By Ryan Loose
Let me type it out: Forty Four Hours. In a car. Driving. Straight through. Lancaster, PA to Prescott, AZ. I apologize for my absence last week Blogger Nation, but I had to take some time off to go on what I’ll refer to as a Journey. Possibly a Fantastic Voyage of sorts. Basically, to make a long story even longer, had to drive with my brother across the country, to get his car from Pennsylvania to Arizona, where he plans to reenlist in the Air Force. I thought I would share some road dining / road tripping hints today. So, start you engines and hit the cruise control, we’ve got a couple thousand miles to cover.
Directions weren’t that hard on our trip. 95 south. 20 west. Take the 10 into Phoenix then it’s smooth sailing. We left at 6:00 PM on Friday. After about the first 7 or 8 hours, you’re going to be a bit hungry. Not necessarily for food. At this point, you just want to get the heck out of the car and stand for about a year. So, we set the GPS to look for Food, found an exit we liked, turned off the highway... and found that the fast food joint wasn’t there anymore. Thank you GPS. So, back on the highway. You’re going to see signs for Food, Gas, Accommodations, but beware. The information can be misleading. Case in point. The next sign we crossed paths with said McD’s - 24 Hour. Which only applied to the drive through we came to find out. ’You mean I have to sit in the car 2 minutes longer to get the food, and then eat it off of the hood of the car?’ Well, at least it will stay somewhat warm, and we can stand. So, lesson 1, beware of the 24 hour restaurant sign.
On a 44 hour road trip, you’re going to get hungry from time to time. Not as much as you would think though. At least not us. I think that the relative confined space of a 4 door sedan, coupled with the lack of REM sleep... and the fact that you’re pretty nauseous from caffeinated sugar-soda bombs, high powered "make my teeth hurt" energy drinks, and hand fulls of chips and "super nutritious" trail mix makes you want to hate eating for a month. But, you’ll need something hot at some point to keep you going. Fast food is what you’re going for on this type of trip. No time to waste. Just remember, even though it’s not a burger, it’s still fast food. It might be hot, processed deli meats like roast beef in a bun, or a cold sub, but it will still make your insides hurt eventually. I highly recommend just realizing that, even if you get there an hour or two later than you hoped, you still got there. Stop, sit down, and have a decent meal at least once at a quaint family restaurant, a chain restaurant, or even a reasonably clean diner. You’re body will thank you.
I’d heard horror stories about truck stops in my youth, but they’re actually pretty cool places to take a break. Some we stopped at had two restaurants attached, gift shops, small grocery markets, auto supplies, you name it. In regards to eating, when you’re fed up with fast food, or rather, your stomach is concocting a very dubious and complicated murder plot against you, grabbing a prepackaged salad is a great alternative. You’d be amazed what you can find too. In Mississippi, we picked up a petrified alligator head for my brother’s son. It was sweet. One eye was kind of winking. Totally freaky looking. And, of course, the boy loved it.
There will be times when you don’t think that you can continue. When you’re delirious and fairly confident that a little alien is about ready to burst out of your sternum (trust me, after all that fast food, you’ll hear him). When you’ve just seen the sun rise for the second time and you haven’t slept more than 2 hours. "When the team is up against it, when things are wrong and the breaks are beating the boys." Remember there is beer at the end of your long journey. Take comfort in that and press on. Godspeed travelers!