Standard operating procedure for road trips: (1) get up at the crack of dawn; (2) pack car; (3) hit the road by 7:30 (original intent: 7:00, but packing car took longer than you thought); (4) make good time; (5) get to X (city, state) by Y o’clock. But if getting there is some meaningful percentage, up to and including half, the fun, then why begin with an alarm clock and a mad rush?
I prefer analogizing the road trip to the age of sail. Ships would set sail on the evening tide. The day was spent loading provisions, cargo and passengers in daylight—bustling, to be sure—and the evening tide would float the ship out of the harbor until it could catch the wind on the open sea. Since the ship was its own hotel, there was no need to get to the Holiday Inn Express by nightfall.