#444 Driving over a small hill in your car

Let’s hit the suburban roller coaster.

When you’re a little kid riding backwards in a wood-paneled wagon there’s few things as fun as hitting a gut-twisting bump over a little hill on the highway. Or maybe you’re at the back of the schoolbus, bouncing like jumping beans as you ride the waves, laughing with your snot-nosed pals amongst the slippery nylon seats on your way to the science center. Or maybe you’re just cruising down dark roads, slipping through shortcuts, and winding off the freeway and rolling over those small hills gives you a small little lift on your long drive home…

Bumps in the road make life more fun.


Photo from: here

65 thoughts on “#444 Driving over a small hill in your car

  1. There’s a little hill in my hometown that I always accelerate towards. It’s perfectly smooth, the speed limit is high (because you can’t get any good lift if you’re just puttering along!), and it always guarantees a seamless little hill-flight.

    Not all small hills are created equal, though; there’s another little hill that houses a railroad track, and ye shall be warned: it’s no good for executing a #444, unless you’re looking to rattle your bones and/or throw your car out of alignment.

  2. Love this one! Watching the hill disappear backwards was always a treat!

    For some reason this post also makes me think of Magnetic Hill in Nova Scotia, Canada. Have you visited it?

  3. chk-a-chk-a-chk-a-chk. Playing rollercoaster in the car is fun… unless you’re the driver who has to put up with the noise.

  4. The effect is super magnified when you happen to forget the hill is there in the first place. And then, voom! unexpected thrill ride!

  5. Not to mention, just as you crest the top of the hill and start your descent, take both hands off the wheel a sec and go “Whee!” but only do it for a second, just long enough to catch a glimpse of the expressions of the people in the back seat :-)

    1. We always used to say that we “lost our stomach.” One year, coming back from a vacation, we went over a bump and I said that i had lost my stomach. My four year old cousin told my mom to stop the car so he could go look for it. Then he turned to me and said in a very serious voice. “Don’t worry. I will find it and give it back to make you feel better.” So cute….
      They did road work on a hill by my house, which was already big enough that it was fun. now at the very top when you start to go down, you go up then down really fast and it is so fun. We go that way just to get the feeling:)

    1. We call them ‘Thrill Hills’ !
      For the last 20 yrs or more, we drive to a ski hill every weekend and the best part of the 2 hour drive was Thrill Hill BUT, unfortunately, the road has been re-routed and they just took out our ‘Thrill Hill’ – not awesome.

  6. I loved reading the different family names for this “tummy flip flop” feeling. When I was a kid, my Father would ask,”Wanna lose your cookies?” just as we would “fly” over a series of 4 little hills on the street where we lived. Later on, I would ask my 3 kids if they had “lost their cookies” whenever the car surprised us with that queasy feeling. Now, I chuckle when I hear my kids ask THEIR kids this cherished question. I know my Dad is smiling down at us– carrying on this time honored tradition! Awesome!

    1. I loved this feeling as a child. I don’t think we had a name for it, but my daughter hates it. We’ll go over a bump and I’ll laugh and say, “WEEE!” and she’ll get mad and pout. Hopefully she’ll learn to like them.

    2. PS…. She’ll say that the feeling is her heart in her throat.

      “Mommy, quit going over the bumps like that! You make my heart go in my throat!”

    3. Cassandra – that’s a really touching story.. I can’t wait to have kids of my own and pass down the silly traditions from growing up with my parents.. and then one day I hope to see them doing the same with their kids..

      Although, to be honest – I hope no one ever ACTUALLY lost their cookies, or that would be a pretty big mess in the back of the car..

      1. Freddo, No one actually “lost their cookies” that I can remember! Watching the family traditions pass down is truly awesome. I hope you do get to experience that yourself someday. Making memories and then recalling them over and over makes life worth living.

  7. Whenever I visit my mom, there is this one bump on the way back home that always promises a fun little jump. Its right in the middle of a big curve so ya gotta be careful.

    1. Oh, I just remembered….. when I was itty bitty there was this one road that Dad would take. It was completely out of our way and there was no point in going down it except to go down it. I don’t think the road really went anywhere, but we always called it the roller coaster road.
      We’d be on our way to “town” and he’d take a backroad that led to this other backroad and… WEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!

