Top Ten Ways to Make Long Drives Less Painful
After over a decade of driving to festivals, events and fairs across all of Western Canada, we have a few tips to offer to make the long drives more manageable.
1. Check the Weather
If you have some flexibility to your schedule, check the weather for the best driving conditions.
Living in the Kootenays means checking the driving conditions for the Pass and other mountain routes, looking out for road closures due to avalanche control or in the summertime, road construction.
2. Daytime Disco
Try to avoid driving at night in order to avoid eye fatigue.
Perry prefers not to drive at night because his eyes get tired and it’s harder to see the animals who are always inevitably drawn to the lights of the truck. We will especially avoid nighttime driving if it’s raining or snowing.
Ideally you can wear your coolest looking shades and lower the windows to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air!
3. Music is Life
Pack your favourite CDs, playlists AND find a few radio stations to mix up the vibe and tone of the drive. Last week we had to drive to Vancouver in order to (finally!) receive our shipment from Nepal (YAY!) and had an assortment of beautiful sounds to listen to.
On rotation was:
Rob Zombie, The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy
TOOL, Fear Inoculum
Slipknot, All Hope is Gone
…And when we got closer to the coast and had a variety of radio stations to choose from, we listened to the News (in order to the hear the latest about the Panana), 50s & 60s French radio station (nothing beats the oldies!) and some good ol’ Classic Rock.
We recommend bringing a wide assortment to choose from because your mood might change unexpectedly. Or what you like listening to at home might not feel right for the drive. It’s always fascinating to us that the second we’re on the road, our music interests and conversation topics change from when we’re in the house. T’is neat.
We also appreciate the occasional bouts of silence.
(We’re not into Podcasts yet. Anything you wanna suggest to get us started?)
4. Stop to Stand
Planning your route is one of the smartest things you can do, especially if you have the time to take frequent rest stops ORRR spontaneously discover new stops! After years (and years) of driving for long distances, we’ve come to realize some of the not-so-great impacts that frequent driving can have on your body. Back pain, sciatica, or weak torso/ab muscles (to name a few), can creep up on you if you’re not careful and don’t take precautions.
For this reason, we highly encourage you to stop at least every hour in order to stretch, move and dance! Perry’s favourite road side workout is to throw his leg up on the tire for a deeper glute and leg stretch, while mine is doing large hip circles and wide leg bend overs.
When time allows, put on your favourite music to dance to, turn up the volume and dance it out!
(At one point we talked about traveling with boxing gloves and punching pads in order to really break a sweat AND let out some steam – we’re around each other a lot – but we never followed through on that one. Still recommend it though.)
For some reason, long drives can be really dehydrating. Coming from Salmo, where we have some of the best water in the world, we’ve even gone so far as to fill water cooler jugs in order to have the freshest, cleanest, most amazing water available to us for the drive.
(If you happen to be driving through Fernie, just past the tunnel going towards Fernie, there’s a natural spring on the side of the hill that is a perfect spot to refill your water bottles. See here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pf_E7FuiIKQ )
6. Conversation is Key
Somehow, Perry and I have managed to be around each other almost 24/7 for over six years and still have cool stuff to talk about. We’ve had ideas, such as each of us picking topics to be more familiar with in order to “teach” the other but it ended up just happening naturally and somehow we always manage to find more to talk about.
One moment we’ll be talking about work and getting ideas on what to create next, or what pictures to post, or experiences to talk about online, and the next we’re talking about where we want to go in the world and when it could happen.
If you’re short on ideas though, we recommend revisiting #3.
7. Pack a Lunch (Or buy something. Whatever.)
We’re often on a budget so we’ll pack snacks and meals to eat on the road. However, sometimes we like to make stops along the way to support local artisanal shops and small restaurants. When we’re back on that budget, we’ll stop at grocery stores instead of restaurants in order to stock up on healthy snack food.
There was once a time where potato chips and chocolate covered raisins were our thing but over the years we’ve traded in the high calorie, sugar packed snacks for healthier options such as carrot sticks, crackers & cheese or leftovers brought from home.
The main point of this item is to be prepared. I’ll literally have panic attacks if I don’t have good food accessible to me because I NEED to eat every few hours. We’ve also found ourselves stuck in highway lineups due to an accident or road constructions for several hours with barely any water left and no food in sight and those were not fun times.
You just never know! So be prepared.
8. Watch for Bad Drivers
On our way to Vancouver recently we saw two almost-accidents that would have involved a small car and a truck going head-on into a rig. Both times it was the smaller vehicle completely at fault, driving too fast, passing traffic on double lines while on a corner going uphill, and overall being an ass-hat.
I remember my dad saying to me once: “It’s not yourself you have to be careful of, it’s every other asshole on the road” and even though I still don’t have a driver’s license (I know I know), I see what it’s like for Perry who’s doing his best to make sure that we get to our next destination safe and sound.
9. Appreciate Your Surroundings
Have you ever really looked at what Canada has to offer? Like, have you seriously stopped and looked around, truly taking in the sights and smells? When I first hit the road with Perry I was absolutely mesmerized by the beauty of this country.
We’ve gone through areas that we now call “the Irish hills” because I didn’t realize that we had slopes that are so green and lush and never ending. We’ve driven for hours through dry lands, or through never-ending fields, watching the grass blow from side to side, or come upon vast stretches of canola flowers. We’ve seen lakes that call you in, trees so high that we can’t see the tops, waterfalls that are there one moment and gone the next, and mountain sides that loom over you like mystical walls leading into a magical abyss…
If you can, really take a moment to appreciate your surroundings.
10. Say Hi to the Wildlife
WELL, not REALLY say hi and like, be careful of course, but similar to appreciating your physical surroundings is stopping to (safely) look at the deer, moose, bear and other wildlife that you will most likely come across at some point.
Keep your distance, don’t feed them, and definitely snap a few pics. ;-)
That’s it for now!
Enjoy your ride.
PS. The Image used to at the top of this Blog post was taken on the side of the highway, outside of the NK'Mip Corner Gas Station, in Osoyoos, BC.