Journal: What's Your Best Excuse For Taking A Drive?

What’s Your Best Excuse For Taking A Drive?

By Michael Banovsky
September 10, 2015
15 comments

When I reviewed newer cars, I made a point of sampling every feature of a vehicle, not just its throttle pedal. That meant becoming an expert on automated text messaging replies, lane departure warning, and self-park systems—basically a lot of the stuff you’d never turn on in your own car but hope everyone else is using.

In 2004, I had to review an Acura TL fitted with a DVD-Audio system, so I decided to drive as far as The Who’s Tommy would take me.

This meant actually buying a (hilariously overpriced) DVD-Audio disc to sample the ELS 5.1 Surround Sound system, but moreover, designing a scheme in which I could actually enjoy the music. Leaving at around 10pm from Toronto one evening, I pointed the car up Highway 400, set the cruise control, and listened to—let’s be honest here—Keith Moon tearing it up on the drums.

(If there are audiophiles among you, the remastered 5.1 mix on this particular album, particularly with the recording session outtakes, really highlights Moon’s drumming because it’s no longer mixed in with the other instrument and vocal tracks.)

It wasn’t the most ridiculous reason to take a long drive (I once drove alone, five hours each way, for a Montreal smoked meat sandwich), but certainly one of the more enjoyable.

What’s one drive you’ve taken that may have seemed odd at the beginning but left a lasting impression? 

Photography by Afshin Behnia, Bryan Joslin, Chris Gonzalez, Jonathan WC Mills, and Kika Vigo-Behnia

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Iain Holmes
Iain Holmes
3 years ago

Well, the battery isn’t going to charge itself is it now ? ;D

Simon
Simon
4 years ago

I’m pissed off. I’m stressed. I’m bored. There’s going to be this girl. She hasn’t moved in an age (week). It’s apparently going to rain all week, I’ll take her for a quick one before it starts. It’s sunny. … err… is there an excuse?

Paul Ipolito
Paul Ipolito
6 years ago

If we don’t drive for the sheer hell of it, the bastards will have won!

Kuroneko
Kuroneko
6 years ago

Having a tolerant wife and a 356 in the driveway, the only excuse I needed was to say, [i]’I need to warm some oil…'[/i] She understood.

Andrew Salt
Andrew Salt
6 years ago

Since I was a kid and being hooked on Rush’s Moving Pictures, I had always wanted to experience the thrill of being chashed across the mountainside in a red Barchetta by the law in their gleaming alloy air car, then get back safely to the farm and dream with my uncle by the fireside…

Early one Sunday morning, I stripped away the old debris that hid my shining red TVR Chimeara, fired up the willing engine, and with tires spitting gravel, I began to commit my crime.

I blasted through the B roads of Worcestershire, sunlight on fiberglass, the blur of the landscape, every nerve aware.

Luckily, the Old Bill were nowhere to be seen, and I got back safely without getting locked up after one hell of a blast..

Of couse, I had to play the track loud on the car stereo while commiting my crime – that was the real reason I went for the drive.

Bryan Dickerson
Bryan Dickerson
6 years ago

Yes Michael B.!
Long live the great SX-1250! I’d wanted one since I was 16 and found one on craigslist a few years ago. Sounds fantastic (big and warm) with matching HPM-100 speakers and a Rega turn table.

Guitar Slinger.
For an example of how badly digital compares to analog, compare the C.D. Version of Miles’ ‘Kind of Blue’ to the vinyl version.
My favorite excuse for a drive was to bring my Datsun 510 from my old home in Alaska, to my new home in Oregon over 20 yrs. ago. This was before the Alaska-Canada (Al-Can) was completely paved and straightened. About 2500 miles total with about half being like a marathon Rally stage. My best driving day ever was winding south through the Frasier River Canyon in British Columbia with the sun shining, the torquey little 1800 SSS motor singin’ and the Goodyear Wingfoots hummin’.

Josh Dockery
Josh Dockery
6 years ago

A long drive through the beautiful Arizona mountains in my ’80 Euro spec 911 SC to catch a live band at the Spirit Room in Jerome, AZ. It doesn’t get any better!

