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How do you pass time on long car trips?

Asked at Speedway Shell, 1733 Mass. on July 20, 2009

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Photo of Ben Brannian

“Listen to music. If I’m not driving, read. ”

Photo of Tim Welby

“I listen to a lot of music, especially the Grateful Dead.”

Photo of Isom Banks

“Sing whatever comes to mind. ”

Photo of Mallory Keating

“Sleep.”

Comments

Gootsie 4 years, 9 months ago

And here I was going to tell you that we are good friends with Phlash Phelps and he was just at our house this weekend! Oh well, I'll tell you anyway!

I do love the satellite radio. You can listen to a good station all the way even into remote Oklahoma!

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Pywacket 4 years, 9 months ago

We have XM at home and I love the 40s channel.

I agree with MeAndFannieLou about getting off the interstates whenever possible. Taking those secondary highways, you never know what you'll find-- wonderful diner food, a small-town garage sale (with old folks selling antiques for a song), photo ops of lakes or old barns or whatnot...

One of my favorite off-the-beaten-path routes is the Red Arrow Highway, which runs up the western side of Michigan. You go through many beautiful little lakeside towns and can stop and walk on the sand at several beaches. For much of the way, the lake is in sight. Other times, you're winding through vineyard territory, orchards, fields of blooming flowers or vegetables, and you can stop at dozens of roadside stands for fresh blueberries, cherries, tomatoes, or whatever bounty the season holds.

As you head north, the majestic woods begin to dominate--maples, sassafras, pine and spruce, birch, beech... And always the lake to the west--either in sight or just a short distance off the road! Wonderful highway.

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tanaumaga 4 years, 9 months ago

i've got two words as well...road head.

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igby 4 years, 9 months ago

....pig pen and pocket pool. Lol.

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Machiavelli_mania 4 years, 9 months ago

Music, podcasts, audiobooks, with an occasional radio, ... if I can find on that is not that christian crap. I do a lot of driving. That christian stuff is certainly off-putting for turning on the radio.

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Flap Doodle 4 years, 9 months ago

TOB, the 40s channel has less cr@pola than the other two. The 50s and 60s channels waste a lot of time by playing cutesy station ID jingles and letting the DJs endless plug each others shows. I spend most of the time on the Classical Pops & Concert Hall channels.

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mdrndgtl 4 years, 9 months ago

I pump my arms real fast and pretend like I'm running...

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The_Original_Bob 4 years, 9 months ago

"I wind up flipping between 40s, 50s and 60s to listen to music instead of some some dumb git doing the ignorant DJ crap that was old-hat 40 years ago. Don't mind me, I'm bitter. " Snap

This is why I have still purchased Sirius or XM. I hate DJs. I don't listen to am/fm, because I hate the DJs and from what I've heard on Sirius/XM, it isn't much different. I wish there was a way I could get Pandora, Live365, or even Aolradio in my rig.

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jengaman 4 years, 9 months ago

I would say have a couple of drinks, but that wouldn't be PC.

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prospector 4 years, 9 months ago

Snap, do you use Zamphir CDs for inspiration?

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Flap Doodle 4 years, 9 months ago

prospector, I'm trying to teach the lemurs how to play nose flutes. It's an uphill piece of business.

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prospector 4 years, 9 months ago

Hey bitter, life is to short to pay to listen to drivel.

Snap, do the lemurs whistle? Teach them this for a sing a long:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1loyjm4SOa0

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MeAndFannieLou 4 years, 9 months ago

It helps to get off of the interstates and onto the smaller highways - the scenery is much more interesting. You pass through small towns and have to slow down (varying one's speed helps to break up the monotony).

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Flap Doodle 4 years, 9 months ago

It appears that bronze got disappeareded today. Couldn't have happened to a more deserving person.

