In light of my upcoming road trip to Utah in a few days, which is only an eleven or twelve hour drive, I wanted to prepare by compiling ways to be safe and pass the time. Yeah, I know it’s not that long! But I’m just excited to be packing up and doing something new for a while.
And in a few weeks I get to drive from there to visit San Antonio (woot woot!!), which is another twenty hours each way, so this list should be applicable to both treks. It’s my first solo road trip(s), which I’m so looking forward to as well.
1. Three words – books on tape. When I drove up to Alaska a couple of years ago, this was the only way I could stay awake. I don’t know what it is about it, but between vital Tim Horton’s pit stops and bison road blocks, my mind stayed active and alert by listening to books being read. Make sure to download them to a flash drive or phone because you never know when you’ll run out of service. This trip I’m going to be listening to “The Hobbit” and “Count of Monte Cristo”.
Don’t be like that guy I saw reading with a book on his steering wheel in the middle of the Yukon. Please.
2. Music, obviously. To be sung at inconceivable decibels. Who is going to hear or judge you?
3. Stop at least every two or three hours. Load up on caffeine, stretch out your legs, eat something. There are rest stops no matter where you choose to go and I don’t know about you, but it’s way easier to pass the time when I can look forward to stopping again in a definitive time frame. Since you’re by yourself and don’t have someone to trade off shifts, it’s important to take breaks.
4. Don’t drive drowsy. I’ve been here before and driven when I probably shouldn’t have. When you feel those eyelids start to sag and no amount of slapping yourself or pep talks will keep you conscious, it’s time to sleep. Pull over in a Walmart parking lot or if you’re in a remote enough area, just off to the side of the road (just don’t tell your worrying mother), and get a bit of shuteye. Even just a few minutes helps.
5. Here’s your cliche: enjoy yo’ self. Soak up the solitude, observe the countryside and new sights rolling past you, get some deep thinking done without interruption (while still concentrating on the road). Pray, process, imagine. You can even ugly cry if you need to. Realize an opportunity like this doesn’t happen every day. If it’s a new drive for you, find landmarks along the way that you haven’t seen before. If it’s a trip you’ve taken, think back to how things were then compared to now and what has changed.
What’s your favorite way to pass time on a road trip?