  8. I love those. We don’t have a name for those hills in our family. But we do like going over them. Especially when we are all packed for vacation. :)

  9. We have a bridge in City Park that we have dubbed the “Tickle Bridge”. You can see people actually backing up so they can floor it over the bridge. It feels just like a roller coaster in your tummy.

  10. There’s a road in New Hampshire that has repeated #444 for 1.5 miles and it’s the best, twisty-turny- backroad for that reason. There are at least five that make me giggle because they’re so much like a rollercoaster.

    1. where are the ones in New Hampshire? anyone know of any in Massachusetts?

      There was a fantastic one on Chagrin River Road in Ohio — must have been at least 12 feet high, and a perfect up/down. There were some smaller ones around too. Sadly, it has been leveled.

  11. My stomach goes crazy on these, and I get instant flashbacks to actual roller coaster experiences. love these hills, but they make me a little uneasy at times. The ones you go up which look like you’re about to fall off the edge of the earth are always thrilling.


  12. Wow, I’ve been having an awful day, and that brings back the perfect pick-me-up memories. Thank you!

  13. I was going to a family reunion with my parents this weekend when we went over some little bumpy hills. I was thinking how awesome it was, and then I came home and read about it on 1000 awesome things! Getting the feeling that Neil has somehow read your mind: Awesome!

  14. I love this!! They are doing construction on one of the freeways where I live. There is a bump in one section and if you hit it fast enough you go airborne for a couple of seconds. I look forward to that bump every time I go that way…too fun…even at 40 years old!! ;-)

  15. You know what I think is awesome? That one point in summer when you really EXPERIENCE summer. When it truly becomes summer. When you’ve forgotten everything you’ve learned in the past year. Or, whenever you get a full page of comics from the newspaper, and you sit around, reading them. Or making up words.


  16. we were on our way to a little town once and asked a guy for directions. he told us to bear right and go down the road with all the “whoop-de-doos”. my mom and i smiled and blinked at each other. about a mile down the road, we found out what “whoop-de-doos” were!! that road had those little bumps for a good mile and a half!! fun!!!!!

  17. Hey Neil, just saw your book in a local bookshop for the first time.
    You have officially reached the shores of Australia, but oh how I miss the original cover.
    There’s very little awesomeness about the pink one.

  18. Just remember tho, so many of these pleasant little roads with the humps and hills that make your tummy go whee, are in people’s neighborhoods. Cars that travel at high rates of speed are more apt to mow down wildlife, pets, and people, and no amount of “I’m sorry” makes up for a tragedy that you cause by inconsiderately speeding where folks live. You aren’t required to travel as fast as the speed limit, either.. slow down, life is precious, and “I’m sorry” is way too late.

    1. I’d be all kinds of awesome to actually hit livestock in my suburban neighborhood.

      Life is pointless if you’re not living.

  19. There is a street on the way to Graves Oakley Memorial Rugby Park in Halifax, NS – Lieblin Drive – it’s like 4 of these small hills in a row – we always call it Ticklebelly Lane – Awesome.

  20. Are you kidding me? My daughter always threw up when we traveled a road such as this, and there were several in rural Missouri where I grew up. Nope, not for us. We tried to avoid as many as possible. Moved away from there, but still remember them.

  21. There was this little hill that we would always drive over on the way to the campground. It was in our wood paneled station wagon. I would often sit in the far back looking at where we had been. Last weekend I drove out to camp and the hill was still there and I thought of this.

  22. my nephew loves this feeling, he says it tingles his willy. but what is the technical name for it and what actually happens in the body to make you feel this way, I like to explain things properly to him

  23. We call these “whoopsie hills” :-) There’s a good run of them on the way to my grandparents’ house in Carlisle, Pennsylvania and the worse possible thing is to get stuck behind a slow moving vehicle when we get to the whoopsie hills…

  24. WEEEE HI’S!!!!(that’s what we call them)
    We take the longer way to grandma’s house for the road that has 4 of them in a row!! The kid’s laugh uncontrollably!! I can’t feel them anymore but I know they can…and for about 30 seconds I’m taken back to my childhood of my parent’s doing the same thing for me when I was younger, except I wasn’t strapped in a car seat, I was usually sitting pressed up againt the back of the cab in the bed of the old Chevy…knowing it was coming and just waiting!! You took me back…AWESOME!!

  25. we call frost heaves…either way, when you get over the bumps in the road without too much pain, they are fun and gravity hills also very awesome!

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