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Arragonis 11-18-2011 05:08 PM

Those Long Journeys - how to cope.
I had a long trip to do today - not long for those of you in the colonies but it was long for me - 150 miles each way on mostly 2 lane roads with some passing places and lots of trucks. It was between Edinburgh and Inverness which is just north of the "Whiskey" (hic) trail - however this was for work, and it was mostly (morning and evening) in the dark as Scotland is quite North.

Usually for these trips I try the radio or lots of music, some calm and some not - depending on what I'm listening too. But I get bored and want to press on which is hard as overtaking on these roads is tricky - long blind corners and of course speed cameras.

And in the hills the radio is less reliable, so I tried something else.

The BBC has been running a series on Raymond Chandler - the "Classic Chandler" series and I've managed to get a recording of all of these via my PC and DAB. I put them all onto a USB stick and played them there and back and it filled the time superbly. The lack of being "bored" meant I was unstressed and the time passed really well.

So what (if anything) do EM'ers do to fill those long, drawn out trips - music, audiobooks or even real people.

(BTW I didn't do "great" MPG on this trip, I just didn't feel the need to overtake anything in my way...)

user removed 11-18-2011 05:17 PM

I drove my Civic VX 35k miles with no radio or any other sound or video device. Longest day was 585 miles.

I just sing to myself. ;)


pounsfos 11-18-2011 10:29 PM

yeah, first thing i did to "old faithfull" was install a new headunit, so now i connect my IPOD to it and listen to that, on long journeys where im going for MPG's i disconnect my sub-woofer, and only run the front 2 speakers on a low volume,

I find i drive better listening to angry music, and when i say drive better, i mean i get more MPG's

slowmover 11-18-2011 10:30 PM

Driving paid miles means a discipline with attention not given easily to others. Luckily, the men in my family (professional occupations) had deduced much of what was important about long distance driving well before I was big enough to lean over the front seat from the back as a boy. Multi-week family vacations across the whole of North America by car enabled observation of a highly skilled driver -- my father -- and his wilingness to point out what was happening . . or what was about to happen.

From WWI onwards, ownership of a car in the US meant one had the ability to be places at ones choosing, unlike others. An advantage. Then, with the proliferation of all-weather roads, one had need to keep said car reliable. Outside of driving skills, much of this boiled down -- for me -- was that even with an old car (literally) it must still be in good enough shape to, if the request was made, one could be in California 2,000-miles away in a few days. Nearly non-stop driving, but with each mile accumulating weighted value via careful contingency planning.

As a result (and, now, beyond mechanical/service skills) one learns to plan for eventualities. When my car breaks versus if it becomes disabled. What is my alternative, where is service to be found? In elder days this was the accumulation of not only maps, but atlases with other descriptive overlays, not simply political boundaries: aircraft sectional charts, railroad and bus schedules/routes, topographcal maps, and, in a minor way, utility easements. After all, if one has promised to be in a certain place at a certain time, to arrive on the minute is to be late. Accidents, road construction, etc, all give need to -- in todays parlance -- maintain a large database, easily accessed. One needs to understand the geography through which one is traveling.

All of this leads to trip planning as with this post regarding how to conceptualize most miles over a set pace. The military considers this as: men, in place, on time, and ready for action. It assumes that no lag for rest or food will be needed at journey's end. Etc. One can predict to within a few minutes how close or far one is from schedule when ON DUTY - DRIVING as the federally-required truck drivers logbook records time.

In other words it will take the amateur quite some hours to plan each days legs to fit a schedule over several days up to around a week assuming no route stops on a partial or full continental run. All the times and distances must coalesce. Planning over several evenings and more just to set each leg. That has no account for the genuinely interesting possibilites of any road which can be the result of a life's readings over any set of subjects imaginable.

For the civilian and the hypermiler it removes "the scenery" as an unfolding passive television-like distraction, and is an aid to mindfulness. Be here, now. As FE is about expanded awareness and the use of fine motor skills one thereby avoids the hypnosis to which some react by driving all too fast (more mental than actual despite the travel speed) or stopping innumerable times for they have no real reference for the experience of long drives. It is tremendous physical discipline, first.

My mother read a great deal months ahead in preparation for these trips over the long summer breaks from school. So one could expect that Phi Beta Kappa level muted somewhat for children on the aforesaid geography, plus geology, zoology, occasionally ornithology and most of all, history. No square foot of land lacks for history.

