I pigged out on more than just sopapillas.
I was a glutton on Labor Day weekend, in more ways than one.
Over the course of 48 hours, I spent about 15 hours in a moving automobile—and it was one of the best weekends of my summer.
I went on a road trip with some friends to Santa Fe, New Mexico—about a 6-hour trip from Denver. On the way, we listened to homemade music mixes, munched trail mix, played word games, and talked about the jobs we didn’t have to return to till Tuesday.
Once south of the border (the Colorado/New Mexico state border, that is), we relaxed into a schedule-free weekend away, letting our focus settle on simple things—like gazing at adobe architecture and ingesting as much Mexican-style food as our lower intestines could handle. We did bring our bikes on the trip, and we even used them one day to pedal into the central city plaza from our suburban hotel.
For the most part though, we were car-dependent, and it felt luxuriously comfortable, deliciously convenient.
The car enabled us to:
- Squeeze the trip into one quick weekend;
- Arrive at the front door of our hotel without inefficient transfers, delays, or layovers;
- Stay out having fun all day and into the night without dreading a tiring ride home; and
- Make a spur-of-the-moment decision to hit up Bandelier National Monument (amazingness in the form of mountain cliff dwellings and red rock petroglyphs) before heading back north.
Wait a minute—aren’t I supposed to be bashing cars, not itemizing their benefits?
I guess it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. I live car-freely and believe in it enough to subject you all to my twice weekly meanderings. I also tend to take things to extremes—no car, no meat, no TV. I once tried to eliminate coffee too (but, fortunately, came to my senses).
Just because I believe there’s too much car-driving going on doesn’t necessarily mean I have to give it up altogether. It does mean that, to be true to my beliefs, I should abstain whenever possible.
My weekend in Santa Fe reminded me that if you put yourself on a strict no-car diet, sooner or later you’re bound to go on a binge. My feelings of happiness after the trip showed me that a car binge isn’t the worst thing in the world—so long as you only let it last a weekend.
Car-free living is tasty, but sometimes a big, fat helping of automobile really hits the spot.