Traveling and taking a road trip are the exact same, but they are vastly different. A road trip entails spontaneous decisions and long, grueling hours in a vehicle that is usually too small. Traveling requires extensive planning, painstaking research, and expensive plane rides. Road trips are usually done with friends, sometimes family, or it could even happen with random strangers. Traveling makes me think of the Griswold’s, my own family vacations, and still more plane rides. Traveling is very easy because usually, someone makes the plans for you (ex. mom and dad) but planning a road trip and planning it correctly is a bit of a challenge. There is a right way to road trip and a wrong way, so instead of figuring things out on the road by trial and error just make a checklist of things you should prepare for on the road.
Being in a Car for an Extensive Period of Time
Most of your road trip is going to consist of quality time on the road, and I have used the term “most” very lightly. When I say most of the time, I literally mean anywhere from 8 to 12 hours of your day in a vehicle, with your travel companions, and hopefully a good attitude. Face it, you’re going to spending a lot of quality time in a car, and it’s something most people do not prepare for. Have a good attitude about it, if you want to get from point A to point B you’re going to have to put in work. Bring a handful of books, a pair of headphones and an ipod, (since those still exist..) or anything else that isn’t going to send you into a claustrophobic rage in the backseat. Nobody likes a sour attitude but EVERYONE hates a sour attitude for 8 hours plus. It’s important that you and your companions don’t come unraveled in the car otherwise you’ll be staring down the barrel of the most miserable road trip you’ve ever been on. Play nice, don’t complain about driving…if you don’t like it go get on a plane.
Picking Destinations That are Worth the Time and Money
The two things everyone in this world could use a little bit more of: time and money. It takes time to travel across this great nation, but it also takes money, and most of us don’t necessarily have the means to justify cross country road trips. As a wakeboarder, my trips are usually planned around destinations that are close to water or close to a cable park, which can end up costing a decent amount of money. Streamline your decision making around a road trip destination that caters to your specific activities. I know you probably want to hop in the car and blindly speed off into the unknown, but the unknown can really put a dent in your pocketbook. Think about the cost of driving 12 or more hours into nowhere, finding a desirable location, and then driving off in another direction….oh and you’ve got one hundred dollars left because you stopped for useless truck stop items.. BE SMART! don’t try to achieve the impossible if you’re balling on a budget. If you want to go wakeboarding but Orlando is one thousand miles away and you’re broke just find the water around you, there are plenty of places to go ride and as long you believe it is worth your time, then it is worth your money.
Prepare for the Worst Things to Happen
Preparing for the worst and hoping for the best are two very different things. Anything that can go wrong usually does on long road trips; whether it pertains to vehicle troubles, lost or stolen belongings, or the sudden absence of funds, taking a cross country journey can turn ugly at the drop of a hat. Before you embark on your journey you need to make sure all pieces of the puzzle are where they should be and everything is working at top level. Take two seconds to check all of the fluids in your vehicle, check your brakes, and go get your tires rotated. The fifteen or twenty minutes you spend checking your vehicle could end up saving you a lot of money and lot of hours on the road. Pack light, but pack smart; it isn’t necessary to bring an entire wardrobe with you, and those are more items you have to keep up with. Double check your double checks, and then check them again.
Don’t Forget why you are Doing it
The most important thing to remember when preparing to take a road trip is why you’re actually taking the trip in the first place. There isn’t a better feeling than reaching out to a group of your closest friends and telling them about your big elaborate plan to drive halfway across the country to do something ludicrous in the middle of nowhere and receiving a response like, “who’s car are we taking?” It feels good to get on the open road with the wind in your face; it makes you feel alive, it gnaws at your most basic instincts like a dog to a bone, the proverbial itch to go explore the world and see her wonders with your own two eyes. It’s a feeling that coexists with exhaustion, madness, and a little bit of insanity, but without those three there would be no satisfaction, just four tires and some asphalt. Life is just like a game of poker, you cannot control the cards that you are dealt, but you can control the people you play with; when it comes down to brass tacts happiness only feels so real unless it is being shared. Take your friends on a journey that none of you will ever forget, and at least for a little while the burdens of tomorrow will seem nonexistent.
This weekend some of the Memphis Boat Center employees are embarking on a trip to Dallas, Texas to visit Hydrous Wake Park. Hydrous is one of the many cable parks that have sprung up in the Lonestar State over the last few years, and it is only eight hours from their home base here in Memphis. The boys have been preparing for almost a month for this trip, and next week when they get back stay tuned for a complete video recap of their epic journey and why they are still chasing the stoke in November.