Friday, August 6, 2010

Calling all travelers - need advice!

Good morning, fellow travelers.  I'm sure at some point in your lives, you've been on a long car trip, whether it was that two hours as a kid to Grandma's house, which seemed to take forever or a really looooong cross country trip, like the one we're planning. 

Let's do the math: 3600 miles, even at an optimistic 60 miles an hour translates to a minimum of 60 hours in the car. Assuming we split the driving evenly (which we better not!),  that would be 20 hours driving and 40 hours as the happy passenger.  That's a full week of work. (Yes, I do remember how long a work week was)

As a kid traveling from Schenectady to Point Pleasant Beach for the summer or through New England on a Labor Day trip, we had lots of diversions. On the old country roads, there were plenty of opportunities to play "count the cows" and hope you didn't have a cemetery on your side, since you'd have to start over because all your animals were dead. My father was not immune to helping you out by going around the block to be sure the cemetery was on your rivals' side, so that they lost their animals, too. Did he only do that for me? I remember my competitive oldest brother planning weeks ahead the license plate game or roadtrip bingo. Funny thing is he always had the rules in his favor, assuring you would get stuck with Sinclair gas stations, while he got the more prevalent Shell or Esso.

For my own kids the trip to Grandma's was filled with Bon Jovi and Anne Murray tapes. We alternated between "Shot through the Heart" and "Apples and Baninis".  I want to eat, eat, eat apples and baninis...I want to oat, oat,oat apples and banonis.  Classic tune.  We usually arrived without me having to grit my teeth or turn around and swat at the restless legs in the back seat. Food helped, too.

When Gary and I traveled XC to South Dakota in 1980 in our un-airconditioned gray Toyota Corolla station wagon, we relied on old copies of the New York Times Sunday crossword.  We'd yell clues and answers to each other over the roar of the wind and the thrum of passing 18 wheelers.  Yes, we were a little nerdish.

So, we're looking for suggestions from everyone. We're assembling our music selections, gathering the NYT crosswords and have some books on tape.  Eric is thrilled that the Camry still has a tape deck, so Anne Murray may live again.  Let us know your ingenious ideas for passing the time.  There is a limit to how long you can gaze at  blueberry fields in Michigan or prairies in North Dakota without losing your inner zen!


  1. I guess my only piece of advice: take a plane? This does sound like a great adventure! I'll be following you from the comfort of my couch where I have plenty of built-in diversions (none of which invovles Anne Murray). If you all still like each other 9 days from now, it can be considered a success! Good luck.

  2. Hi, this is Eric's friend Steph. I read the blog last night before falling asleep and proceeded to dream about being in the car with a bunch of people playing tambourines, maracas and harmonicas! Eric has the harmonica and you can pick up those little egg shaped shakers at a music store for spontaneous jam sessions to Bon Jovi, Hank Williams or some song about canned ham that I am sure you will get too familiar with! You can also pick up a really high quality set of ear plugs:)

  3. Hi Steph: I already have the earplugs (someone I know snores!). May have to just drum on the dashboard--looking forward to a great trip. Sorry we won't see you in Reno, but enjoy your vacation.