Road trip: What I’ve learned in one week

It’s been one week on the road. In the greater scheme of a month long road trip, one week is not much. But when considering that we have been traveling non-stop for one week, covered 10 states 13 cities, and packed in tons of activities, it seems like a lot. There have been great places and weird places, tedious drives and pleasant drives and lots of lessons learned in between. This is what road travel has taught me in one week:

Some places cannot be fully understood unless you are there. You cannot always live vicariously through someone else, through travel books, through the travel channel, or through this blog (J). The imposing nature of the Grand Canyon, or the surreal feeling of standing where Dr. Martin Luther King was killed, cannot move you the way it should if you are not there.

It’s not camping without s’mores. Yes, we set up camp, slept in tent, and used questionable toilets buried in the forest, but it still didn’t feel like camping without the campfire and the s’mores. Must at least bring marshmallows next time.

GPS doesn’t know everything. Although it is a genius invention and has for the most part made things much easier, sometimes a GPS just needs some human practical reasoning. It doesn’t always know when roads are closed and just can’t admit when it’s wrong. As old school as it may seem, road maps and atlases are still handy.

Rotten avocadoes have a really, really foul smell. If you are going to pack avocados, fruit, or anything perishable in your bag of road snacks, be sure to keep them in your main line of sight. Forgetting any of these items in the sweltering hot car for five days will not bode well for the smell inside the car. It is actually pretty revolting.

Pandora is the greatest musical invention ever. It is better than two full ipods. It is better than an old cd collection. It is better than your road trip companion trying to sing to you. It has everything you have ever wanted, and some things you didn’t even know you wanted. It is almost like Pandora knows you, knows your innermost favorite music. I’m only sorry it took me four days and lots of repeat songs to have this epiphany.

Beignets should be sold everywhere. Period.

Not every Travel Channel endorsed restaurant has good food. The food always looks delicious when we see Adam devouring it on Man V. Food, or Anthony enjoying it in style on No Reservations. But some places just don’t live up to the hype. It helps to check out other reviews before going on an all out Travel Channel food tour.

Some pet peeves and small annoyances are better left unmentioned. If you are going to be on the road, especially for any length of time, you cannot fuss about everything. If the trivial frustration is not going to matter in ten minutes, don’t say anything at all. I suppose I should have already known this from the, ‘If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all’ mantra, but sometimes things have to be relearned.
A great companion makes ALL the difference. If they keep you fed, are always mindful of your safety, and enjoy similar activities to you, you’re in business. It also helps if they already know you well and like you anyway.

*NOTE: This was written at the one week mark, but two nights sans any semblance of wifi delayed the post)