For the seven years I worked at Hemmings Motor News in southern Vermont, I had a commute that never took me more or less than 15 minutes. It was so brief that when the price of gas shot up to close to four bucks a gallon, I was riding my bicycle to work.
Truth is, I missed a commute. I’m now about 22 miles from my office, and I take the lovely Route 16 through the handsome towns of Sherborn, South Natick and Wellesley on my way in to the office, and the drive takes me about 40 minutes in the morning, and about 15 minutes longer in the evening.
For the moment, I’m commuting in a 1983 Pontiac Parisienne Brougham. For some reason, Americans got away from building big, comfortable cars, and it’s a shame. In light traffic, with all of my fellow commuters rolling along at 35 miles an hour, I truly enjoy the soft ride that these cars from the 1980s provided.
I’ve added a couple of things to the car to make the commute more enjoyable:
Of course, cars in the 1980s didn’t come equipped with cupholders, so I’ve added one of those plastic consoles with a couple of cupholders included.
I’ve also got an inexpensive Sirius Satellite Radio receiver mounted to the windshield. A few months ago, my wife Lisa got an XM Skydock for her iPhone, which serves the same purpose, but also allows her to play whatever music she has stored on her phone.
For $24, I instead got one of those little FM transmitters that transmits a signal to your FM radio. It doesn’t work perfectly, but does the job until I figure out a way to hardwire a jack into the radio, like I did with my ’68 Buick.
Recently, I downloaded the Stitcher radio app for the iPhone. It, along with the satellite receiver, has completely changed the way I listen to the radio. I still listen to NPR pretty frequently, but I’m more likely to simply download the programs I like through Stitcher. It not only provides a vast range of programming that I can listen to whenever I want, instead of on a terrestrial radio station’s schedule, it allows me to avoid iTunes, which is the most maddeningly frustrating piece of software I’ve ever used.
So, commuters, what are you doing to make your car your sanctuary?