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Embracing Fall Driving While You Can

Robby DeGraff October 28, 2017 All Things Hoon, Road Trip 18 Comments

October wraps up next Tuesday and November’s arrival come the following morning to me signals the start of way less than ideal conditions for all-things car hobby. This is especially true for us living in two season states (winter and construction) like Wisconsin. The past few days I’ve been scanning Craigslist and shooting off emails about storage units and reaching out to my insurance to company to put a stop on coverage once that garage door comes slamming down shut. Depressing, yes. Chances are right now, if you peak out your window and gawk at the the nearest tree, its colors have either peaked in hues of gold, copper, yellow and orange, or its leaves have completely dissipated leaving bare branches. Let’s hope the first observation is correct for driving enjoyment’s sake.

Fall is my favorite time to sit behind the wheel and get out on the road. To me, there’s something just sentimental and bittersweet about getting in your fun car or saddled across the seat of your beloved motorcycle and driving along on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon as explosions of leaves float down and around you. It’s like magic. I mean, let’s be honest, when’s the last time you went for a drive for the sole, emotional-enriching purpose of going for a drive? If you can’t remember, this should change.

I’ve done my part. Instead of piloting my usual Saab 9-2x that I commonly refer to as the “Adventure Mobile,” six-hours roundtrip to a state park on the western side of Wisconsin,  I changed it up a bit. Instead, I topped off my 2001 Chevrolet Camaro (you know, the one I had well, an interesting time lowering and upgrading the suspension) with premium fuel and crammed all of my camping gear inside of it. Combining two of my hobbies together, the outdoors and cars, is without a doubt always a win. Sure I burned through way more gas, potentially damaged my spine driving over rough, bumpy roads, and shed a few frustrated words when trying to slide my stuffed Gregory Baltoro 65l backpacking pack past my tilted-forward driver seat into the rear cargo area, but it was all worth it.

So this weekend, (and if future weekends when weather allows), get behind the wheel and go. If you’ve got a convertible…drop it, t-tops…strip them off, sunroof…pop it open, just windows?…roll them down all the way. Let that cool crisp fall air into the car and hit your face. Plant a thermos of tea, hot coffee, or a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Late if you’re desperately feeling basic, in that cup holder. Turn on your tunes and crank that volume knob just a few extra notches to the right. If your motorized object of passion has a sound that makes you smile however, maybe leave the music off for a while and just reward your ears with a glorious exhaust note, supercharger wine, turbo hiss or engine roar. Create that perfect, heavenly driving atmosphere, pick your direction and go, one last time before the roads become salty, icy and gray.

If you’re a lucky cat living in the hot and dry states where you don’t have to worry about the “W” or “S” words, cary on and keep hooning.

  • Victor

    In Northern Michigan we have a 27 mile ” Tunnel of Trees” that runs from Harbor Springs along the Lake Michigan shoreline.A Great drive this time of year.https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5e4ae54608008379a39dc9ae684dfd01073f56dba790a754f47eec09ad9d84c3.jpg

    • robbydegraff

      WOW, yep I need to make a trip up there next year. I’d imagine you’re way past peak fall colors?

      • Victor

        Fall peaked a couple weeks back , have frost this morning.

  • This fall has been so warm, we still have a lot of green on the trees. I’ll be mulching leaves until December it seems.

    That said, it was around 80 and sunny last weekend and I don’t think it has broken 60 since. Seeing that coming, I made sure to drive the Tbird a couple of last times before putting her to bed for the winter. Started with Cars and Coffee Saturday morning and ended with a random drive to nowhere Sunday afternoon.

    One of my favorite things to do is drive random country roads in no particular direction until I figure it’s time to head home and let the GPS get me back. Seems like a reasonable way to spend a couple of hours and burn a few gallons of premium.

