Travel Tips: How to Drive 1,000 Miles in One Day... and Survive
We are getting ready for our 1,000 mile drive from Colorado to California for the final time. Having made the 19-hour road-trip about a dozen times over the years, we know the route and routine inside and out. By this point, we've stopped at every scenic viewing point, read every historic plaque, and taken every quirky detour, so the purpose is not to sight-see so much as it is to simply arrive as quickly, and safely, as possible. We usually leave around 4:00am and aim to get in by 11:00pm, taking turns driving every five hours or so. This time, we'll have all three pets in back which will certainly make for an adventure but our excitement of knowing that by this time next week we'll have a new place to call home in CA is motivating us. As we plan and pack, I started thinking of a list of little things that seem to make this daunting drive more bearable for us.
Dailey Travel Tips:
How to Drive 1,000 Miles in One Day... and Survive.
1. Give your car a little lovin': check the fluid levels and tire pressure, clean or replace air filters, and fill up the tank. If you have time, it doesn't hurt to clean out the inside and give it a good vacuum and wipe down. On cross-country or extra-long drives, you may encounter drastic climate changes (snowy mountains to dry deserts and smoggy cities) which can put extra pressure on your car, especially if you're constantly flipping on the heat/AC back and forth. By giving your ride a fresh start, you're less likely to hit inconvenient "bumps in the road".
2. Dress accordingly: sitting in the same place for hours and hours (and hours) on end can make anyone feel claustrophobic but don't let your outfit contribute to this. Wear lots of layers and ditch the accessories- simple, soft items are your best bets. Wear slip-on shoes but bring along a pair of socks to wear in the car between bathroom breaks. Prepare the night before by staying hydrated, showering, blow drying your hair, and getting plenty of sleep. Try to be conscious of your appearance (crumbs on your clothes, drool on your face, etc.) before wandering into stores or restaurants along the road. While you may be fully aware that you've been awake since 4am, innocent by-standers may mistake your arrival as the zombie apocalypse.
3. Pack a pic-a-nic: your number one priority is to keep your eyes on the road, gas tank full, and bladder empty, which can mean that most of your "meals" will be of a fast, hand-held variety. Stock a mini cooler or basket with healthy, refreshing snacks to help curb your appetite (or boredom) without compromising your natural curves. Some satisfying ideas are: sliced cucumbers and baby carrots, grapes, watermelon, apples, green machine smoothies, coconut water, dried fruit, trail mix, raw cashews, and lots of H2O! The less sugar, salt, and carbs the better since they'll just make you thirsty and sle..e...p.......y.
4. Make a playlist: think about your destination, the scenery along the way, or any special occasions you want to remember this trip by. Pick songs you love that remind you of these things and throw in lots that you've never heard before. Several years ago a friend and I drove parts of Route 66 from Colorado to California so playing lots of Johnny Cash, Roger Miller, and Pasty Cline made us feel like we were listening to a soundtrack about our trip. It's also fun to hear a song and think back to the open road, the good company, and the fun memories from your drive.
5. Buy a book on tape: (or check one out from the library) We have listened to everything from sermons to poems on tape during our drives. After the first 10 hours, you may want a break from listening to the same songs or each other's voices for a while. A book is soothing if someone (not the driver...) wants to sleep and it also helps keep your mind engaged in something other than watching the miles roll by on the dashboard.
6. Keep creature comforts handy: a pillow, blanket, sleeping mask, and ear plugs can make all the difference in getting some quality sleep in the car. There's nothing worse than falling asleep on the arm rest and waking up with a cramp in your neck, your leg asleep, and seatbelt lines across your face, which totally happens, FYI. So I've heard.
7. Make the most of your stops: instead of just running in to the gas station to grab some corn nuts or use the facilities while you're filling your tank, take a few extra minutes to stretch and get the blood moving. With the dogs, we usually stop 4 or 5 times to walk them around which helps get our legs moving, but doing some jumping jacks or running a lap around the parking lot can help stimulate circulation and mental clarity- especially a good idea if it's your turn behind the wheel.