The Mini is getting a lot more highway miles than it used to. I changed jobs about three months ago, and my commute went from about 14 miles of weaving through Richmond, to 55 miles of highway driving. My average MPG has gone up, but I’m spending more on gas. Neither the extra miles nor the more frequent oil changes seem to be bothering the Mini.
With the new hour-long commute, especially driving home, I snack on something healthy while driving home to help avoid highway hypnosis. I used the surprisingly warm Saturday last weekend to give the Mini a bath and vacuum. We had some snowstorms in December that pummeled the counties between my home and the new job location. Road salt had built up on the outside of the car, and salt and crumbs from sunflower seeds and potato chips were littering the inside – both needed to be removed. The Mini Cooper S Paceman looks better, feels better, and smells better now, too.
(Febreze and other deodorizers give me headaches…way too toxic for me. During the snow event, we decided to get pizza for those who braved the elements and made it in to work that day. I relented when the receptionist asked if we could go in my car. Here’s a pic of 25 of the 30 pizzas that all made it into the back seat. Hard to believe they all fit, and harder to believe that I let it happen. I did lay down some towels on the seats under the pizzas. If a car must have an alien odor for a couple of days – the aroma of pizza is okay by me. It was fun being the pizza delivery star for the day at work.)
I’ve been driving past forests of broken trees all along I-64 since that major snow event here in Central VA. VDOT, or their contractors, initially sawed the trunks in two and removed what was actually IN the road very quickly. Now it’s late February, and the effort to remove the unsightly remaining toppled lower halves of the trees has been getting in my way.
Twice this week, I’ve avoided the parking lots on the interstate by using through the county roads. I think the Mini is built for this type of driving. Driving slower, but actually driving, must be good for both of us.
Yesterday’s sunny drive on a lesser highway toward home was particularly gorgeous. I used to take this route with my ’78 Fiat Brava almost 40 years ago back and forth to UVa. Not much has changed in those rural areas, and the few things that looked new were not improvements. Who needs a four-store strip mall that doesn’t fit aesthetically with the rest of the landscape? I would say the drive was invigorating, but I had awakened at 3:30 am that morning. By the time I got home from the picturesque journey, though I enjoyed it, I was toast.
Staying engaged with something is critical for me, and I’m not always capable of managing that engagement myself. I must continue to find new tricks to keep myself on task or awake – if the task isn’t engaging on its own. And my sleep issues compound the problem. I’ve committed to help the Mini run better with quality oil, gas, and fuel additive, even good tires; my sleep needs the same commitment. I’m currently trying an elderberry elixir at night, along with a CBD sleep formula, and an essential oil rollerball on my neck, stomach, and feet.
I’m hoping to hear from some of you about how you get a good night’s sleep. I fall asleep quickly, but often wake up an hour or two before my alarm – and can rarely get back to sleep. Any advice? In case you haven’t read previous posts, I’ve already been down the sleep medicine route – sleep studies, meds — and I still use a CPAP. I’d love to hear from you. I wouldn’t mind hearing from you if you want to tell me a Mini story, too. Keep shiftin’.