Road Tripping Without Falling: Tips for Travel
With Spring Break quickly approaching, many of us will find ourselves on the road, trapped like rats in the car with loved ones for far longer than we’d like. Before you know it the turtle shell cargo carrier will be secured to the roof of your Honda Odyssey van- the van you swore you’d never drive- and you’ll be ordering the Country Boy Breakfast at Cracker Barrel, 300 miles from home while Aunt Jeanie hums Tom Jones, samples hand creams, and picks out a book on tape. This is a real life scenario. Only I was the annoying kid in the back seat who insisted on playing the harmonica like the true prisoner I was, on every trip for 4 years straight. My parents almost divorced on the drive to Key West in ’93 and sadly said harmonica is quietly rusting somewhere along A1A (beachfront avenue). Traveling together is not for the faint of heart or short of temper. I have complied a list of tried and true tips that will help you and your family avoid “fight clubbing” at South of the Border or maybe it will promote it. Either way, it will be a fun time ( and we won't talk about it).
1. Put on your raspberry beret and listen to 80’s & 90’s music for the entire trip, no exceptions. This is a commitment, so if you are weak and don’t know how to party like it’s 1999, don’t even bother because no one wants your purple rain on their parade.
2. Stock up on the vinyl “stick people” stickers that you see on mini vans across America. The ones that advertise two parent households with 3 kids, a dog, cat, and a fish. We’ve all seen them. When you make a pit stop, take out your sticker stash and add a new family member to a random brood. Take it to the next level by writing the words, “Remember that golf trip he said he went on….”, above it in the window grime. You just made someone else’s trip a lot more interesting.
3. Speak in an accent while in the car, preferably Matthew McConaughey or Christopher Walken. Don’t break. Just pretend that you’ve got a fever and the only prescription is an annoying accent. You’re family will think it is funny at first but then they will hate it and beg you to stop. Stay strong. Alright, alright, alright. If you really want to take it next level, narrate the entire trip in the voice of Morgan Freeman. “I bet y’all think it’s going to take 600 years to finish that road construction. If you gave Andy Dufresne a rock hammer, he could have it done in 20.”
4. Keep your eyes open for appropriate road signs or billboards that can easily be made into something completely inappropriate by tacking on a “that’s what she said” or “your mom”. A perfect example would be “Narrow Tunnel” or “Do Not Enter When Flooded”. Street signs count, too. You get it. Keep score.
5. See how many Molly Ringwald movies that you can name in a single breath. If your kids have no idea who Molly Ringwald is- they automatically lose. This isn’t Upward. She is and will forever be the poster “ginger” of the 80’s and she should be celebrated and revered. Don’t you forget about her. Don’t, don’t, don’t.
6. Swing into your local Dollar General and pick up a pack of novelty mustaches. I could stop right there, but I won’t. Not only do I encourage you to proudly sport at stache, I encourage everyone in the car to wear one. After awhile, you will develop TSS (Tom Selleck Syndrome). You will own it. Don’t take it off. Wear it all weekend. For extra credit, place a mustache on inanimate objects at every stop and create a photo montage of your stache-tastic adventure. It’s about making memories and supporting facial hair.
7. Also while at the Dollar General fit yourself with a pair of bubba teeth. Equip yourself with a home made sign that says “Jeff Gordon is my home girl” and when you see a worthy adversary slide on your over-sized mirrored aviators (you got those at Dollar General, too), rev your engine, hold up your sign, flash your competitive smile( or whatever else you want to flash) and let them know that you came to play. Of course you will be wearing your mustache, blaring Alanis Morrissette, and talking like Christopher Walken , so you will seem especially intimidating. This is your time to really shine. The look of sheer horror on your children’s faces will probably be enough to give you the lead like the true road warrior that you are. Repeat at every stop light. You aren’t driving, you’re qualifying.
8. Buy a harmonica and hand roll cigarettes in the back seat
Sometimes you have to find your own fun in life, especially on road trips. Why play license plate bingo or Eye Spy, like everyone else, when you can basically reinvent yourself as a mustache wearing, drag racing, Morgan Freeman? Say “no” to the peg game at Cracker Barrel and say “yes” to Sixteen Candles and vinyl sticker stick people. In the end you will be better because of it or you just got the solo vacation you have been hoping for because your kids refuse to be seen with you. Win/win . Embrace the ridiculousness.
We’ll talk soon.