How to Talk Someone out of Making a Wretched Mistake

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Reader Comments (81)

Two of my buddies and I drove from Ireland to Mongolia this past summer. It took us 4 weeks driving 8 to 16 hours a day. It was a great trip, mostly because of the breakdowns we suffered.

December 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGMD

Utterly brilliant! While I have never seen a "bad" Basic Instructions.... and in fact, I have never seen a less than excellent Basic Instructions.... this one is especially stellar! The sentiments expressed by BOTH sides ring so very true, and yet are uproariously funny!

Thank you!

December 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPipeTobacco

I'm better able to withstand cross-country drives than some because I'm fascinated by plants and animals and landscapes, and driving through Texas interested me as much as it bored some friends. But mountain driving, never again. Too much terror.

December 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnne

Yeah, driving cross country with your friends is one thing, doing it with family is quite another.

Back in the pre-seatbelt law days, my brother and I would be relegated to the back of the pickup with an enclosed canopy.
It was like Thunderdome back there. Two boys enter, one boy leaves.

December 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike N

I have driven non-stop from Los Angeles, CA to Shreveport, LA. (Well, I mean, I stopped to pee and stuff.) Took me 27 hours. The last three were particularly brutal.

December 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJones

@Joshua - In Auckland there are two Portage Roads, from one coast to the other. The long one in New Lynn is about 2km, but the Otahuhu Portage Road is only 800 metres.

in 1990 I drove from upstate NY to San Francisco in 2 weeks and from SF back to Toronto by hitchhiking and Greyhound in 4 days. What made the difference in time was breaking down in Salt Lake City and being stranded for a week. I'm still not sure which was worse, a week in a car with 6 other people or a week in SLC.

December 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnalogKid

@ Kieran: I live in the center of Texas. It takes more than 8 hours just to leave the state from the middle!
@ andipandi: Texas has colors! There's brownish and for a couple of weeks in the spring, there's greenish. If you were here in the summer though, you saw the color dead.

December 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPointy

Once again a funny, but realistic, comic.

It seems that most commenters here have travelled in the US by car — I always wondered how that would be. Here in Europe, you can drive the same distances but the road system here is built for efficiency (following the German's model) and not for view. You don't get to see anything besides high speed lanes, tunnels, and bridges. If you want to fill your car, eat, or even pee, you need to leave the motorway in most cases. Slowing down is forbidden. It can become quite boring. And thank god for the Schengen zone: travel between countries without having to stop for ID or cargo check. I hate waiting on a motorway.

I guess I'm more of an airplane guy, and I hope I'm flying one (a smaller, more personal version :-p) for myself. Airplane checks aren't as horrible as in the US, though, but I can understand why.

December 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRandy March

sorry, but I fail to see the humor in your "two days in Texas comment"
There is no better place to be, well, maybe now Colorado.

December 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames yeamans

Aww, am i the only person that loves this? First, it's 2 days if you blast through. 5 days, you can stop and see something cool every few hours. You guys must stop most of the time or drive 30mph, because san diego->jacksonville is 2,333 miles or 33 hours according to google maps, or 16.5 hours a day, pretty easy with 2 drivers. I've done chicago->sd in 40 hours with 2 drivers and we stopped to see a lot of stuff.

December 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdavid hanley

There are some awesome scenic drives through Texas. Some buddies and I have ridden our motorcycles through different parts of Texas; the hill country, the gulf coast, east Texas, etc. But, yeah, going across Texas can be brutal. It just doesn't stop.

December 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNevetsrulz

From Orlando to San Diego is 34 hours according to Google, in case anyone else was wondering.

December 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHippy Lynne

A year and a half ago the wife and I traveled from Iowa to Alabama. We could have done it in two days, but we intentionally stretched it to three to allow for some minor sightseeing and to get to our hotels at a reasonable hour for some post-drive relaxation.

Did the same thing five years ago driving to Wyoming. Personally, I don't understand the people who WANT to drive 20 hours just to get somewhere in one day. Pick yourself out a decent hotel on the way and give yourself a little more time...your sanity will thank you.

