I the only one who notices or cares? I expect to slug out on the workday, there are 2 generally accepted peak periods, one in the morning, and one in the evening. Seriously, on the weekend I don’t expect to see the same level of traffic on the beltway or more to the point, I don’t want to see traffic that resemble work week rush hour patterned traffic. Shouldn’t it be easier getting around on the weekend when people aren’t driving for work? Most weekends I take a trip of approximately 15 miles from MD to VA, and it never fails that traffic on the beltway is bumper to bumper just as it is during peak weekday rush hour periods.
Why is this?
One of my theories is that more people should be home throughout the weekend, and not constrained to be on or off the road at any specific time thereby causing erratic traffic patterns.
Another theory is people are traveling more on weekends now than ever before, whether it’s carting their children around to games or social commitments whatever the reason it generates more volume.
A third, and more probable is in large metro areas the population is just so dense that people driving on the weekend are not operating under the mind-set that many commuters adopt during the work week which basically puts a premium on moving and not doddling whereas on the weekend people aren’t as concerned with getting from point A to B in the shortest time.
The result of my perceived feeling of more traffic on the weekends is that my schedule gets adjusted so I can avoid the masses and the lines associated with the people going to the grocery store, the local strip mall, the restaurants, and more recently close to my heart the local hardware-improvement store. I now tend to do my grocery shopping before 8am or after 9pm. With many stores keeping extended hours and in some cases open 24 hours I can pick and choose the best times for my shopping.
Now, why am I ranting about traffic when I live in the 2nd or 3rd worst market for congestion? First the obvious, I think it’s human nature to complain. I mean that’s how you know you’re doing well. First world problem, right? Wherever you are, there’s something you would eventually notice that you’d like to improve some aspect of your life. That’s how we’re wired. If you didn’t you’d be a settler. So named, because they settled. Thinking about this more I think this certainly has the potential to be a much longer post and cover more than just my perceived weekend traffic conditions that threatens my weekend contentment. Let me just wrap it up by saying why I’m writing about this is because time is our most important commodity, and being in a high congestion area we need to best use our free time. That, and I really don’t like people who don’t have a driver’s agenda. The driver’s agenda will be the subject of another upcoming post, but I’d like to hear from any of you out there what you think causes more traffic on the weekend.
Part 2 of the project involves planning the route and settling on an itinerary that encapsulates all of the components that will make this a grand adventure. Planning the route and itinerary is almost as important as actually making the drive, wouldn’t you agree? At this stage most everything with the exception of the West Coast is on the table in terms of outbound destinations. I say the West Coast since I’m in the DC area it would turn this holiday into an enduro race, racing outward to California/Oregon/Washington then immediately turning around, and heading straight back to DC. No, working out the route means deciding the farthest point away that I should reasonably expect to travel, and sample Americana, auto shows, cool amusement parks (say for instance Santa Claus Land – it’s a real place) before I turn the wheel homeward and arrive back at Shangri-La in my allotted 7 -8 days. And shouldn’t this project involve a few more stops besides those just for refueling? It should be fun, an experience, nay I say an adventure! An adventure that is that does not leave a “picture of my face on the carton of milk” sort of adventure.
Now that we sort of summed up the spirit of the trip the Midwest, Northeast, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic or a combination of two of those regions would fit nicely. My plan is to leave after the heat of summer, but before the leaves are all off the trees. Not to travel during the heat of summer or the super short days of winter. Hmm, if only there was a season between oven and deep freeze. Wait, I’ve got it! Fall! Ok, next what do I want to include on my trip? Fun roads, secondary roads where you can still glimpse Americana, a cool car show or museum, and possibly an iconic track. It should also be said that anyplace that has a great amusement park would also be added as a waypoint on this journey.
Speaking of way points, I’ll need to find a site where I can map out the route, and then overlay the various parameters (racetracks-car shows-cool towns-Americana-great roads-places that serve hush puppies) onto the route. What are some of the sites you use for planning your road trips? I’d love to hear from you about this.
Click HERE to go to the Driver’s Holiday page.
I’m just getting time now in my schedule to write up an summary of a wonderful trip that I took back in July when I journeyed all the way up to the garden state that is New Jersey (ok not that far from DC) to check out Waterfest 22. As a result of the drive I could write a separate piece disproving many of the slights and jabs that make up the recurring disparaging myths about the great state of New Jersey, but that’ll have to wait for another day as Robert Frost once famously penned.
Right now I’m talking Volkswagen auto shows, and if you’re any way familiar with VAG shows then you will instantly recognize the brand name Waterfest, and its latest installment, #22. If you’re interested in finding out more about Wateriest 22 click HERE.
