The Hidden Joy of Driving in the Rain

Sunday Drives have always been about leisure, comfort, and perhaps a little bit of adventure. (Although I realize that comfort and adventure rarely go hand in hand.) There is always a sense of wanderlust that accompanies you in the car. I remember my grandma Carol telling me how she and her friends would be driving near her home in New Jersey would look at the road signs to see “Buffalo, NY.” They would dream of visiting some day. (Little did she know she would live their and spawn 3 generations of proud Buffalo Bills fans!) I understand that thought. When we try to plan our Sunday Drives I am the dreamer of the family. I try to see just how far we could get in a Sunday Afternoon. Could we make it to the mountains? Could we get in a hike? Kezia is quite good at reminding me that there isn’t quite enough time in an afternoon to make it to Memphis and back. (We’ve timed it, there isn’t. You need just a few more hours.) So you remember what your Sunday drives are really for. Not really for adventure, not really to get away. They are to rest and relax, sure, but they are also to learn the stories down every road and to meet new people. But what do you do when it is raining?P7040346

You go anyway!

Personally, I love driving in the rain. There aren’t too many people on the roads, the colors are always so vibrant (especially in the Summer), and the rain has always been a soothing sound to me. This past weekend we decided to enjoy the Missouri Side of the Great River Road. It isn’t quite as scenic as the Illinois side but it has just as much history. (Subrscribe to Drive by History HERE!) On the way up you pass the historic river towns of Elsberry, Louisiana, and Hannibal (if you drive that far.) You get to see the rich Victorian architecture of the town’s 19th century aristocracy. The landscape is littered with old farm houses to make you swoon. We got to a point where we wanted to get off of the main roads (No offense, Greensfelder) so we turned at the first good looking road we found. That one ended at a water hazard so we had to back up and turn around. The second road lead us to some fantastic rolling hills, some new wild flowers, and a couple of times backtracking the same roads we had already traveled because we like getting lost.P7040345

This could easily have turned in a disastrous drive and it certainly wasn’t The Perfect Sunday Drive (although that day was raining too…) Instead it turned into another one of our favorites. We even got to visit one of our old favorites the Schoppenhorst House in Marthasville. It was hard to find now that the trees and vines had grown up around it. It was nearly covered!P7040492

How do we do it?

You may be wondering how we do it, how we turn even the gloomiest of days into an adventure and I have to tell you it’s all about having the right state of mind.  Here are 3 tips for cultivating the Driving on Sunday Spirit.

1. Don’t be afraid to get lost

It’s easy to let the fear of getting lost overwhelm you but here in America, it’s pretty easy to find your way home. Most people you talk to are going to be willing to give you advice for how to get back to the highway, you probably have a smartphone, and on most Sunday Drives you’re not going to have a chance to find yourself stranded. Do take a turn down that road that catches your eye, but DON’T go any place you don’t feel comfortable.P7040400

2. Don’t be afraid what other people think

People are going to get frustrated and zoom past you. They aren’t Sunday Drivers which is why I recommend you get one of the officially approved Driving on Sunday Warning Labels. But some of this you just have to look beyond. As long as you are staying in the lines and going the speed limit, you shouldn’t be ashamed to be going on a Sunday Drive. Afraid you look like a tourist? Embrace it, YOU ARE A TOURIST! What’s wrong with taking a tour of your home?P7040373

3. Don’t go too far

Like I mentioned earlier, I like to dream big and my wife brings me back down to earth. If you try to get too many miles in one day, you’re going to get worn out, you’re going to get uncomfortable and you are not going to have a good time. I recommend about 4 hours. Too much more than that and you get overwhelmed, too much less and you hardly get outside of your neighborhood. And give yourself time to stop, stretch your legs and smell the flowers. We ended up stopping at an empty funeral home parking lot for a little exercise.P7040453  
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What about you?

These are just 3 ways to help cultivate the Driving on Sunday Spirit but it is hardly an exhaustive list. Let us know in the comments what you do to help think more like a Sunday Driver. Until next time, thanks for driving with us!

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1 Comment

  1. There is James history in Hannibal you may want to check out sometime. Grandma and Grandpa James are buried there, etc. Kenny James’ home town.