Home » How Do You Survive Long-Weekend Travel? Autopian Asks

How Do You Survive Long-Weekend Travel? Autopian Asks

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It’s just about Memorial Day weekend in America, and that means a whole lot more than just the Indianapolis 500. It’s a busy travel weekend on the roads, and we all just want to stay sane and get to our destinations. So, how do you survive the traffic? I’ll go first since I had my long weekend a little earlier.

See, last weekend was Victoria Day weekend in Canada, or as everyone calls it, May 24 (pronounced two-four). It usually doesn’t fall on May 24, but is instead named after the number of beers in a case. Ask any Canadian. My adventure for that long weekend was seeing a couple of buddies racing at Mosport, all part of the Castrol Victoria Day SpeedFest. It’s only about an hour from Toronto in free-flowing traffic, but it’s sort of on the way to the Kawarthas, a definite cottage destination.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

A few days before the trip, I like to give whichever vehicle I’m taking a little once-over before hitting the road. Double-check bushings, ball joints, brake pads, tires, torque on critical fasteners, light bulb operation, fluid levels, all that good stuff to hedge bets on getting there safely. Does my tier of roadside assistance come with a black card? Sure, but I hope to never actually need it. Thankfully, I can always put it up on the two-post lift at RCLUB in Leaside and give it a quick check-over for peace of mind.

Boxster In Club

Next, I pick what I’ll be listening to. Solo drives are easier with a soundtrack, so I usually make a playlist longer than the expected travel time with some good highway travel music. Think liquid drum and bass. Oh, and I download a few podcasts in case I want to hear people talking, a different sort of contrast against road noise.

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When it comes to actually driving, I like to leave on any long weekend trips on or around the asscrack of dawn. Yes, it means going to bed early the night before, but free-flowing roads are absolutely worth it. I made it to Mosport around 7:30 a.m., beating just about everyone else to the track and getting prime parking. Swish. Now, if I can’t avoid serious traffic, I like to just take it easy. Stick in the right lane next to the shoulder so I always have an escape route if necessary, take things slow, and keep a cool head. I’ll get there when I get there, although owning two older German cars as my exclusive forms of transportation gives me a little leeway that maybe a Toyota owner wouldn’t have.

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Once everything’s done and I’m home, I like to give whatever I drove a good clean immediately after getting back. Bugs, road grime, and all sorts of other contaminants can wreak havoc if left on the paint too long, and the sooner you attack them, the easier they are to clean off.

So, how do you survive long weekend travel? Maybe you like to drive off-peak, or you might simply not go anywhere at all. There’s no shame in a staycation, especially with the cost of living right now. Regardless, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. As Red Green said, “Remember I’m pullin’ for ya’ — we’re all in this together.”

(Photo credits: Thomas Hundal)

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Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
28 days ago

How Do I Survive Long-Weekend Travel?

Easy. I get in, engage full self driving, climb into the backseat, close my eyes and tell my Tesla to wake me when we get there.

What’s that? No I didn’t read the fine print, why do you ask?

VolksWinkle
VolksWinkle
30 days ago

“It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark… and we’re wearing sunglasses.” Jake: “Hit it.”

Ricardo Mercio
Ricardo Mercio
30 days ago

Last weekend my friend in Wisconsin had a Moving Day To Michigan, so a bunch of us piled into a Trax and went over there to help transport his assortment of garbage and cars across the UP.

Mind you, it would have been a much shorter trip through Chicago, but the VW Type 3 couldn’t stay cool above 55 (and it turns out, neither could the 7.3 IDI pulling the U-haul trailer of assorted storage unit things, but more on that later). I was originally slated to drive a built air-cooled 2300CC Bradley GT II, but we couldn’t get that started on Saturday while packing the trailer, so we went with the backup plan and instead I drove his Triumph Spitfire 1500.

It featuered plush bucket seats and a removable hardtop, but 50 year old seat foam under leather resembles a bean-bag/hammock/torture device/playground slide more so than it does a bucket or a seat, and the hardtop is little more than a non-aggression pact between me and the Sun and a resonance chamber.

As for preparation, we had a strict convoy order. Navigator drives in the Trax up front with cruise control set to 55, 40 in passing zones so we could let all the cars behind us past in the limited space, followed by the Type 3 so I and the owner could keep an eye on it, me, and the IDI because it’s more resistant to rear-end impacts than the tiny classics.

In the Triumph, I had a bag of bagels, a drink from every gas station, a rolled-up dog-themed blanket for adjustable lumbar support and the one working fuel gauge between the 3 of us (not including the Trax). So when the Triumph was at half-tank, I’d call the navigator in the Trax and he’d find us a gas station with a diesel pump for the IDI. Half the time the Type 3 had to be push-started, which was easy with 3 adults and a warm 1500lb car.

I wouldn’t call this my usual routine for a long drive, but it is the longest drive I’ve taken in one sitting, at least in terms of duration.

In retrospect, I would’ve brought a can of sunscreen for my left arm as I had to hug the door to stay in my seat and it got thoroughly deep-fried.

AlterId
AlterId
30 days ago

I guess they have a lot of BOGO sales in Canada on May 2-4 weekend.

Get it? Heh, heh, h… oh, all right.

And seriously – I understand why you want to get there before the hordes of Torontulas hit the road for a holiday weekend of cottaging.

Again? What was wrong with that?

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
30 days ago

I don’t do national holiday weekends.

Traffic is worse.
Hotels are more expensive.
Venues are more crowded.
Airports are a mess.

It’s all best avoided – Taking off the weekend after is SO much better.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
29 days ago
Reply to  Urban Runabout

Gas prices spike too.

Unfortunately not everyone has that kind of flexibility, especially when there are school aged kids involved.