December 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSCW

GA to MT -- 3 days
MT to CA -- 2 days
CA to GA -- 3 days (the ungodly length of Texas ( 1 day) is enuf to make your mind go insane with the boring miles of road extending to the horizon point!)
GA to MT -- 3 days
MT to CA -- 2 days

The one thing I can recommend is to stay on the major freeways or you just might find yourself in "Children of the Corn" or "Deliverance" territory.

December 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDreamweaver

Leave South Jersey 4am and be in Walt Disney World for a late dinner, daughter and me, once or twice a year. We'd stay 4 or 5 days then leave WDW in the afternoon and drive until I got tired...spend a night in a hotel then home the next day. Never a problem, never a borking trip. Licence plate games, talks about important stuff. Some of the best memories of our lives.
Oh, ad this comic/website is so excellent, too. :-) Never phoned in; always clever and hilarious.

December 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjust some guy

Seattle to Boston in 96 hours. Two drivers, very little sleep. I don't recommend it.

December 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMoagie

this one struck a nerve with everyone. my brother and I drove from Tacoma to Coventry Ct in Nov in 3 1/2 days because a huge winter storm was 1 day behind us. all we saw was brown and gray country and in Wyoming half a deer every mile or so.

December 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterpavlov's_cat

That last line is gold.

December 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRemy

Pikers, all of you! In 68 my Dad packed the family into a VW Microbus and drove from Pittsburgh to Calgary, to Dawson Creek where we panned for gold in some old stream and actually got some, Fairbanks, Mt McKinley, Anchorage, got on an ocean going ferry at Valdez to Prince Rupert, down the coast to Baja, stopping for my 9th birthday at Disneyland, and back to Pittsburgh. It took 7 weeks. We'd planned to do 9 but when we stopped at what was billed as the most beautiful lake in North America, and it was just another f'n lake, we knew it was time to go home.
My ex wife's family did roughly the same trip in 1975.
I still love to drive.

December 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPhil

Yup, some of you guys drive extremely slow, as the trip should really be two long days. Three at the most, and that's assuming you give yourselves several hours a day to do something besides driving and sleeping. Either way, at the end of it, you will want to confront every person you've ever met who supports or supported the 55 MPH rule and slap them stupid. And Texas isn't that bad at all; what's bad is Wyoming, or Kansas. I'd rather get desert vistas than hundreds of miles of corn and wheat fields.

December 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBWM

The Texas panhandle: When a steakhouse is the most interesting thing for 400 miles... don't need it.

December 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

Toronto to Santa Monica...Three Days...half a day at the Pier and Mall...Flight home...Holy Hell on Wheels.

December 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDiana Howe

Canada. Prairies. You leave the Rocky Mountains and then keep going until you hit the Canadian Shield. Provinces outside the maritimes dwarf even Texas. I suppose the only consolation is that the Trans-Canada doesn't meander back and forth too much.

December 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWetcoaster

I'm an Asian who lives on an island (cut off from the mainland, basically) so this comic really goes over my head! If you drove for two days non-stop you might reach the other end of the island. We wouldn't see McDonald's or gas stations, we'd see palm trees and people selling corn. It's quite fun really. So I don't understand... it is harder to do car trips in America? You sure have better roads than we do over here. (We don't have speed cameras though. Ha!)

December 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNat

Just curious, did you mean "And that takes care of my jealously program?"

December 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJK

I disagree with this entirely. I do long car trips cross country every couple months. (Of course, I live in Austin now, so my east-west trips are halfways). It is cheaper for a couple people in an automobile to split gas than it is for everyone to buy their own plane ticket.

If you want to get somewhere fast, nothing beats a plane, but if you have time to kill, places and people to see across the country, you can't beat a good roadtrip.

December 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterScuba Fork

I've done it solo in ~48 hours elapsed time from start to finish, including all stops. Being passed (as if I were standing still) while doing >90 on a chips-and-tar backroad in West Texas was the craziest part...

The Oklahoma trooper on I 40 on the (slower paced) way home pulling me over for doing 66 in a 65 was the most surreal.

December 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDrivingFool

And I thought my uncle was insane to drive from Tampa,FL to Ithaca,NY in a day (well, ok, he is).

These guys take the cake, a little over 8 days to go cross country.

