Road trip tips and quips

May 24, 2013 

It must be getting close to summer and road trip season. How do I know? Gas prices are almost $4 a gallon.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t mind road trips. I have been on a few over the years. I have lived in five states and visited 30 of them. In the summer of 1986, I drove with a couple of friends on a 5,400-mile, 17-day round trip from Bozeman, Montana to Willingboro, New Jersey. On the way we saw the Badlands of North Dakota, Michigan’s Great Lakes, Niagara Falls, the Statue of Liberty, the Sears Tower and Mount Rushmore.

Gas prices averaged $.93 a gallon back then. So at 25 miles to the gallon in 1986, the fuel cost would have been about $200. Today at $3.60. the same trip would cost about $770. Not counting food, shelter and activities. It is easy to say, I couldn’t afford the same trip today.

We have what I call “The Craft Curse.” Whenever we are traveling if we don’t have to turn around and go the other direction at least once, it just doesn’t feel right. I’ve been twisted around in San Diego, Phoenix, Fargo (yes, Fargo), Niagara Falls, Canada, on the New Jersey Turnpike and somewhere in Pennsylvania. I love the invention of the Internet, cell phones and cinnamon roll, but the greatest of these is the GPS. The only time I have ever gotten lost using GPS was because I didn’t listen to her.

Tip: take lots of snacks. Whether you have kids or not, take lots of snacks. If you have to stop at a rest stop for snacks, you might as well turn around and go home. Man, those places are highway robbery. $1.50 for Twinkies? Excuse me, I mean $1.50 for “Bob’s Something that Looks Like Twinkies snack cakes.”

I can’t pay $2 for a 16-ounce soda when I can get two liters for $1.99. Warning: Don’t let the kids go near the vending machines. I don’t care how many snacks you have in the car if they see those Twinkie like cakes they are going to want them.

If you take a lot of drinks you might want to take a jar or as Jon Lovitz said in the movie Rat Race, “A jar and a funnel.”

Take lots of brochures. When you get to that rest stop grab a bunch of travel brochures. It will give you something to read while the kids are fighting.

When you get boxed in by semi trucks, put the cell phone down and grab the wheel. When you get in one of those highway backups because of the invisible accident, don’t keep changing lanes. Every time you change lanes the car that was behind you will shoot up four or five car links.

And for heaven sakes, don’t keep sticking your head out the window. You look like the family dog.

Slow down! You don’t need to drive 102 miles per hour. Wherever you are going will be there when you arrive. Besides you might miss some of the signs along the way like some of the ones I have seen:

Taste butts (a BBQ place)

Lost lake campground (Well, apparently it’s not lost anymore.)

Wurst fest (Wonder if I could get a booth there?)

Thanks for using the Illinois toll road (Like I had a choice.)

Fortyville

Gasville

This Highyway (in Missouri) dedicated to WWII submarine vets

Please do not text and drive (At least I think it said that, I was busy

Road trips can take a few days or only a few hours. Either way, road trips are fun. I like Helen Keller’s quote, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”

So, take one. Memorial Day is coming, plan your road trip today. Whether you’re on the highway or off the beaten path, I guarantee it will be fun and you will get to experience some of the fun and interesting things Missouri and America has to offer.

Denny Craft is a freelance writer/humorist and has just completed the book, “Cats Lay Eggs.”

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