Last edited 29 days ago by Cheap Bastard
EXL500
EXL500
28 days ago
Reply to  Urban Runabout

We’re all retired. We’ll leave on Tuesday.

Holly Birge
Holly Birge
30 days ago

I just survived a long weekend up here in Canada (Victoria Day). My solution is always “over plan and expect delays”. I had a trip that involved two ferries — I booked the ferries so I had like twice as much time as I needed to get from one to the other. Extra time = enough time to stop for snax.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
30 days ago

I never travel on holidays. Driving or flying or even boats. The more people the more irritated I get. I shop for Christmas after the 25th, I visited the folks before they passed at the beginning of November but hey Moms birthday but I miss Thanksgiving which is around my birthday and when mom invited all the relatives who have been disinvited by closer relatives. Mom was so much better person than me. But visiting early got me more time with her and dad and no time with crazy Aunt Bernie, and still some time with the test of the family, and cheaper airfares and no lost luggage.

Jdoubledub
Jdoubledub
30 days ago

I never travel on holiday weekends. The big cities turn into traffic free ghost towns with easy parking. Staying home is like getting a vacation from everyone else.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
29 days ago
Reply to  Jdoubledub

“Staying home is like getting a vacation from everyone else”

So true.

EXL500
EXL500
28 days ago
Reply to  Jdoubledub

This was very true for the many decades I lived in Manhattan. We’d never leave on a holiday weekend, and have everything that isn’t touristy to ourselves.

Drew
Drew
30 days ago

I stay home or take time off enough to avoid traveling on the busy days. This one, I’m staying home. If I were going anywhere, I’d already be there and I wouldn’t come back until Wednesday or even Thursday.

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
30 days ago

Stay home when possible.

Let brain and middle fingers rest.

JumboG
JumboG
30 days ago

Sounds to me like May 2-4 should be called Definitely 2-4

Joke #119!
Joke #119!
30 days ago

Solution: Make the long weekend longer. Leave on Wednesday, return the following Wednesday.
But I’m just gonna sit outside next to my pool and pretend to be somewhere else.

Goof
Goof
30 days ago

I don’t do holiday weekends on holiday weekends. Why go when everyone else goes? That’s like grocery shopping at peak times. No! I go during off times.

When I do long drives, I’m right-most land, in top gear, cruising, music or a podcast, at flow of traffic. If I come up on something slow I enjoy that occasional blast past, but it’s rare. I drive like an old man on unfun roads, and save fun for the backroads.

Alexk98
Alexk98
30 days ago

Caffeine and Podcast. Lots of caffeine, a variety of podcasts, and more caffeine.

Lockleaf
Lockleaf
30 days ago

The solution to long travel is to not travel. I live where many travel to. But even so, I hide in my house during holiday weekends. Its a small town and I try to avoid even going in to town for groceries.

Hamish48
Hamish48
30 days ago

Mosport royalty: inside corner 2 at the entrance (double apex) and/or outside corner 3 at the apex. You needed to see Can Am going through there

DaChicken
DaChicken
30 days ago

I keep my road-trip cars ready to go, for the most part, so there’s no real prep other than making sure it has gas.

For the drive, just comfortable clothes and go. I’m pretty low maintenance so I don’t need to fret about bringing food, water, whatever for a long trip. I can pick something up at a fuel or bathroom stop, if needed.

Knowonelse
Knowonelse
30 days ago

I have been travelling from the Sacramento area to the Seattle area frequently in the past few years. The biggest traffic obstacle during this run is Portland. I generally start about 4 in the morning when heading north so the timing gets to Portand before the evening rush hour. Similar timing when heading south, though the last run I started at 2 am, which is a great time as there wasn’t traffic at all! Stopped for a nap around Salem though. Usually I just drive straight through the 700 mile run with just stops for fuel. Most of the runs are on the weekend, though occasionally on a weekday. Thursday is best as my work has a “try not to have meetings Thursdays”, and I work remotely. About 13-14 hour drive, though I did do it in 10 hours once, but never again.

MY LEG!
MY LEG!
30 days ago

In the immortal words of a tree in spring: just leave

Lockleaf
Lockleaf
30 days ago
Reply to  MY LEG!

Young Biff: So why don’t you make like a tree and get outta here.

Old Biff: Its make like a tree and LEAVE, you idiot. You sound like a damn fool when you say it wrong.

Young Biff: Alright! Then LEAVE!

Chronometric
Chronometric
30 days ago

I have structured my life so I can jag when everyone else jigs. Therefore I travel during the week on non-holidays. As for prepping cars, I try to keep them ready for anything so I can just jump in and go. That reminds me the Miata and Tundra need oil changes.

Arrest-me Red
Arrest-me Red
30 days ago

Once over (mechanic if needed). Pack car, go.

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
30 days ago

I try to stay home, or simply go in the opposite direction.

I live in an area considered a vacation destination for many people who live “downstate”. So it’s sort of easy enough to just stick around where I am during the summer, as this is the only nice time of year up here anyway.

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
30 days ago

By staying at home with a few cocktails. So much better.

Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
30 days ago

Living in Canada, near Niagara Falls, I stay out of the City of Niagara Falls on holiday weekends. It is always a nightmare with tourists making unpredictable turns and traffic jams galore. If I have to cross to the US, I make sure to check the traffic as I am leaving the house as it can change quickly.

Hamish48
Hamish48
30 days ago
Reply to  Thomas Metcalf

I have shared your pain many times. We hit the malls in Buffalo once a month for years.

AssMatt
AssMatt
30 days ago

I empty my pockets (especially wallet in the back and phone in the front) and readjust the seat for real (and then readjust mirrors, of course). I don’t have time to grow uncomfortable on an eight-minute jaunt across town, but when I really settle in for a long haul, it’s all gotta be perfect.

Last edited 30 days ago by AssMatt
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