Slowpoke vs. Enjoy the Ride

“Slow down, take it easy, and enjoy the ride” is dumb and paradoxical. This statement is a sugar-coated way of suggesting that slothful driving makes a trip more enjoyable. Strictly from a transportation perspective, nothing could be more wrong.

The bulk of vacation scenery is featureless cornfields, road kill skunks, and billboards. The faster one blazes through this, the more enjoyable a vacation is.

A small portion of driving scenery is scenic features like wide vistas, distant mountains, and approaching storms. Whether you are doing 55 MPH or 155 MPH doesn’t affect your enjoyment of these distant features. Yeah, so you may only have 15 minutes to enjoy a mountain view instead of 30, but who cares? After the first few seconds of the view, you have absorbed about all meaningful information you are going to get. Compared to “going there and doing it,” looking at something through the window is excruciatingly trivial. Summiting a 12,441 foot mountain peak is an amazing experience; looking at it through a car window is not much better than staring at pictures on your computer. Slothful speeds only starve you of time for stops at meaningful destinations. More time to savor the dead skunks is better than time with grandma, right?

Some people think that fast speed has a direct correlation to a poorly planned vacation, and that by driving slowly the vacation will magically be more enjoyable. The truth is that again, by squeezing time out for meaningful activities, slow travel speeds worsen the quality of any vacation, well planned or not. A better approach is scheduling plenty of stops, be realistic with travel times, and, most importantly, stop cheating yourself and your family with short vacations!

The two easiest ways to maximize enjoyment is to minimize time in the car and maximize meaningful stops. In other words, drive as fast as you are comfortable, and stop often.

I Hate Gambling

On Wednesday I stayed at the Isle of Capri Casino in Bossier City, LA on the way back from a trip. The nickle and quarter slot machines cleaned my wife and I out of $30 within 45 minutes. That would translate to $40 a hour, very expensive for such lousy entertainment!

Sheesh! The other two times I have gambled were in August 2001 at Cripple Creek, CO and December 2001 at Vicksburg, MS.

At Cripple Creek I let myself get caught up in the gambling mindset. As I fed each slot I thought of the neat things I could buy with winnings: a video camera, down payment on a house, etc. Whatever! Stepping back I saw what a crock the whole thing is.

Now I hate gambling. I can’t stand to see my hard-earned money disappear down the drain, even though my lifetime gambling losses add up to about $70. I know that the odds are stacked way against me. Even the games that have a modicum of skill, such as solitaire or blackjack, are still mostly chance.

Yucky Eating

I have two problems with the way I eat.

The first problem is I have huge cravings for sweets. It usually hits around 9 or 10 every night, but I will go through phases where it hits me in the afternoons at work. I want ice cream, cake, cookies, candy. Mostly sweets and carbohydrates with fats mixed in for flavor.

I don’t want this because of any need. I almost always eat enough food at lunch and supper. I just want it because of craving.

The second problem is that when I go out I tend to order a lot and eat everything on my plate. For example, I get the 12 oz. steak instead of the 8 oz., and I totally clean my plate. This habit can get me really burned out on restaurants on vacations, and I usually feel bad afterwards.

I know I’m not alone. I see these problems happening in other people all the time.

How will these excess calories will impact my long-term health?

There’s no time for any more thinking right now. I have a big piece of lemon cake from my wife’s grandmother waiting for me in the refrigerator.

Chernobyl motorcycle ride story is a fake

A purported motorcycle ride through the Chernobyl area, documented at, is a fake. It turns out that the lady took a standard tour that anyone could take. Details of the fakery are at

A great panoramic shot of Pripyat is at