It’s hard to believe how different a hot commute in hair-pulling traffic can be from a balmy mid-afternoon drive on an open road in the countryside — both in the same car. Nothing brings back the freedom of summer like a great drive, and unless you’re cursed with a 36-month lease of a kiddie-hauler that now smells like sour milk, it’s high time you planned just such a trip. You’ve somewhere to be with no particular place to go, and the destination is smooth asphalt, sunny skies and the fine smell of good motoring making its way to your stress-free nostrils. Now it’s time to get you equipped.
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National Geographic Guide to Scenic Highways and Byways
So you’ve got your favorite roads, but if you’ve got an itch for new asphalt and unseen vistas to drink in, you’ll need some guidance. Some of the nation’s best drives are included — the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Natchez Trace and Wyoming’s Centennial Scenic Byway. The 4th Edition of this guidebook also offers up 25 new routes and includes four color maps for each drive, key points of interest, road conditions, and some great photography that can only be outdone by getting there yourself. And no, the route to Chimpy’s Pizza Safari isn’t in there.
Fratelli Orsini Handsewn Deerskin Driving Gloves
Okay, so most men you see wearing driving gloves are either Brits behind the wheel of a rare Jag E-Type or the pathetically uncool types trying to pick up ladies in a
vintage rusting Mercury Capri convertible. What’s generally unknown is that a good pair of driving gloves with high quality, thin leather provides excellent grip and steering feel tactility, ultimately reducing fatigue in spirited driving and providing an enhanced experience. Just don’t imagine that either of those apply in a Dodge Caravan. Fratelli Orisini, from Italy, makes some of the best. Your tender fingers will thank the deer that gave up its life so you could toss the twisties in comfort.
Serengeti Nunzio Polarized Sunglasses
Don’t kid yourself: a bargain basement pair of the dark kind won’t cut it. Go polarized and you’ll reduce glare and save your eyes in the process. Serengeti makes some of the best driving sunglasses around, and their new Nunzios boast photochromic polarized lenses that adjust to light levels, flexible temples that hug your nugget and a great manly retro look that will complement your classic Porsche 911 Targa perfectly.
Minnetonka Driving Moccasins
Lose the running shoes, pal. Driving shoes, like gloves, serve a serious purpose. They give your dogs a near direct connection to the brake, throttle and clutch, resulting in better feedback than any regular shoes could. Minnetonka’s Driving Moccasins are dedicated driving loafers that won’t make you look like you just stepped out of an Indy car. The rubber nubs on its cowhide sole transmit feedback from pedal to foot, and the clean brown full-leather uppers look pretty damned sophisticated. You’ll wonder how you ever drove with those plebe specials called tennis shoes.
A Different Way to Get On the Road
Kerouac’s classic was never going to make a filmmaker’s life easy, but Walter Salles’s bombastic yet wandering version of On the Road is a fair go of Sal Paradise and company. Sam Riley (as Sal), Garrett Hudlund (as Dean Moriarty) and Kristen Stewart (as Marylou/Luanne Henderson — or, to lascivious and imaginative teenage boys, as herself) offer up solid, if elusive, performances. The three venture back and forth across America at breakneck speeds, conveniently avoiding story line along the way, musing and narrating Kerouac’s chronicle at a visual pace that’s jarring, still and often frustrating; considering the book, perhaps this is purposefully done. Kerouac’s characters are credited with the birth of what we today defeatedly refer to as the “hipster”, but in Salles’s film, the trio’s penchant for criminal undertakings, sex and social disregard aren’t half as enthralling as we’d hoped for — just like the modern-day hipster. – Eric Yang
TAG Heuer Grand Carrera Chronograph Calibre 36 RS2
If you want a watch, your choices are myriad. If you want a driving watch, look no further than TAG Heuer. The Carrera is legendary, packed decades of automotive horology history. The resurgence of this classic timepiece is in full swing thanks to larger cases, sapphire glass, and new, more modern designs. Plus, you can’t exactly negotiate hairpin turns with aplomb whilst wearing a calculator watch, can you.
Icebreaker Quattro Short Sleeve Polo
You’ll need a comfortable shirt to serve your drive well, one that makes you look like a pro without getting in the way. The Quattro Polo is made with light merino, providing cool comfort that doesn’t retain odors when your perspiration becomes as aggressive as your turn-ins. Plus, it’s machine washable and looks great in classic grey.
Bonobos Bootlegger Straight Leg Khaki Stretch Cotton Chinos
Bonobos knows pants, that’s for certain, and their Bootlegger is perfect for planting your butt in the pilot’s seat for a long drive. The straight leg means nothing gets in the way of good foot movement, stretch fabric provides freedom that jeans sometimes lack, and they strike a great balance between too slim and too loose. The curved waistband helps avoid fabric bunching, something you won’t take lightly after the boy racer in the painfully lowered Civic next to you eggs you on a few miles from Dead Man’s Curve.
Peter Thomas Roth Uber-Dry Sunscreen
Even if you don’t drive a convertible, at the very least your left arm requires protection. Plus, the last thing you need (aside from a wicked sunburn) is any amount of greasiness when you’re trying to nail that switchback’s apex. Peter Thomas Roth Uber-Dry absorbs quickly and leaves no greasy residue, which is exactly what you need — and the rich Corinthian leather will thank you, too.
SIGG Wide Mouth Bottle Sport Black Touch
Staying focused also means staying hydrated during your drive. Take a supply of water with you, and keep it in an easily dispensable container like the SIGG Wide Mouth Bottle Sport Black Touch. One handed operation means you can still drive; its clean looks are a reasonable alternative to being seen chugging a Super Big Gulp in your F355 Spyder.
Waze Social GPS & Traffic Maps
Just because you know your way around doesn’t mean you can’t use a little help now and then. No, don’t pull over to the gas station, man. You still have your pride, don’t you? Call upon Waze, a navigation app that’s a collaborative effort of the driving community. It provides community-generated maps and real-time traffic — which equates to reports on accidents, road hazards and, most importantly, police presence. Waze also delivers info on the best gas prices on your drive, any Facebook friends going to your destination, and ETA links to your buddies who can’t wait to see your latest garage treasure in the flesh.
Montecristo White Toro Cigars
What on earth do you need a cigar for on a spirited drive? Oh, it’s not about need, my friend. At the halfway point of your summer spin, it’s time to step out of the car, admire your steed, your skills that border on Senna, and the sunset that shines gently on all manly men. Light up your well-constructed, perfectly drawing Montecristo White stogie and take in the medium bodied smoke that’s as delectable in flavor as you are polished in motoring technique.