Aug 12, 2010

Cross Country Travelin'

I've driven across the US several times. Here's a map of all the places I've been. On at least 5 occasions, I have driven for long extended periods in excess of 20 hours (3 time 25+ hours) without stopping except for a few 15 minute catnaps at various rest stops because I was near hallucinating and near falling asleep.

**** I do not recommend that anyone do drive more than 500 miles a day. Even 500 miles is pretty strenuous.

I did it solo in my little manual transmission Suzuki Aerio.

"Christopher McCandless: It should not be denied that being footloose has always exhilarated us. It is associated in our minds with escape from history and oppression and law and irksome obligations. Absolute freedom. And the road has always led west. "

For the most part, I have found that this is true yet at the same time it totally SUCKS.

Long drives can be grueling. Here's some tips to ease the pain.

1. Take alot of music. Even audio books, talks, etc. You'll get bored of music. You'll get bored of sound. You might want to just zoink out to nothingness.

2. Take a roll of paper towels and kleenex.

2a. Fill up on the window washer fluid. Check your tires. ETC ETC. Car stuff.

3. It's a pain, but clean your windows on the inside before you leave. Smudges on windows are so annoying especially at night.

4. Sunglasses. It's bright out there. Squinting will ease your eye strain.

5. I wear glasses. Take glasses cleaning clothes. Several.

6. Even if you have a navigation system, take a large map, and review it before hand. TomTom and Garmin Nuvi have both lead me astray. Make sure to have a general idea of where they are taking you. The Shortest distance, might not necessarily mean the most sensible. I've been taken through back roads, and winding stressful country roads. Sometimes its easier to input town to town directions.

7. Dont wait til you are super low to fill up. If you stop to pee at a gas station, you might as well fill up.

8. Dont wait til you are super full about to pee yourself to stop. Many times I thought I could make it to the next stop, but there have been many close calls. This is in all seriousness, but even if you dont feel like taking a leak, go for it if it's an available choice.

9. Try to time your long trek to avoid big cities during rush hour traffic. Or try to map it out to take a detour AROUND the major cities if you are just Thru Traffic. After a long trek of driving and fatigued, the last thing you want to do is to have be put in tense stress mode of city traffic drivers.

10. You can talk to yourself. Or talk about silly stuff. I made up Fing and Meow episodes during long drives.

11. Take an insulated food container. Take snacks, take drinks, ice. It's not to save money, it's just nice to have food without having to stop. ALTHOUGH, if you have food and drink, you might need to pee and poo more often. Just sayin.

12. If it is a super long drive, I found that eating a nice dinner/lunch at a restaurant will give you alot of energy, better energy than fast food/snacks.

13. If driving through the night, although unhealthy, a steady stream of caffeine administered through an IV will keep you up. OK not really, but having a constant sip of a caffeinated drink can keep you up for a while. I've tried the 5 hour energy drinks. I can guarantee they worked, but they are full of caffeine and other crap so you know it has to have SOME affect.

14. I think mentally, the brain is ok to run 20-36 hours on just a few 15 minute catnaps. I have taken a catnap when I was near collapse, only to wake up without alarm 15-30 minutes later totally refreshed to go for another 3-6 hours. It seems that the hardest part about driving long distances is the eye muscles just get too tired. Sleep isnt mandatory, but the eye muscles want to chill for a while.

15. Also, I found that driving for long distances, my hands get calloused. Maybe its because my steering wheel isnt padded and I get white knuckled when driving at night, but I think some sort of driving gloves or steering wheel cover could really help. I think some lotion or something could help in this instance.

16. Take a trash bag or a few grocery bags you can dump every time you stop at the gas station.

17. I just use debit, but a credit card for gas that has cash back, would be very useful for miles or cash back.

18. Have a camera ready. You might see some crazy stuff while on the road.

That's all for now. ;j

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