QOTD: What Is Your Road Not Taken?
We’re deep into a nebulous time of the year called “driving season.” This, of course, is the part of the calendar when it suddenly becomes possible for vehicle owners to leave their homes and drive away. So, driving season it is.
If you’re a Northerner, the season holds far more emotional and spiritual importance than for those in sunnier climes. The open road simply doesn’t beckon if the landscape mimics a scene from Fargo, unless it’s to escape south. But come summer, every road’s a destination. Every street, highway, and back laneway is another opportunity to enjoy the miracle of the Earth’s tilting axis, the glorious wobble that lurches our side of the planet towards the sun for half a year, melting the snow that covers our cigarette butts, coffee cups and corpses.
The road beckons, yet many of us fail to properly heed its call.
Be it time, money, family obligations, or maybe just a general lack of adventure (perhaps you’re already dead inside?), countless roads remain untouched by our Goodyears or Bridgestones.
In this writer’s life, the greatest memories seem forever attached, in some way or another, to driving. I wander. I wander more than most, and it’s been that way since first getting my license. You discover more of a country from a car, full stop. It’s simply true. Far too often I hear urbanites who claim to have seen the country by flying from one urban center to another, ignoring the flyover country (which is almost the entire country, north or south of the border), not to mention those isolated locales only accessible by — get this — a road.
That’s where real things happen. Life exists there. It’s in these places where a driver can take stock of their own life, far enough away from the problems they’ve strived to distance themselves from. It’s where a fleeting sense of appreciation for the things left behind can rekindle itself, or perhaps a realization that the lonely road to somewhere unexplored holds a suggestion for your life.
I recall back in the summer of 2009, blasting down an unpaved forced road in western Labrador, how the sight of a single, lonely streetlight — the first real evidence of the modern world I’d seen in hundreds of miles — filled my heart with an appreciation for civilization and mankind that hadn’t existed at the beginning of my long journey.
Another summer, I batted black flies from my neck as a herd of bison put the brakes on my progress down Northwest Territories Highway 3, north of Fort Providence. Were two of them fighting, or was this head-ramming activity the beginnings of a courtship? With no GPS or solid itinerary, I count that cross-country slog as one of my best memories, choking on smoke as I wondered whether the million-acre forest fire had leaped the only highway pointing north. And what do I do if my fuel pump quits? Screw it. What happens, happens.
There’s still so many roads left unexplored. I don’t like it. Something needs to happen. Before our cars are legislated away from us, be it by government or the advancement of technology, those roads need to hear the steady hum of my tires. No doubt the same longing fills the heart of many members of the Best and Brightest.
So, let’s think. What great road trip has always eluded you, yet remains on your must-do list? What highway, state, province or country emits a siren song calling just for you? And, to make this post slightly more relevant, what vehicle would complete the picture you’ve created in your mind?
Maybe it’s floating down the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris in a black Citroën DS. Perhaps it’s slogging across the vast wastes of Siberia in a Lada Niva. Or, just maybe, it’s a long, old, white Cadillac convertible conveying you across the desert Southwest, past bleached cattle skulls, on your way to the Pacific.
Tell us about it. Describe your driving dream.
Chan on Jun 07, 2017
From the San Francisco Bay Area, I've made it to Crescent City, CA. My road not taken is to make it all the way into Oregon. I hope to do this within the next year. In terms of sports car driving, there are lots of great mountain roads here and I've driven most of them.
-Nate on Jun 07, 2017
I do as many road rallies as I can every year, no point in wasting any of this precious, all too short life we're given . . I always try to take the secondary or tertiary roads as they're less crowded and usually more interesting . . I'd like to drive the Florida keys on a small Motocycle just because . . -Nate
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