Holiday travel

I write today from a pick-up truck traveling down the Interstate, loaded down with bags, goodies and family. We are Nashville-bound so my husband can get back to drive bus tomorrow night. (Its OK! It was our decision he do so, since we celebrated Thanksgiving on Sunday.)

This 800+ mile trip is one we are familiar with, though this time we took a slightly different route to avoid a big backup on I-35N in Central Texas. This time, also, we face the potential of winter weather in Middle Tennessee.

All that being said, I thought I’d share a few tips I’ve learned through the last few years making this trek between Texas and Tennessee…

1. Know alternate routes or have a GPS you trust. Knowing how to read maps helps here. I feel thankful all the time that that is a skill I have. (I even was on a map reading team in Junior High and, if I remember correctly, I got a perfect score at contest. So I’ve got that going for me. Which is nice.)

But seriously… accidents happen and you can either take a detour and keep moving, or you can park it and sit for potentially hours. A good GPS will hip you to upcoming traffic tie-ups. (I recommend Waze on your smartphone.) An awesome GPS, however, won’t necessarily give you a detour, but if you can read a map that’s no big deal. Look around and plot it yourself.

GPS seems to mean “Getting Pretty Stupid” in some cases…don’t be that person. Let the GPS be your safety net to your own common sense, not your excuse to drive blind.

2. Don’t be an asshat driver. Everyone has somewhere to be and short of it being life or death, you’re no more important than everyone else. Cutting people off, tailgating, changing lanes without a turn signal, squeezing between vehicles so close you couldn’t put a pack of cigarettes between the two bumpers, driving slow then fast then slow then fast, etc. makes you look like an asshat. Look, its the holidays. Let’s all get where we are going alive and without road rage.

3. Check your weather. Don’t be oblivious to changing weather conditions. Unless you want to be featured on the Weather Channel for driving right into a tornado or blizzard or haboob or a flood. Then by all means, ignore the skies and drive with reckless abandon. May Jim Cantore be with you.

4. Snacks are important. Hey, when we stop for gas or a potty break, I love getting something to eat or drink from the store. Its fun to me. I’m weird like that. But that doesn’t mean I don’t leave on a trip without plenty of food and drinks ahead of time. It saves money, but it also means if we get stranded we have atleast one day before we turn to canablism canibleism cannibalism.

5. Phone chargers are essential. How else will you power your GPS and make sure you can use your phone to Google how to spell words like cannibalism.

6. You can’t change geography. I’ve been trying to figure out how to move Arkansas out of the way for over 7 years. I’m resigned to the fact its not happening.

7. Sleep. Just don’t sleep while you’re driving. That’s bad. But get plenty of rest so you can have good reflexes while driving when you deal with asshats. See #2. If you get tired on your trip, pull over and rest awhile.

8. Don’t text and drive. I’d like to be able to go, “Do I even need to say this?” But then drinking and driving is still an issue so that provea to me that this needs to be said. Let your passengers do the texting. If you don’t have passengers, just ignore the phone until you reach your destination.

9. Enjoy yourself. Take in the scenery. Listen to good music. Make it fun. Don’t look at a trip as a daunting task. Look at it as an adventure.

10. Be careful. This goes without saying. Look out for wildlife crossing.  Slow down in wintery weather. Turn on your headlights in the fog. Your most basic driving techniques and lessons can be the things that get you there safely.

Safe and happy travels everyone!!