Okay, Listen Here

Okay, Listen Here

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

This weekend I took a short road trip. I picked up Pantster and we went to Huntsville to attend the Heart of Dixie Readers' Luncheon. Although the drive wasn’t all that long, on the way home I got to thinking about the road trips we had taken together in the past, as well as the road trips we have coming up this summer. Thinking about all of this time on the road, it occurred to me that people can have different traveling styles, especially when taking a road trip.

The first road tripper style that came to mind is what I call a “Musher”. I came up with this name because "Mushers" are all about going as far as they can, as fast as they can. Much like a dogsled driver urges his team to “mush;” a traveler who is a "Musher" will push everyone in the vehicle to do without stops and to hurry, hurry, hurry when there is a stop. This style of road tripper is usually a man. My daddy is a "Musher". I grew up thinking everyone traveled this way. As an adult, it was a wonderful surprise to discover that there are other styles of road tripping.

There is also the “Dawdler”. This style is basically the opposite of the "Musher". They want to stop every 30 miles or so to look around the truck stop, do a little shopping, and “stretch their legs.” This type of traveler is often a woman, though I do know some male “Dawdlers”; usually they want to stop for snacks every few miles, including EVERY single Krispy Kreme doughnut shop they see. My mother is a "Dawdler" and it was a special childhood adventure when she and the “Musher”, daddy, took us on a trip. Wow, the memories these thoughts bring back!

I came up with just a couple of other different road tripping styles, "Tacky Clothes" and "Over Dressed". I am sure you have seen these people in your travels and you can picture them as you read this. You probably ran into them at rest areas or gas stations. "Tacky Clothes" and "Over Dressed" are pretty self-explanatory. I have seen people traveling in nice vehicles who had dressed worse that I would to mow the lawn (if I did mow the lawn). You know they were thinking, “I am just going to be comfortable. After all, I won’t see anyone I know because I will be on the road.” This is probably true but, hey, what about those of us who see them at the gas station? Don’t we deserve a little consideration? "Over Dressed" is total opposite of "Tacky Clothes". They dress as if they have an interview with Hugh Hefner scheduled, while in route to the beach, and the paparazzi is following them to snap photos. No lie; I swear it is true. Recently at a rest stop, I saw a girl dressed as if she was on her way to a club to dance around a pole. It was quite the show!! Both of these road trip types are usually girls.

So what is your road trip style?
Do you have any great road trip stories to share?


  1. I know you're talking about me. I know you christened me "Tacky Clothes" the second you saw that picture of me in those argyle socks and cropped pants. I tell you, I couldn't help it! I was in Scotland; it was cold; everything else I had was at the drop-off laundry! I am innocent!

  2. I am married to a musher therefore I understand what you are saying: everything is hurry up and don't look at anything at a service station or truck stop or, God forbid, Cracker Barrel. We have to get to our destination within the time he has figured precisely to the last minute or the world will definitely end in as cataclysmic explosion. Over thirty years I have suffered through this and now I have taken the offensive - I disappear at the truck stop, leaving him stomping at the car like a racehorse ready to burst through the gates at a track. It's actually funny; well, not to him.

    I usually dress in jeans and a t-shirt, trying to be comfortable. My only prerequisite, a hold-over from college when my car wasn't the most reliable, is to wear tennis shoes. I always think as I am lacing them up that if the car does break down, I do not want to walk miles in flip-flops (even though I do own a cell phone and have Lexus satellite to pick me up - I still worry about walking to the next exit on the interstate). That happened to me one time between Montgomery and Auburn (pre-cell phone days) while I had my Sheltie in the car. I took off walking, only to be picked up by a State Trooper who had a definite aversion to dog hair in the back seat. Even though I had done nothing except break down on the highway, that was the most nervous I had ever been in my life. Sitting in the car with a trooper while he kept looking at my poor little dog in the rear view mirror left me scarred for life. I was afraid he'd arrest me for public endangerment of his backseat because of a few, well a lot, of dog hair. When he dumped me out at a service station, he got out and made a big show of brushing off the seat. What? Was he trying to make it clean for the next prisoner he put there? Who cared if a criminal got a few dog hairs on him? Obviously he did. I ran to the attendant and hid until the trooper left.

    The most uncomfortable road trip I ever took was from Mobile to New York in nineteen hours with my musher. I can now thank my husband for having an enlarged bladder because he wouldn't stop for a bathroom break unless he could see my eyes floating and I was threatening murder ( I can now go for hours without respite). We barely ate and the road seemed to go on forever. Right then and there, I decided that even if flying terrified me, I was never, ever driving that far again.

    I only do short road trips now, just to the beach or the mountains. Anything that requires over six hours in the blasted car means I will be flying, with or without, the musher.

  3. I guess I'm sort of an in-between. I've done some pretty long road trip legs in a day, but I stop every hour and a half to two hours to go to the bathroom, walk a little bit, etc. I don't like to fly, so I'm a big road tripper. So it's a good thing I actually like it. I've driven from Nashville to Seattle by myself before -- didn't bother me a bit.

