Driving Is A Hobby Too

I know I just wrote about how much I want to ride a bike instead of driving. That’s because I live further from work than I used to, and have more things I need to go to for work and various meetings. Driving has changed from a hobby to a necessity.

This used to be one of my favorite hobbies when I was younger and had more free time. It’s always so relaxing to drive when I’m not in a hurry to get anywhere, which was almost every time I would drive back then. There were times when I would be driving across the state for a weekend rehearsal and I’d just get lost in my thoughts. The next thing I knew I was where I needed to be with almost no recollection of getting there.

I also have some great childhood memories of riding while my dad just drove around. It happened more often when my sisters were also younger so we were all there to enjoy it, but it didn’t really stop when it was just me. My dad would always get a vehicle which allowed us all to be able to talk to each other and play games. At different points in time, we had mini-vans, a big van with middle seats which turned around, an old Suburban, and a truck that had sideways facing seats instead of a bed.

My Favorite Times To Drive

I can drive any time, but there are some times I find more enjoyable. Most mornings are good times for me to drive if I want to drive alone. The best time is right when the sun comes up. Not many people are on the road and there is enough visibility to watch for animals.

During the Summer I like driving during the evening. This is when I have the best opportunity for weekday driving. The day is cooled down by evening and there is still plenty of sunlight to enjoy the view with. Once winter shows up I don’t see the sun at all.

During Autumn, I prefer midday drives. There’s something about the slight chill in the air, along with the colors of the trees in the sunlight which I find really relaxing. These drives usually also involve a large cup of hot cider and a walk through a state park.

Spring is good for driving any time of day. It isn’t too warm midday to be in a car and the sun stays out a little later to allow a nice view in the evening. My favorite part about driving in the Spring is having my windows down and getting to smell the fresh air and newly growing plants after being stuck inside all winter.

Things To Do While Driving

When I drive alone I like to think about things. Sometimes I’ll have something I’m trying to figure out so I drive to clear my head of other things and focus on one thing. Sometimes there is something I’m trying to commit to memory so I’ll make a recording of whatever it is and listen to it on repeat while I drive. I’ll also keep an eye out for things I’d like to share with other people on another drive.

If you have someone with you, you can talk about life and your goals. My brother and I used to do this a lot. We would sometimes drive around and catch each other up on how things were going with work or school or games we were playing. And we’d share ideas we had for things we wanted to try doing, whether it was something we were going to do soon or our pie in the sky dream for the future. We also share music with each other.  We both like listening to what we would consider really bad music, as well as parodies of famous songs. Each trip we take starts with some new songs we’ve found, both good and bad. My wife and I usually talk about everything. We’ll talk about things our students are accomplishing, ideas we have for trips or improvements on the house, or just things we see when we’re driving.

Places To Go

In recent years whenever my wife and I would go out for a drive, we would just go on back roads through the hills around our county. I knew them all because I grew up traveling them, so I would tell stories of different things which had happened in places, and where my friends and family had lived. Sometimes, I’d plan the route out so we would end up at a place to get ice cream or some other snack about halfway through. For a couple months we also went out at least once a week to look for houses which were for sale so we could look into buying one.

Any trip can also be turned into hobby driving if you give yourself enough extra time. Whenever my wife and I go to a wedding or some other special event out of town, we always give ourselves an extra day to get home so we can get off the highway and explore things.

There was one time when we were driving through Pennsylvania, and she mentioned a town she read about online which has been on fire since the 1960s. I told her I had been there and it isn’t as glamorous as it sounds, but I’d be interested in going back. Pennsylvania used to be a big coal mine state and back in 1962, a coal mine in Centralia caught fire. Most of the town is abandoned now, with only a handful of residents wishing to remain in their homes. When I went as a kid, there were still spots where smoke was coming out of the ground, and an occasional plume of fire might shoot out. When we went back this time, we couldn’t find any. There were just tons of people driving wherever they pleased and leaving garbage everywhere.

There are also more historical sites depending on where you happen to be traveling. If you aren’t sure where things are, just stop by a locally owned store and ask if there are any interesting places to see in the area. You may even find a small state park to explore.

A Couple Things To Remember

This can be a huge waste of gas and time if you don’t plan this into a trip you were already going to be making. I try to go for the most fuel efficient car I can so when I decide I need to get away and just drive I don’t burn a hole through my wallet while I burn through fuel. I’d love to have a fully electric car so I won’t have to worry as much about emissions, but even though the overall price once I save on fuel will be the same if not less, the initial investment for it is not an option at this point in time.

Know the roads before you go or have an up to date map. I don’t mean make sure you had Google Maps download on your phone. One of the best things you can do for yourself, if you don’t already know, is to learn how to read a paper map. Then keep a paper map in your car. I’ve got one for my area and if I go anywhere outside the area, I get one for wherever I’m going. Even if it isn’t up to date, it will be more helpful than a phone with no service. If you are driving in a new area, check the map before you go to make sure you have a general idea of the road layout. It will help you find where you are when you decide you want to know.

Watch for tailgaters. Usually, when I am just out to drive for the sake of driving I’ll go a little under the speed limit to really enjoy the view. I’m usually pretty good at picking times when not many people will be on the roads I’ll be on. But that doesn’t guarantee there won’t be anyone else. Remember, not everyone is traveling the back roads to enjoy the scenery or to just get away from things. Many take them because it’s easier for them to go double the speed limit and avoid cops. I’ve got no problem slowing them down when I’m going at least the speed limit but just like with anything else, have some courtesy with the roads. There’s always a place to pull over for a few seconds. You may even find a good place to get out and look around.

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