Long Commutes, White Line Fever, and Car Stuff

  1. MudpinesRedneck describes his commute of 200 miles a day. The ups and down and pointers that helped him with it considerably.

    Long Commutes, White Line Fever, and Car Stuff

    Been a while since I've been on. In the last month I've been hospitalized twice for concussions after my mother's fiance assaulted me. Getting whacked at the temple by a 300lb body builder is a sure fire way to have a numb face for days. And a direct admission to the wonderful staff at Clovis Community.

    I was also commuting 200 miles a day from Midpines to Fresno for the nursing program prereqs. Luckily I purchased a condominium (in the middle of the ghetto) so no more commute. Just loud music, Bulldogs, gunshots and sleeping with one eye open.

    Nonetheless, here's some ways to get through that long commute:

    A longer response to the thread here: 1 mile commute. Worth it? | allnurses

    White Line Fever:

    It is very real. In my own definition, White Line Fever occurs when you are so damn bored of driving straight lines on the same road, that your eyes become heavy, and you enter almost a trance like state. You won't remember the last few miles you've driven, yet completely awakeI can't begin to think of how many times I've gone down Minturn Road, and "woke up" at the stop sign. With no recollection of the road I took.

    How I have Mitigated White Line Fever:

    1. Vary your route. Everyone needs change. And change can be in the form of new scenery.
    Take a day off, and explore every possible route to work. I know for a fact there are 20+ ways I can go from Midpines to Fresno. Some you can do 100+ on a crotch rocket.
    Others, you'll barely make it on a dirt bike. In a truck, 4LO and pray nothing breaks.
    But the bottom line is, I have options.

    2. Leave early. Very early. If you feel tired, go to the lake, or the park and take a walk.
    Allow a half an hour for food or a power nap

    3. Take the Road Less Traveled. It's not only a country song, but in my book, good advice.
    Taking the rural path can allow you to see new scenery. And you're away from people. If you drive like me, other people irritate you

    4. 4WD first, 2WD later. Take the dirt road
    If you commute through said rural areas like I do, it's pretty hard to fall asleep or get tired on dirt. You have to concentrate too much. Look up a map of off road trails.
    Some are so well grated that you can drive it in a Prius without breaking a sweat.

    5. Do not do deep breathing exercises, unless your doctor tells you to
    There's many reasons why people do this. Notably, to control anxiety or to get your thoughts back, so to speak. There is something about deep breathing patterns that puts me to sleep. Not a good thing while you're driving a 7000lb pickup truck down the road.
    As an anxiety sufferer, I used to do this. And I inadvertently got myself more tired.

    6. Ditch the caffeine. Makes you crash later as we all know. Save the cup of joe for after the commute.

    7. Get out every 100 miles in a safe spot. Check your tire pressures, do a general lookaround. Pop the hood and make sure oil isn't splattered everywhere.
    You don't need to be a master mechanic, just keep your mind busy and useful.

    8. (older cars) get an Aftermarket radio, and good speakers
    You don't need to be a pHd in the Science of Auto Mechanics to install a radio. Having a radio with an Aux input, or Bluetooth will allow you to play your music, on a playlist, without the hassle of tapes and CDs. Look up your wiring diagram, and buy a repair manual. You can pop it in in no time. Usually, it's sautering butt connectors together to the wiring harness that takes the longest.

    9. Get another phone. Preferably, decently fast, with the power port and aux port on the same side. Buy a Micro SD card big enough to store your audiobooks and music. This is a God send for long commutes

    10. Shuffle it Turn your music from high to low at random intervals. Also play audiobooks that interest you. Something that saved me many of times on my commute was listening to Nurse Bass' videos. You're probably already a nurse, so that won't be relevant.
    Maybe find a spoken discourse of a Florence Nightingale speech. SOMETHING to get your brain working full time.

    10a. Music you like. Download the hell out of it. And Karaoke it. When I think of my commute, I think of Porch Honky by Mocassin Creek ,Or, Ain't My ***** by Metallica as I drive down a country road blasting it. You should too, with your own songs. Make it fun. Karaoke it. There's no one to criticise it either.

    11. Add more workout time. I've gained a solid 10 pounds commuting. Some from my trips to McDonald's. Others from sitting all day. It's an adjustment if you were active before
    An extra half hour doing situps or cardio can go a long way I reckon. And it'll probably keep your arteries clearer of that McDonald's. But heart disease and strokes run in my family so I'm probably screwed either way. I'll live my life an adrenaline junkie until my last breath.
    And frankly, As long as I can carry on my family's legacy, and be the 3rd Gen to be an RN, my life is complete anyhow

    12. Power Naps are not for everyone. And dangerous for some. You can try sleeping for 20 minutes at the rest area, but for me it does not work. Some say 20 minutes is all you need. I say no. I need to sleep 10 hours to feel refreshed. And the only cure for fatigue is sleep. No ifs ands or buts.

