Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Thoughts on driving solo

Yesterday I drove from Chicago, IL to Columbia, MO. It was about 7 hours of driving and took 8 hours total including refueling and stopping to stretch and sit cross-legged a bit. This being my first full day of driving I had some thoughts on driving solo, which I will now share with you in my favorite form, lists!

Pros of the solo road trip:
  • Listen to whatever I want, no one to complain
  • Sing along at the top of my lungs with only passerbys to judge
  • Dance to my ridiculous tape of disco diva songs (dancing in your seat helps you stay awake FYI!) Who could judge that? They're just jealous of my awesome moves.
  • Stop as often or as infrequently as I like; take detours without needing "permission"
  • No one to comment on or influence eating habits (be they good or bad!)
  • If you get lost, or take an accidental detour, there's no one to give you s#!t!
  • I can yell at other drivers for their terrible driving habits like not putting on their bloody headlights when it's bleepin' raining!
  • If I get tired and just want to sleep in the car instead of getting a campsite and setting up the tent or paying for a hotel, you can. Basically I can live as rustically/frugally as you like without the concerns of someone else's comfort.
  • There's no one around to get annoyed with me when I'm hungry and getting bitchy and need a snack!
Cons of driving alone:
  • Can't look up alternatives to fast food along your route without stopping to check Chowhound
  • If I miss an exit, it's all on me to figure out how to get back on track!
  • No one to joke with when I get lost or see something funny (facebook status updates are the recipient of my commentary)
  • No one to change the music for me when I need to concentrate on the road but the music has stopped or I inadvertently put on the Christian rock channel because the song sounded so catchy before they got to the chorus
  • If I get tired it will take me that much longer to get to my destination with no one else to take the wheel. (I'm pro napping in the car it's sucks to be so close to my destination and can't keep my eyes open to make it that last hour or two.
Tips for driving alone:
  • Set up your ipod/tapes/CD so they are easy to change while driving. The passenger seat is basically my workstation- food, music, water, maps- all ready to go for the next leg of travel.
  • Have snacks that are easy to eat/open with one hand. I'm a big fan of trailmix (GORP), I've noticed that if I start to suddenly get really sleepy it's because I'm hungry and need fuel! String cheese is also good. Make sure to have water that's accessible!
  • Save soda for the end of the drive when you need that sugar rush to make it the last little bit or else you'll just have to keep refueling at the sugar crash. Water is way better for keeping awake, and the constant bathroom breaks will give your legs a little repose. (I can't comment on coffee because I don't drink it, it makes me jittery and anxious!)
  • Stop and stretch, walk around... I have a jump rope in my car if I need a little activity after a long stretch of driving
  • Go to grocery stores for your snacks so as not to rely on highway food! Beware the sugar crash, seriously. I had a snack of a fresh red bell pepper on my drive yesterday and it was a great snack- it would have been more filling if I'd had some hummus on it. I'll do a post on road trip food another time when I have more experience eating on the road.
Seeing as that was the first day of driving of many to come (especially in the race from Appleton, WI to Seabeck, WA that's coming the first week of August) I'm sure I will have plenty more insights!

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