Sounds to me trying to increase the level of distraction via audio inputs is the opposite of what is being asked. I cannot drive the same road three days running and not observe differences of color, activity, light and revealed distances. Not a week goes by that any road doesn't show differences in the road surface, alone.

Take it for granted that a big truck driver has to earn every foot of every road. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. Above are a lifetimes worth of engagement by category for the road traveller. Biography, natural science, military history, anthropology and the rest would figure highly were I traversing ancestral lands. Ditch the childrens music and play, instead, an even slightly familiar opera in full. Sophistication is your friend over a long day. Tickle the mind, not the gonads.

Learn to lay out the route and the stops. Use each trip leg to let the mindfulness of a sailor with one weather-eye casting about to also read the waves and the winds of imagi-nation. An overall conceptual set of trip planning habits pays dividends. Most of all, remember that we may rue not having done a better job if we are ever cast out from

The Paradise of Happy Motoring.


Frank Lee 11-18-2011 10:40 PM

Or you could gas up and go.

gone-ot 11-18-2011 11:20 PM

...back in my younger days, I drove 1800+ miles non-stop from Memphis, TN, to Yuma, AZ, in 30 hours, stopping only for gas and pee-breaks. the math, that's an average speed of 60 mph continuously.'s just a matter of LOT's of coffee, doughnuts, and LOUD music, with the WINDOWS wide open for LOT's of fresh air...especially about 3-4 a.m. in the morning!

euromodder 11-19-2011 10:04 AM


Originally Posted by Frank Lee (Post 270957)
Or you could gas up and go.

That's my way.
For me my car has to be technically ready to go anywhere, anytime, in any weather.

Though these days it also includes put the full-size spare and jack back in the boot. :)

Thymeclock 11-20-2011 12:11 AM


Originally Posted by Old Tele man (Post 270961)
...back in my younger days, I drove 1800+ miles non-stop from Memphis, TN, to Yuma, AZ, in 30 hours, stopping only for gas and pee-breaks. the math, that's an average speed of 60 mph continuously.'s just a matter of LOT's of coffee, doughnuts, and LOUD music, with the WINDOWS wide open for LOT's of fresh air...especially about 3-4 a.m. in the morning!

I did the same when I was about 21, driving with a companion from NY City to Colorado, nonstop. That wasn't too bad. But our trip had a more grueling leg when we drove part of the return portion from San Francisco through Reno. We couldn't find any motel with a vacancy after Reno, so we had to drive all night across Nevada. Towns are about 80 miles apart. It was June and the car had no working heater. But it is damn cold in the desert at night - it was 33 degrees at dawn at the Utah state line, and we had frost on the inside of the windshield. I was glad I couldn't see the terrain in the dark, because if I had been able to see how desolate it is I would have been worried. The road was the most poorly paved Interstate highway I've ever seen. I put the most irritating music I could find on the radio and needed to keep slapping myself in the face every minute or so to keep awake to keep going until we reached Salt Lake City. We got there safely and slept most of the following day.

So 300 miles round trip is pretty easy by comparison. I'm ''on the wrong side of fifty' and still have done that in one day.

SentraSE-R 11-20-2011 01:05 AM

I've done some marathon drives myself, including back-to-back 818 and 888 mile days on a motorcycle, a nonstop 22 hour, 1100 mile trip from Salt Lake City to Chihuahua, Mexico, and a nonstop 1350 mile trip from Ft. Davis, Tx to the Bay Area when I was 63.

But, let's face it. Those kinds of long trips are insane. If you want to live to drive tomorrow, you'll follow Slowmover's advice.

slowmover 11-20-2011 01:40 PM

I figured the stupidity quotient was such that -- having all of us done these "marathons" and recognizing the risk -- that the solution for a steady pace beneficial to FE is the same as for professional drivers, in main. "Stupidity" being lack of thinking; thinking, trip planning, is enhanced by safety precautions actuarially sound. Thus the link in the above long post.

One can delve more deeply, but this site already covers much on vehicle preparedness, so the same type of attention to the context of covering unfamiliar ground from a gods eye view pays handsomely from a number of energy inputs/outcomes, not just $$. A steady pace is no easy thing to achieve day-after-day on a partial or full cross-continent trip.

Once familiar, it is a stress reducer and one can relax more fully. That alarm clock goes off very early on Day Three. Tortoise and Hare.

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