Sunday, August 7, 2011

Tips for driving cross country

So I'm halfway through my second trip across the country in about as many months. And I felt that there needed to be another guide out there, because I didn't really find one suitable. I'm making/made the drive from East to West Coast and vice versa. Specifically from California to New York. I will add to this as I think of things. Currently I'm in Kearney, Nebraska.

1. You're always going to be behind what you planned. Plan for that.

2. Pick up plenty of snacks before hitting the road. Little things, like trail mix, granola bars, gum and especially sunflower seeds. Seeds are a savior, cause they keep you occupied and busy. Flavored seeds seem to be a little easier on the tongue.

3. It's important to keep your mind busy as well. I do this with talk radio, specifically podcasts like This American Life, Fresh Air, Planet Money, ESPN Fantasy Football. Also baseball games on the radio have been awesome, though with the radio you're changing stations pretty constantly.

4. Apply ample amounts of sunscreen on your left arm if you're the driver. Right now my left arm is literally five shades darker than my right. It's kind of creepy actually watching my hands type and they're two different colors.

5. When choosing to stop for the night, find a set of hotels in a town or really close. They're always cheaper than a group that are just off the highway with a town far away. Also, don't be afraid to shop around. I just go in and ask the price, and then if it's high, I'll leave. Tonight that got me $30 off, as the "corporate discount" kicked in as I was walking out the door. Some people just want to sleep in their car, and that is a valid thing to do, but I like to get out of my car and shower and use the toilet. Plus I have a car full of stuff. Camping is an option, but pay attention to the weather. Also, truck stops fill up really fast, so it might be tough to get a spot there.

6. Back to eating. Eat small snacks as you drive. Large meals make you sleepy and takes time.

7. Iowa has the best rest stops in the country. Free wifi.

8. Keep your gas tank above half a tank. I usually stop and fill up between half and 3/4 tank. That's usually stopping time for me anyways. Plus there might be long stretches where there is no station. But for the most part, there's gas every 50 miles or so at least.

9. Coffee sucks from Nevada to Indiana. Stick to like McDonalds coffee or if you're lucky a Dunkin Donuts. Starbucks is an option, as well. But coffee in the middle of the country is a lot weaker than in Cali or NY/NJ.

That's it for now, check back often for more tips and such.