Now that we’re officially a week away from our epic road trip adventure, I decided to take “Maypearl” (The Minivan Express) in for state inspection and service. I’ve been on the web all week researching what you’re supposed to do to get your vehicle “road ready” for a long trip. I want to help minimize the chances of breaking down, getting a flat or dealing with any other unforeseen mishaps along the way. Right now, I freak out at the mere thought of getting a flat tire a mile away from home, let alone 3,000 miles away in the middle of nowhere. Then, I continue to work myself up in a tizzy thinking about being stuck in some long-forgotten ghost town that looks as if it could be a backdrop in a scene from the “The Walking Dead” (which I really wouldn’t mind so much if one of the “Walkers” can point me in the direction of the nearest Starbucks). That’s motivation enough to get the car checked out! So here I am at the mechanic’s shop getting the fluids checked, tire pressure checked, the spare tire checked, the state inspection updated, on and on. All the things you’re supposed to do to make sure your car is safe. The mechanics at Auto Clinque are wonderful and they have got Maypearl all ship shape and ready to roll. Bryan at the shop recommends coming in at least 1-2 weeks to get your car looked over before you hit the road. After you make sure your car passes muster, check out my favorite “Mommy’s Minivan Road Ready Tips” that might make your adventure even more fun (and safe).
1: Tell somebody where you’re going. Give your itinerary to your mom, your girlfriend, a neighbor – just somebody you trust. And if you do go off the grid, at least they can tell Anderson Cooper where you were “supposed” to be.
2: Take lots of paper towels for spills and messes, and don’t forget trash bags, yummy snacks and anti-boredom activities for the car. (More on that later). Enjoy books-on-tape and lay off the handheld electronics. Part of the road trip experience is actually seeing “the road.” Talk to each other, tell stories and simply enjoy the “company of confined spaces.” Did I mention paper towels?
3: Don’t try to drive with endless 500-mile days. (Hint, hint Hubby). Break it up. Stop and see the sites. Research the history and culture to make it fun for the kids and yourself.
4: Stay away from trucks. Trucks are mean.
5: Forget high speeds. Sure and steady is the way to go. You can enjoy more mountain vistas and drive more twisty miles than someone bent on making the best time across the mountain pass AND you’ll save on gas. Remember, cruise control and cup holders are your friends.
6: Lastly, have a good attitude, an open mind and a joyful heart. The rest will follow.