Tag Archives: road trip

The Best Day to Drive

I went on a little road trip to Santa Barbara over the holidays to visit my girlfriend’s parents. The drive from San Francisco is about 330 miles and usually takes five to six hours depending on traffic. But I inadvertently discovered the best day to drive out of the whole year. It’s Christmas. 

There was nobody on the road and we took advantage. We cruised along at a good ten to fifteen miles per hour over the speed limit, comfortable enough to avoid getting pulled over for speeding. All the drivers were more considerate than usual. It was probably a byproduct of Christmas and Hanukkah overlapping. Everyone was overly generous. I hardly saw any tailgating or neglecting to use turn signals and there was a lot of thank you waves going on. We left the city around 8:15 and we arrived by 12:30, stopping only once for coffee. That’s not too shabby. From now on, I’m going to do all my road tripping on major holidays. While everyone is celebrating with friends and family, the roads are free for cruising. Take advantage.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Decompression Day

I went on a weeklong road trip vacation to Los Angeles and Santa Barbara with my girlfriend. It was a long trip that involved Disneyland, California Adventure, Universal Studios Hollywood, camping, my cousin’s wedding, me meeting my girlfriend’s parents, and her meeting practically my whole family at the wedding. Vacations should be relaxing, and this one had a lot going on, so we decided to cut the trip short and come home a day early. It was a good call. We needed a decompression day. It would have been too hard to come home from a road trip like that and immediately go back to work the next day. Everyone should schedule a decompression day to mark the end of an extended vacation. It gives you a little bit of time to reflect on your trip, unpack, do laundry, and catch up on Netflix. It’s like a vacation from your vacation. Get on it.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Road Trip

A road trip is a trip in which you drive a vehicle a long distance, typically from Point A to Point B. It takes a lot longer than flying, but it’s a whole lot faster than walking. I just went on a road trip over the weekend for a wedding in San Diego. It took me a little less than nine hours to drive the five hundred plus miles from San Francisco. It would have been less than eight hours but Los Angeles is a traffic cesspool.

That was my first road trip in a couple of years. It’s a lot easier to go on road trips when you actually have a car. It wasn’t a bad drive, but I was driving solo so I got a little bored from time to time. I definitely went a little crazy. I know that I was talking to myself and splashing cold water on my face to keep from drifting off the road. It didn’t help that I was driving on the I-5, which is one of the most boring interstates in California. There’s no scenery and practically no landmarks (the one exception being the massive cow slaughtering house that reeks of death for miles around).

When you driving down the same stretch of highway for hundreds of miles, you make friends. They aren’t really friends, they are simply other cars, trucks, and busses that are keeping the same pace as you. Every now and then you pull off to get some gas, go to the bathroom, and stretch out your legs. Then you jump back out on the road and try to catch up to them again. I also like to use fast moving trucks or busses as mobile reference points. I followed a giant purple tour bus like a minnow for over seventy miles because the driver was cruising at 85 mph. I figured that he would be the one to get a ticket if any cops saw us speeding.

I have a few tips for a successful road trip. First off, make sure your car is up to the task. Make sure the oil is changed, the tires are ok, and that you have a full tank of gas. Nothing sucks out the momentum from hitting the road like needing to get gas twenty minutes into the trip. Also make sure that you have drinks and snacks. You can’t go wrong with a bag of trail mix and some beef jerky. For drinks, I’d recommend some energy drinks to keep you awake and a few bottles of cold water. I like to freeze a couple of bottles the night before so they stay as cold as possible. Every now and then I’ll splash water on my face when the energy drinks aren’t enough. And make sure you have music or a podcast or something to listen to. It helps to break up the monotony.

Road trips are fun. Flying saves you a lot of time, but driving is how you really discover things.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Craigslist Joe

Craigslist Joe is one of those documentaries with a simple but intriguing premise that ends up taking you places you never thought possible. It begins with a guy named Joe Garner wondering if he could survive for 31 days living off the kindness of strangers that he meets on Craigslist. He begins by cutting himself off from friends and family members. He gets a new phone with no contacts and no numbers whatsoever. Then he begins his mission of survival. Each day he has to find food, shelter, and something to do, all via Craigslist. He makes his way from Los Angeles to Portland to New York City to New Orleans… he even goes to San Francisco and meets the actual Craig from Craigslist. He goes all over the US and even ventures into Mexico briefly. He hitched rides, he made new friends, and he formed new bonds. Anyone who has ever been on a road trip knows that time slows down and real conversations happen and real relationships are formed. The biggest flaw of the documentary is that is focuses too much on Joe and not enough on the people that he meets. I mean he’s traveling with a cameraman who is doing everything that Joe is doing, but all you see is Joe taking a free dance lesson, or Joe walking the flood-damaged streets of New Orleans in silent reflection, or Joe drinking a cup of joe. The best thing about Craigslist Joe is that it makes you wonder if you could survive for thirty-one days living off the Internet. Yeah, you could. But do you have the balls to do it? Check it out on Netflix or iTunes or find it streaming online somewhere.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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American Gods

            Don’t tell Harry Potter this, but American Gods is my favorite book. This is the book that I suggest when people ask me what book they should read. Neil Gaiman is an English author who writes about America better than anyone else. In American Gods he takes you all over America and captures the magic and mysticism of the US. It’s almost impossible to describe what the story is about without telling you the whole damn story. Imagine a road trip/mystery novel involving fighting gods and a quiet protagonist with a thing for coin tricks and that’s American Gods. It’s quite an experience.

            There’s this big guy named Shadow who gets out of prison and his life is in shambles. He has no job, his wife is dead, and he has nowhere to go. A mysterious stranger (it’s always a mysterious stranger) offers Shadow a job. And Shadow accepts and finds himself in the middle of a war between gods. There are old gods from Norse and Egyptian and Christian beliefs and there are new gods, gods of TV, technology, and drugs. Gods exist because people believe in them, they get their power from sacrifices made in their honor, whether you sacrifice your time, money, perform a ritual, whatever. Shadow and his boss go all around the US, from small towns to big cities and all the sacred places in between. He even has sex with a cat lady at one point, if you like that kind of thing.

            If that sounds interesting at all then should definitely read this book. And if you want to read it, then you might as well go ahead and buy it because you’re going to reread it. This is a really good book and you deserve good things in your life.

            Critically Rated at 17/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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