Try driving solo

Over continental breakfast at a motel in West Virginia during my last driving trip from Toronto to Florida, I had a conversation with a widow whose relatives were driving her to the sunshine state.They had been quarrelling the whole trip. She was amazed I was driving alone.“Alone!” she exclaimed enviously. “And you’re a senior citizen? I’d love to travel alone, but my family thinks I’m incapable without my husband. How do you do it?”

Alone often safer
“Alone is often safer,” I assured her.

“No companion to distract you with chatter or to dictate radio stations. When negotiating difficult traffic or through construction, the mind is alert for signs of road curves, steep inclines or irregular traffic lanes.”

“But it’s so far to go.”

“Ah!” I said. “The trick is to think only in terms of one day’s destination.” She urged me on.

“And the pleasant intervals of straight roads, light traffic and the shining sun. I often roll down the window and burst into song. There’s nobody to compln of a stiff neck because of the breeze or to tell me to pipe down.”

Choose rest stops
She laughed. “And rest stops are your choice?”

“Totally. They’re not dictated by companions with nervous bladders.”

I had her chuckling. “You pump your own gas?”

“Along with the truckers and other men. And I turn into a motel when night falls or I hit a patch of bad weather.”

Next page: Created a convert

Created a convert
I left the motel feeling I’d won a convert to solo travel, as I drove and yodelled my way up and down the hills of West Virginia, inhaling the aroma of beautiful wildflowers.When I stopped at a picnic area, I discovered another benefit of travelling alone. As I munched on an apple saved from that morning’s breakfast, I heard the whistle of a kettle at the next table. A very attractive man was boiling water over a Bunsen burner.

Meet other travellers
“Would you join me for a cup of tea?” he asked.

I expected a measly tea bag in a mug. But no, he produced a teapot and two fine china cups and saucers. He told me he was a recent widower heading south—my way. We swapped travelling stories.

I sipped. “This tea is excellent.”

“It always tastes better in a china cup,” he smiled as he topped up my cup.

“We solo road warriors live elegantly.”

Mary Fulton lives in Orillia, Ont., and is once again travelling solo to Florida to visit her brand new grandbaby.