The M62 rule

There was a time when I enjoyed driving, a good job too as some years I would cover 60,000 miles. That was a long time sitting in a car. But not now. Other than the occasional tootle in the countryside there is little pleasure in sitting behind the wheel anymore, for me at least

It is the same with most travel. Flying used to be a pleasure. Your holiday would start at the airport but now it is a trial by ordeal, with ever increasing ways to dehumanise you before you even get on the plane. The romance has gone out of train travel as well. If you are lucky and your train is not cancelled or delayed then it is usually rammed to the gunwales with standing room only. It’s been a long time since I sailed so I will leave that mode alone.

Perhaps travel never was enjoyable. Perhaps it is a form of ‘nowstalgia’, harking back to a time that never really existed.

Back to the M62 if I must. The drive from home to Manchester is one that I have done many a time. My youngest daughter lives in the great city and public transport is never that convenient. Two of us and a pile of stuff to bring down makes train travel very costly. Driving is the only realistic option and, when we get there, having the car makes it much easier to get out and about, even though Manchester’s public transport is very good.

I do like the motorway that crosses the Pennines. There is always something to look at, whether it is the urban sprawl, the reservoir, the open moors or the famous farm that sits in the central reservation. It is also a relatively short part of the journey, perhaps 40 miles and much more enrapturing than the A1 through Durham and Yorkshire.

I like it except for one thing and that is the traffic. It is one of the only routes that runs East to West, or vice versa and this makes it extremely busy. I read that there are as many as 180,000 vehicles per day on some stretches, way more than it was ever built to carry. If anything happens, such as a breakdown or some roadworks, the whole thing comes to a snarling and frustrating stop. Any pleasure in the drive goes out of the window, that is if you dared open it.

But here is the rule. You can never get there and back across the M62 without stopping. If you somehow manage to make the journey one way, incident free then you are going to pay the price on the way back.

Switch the radio on. Try to stay calm. You are going to be there for some time.

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