10,000

About a month ago, my odometer hit 10,000 miles. That's a pretty big milestone for me: 10,000 miles driven in less than a year of living permanently in California. Where can a person go in 10,000 miles? Where does a person go in 10,000 miles?

Everything's more fun with data! So let's start there.

(Note: I also wrote an album review of that new U2 album, but I figured that might not be everyone's cup of tea, so I wrote this too!)

A map of every drive I've taken since I started recording them in March.

That map represents every drive I've taken between March 3rd (when I started tracking drives with Automatic) and August 24th (when I hit 10,000 miles). It accounts for 6,432 of those 10,000 miles, representing 748 trips in the car, nearly 280 hours behind the wheel, and just a couple of fill-ups shy of 300 gallons of 91-octane gasoline.

Notice anything interesting about it?

For starters, it all takes place in the Bay Area. In fact, with the exception of a northern spur in Berkeley and a corresponding southern spur in Santa Cruz, it just about all falls in the vicinity squarely between Milpitas and Cupertino. It's nice to see that the ridgeline of the Santa Cruz mountains (to the west) is well-covered, as is a nice section of the coastline, and a dark line around Fremont does indicate that I spent a decent amount of time in San Francisco (that's where I take the Bart from). But nonetheless, most of my driving doesn't really branch out from center.

Part of this is, of course, intentional. I wasn't too keen on taking Klaus on a roadtrip until I reached 10,000 miles, because I wanted to give the engine time to break in. And no matter how much fun I manage to have, the hottest spots on the heatmap are always going to be work and home. It's not a particularly surprising map, then. That doesn't make it any less sobering.

In a previous post, I talked about how I like to go out of my way to take interesting routes from Point A to Point B; I love to drive, and you only really get the most out of it when you're on a road that's willing to pay you back. The figures, then, are probably inflated slightly from the average driver: if I didn't take such weird routes to get places, my total mileage would probably be much less. Even still, it's always the funny thing about any kind of travel — we cross great distances, but always end up right back where we started.

So as I cross into the next 10,000 miles of driving, I plan on keeping some of this data at the front of my mind. 280 hours of driving. 748 times my key has turned in the ignition. And not once has the wheel been pointed more than 100 miles away from home.


Having access to data like this is interesting. It's fascinating to know that my average trip only takes me 8.6 miles, or lasts for about 22 minutes (which makes for a pretty dismal average speed). A little simple math says that about 10% of my time spent awake is spent driving.

But what good is it all? How is the data actionable? What does it mean to be able to produce all of these figures?

I'm not entirely sure. But it does make me want to take a road trip.