You would think that after spending much of the past nine months in my car, the last thing I would want to do is take a road trip.
After all, my gig as the Transcript Bulletin’s sports editor has me behind the wheel pretty much constantly from August until May. I made four trips to Utah County last month alone. I’ve been up to Tremonton and Logan and down to Cedar City and St. George. I’ve eaten more unhealthy truck-stop dinners than I care to think about, or at least more than I care to admit to my doctor.
Throw in my side job as a rideshare driver, shuttling people from the airport to such far-flung locales as Kamas, Brigham City, Spanish Fork and — yes — Tooele, and I ought to be celebrating the opportunity to mostly hang up my car keys until sometime after Pioneer Day.
But, for some reason, I’m looking forward to spending my summer traveling, mostly by car. Am I a glutton for punishment? Yes, probably. Have you seen the condition of Interstate 80 or Interstate 15 lately? Now that winter’s over, it’s time for Utah’s only other season: construction season. It’s a good thing I have my satellite radio subscription — it sure helps to keep me entertained while sitting stationary in a sea of traffic and orange barrels.
But, yet, here I am, preparing to set the cruise control for hours at a time as I travel through parts of five western states over the next month and a half. There’s the trip to Denver to see one of my favorite bands play at the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. There’s another trip to New Mexico to visit my now-retired parents in their new home (and to enjoy Green Chile Cheeseburger Night at an Albuquerque Isotopes game).
In between? Well, I have inflated airfares to thank for that one. Apparently, it costs nearly $500 to fly from Salt Lake City to Minneapolis to visit my best friend from college. It costs just under $200 to fly to the Twin Cities from Las Vegas. So, I’ll be making the drive down I-15, past our old stomping grounds in Cedar City, through the Virgin River Gorge in Arizona and across 90 mostly boring miles of southern Nevada to Sin City.
All of these drives will take place sometime between now and the end of July. It would be a lot of driving for anyone, let alone someone who puts 30,000 miles on his car every year anyway. However, there’s something about the open road that I find exhilarating.
Maybe it’s the excitement of getting to my destination (the drive home is always a drag). Maybe it’s the chance to turn the music up loud and detach myself from the daily grind. Maybe it’s the stash of unhealthy-but-easily-accessible snacks I keep in the cupholder while driving.
All I know is that the $300 I just spent last weekend on an oil change, a tire rotation and a new battery for my car didn’t upset me. Oddly, it put a smile on my face.
It meant that summer road trip season is here. Finally.
Darren Vaughan is the sports editor for the Transcript Bulletin. He believes that life is best experienced at 80 miles an hour. Email him at email@example.com.