    13. Consider a motorcycle. Enough said. Motorcycles are fun. For 8000 you can have a Brand New dual sport to call yours.

    14. If you are hopelessly addicted to nicotine, dip. Spitting constantly won't put you to sleep. Gutting will ensure a fate of diarrhea for the hours to come. Still waiting for Copenhagen Southern Blend to come to California...yummy..

    Car Tips:

    As your long commute progresses, you will pack miles on. As such, things go wrong. Here are some tips to keep the ride in tip top shape, and save money in the process.

    1. Change your oil every 3000 miles and learn how to yourself. I can do another separate thread on how to change oil. But it's easy as can be. If you can do a 12 lead in your sleep, you can drop a drain plug in your sleep. Changing the oil every 3000 is the key to longevity.
    Do it. Like clockwork. Like religion.

    2. Keep up on your fluid changes. (Trans, t case, diff, brake, etc). Doing so will extend the life of the parts those fluids lubricate, cool, etc. Refer to your owners manual or your mechanic for service intervals.

    3. The "Pre Trip" inspection isn't just for truckers. When you become a truck driver, you are required to complete a Pre Trip before you even start the truck. I do this religiously as to catch most problems before they become bigger problems. Guys, I'm sorry to say, but I've seen countless people pull into my old gas station, with only a quart of oil in their motor! How? Why?!?! Because they didn't keep up on their service or looked under the hood for YEARS. Their excuse was busyness mostly.

    But, why is my car not running? I see a few things...battery acid all over the terminals, no oil, belts got a crack. Coolant looks like fecal matter, literally. Don't be mad at ME customer I'm just pointing out the obvious. And the things you should have taken care of. I can post a template of my pre trip, but the bottom line is, look under your car for obvious problems. Check your tires for cracks, wear, pressure. Pop your hood. Check for leaks anywhere, check your belts and hoses, your fluid levels, that your battery terminals are clean and tight. Check your dipsticks. It takes 10 minutes and can save so much time, money, and heartbreak. If you're not sure where to start, you can buy pre trip templates at the local truck stop as well.

    4. Use the good stuff. If you can fill up at a branded station, like Shell or Chevron then absolutely do so. I have a buddy who's a mechanic for small engines. and if he looks at the carb, he'll be able to tell what gas you've used based on the carbon buildup, if my memory serves. Use good gas. Skip John Doe's Cheap unbranded station.

    5. Always follow your service intervals Enough said.

    6. Go beyond detailing the visible stuff. Detail the motor! Many of us send our cars to the detailer, and for $75 we get waxed up, Armor All, etc But we've all been missing a vital step. DEGREASE YOUR ENGINE! My mom recently sold me her 2001 Highlander for $200 It had a inch of caked on burnt oil. And it smelled like hell when I idled. And it covered a possible catastrophe. I went to oil change it after degreasing the motor. Cleaning the motor uncovered a huge leak that had been there and supposedly fixed. I like to think it was better to find it at home than going 80 down the highway. Enough said.

    7. Tire rotations now, new tires at 1/4 tread. I recently had a dispute with the wonderful people at Costco. My tires lasted all but 23k miles under my rough terrain. They would not refund me fully as I still had usable tread (1/8 of an inch, if that) A load of bull, indeed, but it taught me a valuable lesson. Rotate them at the advise of the person who will have to refund you one day. I like to rotate mine at every 7k miles. I will buy new tires when a quarter of the tread remains. Don't ride them to the wear bar. That's how accidents happen. Bad ones.

    8. Know how to change a spare

    9. Learn how to work on your car. It'll save you money, and will save you one day on the side of the road

    And that's most what I've done to help myself.

    Hope y'all enjoyed!
    Last edit by Joe V on Jun 14
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    About Mudpinesredneck

    MudpinesRedneck: 23, Fresno City Ram, Gadsden Mountain Ranch

    Joined: May '17; Posts: 88; Likes: 151

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  3. by   No Stars In My Eyes
    Good advice and entertaining, too.
    My first car was a '67 Chevy and it ran on abuse. Nobody had ever told me about changing the oil and all the etc's you mentioned. It'd get done when a problem came up. I was woefully ignorant and it is a thousand wonders it lasted as long as it did. And even after I sold it for $100, I saw it two years later in a parking lot, so it was still being driven. I recognized it because I'd super-glued the rear-view mirror at an unusual angle, and the license plate over the gas cap was still rigged with the same wire I'd used to keep the plate up. Gotta love those old mechanical cars. (I want to say "Chevy's", but don't want the Ford-fanatics to start up a ruckus here)

    Phooey on computer-dependent transportation; I think it is ridiculous to have to pay to have a car hooked up to a machine just to find out what the problem is. But I digress.

    I did learn how to change a tire because I got a flat at 11:30 PM on an old, not very traveled, country back-road, so I got out in the rain and learned how to do it right then and there. Good confidence builder, but I was still as dumb as a creek rock about how cars functioned, and that they might require something other than gas!

    A commute the length of yours would've found me working for a pittance closer to home. Whew!

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