I have done my share of road trips – long drives where you just get bored out of your mind and want to pull your hair out, well I guess I would have to do something different nowadays, but…. I have sworn my life against ever doing one again many times. This Thanksgiving I somehow forgot I had promised myself that and planed a drive to Georgia from Texas, not a long drive but over 1000 miles each way and in a small Toyota instead of my big dual cab diesel. What was I thinking?
Most of the credit for the trip going smoothly goes to my wife – she packed everything, assigned seating and planned out stops. She is also one of the most cheerful people you would ever want to meet. I don’t see how she does it but things bounce off her and her attitude is always positive. There are a few exception to this rule, she struggles with other drivers and tends to be a tad, well, mean. But besides that she is a loving, caring, smiling machine and I figured I would do most of the driving, except when there would be no other cars around, like when we were asleep.
One of the things that worked for us on this trip was splitting up the trip with over nights at hotels, one night both ways gave us a road break. I was a tad retentive with trying to find a hotel that was inexpensive. The cheapest night was $76. with a continental breakfast and I had a hard time with that – but the others were at least $20. more so we stopped.
The next thing is a movie player for the kids. OK, so I have tried the “you need to be watching out the window and see things” attitude, not a working model in today’s world. I figured if they had their faces buried in a book it was no different than them watching a movie. I watched most of a movie one day as well and two hours go by fast. So movies are now approved – for a part of the trip. I still do the “look outside” but just not as rigged.
Snacks, drinks and more help. I polished off different energy drinks like Red Bull and Rock Star. They had some effect on me and helped get me through the end of one part of the drive. Buying stuff at gas stations is way too expensive and gets my goat. I will do it in a pinch, but not if I can avoid it. My wife did a great job with drinks, snacks and things – nothing red, nothing covered in chocolate.
Pillows and blankets make for nice comfort items. Bring a few.
An absolute must is to bring along a good attitude. Go into the trip remembering the objective, the memories you are about to create. I have done plenty of these where I was a tyrant and just an unpleasant fellow to be around. This may take a bit of effort, but make the effort. Let the little things slide – a messy car, a dropped cracker, a little grumbling from the kids must be expected and I can assure you it will not be the end of the world.
Finally, pray. Pray with your traveling companions before you leave. Pray over your home, your pets, your drive ahead. Pray when you arrive, give thanks for a safe drive and the ability to take the time to be on the trip.
This last trip was just at 1100 miles each way and was pleasant and uneventful. One day it rained the whole time we drove, a mess, but we never broke, we kept going and it went very smooth. God is so good. You have to open yourself up to being in a good mood and pleasant to those around you. Us guys are especially grumpy and mean for no apparent reason nowadays – so work on that – know that your kids will mirror your attitudes and moods as they grow up and we need fewer grumpy folks in this world – find someone who inspires you to be happy, be it Sponge Bob or Jerry Lewis - for me it is my wife, most days.