Motorway observations of a car guy

Late august this year we embarked on a 3-day, 2300 km round-trip driving from Luxembourg to Andorra and back. We had to run-in the engine on our brand new Lotus Exige S Roadster and decided we would combine this with dinner in Andorra. I know, life is hard.

Making our new Lotus Exige club-ready in 3 days

Marie and I set off at 6AM on a Monday morning with the mission to make the car club-ready in the least amount of days with the most amount of fun. It was a blast. During the trip we even found one of the best driving roads in Europe, by accident. You can read about it here.

On the way to the Pyrenees I had time to reflect on the automotive world, whilst Marie was piloting our newest club addition through 900 kilometres of motorway from Luxembourg to Perpignan.

Orange is the new black

Being in a bright orange Lotus Exige you expect to stand out a little. Obviously you are not going to blend in. However, I was struck by how much we didn’t blend in. All through the motorway journey we were surrounded by a sea of dreadful euro-boxes. All looking the same, all either black, white or any type of grey in between. It was like being stuck in an Orwellian novel.

Can you imagine shopping for your next family car nowadays? “Hello sir (or mam), we can sell you a brand new cancer tractor. You have many options to choose from as long as it is a 2-liter turbo-diesel engine in any type of grey you want”.

A box on a box

And then there were the roof boxes. One out of three cars on the motorway had a grey (of course) box on the roof. They were certainly not carrying skis or snowboards in august. Do you really have to bring all your own shit to go on vacation?

What could they possibly all be carrying around in their roof-boxes? Cheese and wine? In France. No that would be preposterous. Maybe pillows and linens. No that would be mad. We all know Hotels and even Airbnb’s have those. Maybe they were transporting the mother in law in there. Who knows.

What happened to the road-trip?

Going on an adventure. Driving for driving’s sake. Stopping at local restaurants to sample the region’s food. Staying over at friends. You don’t need a box to do all this. You don’t even need a big car. Yet here we are surrounded by hundreds of vacationers carrying around all their stuff.

All of this made me a little sad. But then I noticed that I was driving to the south of France in a big daft orange dog. We were bringing a little colour and lunacy to a world of conformity, resell values and company cars. People were smiling when we drove past, kids were waving at us and policemen were overtaking giving us the thumbs up.

That’s what a driving adventure is all about. Driving a car that makes you smile and making everybody’s day a little more fun.

Not bringing your cheese.