The Great American Road Trip! There is nothing quite like hitting the open road and exploring all our great country has to offer. However, driving hundreds, maybe thousands of miles isn’t exactly easy. When my husband and I decided to sell our house and go on a five month road trip, we knew there would be a lot of obstacles peppered into the awesome, once in a lifetime adventure. Here are a couple of lessons we learned the hard way.
Put Your Clothes in a Dry Place
Packing is a major priority on a long road trip. Pack light and bring clothes that will hold up for a few days without washing. Living on the road is not conducive to a fashionable appearance. Be prepared to rough it. We always stored our clothes in the camper we towed in order to free up space in the truck. However, when we drove through Austin, TX in torrential rains, we realized there was a leak in the camper when it flooded. We had no dry clothes! Be sure to think logistically and practically when packing. A few of these dry bags to store important items are always a good idea.
You Can’t Pump Gas in OR or NJ
We didn’t realize this until we pulled into a gas station in Oregon and a nice young man ran out to pump for us. My husband said it was no problem only to be told it is a crime in the state of Oregon to pump your own gas!
Check Out Roadside Attractions
It is about the journey not the destination. On our trip we saw so many unique and beautiful attractions you might not expect from the kitschy roadside signs. My favorite was by far the Columbia River Gorge in Washington State. There was just a small sign informing travelers of a scenic overlook, but when we stopped, it was breathtaking. Remember to stop and enjoy the sights along the way.
Always have a Plan B for Lodging
We spent plenty of nights sleeping in the truck in random parking lots when no campsites were available. If you are traveling during the busy season be sure to call ahead if possible before arrival and always have another plan in case there is no availability.
Be Ready for Nature
I was shocked when I discovered that there are tarantulas in Oklahoma! We saw them scurrying across the pavement on the expressway early in the morning. Then, when we stopped to camp they could be seen hanging out in the campsites running around in broad daylight. They can be a threat if you have allergies to bees. We also saw lots of wildlife throughout the National Parks with huge signs telling people not to feed or approach the wildlife. Heed this warning! People have been seriously hurt and even killed trying to get close to wild animals in the park.
Take Advantage of Cliff Jumping
Give into your wild side and do something out of the ordinary. All over the country there are awesome attractions that will get your heart pumping. Indulge in one of the adventures like zip lining, sky diving, parasailing….This list goes on and on. We decided to do a little cliff jumping at Crater Lake National Park.
Look Twice Before Backing Up
Accidents happen. Make sure you have all your travel insurance info ready to go in the event of a ticket or an accident. My husband managed to back up into an invisible tree, and it did put a bit of a damper on that leg of the trip.
Always Bring a Spare Car Key
When on a road trip, I always make sure my husband and I each have a set of car keys. This started after we lost our car keys at Mt. Rainier. We packed up the campsite, hopped in the truck and realized we didn’t have the car keys. For two hours we tore apart the truck and unpacked everything and still no keys. Eventually, we found them stuck in between the tailgate and the body of the truck. They were sitting on the tailgate when someone (we won’t mention names) closed the tailgate causing a lot of frustration. Had we not found it, we would have needed to tow the truck to the nearest dealership to have a key made.
Bring Cash for Toll Roads
You’re going to need it.
[infobox]If road trips aren’t your idea of vacation fun watch the ridiculous hijinks on The Detour. This impromptu family road trip showcases some of the best and worst elements of the traditional family road trip. You can watch it on now on Frontier FiOS TV.[/infobox]
This post is sponsored by Frontier Communications. All opinions remain my own.