Learn how to take a road trip like Willie’s own tour bus drivers

1:08 p.m Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017 Music
Deborah Cannon/American-Statesman
Willie Nelson walks the red carpet at the Paramount for the opening of "When Angels Sing" during the SXSW Film Festival on Sunday, March 10, 2013.

When one finds oneself on the road again, it is only natural to ask: What would Willie do? Not quite sure how to answer that one except to say you see places you may never see again. But here’s the next best thing.

Willie Nelson’s own tour bus drivers, Gates "Gator" Moore and Tony Sizemore, recently talked to Austin’s Andy Langer for a Popular Mechanics Q&A. Gates and Sizemore gave the skinny on their own cross-country driving strategies. The pair, who have piloted Willie’s tour bus, Honeysuckle Rose, for almost 40 years, have one rule in particular: They don’t always use GPS.

“We'll go 30 miles out of the way to bypass a city we suspect will have heavy traffic by the time we get there,” Gates told the magazine. 

Did you know that north-to-south interstate highways are usually designated with odd numbers that increase as you travel east across the country? Sizemore did. Other tips: study the street names a little ahead of the route so you know when you’ve overshot the destination and if you’re lost, “keep it to yourself,” Moore advises. Don’t wanna worry Willie, after all. 

The big takeaway from the Red-Headed Stranger’s phone-averse crew is simple. Don’t be afraid to ask for directions. Read the full Q&A at Popular Mechanics.

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