Long Distance Journeys

glenwilson

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Witcheri was asking about long distance driving and any suggestions.

We have done a few long distance one-day drives - Amsterdam to Munich, Las Vegas to Moab which were both about 500miles/750km. West Yellowstone across Wyoming to Rapid City was 500+ miles. Also done a home to Ironbridge and back which was about 650miles /900km in a day too.

So my tips are:

  • A good sleep the night before - an obvious one but not always possible
  • A good selection of music that is not too extreme. You want something you enjoy but something with too fast or slow beat wise can make you tired or sleepy which you don't want! Audiobooks - time can pass quite quick when listening to a book. Driving in the US for example can be extremely boring. Playing I-Spy in Oregon was a bit repetitive. Something beginning with T. Tree. Something beginning with T. Tree. Something beginning with T. Tree. They have quite a lot of trees in Oregon. Whereas in Utah you tend to get a lot of flat desert areas and that is boring too. European motorways can be boring to as many have fencing that obscures your view so you can't even see the scenery.
  • Food and drink. To save time it is useful to have food and drink with you plus usually cheaper than motorway prices. We take a flask with us (even to the US) so we can make the drinks we like especially as their tea tends to be awful. For coffee I use an aeropress (see below). You also need to be aware that having drinks like tea/coffee will also require comfort breaks. You can take fresh milk if you need it but small UHT milks are useful to have and you can either buy them or acquire them when you get coffees in restaurants.
  • Try and plan breaks on your journey. They don't have to be exactly planned but it is a good idea to have rough ideas of where to stop and if it is going to be a quickie or something a bit longer for a lunch or meal. Allowing for stops also give you a more accurate time you will take to get somewhere and when you need to leave it arrival time is important. Just getting out of the vehicle for a while helps freshen you up too.

 

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tousledmonkey31

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3 Jun 2013
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Oooh Munich to Amsterdam.. The Autobahn A3 is one big construction sightseeing tour :confused:

My lady is currently in Groningen, NL until June and whenever I visit her, I look forward to a 4,5 to 5 hour drive. That for me is the maximum I can sit in a car before my butt tells me it's had enough sitting for the day :LOL: I enjoy audiobooks or good podcasts and switch to some music every hour or two to give my brain a break. That Aeropress looks super handy, but do you have a 12V kettle or where do you get the hot water from?

I have one strict rule: Anything that is bulky or heavy goes under the seat, just like in airplanes. Yes it's practical to have the water bottle on the passenger seat, but we all know what a bitch physics can be, and a sharp maneuver always comes out of nowhere.

Another tip is, as you mentioned regular breaks: Your brain needs a lot of energy. Your eyes stay focused on the road most of the time. You keep track of the route, anticipate what other drivers do, are alert for potentially dangerous situations. All of that drains a lot of energy, yet you are sitting and your muscles don't use much energy. That combination is unbelievably tiring. So about every 90 minutes give or take, stop for a few minutes. 90 minutes is the time of the average attention span: School classes, football games and movies go by that rule of thumb. Here are some counter measures for a tired driver:

Oxygen - breathe deeply outside of the car, oxygen + sugar is for humans what light + water is for plants: fuel.
Sugar - your brain consumes a lot of sugar, so give the monkey up there a banana to keep it satisfied.
Muscle movement - do some jumping jacks, run a few meters and back, stretch, do whatever is comfortable for you, but move! It will keep the bloodflow going, your body thinks "oh boy, something's going on, better convert some sugar into energy!" and your brain benefits from that additional energy. You should easily be able to continue your journey.
And please never underestimate the dangers on the road. Drive safe guys!
 
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glenwilson

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All good advice there. Jumping jacks with my knees though....

We have an old stainless steel vacuum flask that we have had for about 25 years for hot water. Even after 24 hours you can still use it to make coffee with. Tried to get something similar but had no luck.

I am paranoid about cans in cars. Being tall the seat is all the way back. This can expose the seat track on some cars. I once dropped a can of coke and it it the corner of the runner and I had this fountain on the insdie and everything was sticky till I got rid of the car!!!

A ziplok bag can also be handy to have nearby. You have just had a coffee, you are stuck in a traffic jam and.... work to home used to be about 20 miles or about 40 minutes. A few years back there was a snow storm, all the roads were jammed as the council didn’t take weather forcast seriously and didn’t grit/salt the roads. I did the first 2 miles in 3 hours. I had left work at 16:00 (i started at 07:30 so I wasn’t slacking :) ). I actually got home at 23:30. That ziplok bag was soooooo useful!!!! For clarification- liquid only!!!!