What kind of long-distance driver are you?

2020-01-29 04:45
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Our road tripping behaviour is ingrained at a very young age. Like with everything, we tend to imitate our parents or those around us.

Almost sub-consciously, we mimic their behaviours; be it in their style of parenting, the way they manage their finances, or the way they approach the road. 

My parents always stopped every 2 hours or less when doing a long-distance drive. They did so, almost religiously. We'd stop at the Shell One-Stop, my mom would whip out her trusty coffee flask, some home-packed sandwiches and boiled eggs, and we'd try and make ourselves comfy on those hard, white picnic benches.

That was the drill! We were too cool for the Wimpy...

READ: Road trips that should only cost you one tank of petrol from Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg 

Our annual drive tracked from Stellenbosch in the winelands to Kestell in the Free State. A slightly mind-numbing 13 hour drive. 

Dotted along the N1 that leads you to this tiny farming town you'll find some beige Karoo dorpies like Laingsburg and Beaufort West. We'd stop at the Three Sisters Shell garage just before hitting Colesburg and then we'd drive onto Bloem where we'd spend the night before going for the home stretch in the morning.

My dad chose to be rejuvenated and fresh before taking on those country dirt roads.  

Karoo, road trip

(The Three Sisters. PHOTO: Marisa Crous)

Karoo, road trip

(The Three Sisters Shell garage. PHOTO: Marisa Crous) 


Surprisingly, most of Twitter agreed with my parents' methods:

But all drivers are different, and in my adult life of driving with people other than my parents, I have identified two very much opposing types of long-distance drivers: 

The 'Just knyp it' driver 

For this driver, there's really no reason to stop the car, except maybe if it's on actual fire! No matter the distance, or the needs of the passengers in the car, this type of driver is relentless in his or her pursuit of getting to the destination on time. And, if you're lucky enough to get the permission to take a wee break every so often (like the odd 4 hours), it has to be hella efficient...or else!

"You have 2 minutes on the dot, aaaaaaand....go!"

It's basically the Amazing Race. Except there are no detours. 

The explorers

The explorers and the 'Just knyp it' drivers usually don't enjoy each other's company. The explorers stop often, and with purpose. They frequent quirky farm stalls for the 'good pies' or head straight into a small town off route just to quickly see what the town has to offer. 

They'll spend an hour or so in unique towns like Matjiesfontein, just to have a coffee on the veranda at the Lord Milner Hotel in 36 degrees heat. Because it's a vibe.

In their minds, it has to be done. The town also has to be photographed from every angle: from the old school railway station, to the elusive ghost which hangs out in Lord Milner's former residence. 

Karoo, road trip

(Lord Milner Hotel, PHOTO: Marisa Crous) 

Karoo, road trip

(Matjiesfontein railway station, PHOTO: Marisa Crous) 

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Explorers are all about the journey, rather than the destination. You'll hear explorers say things like "Ag, what's an extra hour?" or "Oh! Roosterkoek!"

To which a 'Just knyp it' driver might respond, "It's not on route."

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