I remember years back when I started my now-defunct travel blog that I set out some travel goals I wanted to achieve. One of them was to go on a road trip where I would be driving most of the way.
Driving within the city, the challenge is to avoid traffic and accidents and get to my destination in a reasonable amount of time. Long drives out of town, the challenge is to stay awake and not get lost!
Last February I had the opportunity to be a support crew driver at the Bataan Death March Ultramarathon 160. We took my car, so I was driving when we left Metro Manila at 12 midnight, arrived in Mariveles, Bataan at 3am, and supported our runner until 11am. This meant I was in the driver’s seat for 11 hours (!!!). We then drove to San Fernando, Pampanga to check in at our hotel, which meant another hour of driving. If I wanted to, I could probably drive to Camsur myself next time I feel the need to wakeboard.
(I’m going to fly off on a tangent and tell a story about the last time I was on a bus back from Camsur. It was after the Camsur Marathon where I had been invited as a media guest, and I had a return flight to Manila. Unfortunately a storm hit the Bicol region and my flight was cancelled. Tessa Prieto-Valdes was in the party and arranged for a van ride instead for those who needed to go home. Buti na lang I chose to get on the van; others who took a chance that there would be return flights or bus rides the next day had to wait out the storm for two more days!)
So, the other weekend was my first solo long drive. I attended a triathlon camp at Pico de Loro in Nasugbu, Batangas and decided to drive there the day before so I’d have enough rest going into the tri weekend.
I printed out directions from Google Maps and thought they’d get me there, but unfortunately they only took me as far as Nasugbu public market! Thank God for the foresight to download the BlackBerry app for Google Maps; I was able to use it with my Globe BBMax subscription to get real-time location and directions to Pico de Loro. Sure there were big directional signs every so often on the highway, but it was nice having a safety blanket.
Coming home I also drove alone and decided to make a stop at Bag of Beans in Tagaytay City. Even though the cafe was on the only road I could take to get into Tagaytay, I turned on Google Maps so I could find out how long it would take me to get there. I wanted to be back in Manila at a certain time, so if it took too long to get to Bag of Beans I would have just skipped the stop. As it turns out, I had just enough time to get a cup of hot chocolate and some sylvannas for take-out. Just the right thing to keep me awake on my long drive back home.
I’m excited that I can now drive myself that far. Where will my little car take me this year?