Antony Ingram
Antony Ingram
6 years ago

I’ve certainly gone out of my way to drive before when other methods of transport might have been preferable for actually getting somewhere. More than once has a friend suggested I don’t go out of my way to meet them, and heard the response that’d I’d happily drive much further if it were required.

I find the best drives are ones you don’t have to make excuses for, though. Coming home from work the other night I happened upon more traffic than usual, so took a detour on one of the several other options thankfully available to me. It takes in maybe only one or two miles of narrow British B-road, but getting the chance to drive a little faster than usual, rather than taking the shorter, more economical route, was absolutely worth it and put me in a great mood for the rest of the night.

Excuses though? My preferred vacation is a road trip, so every time I get a few weeks spare, that’s my excuse to go for a drive. On Thursday I have about two weeks to spare – so I’m setting off around Western Europe with a friend. No excuse needed!

Clayton Merchant
Clayton Merchant
6 years ago

I agree with Bruce, who needs an excuse, however one of best I’ve reasons I’ve ever come up with was many years ago, 4 friends & I decided on the spur of the moment that we wanted to go see a Minnesota Twins baseball game in the then new Humphrey Dome (circa 1982) driving from…………Salt Lake City, Utah!
Great trip, lots of memories including hitting a deer and limping home my new Toyota Celica and learning about some interesting laws in Minnesota from a member of the local constabulary after the fact. The worst day driving is better than any day working!

Bruce Hagopian
Bruce Hagopian
6 years ago

Is this a trick question?

No excuse is needed.

The whole point of the automobile is driving. The drive is the reason, not excuse, in an of itself.

Francois Bozonnet
Francois Bozonnet
6 years ago
Reply to  Bruce Hagopian

Mr Bruce for president!!! no excuse, just drive!!!!

Biker Joe
Biker Joe
6 years ago

Best Excuse? Well, the sun is up! I live in Denver, so that would be Hwy 103 up and around Mt. Evans, past Echo Lake, and down to I70 at Idaho Springs. Continue on down Hwy 119 through Nederland, then back home through Boulder. 1967 Malibu sedan w/suspension upgrades, factory Delco radio, even gets AM! Life is Good!

Albert Palomar
Albert Palomar
6 years ago

One of my “Best Excuses” for taking a drive is the desire to get funnel cake at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

Although the intent may sound childish, it allows me to take Woodside Road up to Alice’s Restaurant in Woodside, then down Highway 35 and Highway 9 to end up at Canepa in Scotts Valley. When I’m done drooling over the many Porsche 959s, 930s, and the rest of the very fine collection, I eventually make my way down to Santa Cruz only to realize that I don’t even like funnel cake.

Thanks For Reading.

Albert Palomar

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
6 years ago

Ahem Mr Banovsky but genuine audiophiles never did and still don’t think much of the now obsolete [ from the audiophiles perspective ] so called / remastered [ more like reconfigured ] 5.1 surround sound mixes ;

A) Because despite the hype much of the original material and subtleties have been lost in both the mixing and playback
B) Surround sound is anything but authentic or realistic [ which is the end game/goal of the audiophile obsession ]
C) As well as …. as you’ve stated so clearly the reconfiguring nine times out of ten over emphasis’s certain aspects of the recordings that were NEVER the original musicians / engineers / mixdown engineers / producers intent ..

Taking more of a Burger King [ have it your way ] tactic than any attempt to bring the original back to life

But overall Mr B ? Just remember … even when it comes to Mr Young’s PONO etc .. digital of all kinds … sucks … and the more digital you make it … the worse it will suck .

Long Live Analogue

As for my best excuse for a drive ? When I’m living in Denver .. lunch in Aspen .. the hard way [ Independence Pass } . When I lived in LA .. dinner in SF … when I resided in NYC … a weekend in Martha’s Vineyard or Cape May NJ … during my tenure in Nice … heh heh .. a night on the town in Monte Carlo … while in VT .. any excuse to got to Montreal … while in Seattle … a day trip to Vancouver BC .. all with a lovely lady by my side . Seriously .. can there be a better reason that those ?