Road-tripping is fun, economical and a great way to see the countryside. It is also stressful, confining, and a sure way to start a fight. There is an art to road-tripping; getting along while enclosed for hours on end in a speeding hunk of metal is not always easy.
Pick your travel-mates carefully. If you don’t get along at home, you’ll never make it to your destination. When we traveled as kids, my sister and I would fight like, well, brother and sister. My folks really had no choice, other than leaving her at the rest stops as I suggested several times—but you do have a choice. This is supposed to be fun so choose travel-mates you like.
Do Your Share
Everyone fights over Shotgun (for the special person who may not know—it is the front, passenger seat) but not everyone realizes there are specific duties assigned to this seat. It is your job to steer the driver in the right direction. It doesn’t matter if you use an old fashioned map, a handheld GPS, look up MapQuest or Google Earth on your phone, or listen to that incessantly annoying SIRI; it is your job to get us there without any detours, delays, or screw-ups. If you’re not up to the task, don’t yell, “Shotgun.” You are also the driver’s personal server, making sure he doesn’t swerve off the road while opening a water bottle or doing anything else other than driving the car. It’s everyone in the car’s duty to keep the driver awake. This doesn’t mean slapping him upside the head from the backseat, because if that’s necessary, he’s already been driving too long.
Conversing Well With Others
Just like at the dinner table, you should probably avoid politics. But if you must get political, put the Republicans in the front, Dems in the back, or vice versa. If you have a member of the Green Party, Libertarians, or Progressives, you’re going to argue anyway, so it doesn’t really matter how you mix them up… While a good, riveting conversation will pass the time quickly, its main purpose is to keep the driver awake. Awake and agitated are two different things though. Not only do you not want the driver so agitated he’ll swerve all over the road, you don’t want to make him mad. Remember he’s not just the one who decides where you stop to eat or pee, he’s the one who decides if you stop to eat or pee.
Games We Play
When traveling with kids nowadays, some people hook up TVs in their vehicle. This may be an easy way to distract the young’uns—Mom and Dad sure could have used one, but that defeats the purpose of a road trip. Today’s youth are probably too sophisticated for the games we played like I Spy where you work through the alphabet spotting things that start with A or B and on. We used to see how many different State’s license plates we could spot, which would bore a modern youth to death. Now they have PlayStation, iPads, and games on their phones. A hard game these days would be to see who can spot a telephone booth. Of course, first you would have to explain what a telephone booth is, or was.
Food for Thought
We never packed food because with the gas-guzzlers we used to drive, you had to stop every couple hours anyway. You could always find a Stuckey’s on the interstate or at least get a Moon pie and RC Cola at the gas station (Now I’m showing my age.) Nowadays every exit has the same establishments. Every Wendy’s or Burger King looks the same and every Conoco station has the exact same food. Try getting off the interstate if time isn’t important and take a state road through some smaller towns. You’ll not only find some more interesting sights, you may find a way to ditch your sister, as long as the dang driver will stop.
Michael is a full-time musician and freelance writer residing in Morrison, Colorado. He enjoys downhill skiing, traveling and attempting to play golf. He excels in the sport of extreme napping so if you must call, make it afternoon.