Preparing for a Road Trip
Road trips can be exhilarating, relaxing and a blissful euphoria of freedom. The road lies ahead and you are eager to take it to a glorious path unknown. With the wind whipping through the open window your hair can do nothing but submit to the relentless force and dances about like those inflatable advertising characters outside car dealerships. You turn up your music and feel a fierce release of endorphins invade your body like shoppers penetrating a Best Buy electronics store on Black Friday. You are free.
Before you fall into a deep trance of ecstasy; stop. This blog is not about one's dream of becoming the next Thelma & Louise. This blog is about preparing yourself for a road trip. Where you go and what you want to bump on the radio is up to you, but there are a few key ideologies of preparedness one must take into consideration before hitting the open road.
1. Invest in a map unless you have a cell phone that can work on the moon (or close to it)
GPS devices or cell phones are a great way to find your way around these days. Nothing against Lewis & Clark who navigated their way through the western hemisphere using limited means, but today we have a multitude of gadgets to help us on our way. Sorry guys. The problem with technology however is reception can often be sparse especially in rural areas. By also having a map as a backup it will help you if your phone carrier lets you down and Sacajawea is nowhere in sight.
2. Vehicle check up
You don't need to get yourself talked into the 50,000 mile check up for thousands of dollars at your dealership, but the basic maintenance necessities are important. Check tire pressure, top off any fluids that are low, check oil, and make sure windshield wipers are in working order.
3. Realistically schedule your drive
If you are a real go-getter and think you are going to do x number of miles in x number of hours, good for you. Make sure you stick to it. For the rest of us, leave plenty of grace time to account for traffic, bad weather, or wrong turns. The last thing you want to do is get stuck miles from lodging or a gas station.
4. Pack your car with the what ifs
Most trips go as planned but all it takes is one mishap and you're featured on the next episode of I Shouldn't be Alive on the Animal Planet. Pack extra blankets, rope, a toolkit, and a knife. An extra set of keys is also a good idea in case you lock yourself out of your car. The idea is to keep them on you or at least give to your passenger to hold in case you manage to lock yourself in your own car. If this happens your friend will probably just take off in embarrassment instead of releasing you from your metal prison on wheels.
5. Pack your car with the perishable what ifs
Most trips go as planned but all it takes is one mishap and you're featured on the next episode of I Shouldn't be Alive on the Anim- wait a second, this sounds awfully familiar?
Water is the lifeline of our existence so make sure to bring enough supply for two nights just in case. Not a single episode of I Shouldn't be Alive has ever ended by one of the lucky survivors as they are rescued from the clenches of death exclaiming, We really had too much water in the desert.
Stock your car with snacks as well. You don't need to pack a meatloaf and three sides, but granola bars, trail mix and various nuts are hearty snacks. If you can't find these items it is legal in some counties to steal them from a chipmunk.
If you are traveling with an elderly relative or anyone that requires frequent medications such as diabetics, people with heart conditions, or allergies it is important to carry and extra supply of insulin, nitroglycerines, or an EpiPen just in case. Having your car break down, then going hungry in the desert is stressful enough without being stung by a scorpion without your proper allergens.
7. Car supplies
A flat tire can ruin a road trip, but if you have a mobile jack and spare tire you can be on your merry way in no time. Additional oil, coolant, and a pressure gauge to check tire pressure can help as well.
If you follow these tips your time on the open road can be happily spent listening to your new Britney Spears album and less time worrying if your car is about to blow a tire and erupt in a fiery ball.
Stay safe out there.