Though the sun has set and darkness has risen, the night is still young. Still a teenager waiting for an opportunity to throw a wicked house party when the parents are gone for a romantic weekend, ensuring their mood is good and their sense of suspicion is at bay.

The light emanating from the high intensity discharge bulbs is shining bright with a soft hue of blue, illuminating the highway that spans the American Pacific Coast. Shards of glass sparkle on the shoulders, souvenirs of past accidents and mishaps. The moonlight is tiptoeing on the crests of cold waves, crashing on the soft sand, bringing minute changes to the landscape we all take for granted.

Between peaceful, small towns, the environment is dark and lonely. There are no street lights to guide me, no traffic lights to stop me, but I continue ahead, following the solid double yellow lines that sometimes break up in dashes, allowing a swift and effortless pass thanks to forced induction.

As I activate cruise control at 77 mph, I listen to Ms. Overton as she's seductively yearning for me to put my love and arms around her. And while I'd relish the opportunity to do so, 'tis only her voice that is present; her flesh resides across the pond. A sense of tranquility overwhelms me and I momentarily ponder what would happen if I ceased to exist at that very moment. Would the universe even notice?

Just then, the dim lights on the outskirts of my destination appear. Just then, I snap back to reality, I cancel cruise and downshift to 5th and introduce my throaty exhaust to the creatures that roam these parts.

The exit appears, speed is reduced, and I snake my way through town at a leisurely pace. I have been here before, I know my way. At the lobby of my lodge, I am greeted by an elderly man of Irish descent. He informs me of my choices for hot beverages, he points out the pristine pamphlets, he raves about his continental breakfast, nothing more than coffee & cake. Nothing more is needed.

The room is small, the bathroom boasts an industrial soap dispenser with its twin in the shower, though that one is labeled "soap & shampoo." Say what? They're the same thing? What is this sorcery?

I chuckle as I wash my face with warm water, then dry it with a towel that's been washed a million times plus one. The shoelaces are untied and I hop on the bouncy bed, laying there for several minutes as I stretch and look back at the journey I just finished. I'm thankful for having the means to enjoy my surroundings, to experience another small part of Mother Earth. You can drive your entire life and not see all there is to be seen, and though your eyes cover a much grander area from 32,000 ft, the relationship is cold, just like the ambient air. There's no feeling of connection, just a fleeting glimpse of flat lands, blue oceans, and snow-covered mountains that you'll forget the next time you blink and moisturize your eyes.

It's not always about the length of travel, nor is it always about costs of transportation. But it is undeniably about the experience, and I for one often choose to steer and blaze my own path. I choose to use the third pedal and determine my own RPM, choose to navigate at my own pace, choose the sounds that occupy the cabin, and choose what is and what is not worthy of parking in neutral.

I choose to drive.