Random Thoughts

“It was an Elan. A delightful little thing famously made of Kleenex and unicorn farts.” ~ Sam Smith

Today I am staying over with Tom and Polly Bungay as it is raining steadily and I am cumulatively tired. Their generous offer was too appealing to refuse and soldier on so here I stay. I will get a real post of the segment from Naples to Jacksonville later today. In the meantime, a couple of thoughts have been rambling around my head over the length of the first leg to the tip of Florida, so I thought it would be useful to address and explain some of these things I have been mulling.

Automotive Progress and Our Adaptation

While I intellectually knew that a 56 year old car would be more demanding, it has really come home to me how far we have progressed in automobile design and build. Things may be far more complicated in a modern car but also far more capable. What is even more interesting to me is that we have forgotten that we used to drive without all the modern features, taking long trips as a matter of routine course.

An example of this was a trip my family took with Mom, Dad and four kids in the late fifties from Minneapolis to Daytona Beach FL. Though the family Buick had an automatic transmission, radio and heater – that was it. Dad drove on two lane roads all the way with AAA maps and a Trip Tik which was a book with a page for the exact planned route each page of which covered about a hundred miles. We had no cruise control, no air conditioning and music came over a static filled AM radio whose station faded out at about the same rate as a Trip Tik page. We were freezing in the back seat in Minnesota even though the front seat was warm and then got hot and sweaty in Florida no matter what seat we were in. Tires blew out, oil was added, some belt or hose needed to be replaced while we all waited in a dirty waiting room at Dexter’s Fix All.

Now, we get on the Interstate as soon as we can find an on ramp, set the climate control so we are comfortable whether it is hot or cold, raining or snowing, windy or calm. Then we set the cruise control and start some tunes or a book on tape (Old term still used) and arrive pretty stress free exactly as planned.

My trip has been much closer to that old Buick trip with a few small differences. Tires are better so I don’t worry about them but my car is much smaller than a Buick and I have had several people pull onto the road when I am much too close requiring me to brake hard. I think their perception is of a bigger car much further away than I really am. The speeds around me are far higher than the delta of the speeds in the Buick’s era. Everyone drove about 50-55 then, my Dad included. Now, I get passed even driving about 3-5 over the limit. When I think of what I drove in the ‘60’s, my Elan is far superior to most of the cars then. Yet today it really is an anachronism.

The Plan and Adherence to Same

I confess to making a key assumption in my planning that may have been wrong. Using my past trips as a guide I planned what I thought were comfortable, perhaps even easy days at 350 miles each. The truth is that even this moderate chunk of mileage per day is taking a cumulative toll. While I assumed that I would get to my end point around 4 or 4:30 each day and have time to take a walk around the little town where I stopped, maybe do laundry or take in a movie, and still post to my blog, the reality has been different.

I seem to take longer than the Google estimates for the route even though I feel as though I am moving well. Then the occasional screw up in routing adds time and distance and the result is I arrive around 5 or 5:30. By the time I have posted to the blog, had a shower and dinner, I am done. I have been going to bed around 9:30 and falling right asleep. I guess I’m not as full of energy as I thought I was!

What it means is that a rethink may be in order. I will need a recharge day about once a week to tend to myself a bit.

About Me

Hi, I’m Ross and I’m a tripoholic. I love driving especially in my old cars and then writing about the adventure that always follows. I’m old enough to know better but that doesn’t stop me. If you like stories of the road, every word true no matter how far fetched it may seem, then grab a beer or a cup of coffee and join me!

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April 2021

5 thoughts on “Random Thoughts

  1. Ross, I feel your pain….getting older, loss of energy, need for an afternoon happy nap. hang in there!! especially since i’m planning to join you next Saturday (if you keep to your original schedule). Have you ever drank “Red Bull”?? I don’t recommend it as you’ll push your Elan too hard when the caffeine kicks in.
    Do what you have to do to get through this adventure safe, sound and sane!


  2. Ross…. be careful for a sneak up UTI as u have had long stretches of sitting and ur family (dad and sisters ) have a history of them. Common symptoms are fatigue, back pain, and of course blood in the urine. If u feel one coming on look for a health store and buy some D-Manos capsules (600 mg). Cynthia’s MD recommends them as a holistic UTI fighter. Also any pharmacy sells UTI test strips. Good seeing u yesterday and good luck. David

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone


  3. Good judgement taking a day off today and reducing your expectations for time and distance projections for the rest of the trip. The cumulative fatigue of day after day on the road are self-evident, but glad to hear the car itself hasn’t been a problem. You’re not trying to meet some self-imposed schedule so pace yourself! Hope you’re watching the F1 race. They’re not having much fun in the rain either…


  4. As you know Ross, I admire your long distance road trips and the spirit in which you conduct them. There are many times that I wonder why plan for 350 miles a day? It’s a lot of driving in a small sports car and really limits the ability to “enjoy the ride” with unplanned stops to admire the view, take longer than an hour for lunch talking to a local or taking a detour only because it looks interesting. Anyway, the group of Lotus fanatics that go on road trips with me know I have a max of planned 4 hour driving limit (if it takes a bit longer because of any of the above, so be it) so we can relax and “smell the roses” after smelling the gas all day😎. Everybody complains we can drive longer in the planning stages, but once on the road they all recognize the wisdom and have a thoroughly enjoyable time. So, yes you should rethink your tour around the country and adjust a few planned requirements. After all, your retired and who cares if you spend another week (or two) on the road (except maybe your wife who is worried sick about you until you check in every day). Looking forward to meeting up with you on your drive North !


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