Back in the day when I was driving back to college in Rochester, New York, I had my road trip method down pat. It was exactly 506 miles from my parent's house to the campus, and the fastest I ever made the trip was seven hours and 38 minutes. I preferred to drive it by myself . . . no one else to whine about needing to pee half an hour after you last stopped. So, here's the secret Laurel Method for a Successful (Fast) Road Trip.
1. Music. Something with pep. No classical, no weird Gaelic anything (this means you, Enya!), no hymns. DC Talk is ok, maybe a little Third Day, Burlap to Cashmere for sure. (My cd collection was mostly from my high school years, when I actually spent money on music . . . cd club by mail order.)
2. A nice big bag of salty pretzels or chips. Salt is imperative for water retention (no, I am not recommending this, especially if you suffer from congestive heart failure), so I always munched on some salty snacks the whole drive. I drank plenty of water, too . . . one liter over half an hour, starting when I was an hour away from my rest stop.
3. One stop. More than that in 500 miles is silly. Unless your car has broken down and you can't help it. This was why I drove by myself. Most people like to have the option to stop more than once. Nyet!
4. Caffeine. This one is obvious, right?
5. Sugar! Once my dad came to pick me up. It was the start of summer break between my junior and senior year, and I had just gotten back to campus from a nursing trip to South Dakota. He had been driving all day and was going to sleep in the van overnight, while I had been on a plane since 5 a.m. It was 7 p.m. when we met up, and the last thing I wanted to do was sleep another night away from home on a basically deserted campus. "Let's just leave now, Dad, we can take turns driving and sleeping." Dad thought about it for a minute, then said "Ok, but I have to call your mother first to let her know I got here all right. DO NOT tell we are doing this, or I will be in big trouble!" We swung by the gas station to fill up, and then stopped at Wegmans to get a giant bag of gummy candy. I took the first shift, and as I drove thru the dark night I doled out one gummy worm to myself every ten miles to keep awake. Four hours and a lot of gummy worms later (I may have cheated and eaten a few extra) Dad took over and I came down from my sugar high to sleep the rest of the way. We pulled into the driveway at 5 a.m., and when we woke my mom up to say hi she just shook her head and said "You guys." (Driving with my dad broke the rule of driving by myself, but he is all about not stopping, so it worked out.)
One rookie mistake to watch out for . . . keep the sugar and caffeine intake at a slow and steady rate, or you might run out and then you will lose your edge and crash . . . maybe in more ways than one! (Again, NOT advocating my method as an actual smart idea, follow at your own risk.)
Now I am prepping for a road trip with two kids. Pretty sure all my rules are out the window. Well, I guess I'll still have caffeine, sugar, and music. But I'm trying to keep the point of view that the trip itself is part of the fun, because we will be stopping way more than once. Tomorrow will be a mad dash of packing, laundry, and a final trip to Walmart. Sophia has requested that I pack chocolate from Walmart. I told her that could be arranged. She also wants to make sure we have the Prince of Egypt soundtrack, and the sign language DVDS we borrowed from my sister an eon ago. (Yes, I am doing yet another thing I swore I wouldn't . . . DVDs in the car. In my defense, I am taking the kids by myself, so think it is permissible.)
On that note, anybody have a cigarette lighter DVD charger I could borrow?