On a &*()ing bicycle:

December 6, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbyogman

The best is when you hit "seek" on the car stereo and watch it loop for an hour or so.

I loved sunflowers until I drove across Kansas.

(Still, though, I'd do it again in a heartbeat)

December 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRaketemensch

I always drive on my vacation. Not only can I take my dogs and all the camping gear I want, but I've gotten to see places along the way like the Badlands, Mt. Rushmore, Devil's Tower, and Little Bighorn. And a monarch butterfly migration in Minnesota. Plus I learned the meaning of the word "vast." All that in addition to the objective, which was wherever I fancied in Montana. You'll never talk me out of driving.

December 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJeanette

I have to wonder how long it would take to drive horizontally across my native country- Russia.

December 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDekord


"I thought about my life, my many mistakes, my triumph. Worst road trip ever."

Yeah, my brother owned a Triumph. Horrible car.

December 8, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdoug

Just got back from a Florida vacation; drove to and from there--twelve hours each way--so yeah, got a huge laugh out of this strip. Still, I'd rather drive cross country than put up with TSA crap nowadays.

Oh, and I guess I should also mention that my father was one of those that drove us everywhere for vacation, so that "drive two days through Texas" line was pure gold. Sadly, I think I am one of the few who can say they've been to every state in the 48 by car. Two years ago, my parents suckered--I mean, persuaded my wife to go with them on a cross country trip with the kids. Two weeks later when she got back, she told me she fully understands why I don't want to go anywhere.

I'm rambling now, so I'll shut up.

December 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterThatJeff

I've got one up on you, Jeff. All 48 and Alaska, by car.
Family of 7 in an 15 passenger van towing a popup camper. Two month vacation on the road.

December 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDavid J

I actually kind of enjoy driving cross-country. Still, there's a lot of truth in this.

December 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick

Texas? Be sure to inhale deeply as you pass Wildorado. Don't be a sissy, just do it.

December 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPrattle Assassin

Sorry, but I got to disagree with you on this one. When I was a kid my family and I would take a long vacation for pretty much the entire month of August and we would always drive, the driving was always one of the funnest parts of the trip - seeing the countryside, stopping at the landmarks and small country stores.

The trick is, take your time. I mean, really, what are you in such a rush for anyway? To get to an amusement park or resort or some other huge thing that the average person can only afford to spend a single day at anyway?

December 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKnight9910

every year we would(and sometimes multiple times in a year) drive from IL to gulfport MS. Bathroom breaks ONLY when we stop for gas 18 hour drives.....yeah we HATED it and we were kids so we got to sleep most of the trip and it was still horrid. worst ive had to do is drive roughly 8 hours straight and that was nasty enough. Though i think so many people go about it "wrong" driving somewhere isnt necessarily bad if you DO stop to take in the sights.

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdarkvision

Longest two I ever did were Akron to Boston (about 15 hours solo, non-stop, except to pee & refuel) and Boston to North Carolina (twice, but with different companions: once for golf, once for a Patriots game), which fell from about 14 (excellent!) - 20 (awful - 4 traffic jams on a Friday night) hours one way each time, each also including a 1-4 hour rest stop nap.

Nothing is more boring than Boston to Buffalo though. At least in Texas, the speed limit is 65+, but the NY Thru-Way has way too many sections of 55 MPH -- and their cops only spot you 60, not 70.

January 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

From Minot, ND to San Antonio, TX with a horrific, reckless driver, an ADHD nerd-child, and a cat: 2.5 days of unadulterated hell for my mother. My father refused to stop unless Mom could prove he'd fallen asleep at the wheel, which is why the entirety of our time in Kansas was spent driving through a nighttime hailstorm that followed us along the highway. A supply of books that would last a normal child a week was gone by the end of the first day, and even though my battery-sucking Sega had a car adapter, it got really boring, really fast. The cat was the best traveler in that car.

But wait, it gets worse! Dallas, TX to Washington, DC. Three drivers means no rest stops, which means two days on the road. It also means through the mountains, at night, in the rain, towing a U-Haul, with a cousin who thinks he's Mario Andretti behind the wheel. My God, never again!

January 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSilverGreeneye
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