When you read this you may get the impression that I take these road trips all the time when the reality is that my road trips have been, at the most, a two day drive out – hang out in the same spot for a week or two – then drive back. This one is going to be a little different. This one will accumulate at least six thousand miles of travel and take about six weeks.
So it is important to prepare for this kind of extensive travel. The nice part is I won’t have to deal with the TSA. No metal detectors, or puff sniffers, or taking off my shoes. I can pack just about whatever I want in my trunk. No weapons, controlled substances, or explosives, but I can pack plenty of water, extra clothes, cleaning supplies, tools, and not have to worry that I have more than three ounces of a liquid in my ziplock bag.
There are three area that you need to be prepared in:
- Your car
- Your route
- Your self
Lets think about each one starting with the car. Here is something that you will really have to depend upon. You want to make certain that all the required maintenance has been done and even some that isn’t normally required. Remember, you will be off in parts of the country that will have very different weather patterns and road conditions than you normally encounter. If the miles you accumulate will put you in a position to get scheduled maintenance then plan on it.
Even though I have a fairly new car (2005) and keep it in tip top shape, I need to consider what might happen on the long road ahead. It just had its scheduled maintenance done so I am good for at least another 5000 miles.
I will take along a set of new windshield wipers. Why? Because I don’t know what might happen or where and being able to see in the rain is important. In addition I’ll have spray window cleaner and some paper towels so that I can remove the bug road kill as I travel. Sure, I could use the squeegy at a gas station, but they can be dry, dirty, or non-existent.
I’ll also take a breaker bar and an appropriately sized socket so that if I have to change a tire I will have a good wrench to do it with. Speaking of tires, I am trying something new. I am filling them with nitrogen for the trip. There is a local dealership that offers the service. Nitrogen is less likely to leak so my tire should maintain their proper pressure far better than if it was air in them. Nitrogen is used to fill tires in NASCAR, Tour de France, and the tires of military aircraft. It has many advantages including no water and higher density. Its neutral – not an oxidizer so it will be nice to your tires and wheels.
The road will not be kind to your car’s paint either. If you want to see what speed and miles of road dirt hitting your paint can do take a look at the DVD Mischief 3000 and see what the front end of the exotic cars looked like at the end. So I use a front end mask to protect the paint and a product called TrimBrite Bodyguard that is clear and I can cut to cover the rear view mirrors so they won’t get beaten by road grime and bugs.
I also gave my car a good wash, clay bar treatment, and wax to protect it as much as possible.
The purpose of this road trip is to have some fun so I don’t want to be so schedule constrained that I can’t just stop when I fee like it and see something that looks interesting. I also want to be sure to be one place at the right time and that is Tulsa, OK, when they dig up the 1957 Plymouth Belvedere on June 15.
Last year I bought MS Street and Trips GPS edition. It is on my laptop which is great, but also a problem. The laptop tends to slide around on the passenger seat and it also it tough to see. So I found a laptop mount like you see used in police cars. It firmly secures the laptop and positions so it is easy to see when you need to. It uses the existing seat hardware so there are no holes to drill.
Where am I going?
- Floyd Garret’s Muscle Car Musem in Sevierville, TN
- The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum in ParkwayLeeds, AL
- Tupelo Automobile Musem in Tupelo, MS
- The Museum of Automobiles in Morrilton, AR
- Tulsa OK – the exhumation of the 1957 Plymouth
- Petroleum Museum – Chapparral Gallery in Midland, TX
- Penske Racing Museum in Phoenix, AZ
- Many places in and around Los Angeles, CA
- National Automobile Museum in Reno, NV
- Bonneville Speedway Museum in Wendover, UT
- Kaiser “Bill” Brown in Altona, UT
- Motion Unlimited Museum in Rapid City, SD
- Telstar Mustang-Shelby-Cobra Museum in Mitchell, SD
- Performance Car Museum in Sioux Falls, SD
From there I will travel to New Ulm, MN to visit with my folks for a while. During my travels I’ll stop by some other relatives, but for the most part I’ll be finding lodging at a motel.
That means I’ll have to budget food, fuel, and meals as I go.
One of the more important aspects that needs preparation for a road trip is yourself. Out of necessity you will be sitting quite a lot and sleeping on strange beds. It pays to get yourself in good physical shape. It also pays to make sure that you have contingency supplies. Things like plenty of water. Lots of it. It keeps your brain alert if you stay hydrated. Driving means staying alert.
This is the time, prior to the start of the trip, to think through some scenarios of what could happen. You have a first aid kit in the car right? Fire extinguisher? What about clothes if you are passing through some mountains? Medicine you only need when an allergy kicks up.
I think I’m as ready as I ever will be. I’ve prepared for most things and can purchase what I need if something else comes up. I’m looking forward to this little adventure and I’ll be sure to post on my experiences every chance I get.