We did, however, find a hardware store that’s been in the same location for over 100 years. That’s about as close to Nirvana as it gets for a man. The creaky wood floors...the smell of dust, tractor grease, and the occasional cigar hanging in the air...the horseshoes that have been sitting on the same shelf for the last 40 years, and probably will for another 40...We’re suckers for nostalgia, and that hour spent walking through Morgan Hardware went by like ten minutes.

You have opportunities traveling the back roads that you’ll never get on the expressway. We found an abandoned Gulf station with Gulf No-nox for 36 cents a gallon. We spotted a couple of potential project cars (not that we don’t have enough already!), and drove past a barber shop that looked straight out of Mayberry, RFD, that made us wish we hadn’t just gotten a trim. We’d have really enjoyed chewing the fat with Floyd while he lowered our ears a tad.

Small towns hold treasures you’ll find only if you step on them—we stumbled on Royston, Georgia, “The Home of Baseball Immortal Ty Cobb,” and the Ty Cobb museum. Little ’burgs across the nation are home to thousands of museums and local attractions, few of which are destinations for the masses. When the opportunity presents itself to check out the Phosphate Mining Museum or President Grover Cleveland’s home on a Saturday afternoon, take that opportunity. Not because you’ve ever wondered how they get the stuff out of the ground or what Grover named his dog—take that opportunity simply because you can.

We were lucky to make the drive in a Viper, but the car wasn’t what made this trip enjoyable. In fact, we’d have actually preferred a vintage car for the weekend. But that’s not the point. The point we want to make (cliché’d though it is) is that no matter where you live, there are small towns with thousands of back roads, little dinners, and interesting shops within a couple of hundred miles from your door. Stop at a roadside stand and buy an apple—it’ll taste better than anything you get at the store. Walk into the restaurant on Main Street and ask “What’s good?” Then order it. And always get the soup, because it didn’t come from a can.

Take a Friday off of work, put an overnight bag in the trunk of the Road Runner, and go. And remember, you don’t have to be to work until Monday morning. Imagine three days behind the wheel of your pride and joy seeing what you’ve thought was long gone—what could be better?