I'm soliciting advice from folks who have done their own Great American Road Trip. So have you done a GART (i'm stealing this fun term from Elizabeth)? What advice would you give to a novice road tripper? What is one of your favorite road trip rituals?
Elizabeth Cawein - longest trip - Memphis, TN to New Jersey and back - grand total over four days. it was about 35 hours. 4 hours friday, 12 hours saturday, 14 hours sunday, 4 hours monday: just be prepared to completely wing it. that's my biggest piece of advice. make a plan. because you should always make a plan. but then be prepared to completely throw it out the window and do something totally different. and no matter what you do, think of it as a story to tell later. that is the reason you stop in places called nutter fort, west virginia. because for the rest of your life you will talk about the time you stopped in nutter fort.
Fav Road Trip rituals: Stopping at a Dairy Queen for sure. also, i would say getting up at the crack of dawn is a big one for me. i love to make good time, and it doesn't feel like a road trip unless you're on the road just before dawn. (or well before dawn.) if i'm doing the road trip with someone else, i like to play car games, too. most of which are made up on the spot. like when holly and i played, "which developing nation also sounds like a baby name from Memphis?"
Robert Fudge - longest trip - 22 hrs Memphis, TN to Flagstaf, AZ:
have good podcasts. plan to be flexible, avoid doing things you could do at home (ex: eating at wendy's) also: check the pressure in your spare tire. alsp avoid interstate....you can never see stuff from the interstate, but two lane highway goes straight through town.....think I-40 verses Summer Ave, or Stage Road (both technically highways) you just get a better feel for places, even if it takes longer....also easier to pull over on a whim.
Fav Road Trip rituals: music tends to be key....as does coffee. I like to plan out mile stone playlists....what will I be listening to when....i cross the mississippi...leave pavement etc. lots of sing along sessions....keeps driver alert. i seem to have a wierd tradition of driving places in the middle of the night, not sure that i recommend it. but it teaches you to go ahead and nap when its needed. i have taken quite a few naps when alone at rest stops or what have you.
Darren - longest trip - 16hrs Memphis to Brighton, MI:
you need to take some of the 5 hour energy drinks because driving on your own sucks, i always make sure i have breakdowns covered on my car insurance, have a oil change about a week before you go that gives you one week in case some thing goes wrong, make sure you fill you windshield washer fluid, check the spare, and just have fun.
Robyn: 2100 miles - dallas, little rock, atlanta, nashville, birmingham, the colony, tx:
load the ipod with your favorite music. stay in the homes of people you go to see if its possible. if they have kids, bring them presents. this is all in my book i havent finished writing. ugh. video your experience so you can share it online. i wish i had done that schedule it so that you can have time to wiggle around, but also make sure you see the people you want to see.
Fav Road Trip rituals: i always look for sonic so i can have sonic ice. i like to eat in local restaurants, not chains, when i'm traveling.
Myself - longest trip - 14 hrs Memphis, TN to Anna Maria Island, FL:
Fav Road Trip rituals: Stopping at the rest stops. Listening to David Sedaris audio books. Finding odd repetitive roadside attractions to call out, especially kitsch stuff like "hey, you need a walking stick." or "look boiled peanuts! wanna stop?" and making fun of billboard designs.