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Flap Doodle 4 years, 9 months ago

gootsie, I try to listen to the 60s channel on XM but I cannot stand the idiot DJs they have. I wind up flipping between 40s, 50s and 60s to listen to music instead of some some dumb git doing the ignorant DJ crap that was old-hat 40 years ago. Don't mind me, I'm bitter.

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deskboy04 4 years, 9 months ago

I like to eat ham salad sandwiches.

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toe 4 years, 9 months ago

I imagine a world with small government and lower taxes. I smile the whole trip.

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Pywacket 4 years, 9 months ago

Uh.... gccss14--I believe I said, "Depending on where you are going and what deals you can swing, flying CAN be cheaper than driving."

If I had said, "In every circumstance, whether you're flying alone or with a large family, flying is always cheaper than driving," I would have obviously been wrong--but that's not what I said.

Anyway... you can find flights much cheaper than $350 (again--depends on where and when you're going). And you can save frequent-flyer free tickets to use for a family vacation, combine rental car deals, etc. There are deals out there if you're looking for them--and if they work for your circumstances.

My main point was that it's a little silly getting defensive and calling someone else pretentious because they say they prefer to fly. And that point stands, whether or not the flyer is saving money or not.

I was just surprised that anyone could consider the idea of flying pretentious in this day and age. Kind of like viewing a cell phone as a status symbol.

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Gootsie 4 years, 9 months ago

snap - do you listen to the 60s on 6 on XM?

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cj123 4 years, 9 months ago

look out the window or read. i love long road trips! brings back memories!

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Tom Shewmon 4 years, 9 months ago

Gccs14r, you got that right about the northern stretches of I-29. I went pheasant hunting in SD several years ago and I-29 was indescribably monotonous---following the river bottoms for miles and miles and miles and........

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Richard Heckler 4 years, 9 months ago

The Traveling Wilburys,Tony Bennett,The Beatles,Glenn Miller,read, do word games then stop every two hours for gas and a walk. If the time is right we catch Democracy NOW.

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gccs14r 4 years, 9 months ago

Pywacket,

Paying $350 for a round trip for one is one thing. Paying $1750 so the parents and three kids can take the same trip is something else. It quickly becomes more cost-effective to take a car, assuming you already own one.

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coolmom 4 years, 9 months ago

play movies for the kids while wishing they would sleep, play i spy with the kids while wishing they would sleep, listen to the kids fight while wishing they would sleep and listen to radio, cd, zune while wishing the kids would either sleep or stop having to pee every 50 miles.

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Pywacket 4 years, 9 months ago

labmonkey thinks flying is pretentious?

Now I'm picturing him tinkering on the rusted out '67 Plymouth Fury for the annual trip from his shack in the Ozarks holler to the Big City---Branson!

Lighten up on the frequent flyers, monkey... Flight is not the big deal it was in, say, the 50s, when well-heeled people dressed to the nines for a flight and ordinary working-class folks couldn't afford it. Depending on where you're going and what deals you can swing, flying can be cheaper than driving--particularly if it's a business trip and you count your time for anything.


We are preparing for an upcoming road trip now. When I'm not driving, I'll be reading, crocheting, or doing crossword puzzles--with iPod buds firmly in place to tune out hubby's nonstop Dead music. I don't dislike the Dead... but I find it monotonous to listen to one band for hours at a time. I like to mix it up a little. What I will listen to most, though, are collections of This American Life stories. Very entertaining--most are funny.

The spouse's listening habits are very different. He'll immerse himself in Jimmy Buffett or the Beatles or (last major obsession) Radiohead and listen to nothing but that for weeks or months--then move on to something else. Drives me crazy! Especially when it was Radiohead or Buffett!! At least the Dead is a step up from either of those. Wish he'd become obsessed with some of my favorites--Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, Louis Jordan, Sarah Vaughan, Muddy Waters, Pink Floyd.....

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icedoverhillon14th 4 years, 9 months ago

put one in da air, then repeat every 2 hours or so until arrival.

