Friday, December 26, 2014

1,986 Miles: The Do's and Don'ts

Lets face it. At least once in our lives, we thought "Hey, I wanna go on a road trip. It sounds like fun." Little do they know what they are really saying is "Hey, I wanna sit in a car for a really long time."  I've done the trek from California to Chicago about 6 times now. Why? Maybe I'll tell you some other time. 
There are certain things that I have picked up...
  • The Passengers (or the people that will help you not get into a horrible car accident cause you fell asleep at the wheel):  The golden number to remember is 3.  Especially if like me you are given a nice mint condition 94' Toyota Corolla that is better suited for dunking in the Pacific Ocean to catch crabs.  Now, why 3 you might ask.  One to drive, one to watch the driver, and one to rest.  Just enough to be safe, without being super crowded and you can use the back seat as a bed.
  • Car Choice (or the car that will look cool and burn all my hard-earned money vs the little 4 door rust bucket that has better mileage and wont flag the police):  Personally I was never given the choice of SUV or Crossover, but those would be #1. Unfortunately, it was between a Ford Mustang 08, which 19-year-old me thought was a fantastic idea, and my little rust bucket. As you can guess, the first time I went with the cool sports car. Nope. Never again.
  • Food (or should I be smart and pack some healthy home cooked food or eat gas station food and stop at fast food chains): To be honest, I usually go with gas stations with a hint of local diners.  As nice as it would be to just pop open the cooler and pull out some nice sandwiches, my cooler was overrun with Red Bulls and Starbucks Doubleshot cans. Soo... my snacks usually consisted of Bugles, Chex Mix, Almonds, Chewy Bars, and Candy. The sugar rush helps I promise.
  • Route (or fast and boring or slow and scenic): Most of the time, the difference in route times is only about 2-4 hours. Take the time. Go the scenic route, its basically the point of choosing to drive across the country.
  • Entertainment/ Electronics (or what the hell do I do for 38hrs) : Radio might be your first thought, but driving in and out of mountains and low populated areas make a consistent radio signal almost impossible. I recommend an iPod and either a cassette adapter or auxiliary port. CDs work too. Make sure to make an upbeat, energetic playlist to keep you going for the drive. Another option that I've used when I could, was comedians on Pandora. The jokes keep your brain going, which keeps you awake. If you're the passenger, car games as old school as they sound are great. I bet you anything punch buggy will keep you're driver from falling asleep.  There are also portable gaming consoles like the NintendoDS or the PS vita, or even just and iPad.  It all works.
  • Other stuff (or probably the important stuff): A GPS or maps because whether you like it or not your phones signal does not reach everywhere. Sunglasses because the sun can be a bitch. And a pillow and blanket to make break time extra comfy. A camera for personal records. Deoderant, a toothbrush, and some basic toiletries are also a must. Your friends will thank you.
  • THE MOST IMPORTANT THING: AVOID NEBRASKA AND IOWA. They are literally the most boring states to drive through. If you do chose to go through these desolate plains. the moment you hit 1/8 of a tank, REFUEL. Don't take chances. No offense to people who live there. I'm just saying you literally see the exact same landscape over and over and over and over...
  • Lastly. Dress comfortable. As in sweat pants and a hoodie or t shirt.  Lets be real, you don't need to get all dolled up to sit in a car for 38 hours.