It’s hard to believe that at 48, after doing road trips all my life and travelling alone since I was 5, that I have never, ever been on a long-distance driving trip alone. Never just gone where and when the road took me, stopping, exploring, turning left whenever the mood strikes. I’ve always had someone with me who’d say, quite reasonably, “aren’t we going that way?”
I love driving and every time I get behind the wheel of a car, I get an overwhelming burst of wanderlust. But I have never owned my own car and every time I have one I feel an obligation to share the wealth of mobility since so many people have given me lifts, rides and transportation in their cars over the years. Ridesharing is good ecologically, it’s good socially, and It seems nuts to drive any distance with empty seats. That’s the socially responsible part of me. The rest of me? I just want to GO! Now! No waiting, no asking, no checking, just go and go far!
Which is why, when Ford Canada asked if I could use a car for any upcoming trips, I immediately thought of my February trip to the Island. I generally fly down but I thought it might be fun to see what driving down in the winter by myself would be like.
Mom would pack up the car and the 2 of us would leave immediately after her last class on Dec 23rd to arrive in Ottawa on the 24th for Xmas eve and the holidays with my grandparents.
We’d stop for meals, but she drove it alone and often drive straight through the night to get us there in time. It was always a magical drive in the winter. The black nights, the white driving snow, the fascinating people we’d meet when the car broke down.
Since then I’ve had countless cross-country road trip buddies – Alex, Peter, Rosalie, Judy & her family, Japor, Jim and of course Gerry. We usually drive through with short stops for bio breaks, food and occasionally knickknacks to amuse ourselves on the ride .
We drive shifts which makes doing the trip in one push much easier. Of course, it helps that the higher quality roads and highways have reduced the drive from 20-24 hours down to 14-16. (No… that’s not strictly following the “speed limit” but of course I’m not the one driving when that part happens. Of course not!)
Obviously, when driving by yourself driving in shifts isn’t possible and doing it all in one stretch is, at best, no fun. At worst, it’s dangerous. I’m just not that interested in pushing myself especially when there are adventures to be had.
So when Ford Canada said “yes” and offered me a Ford Escape for my trip, I let the excitement and burst of wanderlust take over. I started asking everyone where I should go and their favourite things to see and do along the way.
Adventures and no need for explanations. I don’t have to explain why stopping to read the car manual for 30 minutes is an “adventure”. Or why I’m pulling over to photograph a highway sign. Or why following everything the GPS tells me to do is fun even though I know a faster and better route. Or why I’m letting twitter decide where I’m eating lunch.
So, to all those people who said “If she needed someone to go with her, why didn’t she ask me?” (Yes, Di I’m looking at you. Vicky, you too.) It’s not because I wouldn’t LOVE to go on a road trip with you. (Anytime, anywhere my friends!)
Note: this post is part of my Lex Go Further – A Ford Escape series sponsored by Ford Canada and Tourism Quebec. If you want to know more about what trouble I get into, you can read my disclosure statement here.