It’s been a roller-coaster month here at London Student. September is always especially busy and stressful, with everyone moving and registration for classes and for some of us a reminder of summer serves as a welcome distraction. That’s why, for the past month, I’ve been running this great competition.
RAC, the breakdown cover UK specialists have provided us with some great prizes to the top five commenters on the story or emails telling us about their best ever road trip.
With the upcoming release of the movie adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, there is a real interest in tales of road based adventure. In fact, there is a great exhibition on at the moment in The British Library in King’s Cross about the book, with the original manuscript itself on display. The manuscript is not only one of the greatest adventure story’s ever written, but the text itself is almost as interesting, to quote: “Written over a period of three weeks in April 1951, Jack Kerouac typed the manuscript for his most famous book on rolls of tracing paper, which he taped together into a scroll that would eventually reach 120 feet. For the first time ever, this goes on display in London, where it will be shown in a display in a specially constructed case.”
With that in mind, it’s finally time to announce the winners of our competition – your prizes (first aid kits) have all been sent:
James McNamara, London (LSE – Alumni)
When I was at college my friends and I had a dream that we called the ‘Big Red Bus’.
The plan was hiring a double decker London Red bus and driving it across Europe where we’d make a pilot for a TV show on food, culture and travel (and other silly escapades).
As with many plans and dreams they don’t always happen, but I thought it would be a nice way to begin my road trip story.
My own story does involve driving through Europe: myself and my best friend. It was all low level excitement until we got to Rome and I fell in love.
Not just with the food, history and language, but with a girl. Her name was Sofia and she is now my wife. I wish I could tell you all the details of the trip but some things have to remain secret. What I can tell you is that our road trip lead me to the right place at the right time because Sofia was also on a road trip down from northern Italy.
The ten years since have flown and I often dream of the day we met and the time we spent together then.
Jenny Hamilton, London (UCL)
Ok so my story begins with us trying to recreate all of the American road trip movies that we have ever seen. But it went horribly wrong.
We started out flying into JFK without a hotel booked and with plans on driving and sleeping in the car as we went from the east coast to the west coast. At this point it’s useful to know that there was myself, another girl, and two guys. The car we had booked was a ‘mid-size’ as they called it, and it was a convertible.
So you might be thinking that it doesn’t sound like a great plan so far… it got worse very quickly. On arrival at JFK we had to fill in the immigration card and put the place that we were staying the first night. One of the guys thought that it would be funny to put “in a car” along the top line of the address… needless to say, immigration in the states don’t really have a sense of humor and they really are needing an address for the first night.
After getting through the airport we picked up the car and driving it out of the rental place, I wasn’t used to driving with the wheel on the other side of the car and the car on the other side of the road, the result being that I scraped the car all down one side against the booth where the attendant is waiting to inspect the car as you leave the car park…
He found it very funny and luckily we had all of the insurance sorted out that we were covered, but had to fill in extra paperwork on the accident and were reminded that the cameras had caught everything!
It was the start of an epic journey where things only got better and crazier.
Gemma Hardy, London (KCL)
The Lake district is one of my favorite places to go to get away from everything. Very peaceful and relaxing.
Some people may thing that it’s strange to get away on your own for a day or two but that’s exactly what I did at the start of the year. I went up to Windermere after booking a room with the loveliest view ever: greenest grass, deep valleys, glistening lakes…
This was my second time self-escaping to the same place but this time my drive home was a little different. As I drove home I saw someone on the side of the street who was hitchhiking. They were a girl, I was a girl, it felt safe, I was in a peaceful mood, so I pulled over.
I was headed to Liverpool, she was headed to St. Helens. She jumped in and the entire trip back (several hours she did nothing but talk and fart).
Both were terrible and foul. I had no idea what to do in the situation other than crack the window and put the air-conditioning on. I didn’t want to offend her, but she was stinking up my car and making me want to throw up…
After the drive back I need another escape!
Abdul Rahman, London (Southbank University)
My most memorable story is a trip back from Blackburn to Morecambe. It was raining and nothing special was happening. I was alone in the car which was my pride and joy (a Suzuki Alto, automatic, 750cc engine). Pretty small for someone 6 feet 2 inches, but a lot of fun to drive.
My adventure really got interesting as I drove along a local road in Blackburn and did a double take at a petrol station that was all burnt out – I had been at that same petrol station a week earlier and it was a working petrol station. This time it was black with the smoke that had stained everything after what must have been a recent fire.
As I glanced and looked again, BANG!!!
I hit the car in front.
His car was much newer and more importantly much bigger (and hardly a scratch on it). The front of mine was crumpled. The bonnet wouldn’t close properly – but the engine still ran (even with the radiator in a slightly different place).
Anyway, we exchanged insurance details and went on our way. Instead of staying on the A roads, I tied down the bonnet and went slowly on the M6.
I was almost out at the Lancaster exit (which would lead me to Morecambe) when the fuses went. Each time I twisted the key the car would jump forward and get me a few inches close to the inclined ramp to exit the M6. I turned the key for almost an hour while inching along in the hard shoulder, getting ever so close to the exit, even using my own shoulder to roll the car at points.
Anyways, the incline was too steep (or I wasn’t strong enough) and i ended up calling the RAC… at the time I wasn’t a member but they helped me get home and I have been a member ever since.
Moral of the story:
1. Keep your eyes on the road
2. Join the RAC
3. Don’t waste time thinking that you can inch your way home
Steve Coates, Leeds (Leeds University)
Last summer i worked as a event manager for a promotion where we would give away free ice creams at many events around the country.
It was one of the best jobs i’ve ever done. People love ice-cream and they love free stuff, so free ice creams they really loved – plus we had 15,000 ice creams to give away.
Well there were a lot of logistics involved. I drove the freezer van while a co-manager drove another van that had the wooden structure in the back that we’d erect at the venues. We’d be traveling all over the country even to some of the islands at the bottom (i forget their names, Isle of Wight may have been one) we had to take ferries over to them.
Well the freezer van would keep freezing the 15000 ice creams as long as the engine was running or a power cable was plugged into the side of the van from a 240v socket. This was an interesting mission when we arrived at hotels and had to run cables out of the window…
Anyways we kept everything cold during a hot summer, and we traveled the country giving away free ice creams while getting paid for it. Really a wonderful time and I miss it…
Category: Deals, Featured