We’re fixin’ to head out on another road trip and I woke — once again — before 4 a.m. It seems you cannot fool your own psyche about what’s going on and you can’t break lifelong habits easily.
As an aside to my faithful readers, this road trip
it will be difficult to answer comments. I will
answer them all when we return home.
Almost every road trip we have made started off in the wee hours of the morning. Sure, travel by airplane is different. Overseas flights are often early evening departures. U.S. Trains… well they run on a timetable unique to the train world and they make no sense to me at all. The long distance rail runs arrive and depart major cities at times that seem to me most difficult. And for our road travel while we could choose any time of the day or night to get started it seems that we typically start out before sunrise.
For decades it was because the majority of routes away from Milwaukee to most places that are worth traveling to take you through Chicago. At least that was true until I-43 opened — and now we can bypass The Windy City. However, in our formative years we always wanted to get beyond Chicago before rush hour. Which meant ….duh … that we had a 2 hour drive that we needed to get under our belt before 7:30 a.m.. Ideally, before 6:15 a.m.!
Year after year, and trip after trip I recorded memories of getting a good night’s sleep before the trip and rising early for a quick bite (or just a cuppa) and on the road. Over the years the starting times edged earlier and breakfast became an Egg McMuffin two hours down the line. At least it was so before I got on my anti-McDonalds-and-fast-food campaign. Nowadays the only thing I ever stop at McDonalds for is coffee and bathrooms. Usually both, at every stop.
Fast forward a few decades to the beginning of our RV life, and our trip timing shifted a little. During the first 2 1/2 years of Full Time RV’ing we never went through a city larger than 30,000. Traffic wasn’t as much of an issue! But even when traffic didn’t matter as much we still got an early start every time we moved. Allowing for typical campground Quiet Hours we were up early and dawn saw us pulling up jacks, retracting slides and I saved cranking over the diesel until the 8:00 hour struck, just to be as polite as possible.
Now, with no RV what am I doing?
Well, for one thing, I’ve noticed with our last four little extended trips from Los Fresnos that on the day before and on the day of departure my body is back to waking up early even if I have no intention of leaving. Like this trip; we aren’t leaving till tomorrow but this morning I was awake at 3 a.m. — WIDE AWAKE — and ready to go! I’m sure tomorrow will be a repeat of today. I can’t help it. And while I rarely take a Tylenol PM — even if I took one tonight I know I’ll be awake and ready to go — though a bit groggy — at the same time. Habits die hard.
I’m sure some of the reasons I behave that way (well, actually we BOTH behave that way) are that I’m proactive about most everything in life. I’d rather prevent problems when I can see them coming — and avoiding the worst of traffic is a good way of avoiding problems. The addition of each car to the highway adds another accident potential. It’s the reason I sometimes take the interstate or a controlled access road rather than the city streets — every intersection is a greater risk of accident than tooling down a highway with no intersections, even if there are more cars. I often ignore that danger when we’re road tripping because I want to see the country — not the highway. So we often find ourselves on state, county, and rural roads — but those are choices I make consciously when I’m in a mood to see and do — not in a mood to just “GET” some place.
I’m interested to see what we do as we get older. I rarely drive at night now. I have no reason not to do so — other than having no need so pressing that it can’t wait till morning. We were never big carousers so bar hopping and such isn’t in our game plan. And if we want to go out for dinner we can usually go just as easily at lunch and not feel over-full too close to bedtime!
I’m sure tomorrow morning I’ll be awake and my mind ready to go long before my body assents to the early reveille call. And we’ll have a lovely time heading north. Still…. it would be nice if I could convince my psyche that I didn’t need to wake up that early in the morning.