Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Road Trip Planning: CLT > Louisville > Chicagoland > MINNEAPOLIS
Anyone who knows me well, knows I despise driving. My extreme dislike of driving is one of the reasons I made the decision to live walking distance from work the last 3 years. Not having to drive to get around is so liberating for me. If I wasn't so bad at living far from my family, I'd love to live in a city where I wouldn't need to own a car, like New York.
All that said, I am actually looking forward to the 3-day road trip back to Minnesota. I opted to fly down here and have my car shipped when I moved to Charlotte because with CFA studying I simply did NOT have time to spend 2-3 days driving. But this time I have the time and it makes sense to drive back so I'll have access to my car right away and can load it up with enough clothes to last me the 2+ weeks I'll be without my belongings.
Luckily my mom offered to fly down to do the drive back with me which is a huge relief because driving 1,100+ miles alone would have sucked and I might have lost my mind in the process. She flies in late Friday night and we will hit the road bright and early on Saturday morning.
The last time I did a multi-day drive like this was when I came back from spending the summer in Steamboat Springs, CO in 2001. Cross-country drives are not my things but I am bound and determined to make this as fun as 18+ hours in the car can be. Here are some of the plans I've made to make the drive as fun as possible:
- Perspective. First off, I am adjusting my perspective on the drive. Instead of dreading 3 days of driving, I'm looking at it as a special opportunity to have my mom completely to myself. When you grow up in a family with 5 kids, you do not get one parent to yourself much and certainly not for 3 days straight. I'm going to savor this.
- Snacks. We've got bottled water, trail mix, and popcorn and I am sure we will pick up a few things along the way. It's been WARM down here so I had to pick things that would not melt or be messy in the car (i.e. no chocolate. Womp womp).
- Tunes. I ordered an FM transmitter for my car so that we could play music off of my iPhone and I've created a travel playlist with things that appeal to both of us, like The Beatles for my mom and The Civil Wars for me. By the way, you should have seen the look the Target employee gave me when I asked where their FM transmitters were. He couldn't believe my car didn't have a USB port. That's one of the downsides of owning a car that was made in 2003 but oh well. No car payment > owning a car with a USB port. Luckily the FM transmitter I ordered off of amazon.com works really well.
- Conversation prompts. I am sure my mom and I will have a lot to talk about on this drive home between the last year in Charlotte and my move home and such. But in case we reach a point where neither of us has something interesting to say and she's tired of my music and we don't want to ride in silence, I am bringing along my book "If: Questions for the Game of Life." It's chock full of questions that are really interesting and thought provoking like, "If you could eliminate one day from your past so that you had never had to live through it, which day would you erase?" or "If you could have chosen your own first name, what would it be?"
- Audio book. Did you know that you can 'rent' books from Cracker Barrel? The way it works is that you buy the book there and then you can return it at any Cracker Barrel location and they will just deduct $3.49 for each week you have the book. If this wasn't a point to point trip, I'd use the library but clearly borrowing an audio book from the Charlotte library is not going to work so this is a good, inexpensive option.
- Maps. I've got my trusty garmin, aka Ausralian Lee, to talk us through the drive home but I've printed off google maps as a back-up and of course we can use GPS on my phone as well but I want to limit my use of aps on my phone as I don't have unlimited data anymore.
So there you have it! Hopefully all of this preparation means we'll have a fun, issue-free trip home. We'll be stopping in Louisville, KY the first night, my brother's in the Chicago area on the second night, and then on the third day we'll pull into my aunt and uncle's where I'll be living for about 2 weeks. The first day of the drive is going to be beautiful as we'll drive through the Asheville area and pretty parts of Kentucky. The next two days will be far less scenic but we have the reward of seeing my brother and his family on the second day and the ultimate reward of COMING HOME TO A CITY I LOVE (yes, ALL CAPS) and seeing my aunt and uncle (aka my St. Paul parents aka my Julia Child aunt and uncle) on the third day.
Do you like taking road trips? What preparations do you make before a long road trip? Am I forgetting anything? Besides the preparations listed above, I also had an extensive tune-up done on my car which including replacing the front brakes (have I mentioned how I am bleeding money lately?). Oh and I am happy to report that my trunk opens and closes OK despite the damage during during that accide. Phew, such a relief!