Strike while the rod is hot

Once again, the topic of discussion is twofold and highly Googleable: “Robert Stacy McCain” and “speedo.” Note that “speedo” is not capitalized; we are not, in this instance, referring to the scanty swimming (yeah, right) garment, but that large probably-circular gauge on the dashboard:

People wonder why I drive this way and I answer that I have no choice. It’s not just professional necessity, although the need to save time from Point A to Point B is a strong argument in favor of high-speed driving. And there is also the hereditary factor, the hillbilly NASCAR gene that inspires me to drive like a moonshiner fleeing revenuers. More than either of those factors, however, the reality is that when you have to drive a lot of miles — and our total mileage [Wednesday] was 479 miles — driving fast helps relieve the inevitable fatigue. It’s not just the adrenalin rush of taking tight curves on a two-lane road at 75 mph, but also the constant keen-eyed vigilance necessary to avoid unpleasant encounters with law enforcement.

For that matter, even pleasant encounters with law enforcement will impede your progress toward your destination.

I usually plan for 350 to 450 miles each day during the World Tours, though I’ve broken 500 before. (Worst day ever, in terms of sheer fatigue, was Albuquerque to Redondo Beach, a hair over 800 miles, but that trip wasn’t part of the World Tours. Then again, I was much younger — middle thirties — and presumably more resistant to such ailments.)

And I have no experience with revenuers, though I did summon my inner Robert Mitchum one day in eastern Tennessee. All I can say is that Kingston Pike ain’t what it used to be.



  1. stixx23 »

    20 January 2012 · 1:03 pm

    My record is Bakersfield, CA to OKC when I moved out here in 2006. 1300+ miles in 22-hours or something like that. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. It didn’t build character or anything like that.

  2. fillyjonk »

    20 January 2012 · 1:04 pm

    In other words, “They often call me speedo but my real name is Mr. Earl.”? (Or, Mr. Robert, as the case may be).

    (Although, as far as I can interpret the lyrics, they don’t have all that much to do with driving fast…)

  3. CGHill »

    20 January 2012 · 1:25 pm

    Indeed they don’t. (And Mr. Earl is still alive at 75, something I need to reassure myself about, what with the deaths of Johnny Otis and Etta James this week.)

  4. Jeffro »

    20 January 2012 · 7:18 pm

    About 650 miles max in eleven hours, as a rule.

  5. Ric Locke »

    20 January 2012 · 8:15 pm

    Once upon a time I did fourteen-hour driving days back to back as a matter of routine. It meant anything from 700 to just under a thousand miles, depending on route and road conditions — Dallas to Denver in one shot, for instance. I never did LA to OKC, but regarded LA to El Paso as a doddle. That was back when I had all my teeth, and a number of other facilities were still in operation. As established on a recent trip to Phoenix, I can’t do that any more.

    Memories of those times inspire me to declare that this is my new favorite road song. The geography in the song is almost totally wrong, and the video is worse (although the all-girl mariachi almost makes up for it), but as a poetic description of the experience it’s hard to beat.


  6. CGHill »

    20 January 2012 · 8:56 pm

    Miles and miles of nothing but miles and miles. There are times when I think that’s the most wonderful experience on earth. (And, admittedly, there are times when I don’t.)

  7. Luther »

    20 January 2012 · 9:11 pm

    Wish to hell I knew how to write, as I actually did know moonshiners. Saw the junk in their trunk. Gazed in ignorance at what was under the hood. Was inoculated enough to make the weekend trip from Camp Lejuene to Jacksonville Fla, 500 miles one way on two lane blacktop, in seven hours fifteen minutes twenty one times in a row. Which included two gas stops. That four cylinder LeMans could get to speed, but it took fuel to do so. Not entirely certain, but I think I liked the 65 world better than the one we have now.

    See, old guy shit. I’ll just walk out on the prairie now and disappear.

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