Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Road Trips

Road trips can be as exciting or as boring as you want to make them to be. Whether it is yourself traveling alone or as a couple on a romantic adventure or with a whole family, there is a way to make it full of stimulating and astonishing fun for all.

There does have to be a little preparation to set it all up for all who are in the car. The mood can be set and changed with the music chosen.  The technology today is amazing so your iPod can be used or whatever you have on your smart phone such as Pandora, Spotify, or the many other music choices.  And yes, you can have some good choices of CD's to play if this is your technology that is available.  Depending on the radio is not always the best choice, based on where you are traveling.  Once my daughter and husband were traumatized listening to me loudly twanging out every country song that the radio stations played where we were traveling.  And country was the ONLY choice.  I really had no idea that I knew that many country lyrics, but apparently I was wrong.

Road food is the next major preparation to deal with.  When you travel on the highways and interstates, there can be long stretches of no choices of food places and even when there are choices, depending on where you are there is a decision that has to be made based on the cleanliness of the place. On the road is not ever the place where you want to get food poisoning because the next obstacle to overcome is the timing of restroom breaks.  Most all of the interstates have very clean (or as close to clean as you are going to find) restrooms.  Gas stations...........questionable most all of the time, as are some of the fast food restaurants.  So, be prepared to do some wiggling and dancing in the car if you can't go in a dingy and dirty restroom and you want to hold out for a cleaner one or a place on the side of the road where you can pull over and walk off the path to behind trees and bushes.  Don't laugh!  I am pretty sure that I am not the only one who has been "forced" to go this route.

With children in the car, be prepared to help them with games, coloring, writing,  singing, and one of the best inventions in the world for road trips with children is the good old car DVD player and movies.  Entertainment at their fingertips and you will not hear nearly as often the famous question that all kids ask, "Are we there yet?"  Actually, another way that you can slow down how many times you are asked this question is for you to set up two clocks or two watches that show what time it is for real as the minutes tick away and what time you are expected to get to your destination. (Just pull the stem out and let the time stay stuck on the time you should arrive.  That way, when they ask, then they need to explain it to you.

Traveling shorter distances is a little easier than longer, for obvious reasons.  And traveling when it is off season for snow is much easier.  Actually, being on Route 66 in December taking my children and my mother to a ski lodge in Colorado was probably my most challenging road trip. Getting there was just very long and I had to keep coming up with different ideas to entertain everyone.  Naps helped.  And I must admit when it was my turn to choose the music, I would choose soft classical music, of which my children at their ages had not quite 'taken to' yet and it would put them to sleep in minutes.  (My mom, also)

As we drove there, we did not have any snowstorm to hit.  It already had snowed so climbing the mountains which were two lanes, not very wide with no railing was a bit challenging with the snow and the ice.  It made it a little more challenging when my mother woke up and saw what was happening.  Remember that I said you needed to pack for your trip and be prepared for anything. Well, I did.  I brought my mom's favorite wine, pulled the car over when we could and let her sit in the back seat with her grandchildren making sure that her cup stayed full.  No..... never would I get my own mother looped..... just happy!  And this was just for the last hour of the trip.  I was quite nervous enough driving in those conditions without hearing screams of fear that we all were going to die.

Road trips are still one of my favorites.  In fact, I am usually the one driving.  It is invigorating to be at the wheel.  One thing that I must admit that I must have is a handy navigator.  This navigator really should be human, helping to be sure that the GPS system is taking us the shortest, best route possible. There are times they do not and having another pair of eyes to check it out is important.

As you prepare for the upcoming summer trips, enjoy and go prepared to be ON THE ROAD AGAIN .  

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