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couranna1 4 years, 9 months ago

jesus is dead too whats your point nancy boy

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Flap Doodle 4 years, 9 months ago

"How do you pass time on long car trips?" The lemurs and I pretend to be architects and make up angry letters about astroturf & new hotels.

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Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 9 months ago

My ex said I am a sucker for every tourist attraction no matter how hokey and it is true. That is why is took us a month to get from Kansas City to San Francisco. But oh, the memories.

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boy_genius 4 years, 9 months ago

A variety of stripping games. Strip license plate spotting. Strip alphabet game. Strip stripping.

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Kryptenx 4 years, 9 months ago

I'm with TOB on this one, nothing better to speed up the trip and speed up my alertness than a legal dose of speed.

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gccs14r 4 years, 9 months ago

It depends. Most of the time I'm scanning the horizon for Smokeys, so I don't get bored. OTOH, there's no way to keep the northern stretches of I-29 from being boring, so then I concentrate on keeping my brain from puddling in my shoes.

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alm77 4 years, 9 months ago

Movies on the laptop. For us and for the kids. There are also travel sized games, books, handheld gaming devices, sing-a-longs, snacks, "Oh, look there's a ___!", the license plate game. We do it all!

We drove to Florida this summer and we hardly ever heard an "Are we there yet?" Of course, we also see our journey as part of the vacation. We'll pull over to just about any exciting/weird attraction we see a sign for if we feel we need a bit of a break.

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9070811 4 years, 9 months ago

what a long strange trip it's been.....

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sgtwolverine 4 years, 9 months ago

I listen to music (but definitely not the Grateful Dead). It's great when I'm driving and helps a lot when I'm riding, too, since I can't read in the car.

As far as flying vs driving: I wholeheartedly prefer driving. Flying may be a shorter trip, but the hassle and stress of airports and security isn't worth it to me unless I really need to be there ASAP. I flew out west in February and drove out to the same destination just a couple weeks ago, and it was no contest: I preferred the driving trip.

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local_support 4 years, 9 months ago

Awwww, now isn't that sweet? Logicsound and Nancyboy cozy up over their dislike of the Dead.

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mom_of_three 4 years, 9 months ago

If I am not driving, then I sleep. If I am driving, then I listen to the radio, flip through the stations, and will stop every so often to stretch the short legs

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grammaddy 4 years, 9 months ago

Sleeping.... as long as I'm not driving.

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Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 9 months ago

Our long road trip was across the southwest to California so we looked at scenery. Talked. Stopping so I could use the gas station. I managed to either leave the key in the room or leave the key in the lock and then I had to yell to get out.

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Tom Shewmon 4 years, 9 months ago

I agree logicsound. Hey folks, newsflash, Jerry's dead.

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logicsound09 4 years, 9 months ago

The Grateful Dead?

Blech

I didn't realize the question was "How do you make long car trips feel even longer and more tedious?"

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bronze 4 years, 9 months ago

if Suzie Q is driving i just roll em.

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Tom Shewmon 4 years, 9 months ago

I avoid long trips like the plague......did it way, way too much for years and years. The trip to KCI is long enough for me. Then you let someone else do the driving while you're served drinks.

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autie 4 years, 9 months ago

Hands on the wheel. Eyes on the road. Hoping for hyperdrive so I can arrive yesterday.

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preebo 4 years, 9 months ago

Pretension? I wouldn't say that. We often fly Southwest or Frontier. Both = cheap.

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labmonkey 4 years, 9 months ago

Wow....nice show of pretension there preebo.

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trinity 4 years, 9 months ago

by throwing water balloons at other cars.

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preebo 4 years, 9 months ago

Simple... I do not go on long road trips. Maybe when I was in college and perhaps once or twice while in law school, but now that I have family w/ two kids, no more. When we need to travel long distance, we fly - it's just easier.

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jumpin_catfish 4 years, 9 months ago

Audio books, its makes the time fly by.

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prospector 4 years, 9 months ago

On the left if I could catch it.

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