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My first road trip was at 17.
I packed up the back of my very first car with 'all' of my worldly belongings and my best friend and I squeezed ourselves into the front for a 2,986 mile cross-country drive spanning a total of 50+ driving hours. We made it to our destination, my new home at the time, in just 3 days alternating driving shifts and stopping only for one night at a hotel. Some may argue that's not much of a road trip. Sure, we got the driving part down but we didn't truly have a chance to do more than stop at rest stops and highway signs for a quick photo-op here and there. At the time all my teenage, star-crossed, romantic heart could think about was getting to my high school sweetie for the Summer.
I'm sure my parents traveled here and there, up to the Redwoods, or Cannery Row, when I was an infant- but my mother's battle with cancer back in 1990 put an end to most of that. From there on out we became a flying family. And by flying I mean I flew back East with my pop twice a year while Momma stayed behind and 'held down the fort.'
So, while my first real road trip wasn't exactly an epic one, the freedom of an open road and the roar of a purring engine is something I've since courted many times since. In fact, ironically, I will always drive to a destination unless it is entirely impractical. Just ask Momma, who had to literally buy me plane tickets to convince me not to navigate the ice filled passes of Oregon last fall. There is a freedom about traveling in a car, a plethora of options presented by the prospect of charting your own way, and a world of discoveries which accompanies a road trip.
Let's start with ensuring your wheels of choice are in optimal condition for the journey. Few things ruin a road trip like being unprepared for a roadside incident, or an unexpected mechanical issue. While the destination and routes traveled will play a big part in some of these preparations there are a few things you should always mark off the checklist prior to departing:
- Check that your vehicle is stocked with an emergency roadside kit, including a jug of water.
- Inspect all tired for missing valve stem caps, low tire pressure/leaks, unusual wear and ensure that your vehicle is equipped with a viable spare.
- Inspect your headlights- Do they appear fogged over from age? You may want to spend 30 minutes to refurbish them. Fogged headlights are not just an eyesight, they are a safe driving hazard and significantly minimize visibility in night driving.
- Check that your windshield wipers do not streak and that the rubber is free of cracks, nicks, or dried out sections. While you may not be driving somewhere where rain is anticipated your windows may require cleaning while on the road and streaks or poor functioning wipers can cause issues with road visibility.
I've been bringing our cars to Walmart for our oil change needs for the past several years for 2 reasons- 1.) I love to shop and stock up for my road trips while my car is being services and 2.) I can always get a great deal on a quality Pennzoil motor oil change no matter the car I bring in. Every car has it's own unique motor oil needs, and my car will be dinging 75k miles at the end of our Summer Road Trips. It'll be just about time for another oil change and just in time for the high mileage motor oil change service rollback at Walmart! ($39.88 on Rollback to $35.88 June 15 - September 28, 2016)
Last Fall Sabrina and I drove the Pacific Coast Highway up to Portland, Oregon. We stopped for every sunset, looking for a quiet, yet scenic place to grab a soda (or water in my case) and soak in the locale before checking into our accommodations for the night. Since I was the driver it was her job to keep an eye out for something she wanted to explore or take in- on one particular night a beautiful bridge caught her eye and we pulled off at a bed and breakfast that was closed for the season. That's where we met and befriended a gorgeous feral cat we nicknamed and still reference to this day!
What Daughter Says: Road trips are all about the journey- make memories and plan a road trip for your next vacation!