  • tonyola

    In the fall of 1984, I was assigned to an environmental project in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia near the town of Elkton. I and a couple of co-workers rented a house on a hillside in Massanutten Resort – a great view. I drove my then six-month-old 5-speed Honda CRX 1.5 from my home in Florida to the project area to use as my daily wheels for the month I was on the project (I got reimbursed for mileage). We were in the Valley during the peak of the fall colors and it was absolutely spectacular. I also had a hoot of a time driving the CRX on the winding roads up there. Very early one Sunday morning, I drove up to Washington DC for the day via the Skyline Drive. There was hardly any traffic and I had a blast ripping through the curves just below the bottom of the clouds. Unfortunately I got stopped by a Virginia highway patrolman – a graying, tough-looking man I’d say around 50 or so. I tried to look as contrite as possible while he silently looked over the blue-and-silver Honda for a few minutes. Finally, he looks at me and says “I know you’re having fun out here, son, but cut it out!”. He walked back to his cruiser and drove away while I struggled to keep from fainting on the spot.

  • We are at the end of fall, snow is expected to appear in the next couple of days, the FB groups are riddled with images of toy cars in the garage under a cover with the trickle charger hooked up, “thanks for this year”.

    The snow won’t last, the coming weeks are called “the dark time”: sleazy slush, fewer and weaker hours of sun, until the temperature drops solidly below zero C and the snow will accumulate.

    Until then, streaming TV and gaming consoles are welcome distractions.

    The snow brightens everything, and January to March are set in gorgeous moods with more and more sun. Driving on dry roads in the sun at – 10C through the best-in-class landscape will pardon the misery of November.

    • Alff

      You’re making me miss the years I lived near the mountains and commuted for 4 hours every Saturday and Sunday to teach ski school. On the best days I bundled up, cranked the heat to max, put the top down on a Mk1 Rabbit and threw the my archaically long K2s in the back seat. That Rabbit was the most fun snow car I’ve had.

    • Replying myself, but to complete the lines: first snow tonight indeed, and it’s some slushy millimeters. Watching “Narcos” and downloading the demo of Forza Horizon 2 for ‘360 right now…

  • Rover 1

    Meanwhile on the other side of the world, spring is sprung, the grass is rizz. No more skiing for this year. and the days are getting longer. If the winds and wet stay away we’ll have good fruit for our jam-making https://kiwinoyjourney.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/e20150927_163226-s.jpg?w=474

    On another note: What great looking cars those Camaros are. Has GM consistently had the best stylists or what?

    • outback_ute

      We are finally losing cold weather here, Friday is forecast to be 60°F aka 16°C and hopefully the last time we’ll see a temperature that low for the year.

    • Zentropy

      I like the 1998-2002 design, but prior to that you have to go back to 1973 to get my attention. Likewise, I don’t care much for the 2010-2015 car, but despite the still-too-low greenhouse, the 6th-gen Camaro looks sharp.

  • Alff

    Toyota’s insipid “Let’s Go Places” campaign symbolizes what’s wrong with the auto industry. The notion that any capital intensive industry serves the long tail is utter bullshit.

    • Zentropy

      Perhaps they should change it to “Let’s Commute”.

      • Alff

        Truth in advertising regulations should require it.

      • outback_ute

        Well that is still going places, just not necessarily interesting places

        • Zentropy

          True that, but if your not going SOMEWHERE in a car, then you may as well be on your porch swing.

  • jeepjeff

    How about two wheels and not on pavement? Snapped this over the weekend. 🙂 https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/89e52a91bf3a60f061dfb1bbd331d83839273ff463c830b4c4539538a72cba22.jpg

  • Rudy™

    I had the ultimate autumn drive this year–I was out in Utah and Colorado in early October. I’d never seen the aspen trees at that time of year, so drives through the mountain ranges were very colorful. Someone at the front desk of the resort in Breckenridge was telling another visitor that the colors were near peak up on US6 by the Loveland Pass. If I’d had time, I probably would have taken a ride up that way.

    Sure beats this gloomy crap we have in Michigan.