Road Trip Ready

T.S. Eliot once said, “The journey not the arrival matters.”

First thing tomorrow morning, I am getting out of town.  Revving up the ol’ Hot Tamale (my darling and reliable car), and heading to the city of sin.  That’s right folks, I’m heading to Las Vegas!

But before I go, I must make sure I have everything one could possibly need on such a roughly five-hour trip through the desert.

Music

Since you can never really tell what kind of tunes—if any—you might hear on the various radio stations out there, you’ve got to have a trusty catalog of songs to get you through the long drive.  Enter the “Vegas 2012” playlist.

What are your must have road trip songs?

My iPod is loaded with such gems as the Eagles’ “Life in the Fast Lane,” Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man,” and Journey’s “Faithfully.”  I’ve got everything covered to break up the monotony of the road:

  • “Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)” by Michael Jackson will have you car dancing like a fool (trust me, I’ve earned many strange looks)
  • “Defining Gravity” from the Wicked soundtrack when you want to belt out show tunes
  • “Blister in the Sun” by the Violent Femmes is perfect for drumming on the steering wheel
  • “My Sharona” by The Knack will save you from boredom
  • “Viva Las Vegas” by Elvis Presley welcomes you to Vegas before you even see the bright lights

Sunscreen

Now, to those of you gifted with naturally bronze skin that doesn’t burn, this may seem like an odd choice, but for this pale gal, it is a necessity.  There’s something about a road trip that makes me want to roll down the window and stick my arm out.  Without sunblock, I run the risk of showing up to my destination looking like a lobster that only made it halfway into the pot.

Plus, it just makes good sense to wear sunscreen.  I don’t want to risk the skin cancer for the sake of a temporary color, which in all likelihood would be bright red rather than the desired golden glow.

GPS

How people travel anywhere without some kind of a navigation system is beyond me.  I am completely hopeless when it comes to directions, just ask my TomTom.

We may not always see eye-to-eye, but she gets me to where I need to be. Eventually.

She routinely yells at me to “make the next legal U-turn” because I have disobeyed her.  One of these days, I swear she’s going to stop recalculating the route and say, “Get there on your own, idiot.”

Cash

In the day and age of plastic paying for goods, I rarely carry money with me.  It’s so easy to pull our a card and swipe.  But there are plenty of places out there, especially those podunk towns in the middle of nowhere, that only accept the green and I’m not talking about American Express.

Think of cash as you would an insurance policy; you may not need it, but you’ll be glad you have it when you do.  Don’t forget to hit that ATM.

Phone

This should be a no-brainer especially when traveling alone, but do not forget some kind of communication device.  Say there’s a nail in your tire or you forgot to turn off the stove before you left the house, you’re going to want that phone there.

And be sure it’s charged.  No sense in bringing it if the battery’s dying and you don’t have a car charger.

A Positive Attitude

It can be frustrating to be in a car for long periods of time, especially with the added stress of driving.  Chances are you will hit traffic, someone will cut you off, and you will balk at the cost of gas as you fill up the tank.  It’s easy to think of driving as merely the path to the destination, but the journey is what starts the experience.

Even after trapping myself in the seat after tying my bathing suit around my safety belt, I still found a way to laugh.

If you get lost along the way (was someone else not listening to their GPS?), think of it as an adventure.  Be grateful that you’re not at work or washing dishes or in the hospital.  Take the time to look around, but pay attention to the road.  By all means, laugh at the craziness you see.  There’s bound to be plenty out there.

And always remember to embrace the detours.

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