Tuesday, October 12, 2010

10 ways to have fun on a long car ride.

The longest car ride I've taken in the past twenty some years was last summer, helping Katie move from Atlanta to New York City. According to Google maps, our trip was 881 miles (about 14 hours 22 minutes). And I remember it being fun, so here goes!
Katie in the driver's seat
1. Be the passenger. Yes, that means you're responsible for entertaining the driver, but it gives you so many more options for how to spend your time. This is a no-brainer if the person you choose to drive is the better driver.

2. Actively navigate. It seems to make the trip go faster if you know how far you've been and how far you have to go and how far til the next turn. My car has a built-in navigation system and I use it all the time. For the NY trip, we had a rented UHaul. No navigation system. I printed out pages from Google Maps before we left and used them constantly.

3. Sing along. No navigation system, no CD player, no iPod dock. But plenty of country music and Katie taught me a few songs (that was my first "real" exposure to country music...I liked it!) and Michael Jackson had passed away just a few days before ... we sang Thriller and Billy Jean more times than I can remember! Note that an iPod dock adds hours of possibilities here - podcasts, music you choose, audio books...

4. Play games. Twenty Questions is our favorite and it's especially good for when it's dark and there's a scary thunder and lightning storm ahead of you.

5. Read out loud. I had a book of Amy Hempel's stories that we both love. Reading a few of them passed a good 90 minutes in Pennsylvania - enough that I completely missed Allentown.
welcome to Virginia!

6. Take pictures out the window. Our trip took us to eight new states. I took photos of all the welcome signs (except New Jersey, which on I-78 didn't have one and New York - funny there isn't a Welcome to NYC sign on the Manhattan side of the Lincoln Tunnel :-)

7. Eat. Sara packed us an awesome cooler, filled with tuna wraps, carrot raisin muffins, brownies, cheese and crackers, nuts and pretzels. We spent a good 30 minutes or so in New Jersey on Saturday morning calling her to get the carrot raisin muffin recipe.

8. Talk. It seems so obvious I almost left it off. I love car time for the conversation opportunities. Catching up. Making plans about what you'll do once you get there. or maybe with the rest of your life. Or silly things, like "cave towns", why there's a huge stretch of Pennsylvania without a Starbucks, how can Google really think that the drive from Lincoln Tunnel to E 79th Street would take only 20 minutes, isn't the sunrise pretty, ... [note that the corollary to this one is "be ok with the silences" - especially on a long trip, constant noise isn't necessary]

9. Stop when you need to. To sleep. To get gas. Restroom, etc.

10. Knit. I actually didn't on this trip. I was too busy having fun in other ways. But I had a new sweater project with me just in case.


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6 comments:

  1. Before I was a knitter, my husband and I drove from California to Ohio twice in less than a year and while it was great fun, I think of all the knitting time I could have had.

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  2. Love your list! I need to learn to be a better passenger :). #8 is great - I think road trips can be a wonderful opportunity to catch up (and be so engrossed in your converstation that you miss your exit)!

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  3. Great list! I think Sara needs to pack snacks for my next road trip - yours sound way yummier than ours! :)

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  4. What a great list. I usually do the driving - by default, not design -next trip: I'm going to be the passenger!
    Cheers~

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  5. sara can pack my lunch any day. a lot of what's on the list was what joyce and i did on our road trip, lots of laughing too-she was driving a bit too fast for me to get all the welcome signs, but it was fun seeing the scenery change from nc, va, md, pa, nj and ny. i don't think there is a welcome to nyc at the verrezano bridge either-wonder why?

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  6. That trip sounded like you had great fun, even sitting in a U-haul truck.

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Thanks for the feedback!