Who’s up for a road trip? The summer vacation season is well underway, and with that comes long lines at the amusement park or beach, long lines at toll plazas on the way to said amusement park or beach, navigating alternate routes to avoid the road construction on the direct routes to said amusement park or beach, and packing up the family trickster along with the family to make the trek to said amusement park or beach.
And since it is the season of travel I’m now contemplating my own getaway or vacation if you will. My version of the classic road trip will be a driver’s vacation. What does that even mean? Does that mean driving to a single destination which is the point of the vacation, such as a trip to an amusement park or the beach? No, for me it means the drive is an important component of the road trip. Not the destination, but the journey? Fortune cookie philosophy you say? I know what you’re going to say, “why would I want the drive to be my vacation?”. Well, I’ll tell you my doubting friend. How would it be to find 3 GREAT things in one road trip; great driving roads or a stop into a great track, hidden or not so hidden bits of Americana, and finally locate a few car shows-events peppered along or near the chosen route.
There you have it, a driver’s vacation. Is that even a thing in the gearhead’s lexicon? Honestly, I’m not sure since I’ve not heard about it from my circle of friends, and I’m not planning to perform an extensive search on the internet. But if I have to think that other people have been doing some variation of this theme for years. I’m taking a driver (me), adding several way-points of interest accessed by cool roads that when taken together the sum total adds up to a cool automotive experience. Or at least cool by my standards. And no, I’m not contemplating a trip like this in the heat of summer. Mind you my body is not summer tolerant (read: I do not appreciate both high temperatures AND high humidity). As an added benefit this will also be the perfect way to put my Volkswagen Golf R through its paces. Happy, happy, joy, joy.
I invite you to join me in the adventure as I begin planning the trip, check in for the countdown until the journey kicks off, and stay with me throughout the trip on the web and Twitter.
My trip should be very similar to this clip with the notable absence of defrauding a school for the blind, cheating boyfriends-girlfriends, mailing of any VHS tapes, confusion between Austin and Boston based on regional dialects, destruction of any innocent Ford Taureses, violated pancakes, killer snakes, or losing the trust of Remo Williams. But other than those differences, yeah it will be exactly the same kind of road trip!
Click HERE to go to the Driver’s Holiday page.
I’m not sure when this concept took off or the exact date when a family placed the first innocent looking sticker of this genre on their family trickster, but while driving (ok sitting in traffic on I95) back from an VW show in New Jersey this past weekend I saw a sticker that forced me to do something I rarely do, roll down my window and take a picture of another motorist’s ride. So without any further adieu I present you the final (or at least for now) evolution of the stick figure family window sticker (or SFFWS) genre…
And remember, the Empire does not care about your family. At all.
In a word, wow! If you are a lover of all things vintage, design, four wheels, and/or Porsche then this collection is a must see if you find yourself in SW Florida! This collection showcases not just classic American and European cars, seminal designs that shaped a marque or era, but also helps place the development from one model to the next into some sort of context instead of turning you loose in a huge hangar with all the cars in one room. This is not a collection in a warehouse, this is a curated collection with docents who are passionate about all things automotive, and guide posts that provide additional information if the aforementioned incredibly knowledgeable docents need to save their voice! I would budget a minimum of 3 hours to really see most of the significant pieces and not feel rushed. I’ve added just a few of the many many pictures into a new portfolio (photo gallery) on this site under the same name.
Follow this link to their website HERE
Watching F1 this season, I’m struck by a question, well two actually if you count whether teammates are really teammates. I think Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have provided the definitive answer to that question. Thank you gentlemen. No, the question on my mind is what is it really that makes a race car driver great or allow them the opportunity to become great? Is it the mastery of all things driving (track, car, field, weather, and all other external factors) or is it more important to be predisposed to feel the flow of the race, the car, and the field? I think there are two distinct types of drivers. Let’s for a moment put individual personalities, manufacturer associations and biases, team identities aside, there are really only 2 in my opinion; natural ability and technical mastery. This is not an attempt at a scientific study or investigation simply my own observations. And let’s bring back teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg to the discussion. Lewis Hamilton represents the natural ability, someone who feels the flow operates on instinct and gut feelings. Whereas his “teammate” Nico Rosberg is an example of the prototypical technical master type. Nico has historically been better at the venues where the turns are more technical, and where subtlety and nuance are often rewarded. I think the technical side can be learned, but you either have the natural ability or you don’t. And no matter how book smart you may be when everything else is constant the natural ability will give you the edge and put you over the top. Who is to say which is the better blueprint for greatness? I submit for your consideration the seminal movie which tackles this question head-on….
Disclosure: I am not a professional race car driver, crew member, team owner nor do I have any professional or formal association with any team. But I have a valid driver’s license. Just my two cents, gut feeling if you will.