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Hemmings Motor News has been around since 1954. We're proud of our heritage, but we're also more than the Hemmings full of classifieds that your father subscribed to. Aside from new editorial content every month in Hemmings, we have three monthly magazines: Hemmings Muscle Machines, Hemmings Classic Car and Hemmings Sports and Exotic Car.

While our editors traverse the country to find the best content for those magazines, we find other oddities related to the old-car hobby that we really had no place for - until now. With this blog, we're giving you a behind-the-scenes look at what we see and what we do during the course of putting out some of the finest automotive magazines you'll ever read.

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Open Diff - What Are Your Road Trip Customs?

Posted April 05, 2022 5:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: road trips

The travel industry has made moving around entirely unpleasant these days. Flying requires subjecting yourself to airport security theater, Petri dishes with wings, and the rudest people humanity has to offer. Trains? Only if you want to go one place and not get there until the never after tomorrow. Buses have become the wheeled equivalent of armpits: hairy, smelly and forcibly making you examine your life choices when you find yourself inside one.

So that leaves the great American road trip, which many Clark Griswolds are just now starting to plan with about two months left in the traditional school year. Unlike all the other modes of travel, it doesn't take much to brighten up a road trip. The scenery is accessible and not just a blur through a window. There's a million roadside attractions like the ones John Margolies found on his road trips. And there's all the quirky and unique road trip customs we've all developed over the years.

y custom boils down to getting lost on purpose. Sure, I plan out my route ahead of time and try to keep atlases and paper maps handy when road tripping, but I forbid GPS in the car when driving. GPS programmers only care about the algorithmically ideal way of going from Point A to Point B, which might be fine for commuting, but I find that approach too sanitary and disconnected from the land through which I'm traveling. Getting lost and making educated guesses about how to get unlost not only keeps my Boy Scout wayfinding skills sharp (disclaimer: I am not, nor was I ever, a Boy Scout), it also sometimes drops you off right where you need to be at that moment. This tactic served me well all the years I scouted locations to photograph cars for our print magazines, and on road trips it's introduced me to some amazing food, some breathtaking sights, and plenty of towns with funny-sounding names (the odder the name, the less likely the townspeople are to take themselves seriously, and thus the better the curio and knickknack stores). All I had to do was be receptive to a little randomness and impulsiveness on the road.

It does't always work out. The only thing I learned from getting lost in the Bronx is that the NYPD officers there aren't interested in helping you get back to the Throgs Neck Bridge, and the only thing I learned from an intentional detour off I-80 into northeast Colorado is that not much separates that corner of the state from Nebraska other than some roadside markers. But even so, I'm glad I didn't just cannonball through those areas without stopping and later forget it entirely. What about you? Do you or your family have some road trip customs? Games you play while under way? Secret travel tips? Methods to make the most of your time on the road? Share those with us in the comments below.

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Guru

Join Date: May 2018
Location: Under the spreading Bunya Trees, South Burnett, Queensland, Australia
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#1

Re: Open Diff - What Are Your Road Trip Customs?

04/06/2022 3:44 AM

My road trips these days are point A to B or C or D, but never use a GPS for we do not exist on a GPS reference but the road near us does except that more than half of it ids a swamp. People who come to visit our farm are told, never use the GPS for it will tell you creek beds are roads and YOU WILL GET LOST!

Things to see on the trip to inspire you to stop, like dead pigs, rotting kangaroos and flattened emus, still with food shortages on the horizon a grille full of recently cooked locusts may prove a delicacy.

Games to inspire you, spot the roo before he impales your radiator, dodge the cattle escaping through the wrecked fence, count the potholes but have new batteries in your calculator for the entries.

Guess if the fuel station or food shop in the next town will have food or fuel or even be there anymore, ah the life on an 800Km trip on the goat track. All these things to keep you happy and entertained as long as the valium holds out.

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Commentator

Join Date: Jan 2018
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#2

Re: Open Diff - What Are Your Road Trip Customs?

04/07/2022 3:35 AM

Some of my best trips have included the keeping of a "ships log"; date, time, mileage of significant events along the way. A bit tedious along the way but doesn't really get in the way much more than taking pictures. And a review of the log of a great trip years later is marvelous!

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#3

Re: Open Diff - What Are Your Road Trip Customs?

04/07/2022 9:19 AM

Sometimes it's best to go no particular place at all. Just throw a leg over the bike and go whichever direction the wind takes you.

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