Posts from ‘Travel’
The Florida spring-break road trip is cliché these days, but it was the thing to do when my college friends and I hit the interstate back in 1984. The trip from Chicago to Fort Lauderdale is roughly 1400 miles, and our goal, alternating drivers, was to cover that distance in under 24 hours. As I recall, we arrived at our destination in about 27 hours, but made the return trip in under 24.
According to the folks at the personal-finance and research website WalletHub, the average American spends about 18 hours a week in his or her vehicle. That’s a bunch of time. Enough time to make plans for the upcoming weekend, call your parents (hands free, of course), or to wonder, “Why am I wasting all this time commuting?”
It was the summer of 1974. Having spent the day at the amusement park then known as Six Flags over Middle America, my family and I hit the swimming pool at the Safari Camp Ground at which we were staying for the week.
It was during a rather spirited session of Marco Polo involving several families that someone’s mother—not mine—interrupted the aquatic merriment. She had brought a radio poolside, and yelled for everyone to shut up and listen.
Compared to most people, I do quite a lot of highway driving. Unlike most people, I usually do it in silence. That would probably bore most folks on the bi-weekly, two-hour trek down to my weekend farmette, but for me, it’s a welcome chance to clear my head and think about things that matter … like how I’d spend the vacation time I rarely take.
But for longer drives, I have a different strategy. Before I even leave the garage, I plug in my stone-aged MP3 player that contains a collection of favorite road tunes and crank up the volume.
My kid has been horse crazy for most of her 13 years. As a parent who is more or less responsive to the wants and needs of my child, I donated a precious week of vacation time to a spring-break, horse-country road trip.
As luck would have it, Consumer Guide’s long-term Nissan Pathfinder arrived right around the time I was setting up my out-of-office voicemail greeting. Our handsome red test vehicle came well equipped, though not quite loaded. (Getting lost in St. Louis is still pretty much my fault—what was life like before navigation systems?)
On my car-guy bucket list, somewhere between driving around in a gold Firebird with James Garner and driving a Gullwing to Chicago’s legendary Superdawg after dark, you’ll find, scratched out, “pull a big float in a major parade.” Done. Been there, done that.
Ask five car guys, and you’ll likely get five different answers. Still, we asked. Here are best road songs per the members of the Consumer Guide review staff. If your favorite road tune isn’t on this list, be sure and tell us what it is. Also tell us if you still own a copy of that song on cassette or 8-Track–which would be pretty cool.
This past Saturday, I did something I’ve been dying to do for several years now: take a car ferry across Lake Michigan.
The boat that caught my fancy, the SS Badger, has been ferrying vehicles, and people, since 1992. Before that, the ship was a train-car ferry, and the rails those cars rode on into the boat are still visible on the cargo hold’s floor. At 410 feet in length, the Badger isn’t an especially large ship; still, the hold has space for up to 140 vehicles.
The year 1984 wasn’t a good one for domestic automakers. That was the year that General Motors stripped Buick, Oldsmobile, and Cadillac of stand-alone status, lumping them together into a single, seemingly characterless marketing arm of the maker.