The Road Ahead
Whether you’re putting rubber to the road or one foot in front of the other, setting forth on a new route always feels undeniably grand. And even if you’ve traversed the same path before, the journey is never the same twice; new sights, new faces, and—most importantly—new stories are sure to abound. Pack your gear, grab those all-important snacks, throw on some jams, and hit the road with us on this tribute to trails. Radios up!
Willie Nelson with "On the Road Again”
Everyone’s got their own go-to road trip essentials. Whether that’s eight gallons of coffee, a pound and a half of cinnamon Hot Tamales, a tupperware container full of banana muffins, or a good playlist (let’s be honest, everyone’s list has to include that), it almost seems like you can’t move the car out of park without them. Better not forget your favorite pair of Knocks either.
Toots and the Maytals with “Take Me Home, Country Roads”
No disrespect to Mr. “Sunshine On My Shoulders” John Denver, but there’s something about this version that just gets you up and bouncing around in a different way. Pointing the car back towards home after a road trip vacation may feel bittersweet, but with Toots in your ear you’ll feel a whole lot better about the road home.
Chuck Berry with "Route 66"
Running Route 66 might sound like some sort of Forrest Gump feat, but in 2012 a small group of elite runners covered the 2,448+ mile length of road in just 18 days (that’s almost a marathon per day per runner). They weren’t just pounding pavement for fun, though. The group, put together by charity organization Run It Forward, used this endeavor to raise money for health care access, after-school fitness programs, and dental care. Alongside the runners traveled Papa Roach’s tour bus (yeah, you read that correctly, rock band Papa Roach donated their tour bus to aid the effort), stopping at underserved schools along the way and putting together empowerment assemblies. Chuck says “get your kicks on Route 66,” but this crew really took that a step further.
Bruce Springsteen with "Thunder Road"
Tedious thunderstorm driving is a rite of passage that we’ll all face one day or another. Peering past your white-knuckled hands through an all-but-opaque windshield to follow the hazard lights of the next car will put grey hairs on any head over 16 years old, but the post-downpour exhale is nearly unrivaled in terms of relief. Don’t even get us started on “winter driving” (whatever that is—we hear it happens in the Midwest or something).
Sheryl Crow with "Everyday is a Winding Road"
For Sheryl’s sake, we hope her days aren’t as winding as Lombard Street in San Francisco. Sure, some unexpected twists in a day can be enjoyable, but Lombard (well, one block in particular) is downright crooked. In just 600 feet, eight hairpin turns slowly lead cars downhill at a recommended 5mph max. Originally designed to reduce the hill’s 27% grade to something more drivable, the street quickly became a tourist destination, attracting over 2 million visitors per year and up to 17,000 per day during busy summer months. Okay there’s your “how did this get built” trivia for the day. Go play outside.
AC/DC with "Highway to Hell"
You suppose the Weird Al Yankovic version of this one would be called “Roadblock to Heaven?” Eh, that doesn’t sound quite as fun (or safe, quite frankly). We’re gonna stick with Angus and the crew on this classic jam. It’s just too hard to resist air-guitaring the intro.
Damian Marley and Nas with "Road to Zion"
This isn’t quite what Jr. Gong is singing about here, but from our office in San Diego it would only take a cool 7.5-8.5 hours to drive to Zion National Park. Now, of course we could do this in one straight shot (save for a gas station break halfway through), but the more fun option would be to slow things down and stop at the various National Parks, Forests, and Preserves along the way. We just gotta remember to pack our zip-off pants and underpowered digital cameras to really complete the “touring the parks” look.
Dolly Parton with "Highway Headin’ South"
We like to think that in some alternate universe, the Fast Lanes were inspired by someone skedaddling their way out of cold country (AKA anywhere above 40º of latitude by most people’s definition) doing 90 mph down the highway away from the tyrannical oppression of another snowy winter. We don’t really have the whole “cold” thing down here in San Diego though, so we wouldn’t know anything about that. And who knows if Dolly was even rockin’ shades when she drove down south to avoid crisp fall air. Maybe we’ll send her a pair for her next trip.
Lil Nas X feat. Billy Ray Cyrus with "Old Town Road - Remix"
Rumor (okay, small rumor, but rumor nonetheless) has it that Lil Nas X originally wrote this song about Old Town, San Diego (the oldest settled area in the city). Old Town happens to be where the Knockaround office is located. Coincidence? We think...
Yeah, probably. Can’t rule it out though.
Talking Heads with "Road to Nowhere"
If you’ve ever ventured out onto the trails for a run, you’ve probably found yourself saying out loud, “Shoot [or perhaps some other, ahem, expression of grief], I do NOT know where this trail goes.” Fear not, you adventurous soul—just pat yourself on the back for getting out there in the first place (you were probably rewarded by some gorgeous views already, but some self-congratulation never hurt), then try to head back the way you came, carefully taking note of the twists and turns you make. You’ll find a trail map eventually. *
*We are not wilderness survival experts and everything we say here should be taken with a grain of salt (you’ll need electrolytes out there anyways).
Bonus: Albert King with "Flat Tire"
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When life gives you a roadblock, make...road blockade? Wait, that can’t be right. What we’re trying to say here is: sure, a temporary setback might be annoying on the surface, but to quote the great Yvon Chouinard, it’s not an adventure until something goes wrong (look him up, you’ll quickly find he knows a thing or two or a thousand about trips).