    I do have one road trip horror story though. My sister worked in Yellowstone National Park one year, and after her time there was over, Mom and I trekked out there to get her. On the way back, we missed a turn because my sister and I were talking and not paying attention, so I took a shortcut. Big mistake! It was about 50 miles of gravel road, and I had a flat halfway through. We couldn't get the tire off, and there was nothing on this road except about five summer homes (all closed up for the season) and a trumpeter swan wildlife refuge. No traffic. I had to drive about 25 miles on a flat, hoping I didn't ruin the rim. We got to the end, and we saw a couple of fishermen coming in off a lake. One had a cell (this was before cell phones were a prevalent), and I called AAA, who came and changed my tire to the donut one. Well, I drove an hour or so on the donut to West Yellowstone (we'd been in Idaho), only to find that every place that sold or fixed tires was closed for the weekend. I about had a nervous breakdown. So the next morning we drove 90 miles to Bozeman on a donut tire to where something was open to fix my real tire. Once we finally got it fixed, we were running way behind getting home in time for me to get back to work after my vacation days. My mom can't drive, and my sister's license had expired while she was at Yellowstone, so I drove the entire way back. The last day, I drove from North Sioux City, South Dakota to Nashville in one day. Got home about 1 in the morning, and was at work at 8 a.m. Never been so tired in my life.

    Now I won't go more than 8 or 9 hours in a day, and I much prefer 5 or 6. Just me and my audio books. Or I take Amtrak. Hubby would much rather fly. That many hours in a car is not his idea of a good time. :)

  4. Well there was this time the Playfriends and I went to Muscle Shoals and ended up in a motel room directly behind a room where a woman was operating a meth lab, which was busted by the police unbeknownst to us until one of the Mavens called to ask if we were all right. We'd blogged the night before about our trip and jokingly titled the entry "Girls Gone Wild." We reported the bust the next day in a post titled "But Not That Wild."

    I tend to be a Dawdler, which is why I hate to make the trip to my mother's house. It's about 500 miles away so I need to stop every 2 hours or so to stretch and take a bathroom break. But there are just so many diversions between here and there -- like Atlanta.


  5. I'd like to add the Pregnant Woman who must use a bathroom every 1-2 hours. (My hubby is a Musher too. He did not like to have to stop except to get gas and this was an eye-opening experience for him.)

    How about the Navigator? Every road trip must have one of these. And every driver must hope and pray Navigator is paying attention. (Of course, this is before GPS.)

    What I hate about our road trips is with Musher, you can't stop and smell the roses before they wilt. I wanted to see the UFO crater at Roswell but hubby insisted we get our picture taken by the sign instead. Yes, we are all standing in front of the sign.

    I wanted to see the gigantic sink hole but no. I like to investigate old Civil War sites, but no. If we are set on a destination, we do not stop. In fact, this is typical for us. Hubby and I were driving to California for language school and stopped to look at the Grand Canyon. When I say stop, I literally mean, we got out of the car, looked over the rim and said, "Been there, done that" and left. Arrrrrrr!!! That is what a Musher does to you.

    I'm not a Dawdler. I'm Curious. Curious likes to enjoy the sights, eat the food, learn the history. Curious wants to Mush when mushing is needed, dawdle when there are things to do and see, dressed moderately and comfortable to operate each task.

    Being curious on a road trip. A good thing. ;)

  6. Men who won't stop when the lady in the car needs to pee are self-centered jerks, IMO. I don't care how often she needs to go. Hubby always stops, though he is a musher, and after the third or fourth time he begins to grumble. But he wouldn't dare not stop, and I won't sit there and pretend like I don't have to go. It's not good to hold it in.

    My FIL, on the other hand, was a long haul truck driver. Definitely a musher, and the one time we traveled anywhere with him, he bitched every time I wanted to stop for a bathroom break. I told my hubby NEVER AGAIN. If we've traveled together since, we drive. I refuse to be held hostage to a man's schedule just because he thinks he has to get to the destination immediately.

    He'll live. And we'll all have a better time if everyone is comfortable. :)

  7. Oh, excellent! I, too, am curious!!! I've been sitting here trying to come up with a new word because I'm a mix between musher and dawdler. Often more musher than dawdler, but it depends on the situation.

    I LOVE to find/see new stuff. So then I dawdle a bit more. But when I'm going to Chicago for the fifteenth time? Then I have a plan. Drive until I get across the northern KY state line, stop for gas and bathroom break, then I don't need to stop again until I get there. One break, all passengers must have good bladder control, and we arrive in the shortest time possible. Luckily, I no longer make that particular trip, but I was getting quite good at it. (And I would let passengers stop and pee if they weren't too scared to mention it to me :)

    Last year on my way to Shreveport, my Mom and I Dawdled all over the place. Well...we mushed to Little Rock, then we dawdled to Shreveport. It was fabulous! We had some of the best pulled pork BBQ I believe I've ever had! Of course, my mom wouldn't let me eat at the "scary" looking bar whose claim to fame was the "home of the camel toe." Oh well...maybe next time.

  8. Thanks to everyone for sharing their road trip stories and styles. I think we could definately add Curious as a style of tripper.

    I am especially in agreement with everyone who said that they have to stop for the restroom whenever they need to. That is VERY important!!

  9. I saw some images of Clark W. Griswald in some of these replies. lol