In 1917, an intrepid motorist by the name of Francis Birtles was hurtling towards Sydney in his Maxwell motorcar. His aim: to beat the Brisbane to Sydney speed record, which he did, achieving the run in a time of 29 hours and 35 minutes. To do he risked life and limb, running nearly all the night section in the dark after his headlights blew.
Today, if I was to undertake the same task today, I would be able to do so in 11 hours. At least that is what Google Maps tells me. And today I would be doing the whole trip in one go, in air conditioned comfort on multilane freeway for the majority of the trip.
What has been lost though?
For all the creature comforts we have obtained, like awesome fuel economy and motorways bypassing townships, we have lost the fun of the road trip. In our rush to get somewhere else, we have forgotten there is somewhere in between. And in that ‘in between’ could be the most interesting part of the trip.
Social niceties count for naught, as the only person you are likely to come across on a long distance drive is the sterile attendant at the sterile service station where you buy sterile snacks to keep you awake until the destination is reached.
Unless you are a freight company, or late for a wedding, there is no reason to be in such a hurry as to ignore the countryside surrounding you. There is a beautiful wide world out there, and to forgo experience to make up for time is a mistake.
As a traveller who has seen beyond the motorways and survived the experience, I tell you this: get off the paved road, if you haven’t travelled on at least one dirt section then you are doing it wrong. And burgers are better from places that don’t have slogans to sell their burgers.