Although I passed my driving test years ago, it wasn’t until earlier this year that I picked up my first car. I hadn’t needed a car up until now, and could still probably survive without one (one of the perks of having fairly decent public transport where I live), but it’s been really handy since I got it. Now, flatmate CakeBoxFox and I can pop to the shops whenever we have a craving for something!
Driving has been going well and I’m really growing to like my first car. Its nothing special, just a 2006 Ford Ka. It’s simple and effective, just what I need. They do say you’ll always love your first car more than any other, and it seems true.
What really made me want to blog about my adventures with driving was a trip we did a few weekends past. It was a long trip on the motorways that turned into a quest worthy of the most epic RPG. Here’s our driving quest story.
We did the planning beforehand, we knew the route we were going to take. 150 or so miles and a duration of probably about 2 and a half hours depending on the traffic. All set; what could possibly go wrong?
The one thing we forgot was the most important. That Saturday wasn’t just any Saturday; it was the Saturday where everyone in the UK who goes on holiday in the earlier part of the summer goes on holiday. Usually people head south, to the supposed home of the sun, sea and sand. We were headed south as well, so traffic was going to be a problem.
We set off early at least. If there’s one thing holidaying families don’t do on the whole, its get up early to travel. Perhaps we’d beat the crowds and traffic chaos of the great summer migration.
Sadly, the weather had other ideas, and after weeks and weeks of baking heat the heavens eventually decided to open catastrophically that morning. Most drivers were fantastic in the driving rain, slowing down and leaving plenty of space. Sadly, enough drivers remained in dry driving mode to cause chaos. It became a little something like this GIF:
About 15mins into the rain we passed a classic car worth probably tens of thousands with a newer car attached to its bumper on the side of the motorway. The weather didn’t care about that guy’s priceless classic car; it looked like a write-off. We battled on valiantly though, developing a sort of camaraderie with those brave souls still on the road next to us.
The rain eventually passed though, turning what should have been an hour section of the journey into about 1.5hrs. So far, not so bad. I felt a little bit like this for making it through some of the worst conditions I will ever drive in:
That delay from the rain was our killer though. From then onwards we hit heavy traffic going southwards. Caravans were everywhere and the average speed started to drop like a brick. Caravans in particular started to irritate me. It’s a pretty infamous thing that most drivers hate caravanners; and I’ve begun to see why. I wouldn’t be sad to see most caravans meet this kind of end after that day:
The traffic was horrendous. What should have been a 1hr 30min section of the journey eventually ended up at somewhere around 3hrs – and that was with a little detour to avoid some of the traffic. CakeBoxFox proved her metal as an awesome co-pilot, navigating me around some of the worst bits of traffic. Even though it only made a small difference overall, every little advantage of time you get in a gridlock situation feels like a major win.
We eventually arrived, somewhat frazzled and had a good day catching up with my family. Batteries recharged by early evening, it was time for the return journey.
The return journey was the prize for having made it through the hellish morning. It was some of the most challenging driving I’ve ever done and probably will do for a fair few years. Tailbacks, gridlock, accidents, driving rain and wind – it had it all. The journey home was bliss in comparison, with hardly a soul on the road besides us.
The journey home was just a little over 2hrs. I also made my debut into the world of driving on motorways at night, and it’s an amazing experience. I always loved being on a car journey at night as a kid – all those glowly dials and the miles being eaten away.
I loved driving on the motorway at night time, and I can see why it inspires so much media. An musician I recently found called Kavinsky, a retro 80s kind of artist, was inspired to create his album from driving his Testarossa Ferrari at night time. I felt like I needed some Kavinsky on the radio that night; although we had plenty of alternate music in the car already. Night driving is a time to really enjoy your music.
Then, numerous music albums, many miles and several choice words at my fellow road users later we arrived home. A tiring day, but a day to remember.
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