Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Back Road Boogie

My husband and I have been taking some short trips--an overnight, a two-day, like that. Even though it's brief, we feel as if we've been away, and that's what we're after.

We already knew that highway hypnosis, becoming drowsy after driving a while no matter how much sleep you got the night before, is worse with every passing year. We laugh that it now begins within an hour of our departure, which is funny only because it's true.

After a half hour of increasingly large yawns, my husband the driver revitalizes himself by pulling over to some quiet and shaded spot, sleeping for fifteen or twenty minutes, then driving onward. We favor parks and college campuses, but too often settle for rest stops where it's hot--or freezing--and noisy, our sleep fitful.

Recently we agree getting off the limited access highway and taking routes which pass through towns and farm fields may take longer but is much less tiresome. Would we rather be in the car five hours, yawning for four of them, talking silly nonsense or blasting music to stay wakeful enough to drive, or slowing down for towns and trucks loaded with hay and logs you can smell? Would we rather risk being detoured for a small town's bicycle race (as we were one weekend), discuss the architecture, poverty, charm, or farm crops we pass, or drive the same highway a the same speed until our minds are gone?

The interstate highway system remains the best way to travel by car when time is of the essence, but you miss the heart of the country.

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