PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Monday, May 22, 2006

Jen & The Art of Road Trippin'

I just got home from Iowa a couple hours (and shower & nap) ago.... on my trip up there, I thought to myself about how Solo Jen Road Trips differ from James and Jen Road Trips - not a huge difference, except mine are, well, more GAY. Due to the music selection. (This occurred to me as I was listening to the Priscilla, Queen of the Desert soundtrack...)

Going up, I moseyed. I stopped and shopped at the Tanger Outlet Mall in Williamsburg, IA - spent more on JWo than I did myself (a gross injustice that will be righted soon, I am sure); then, I decided to take a gravel shortcut that was the stupidest move I could have made, as it put an extra half-hour on my drive and took me in a giant loop. Oh-tay, buhwheat, let's not do that again. We had a really lovely weekend, I intermittently lectured my father on how he should be putting less stress on his body & my vast medical expertise swayed him, I could tell. I remain firm: he must conserve & build his strength, which means balancing between projects and rest, doing vs. sleeping, and always, always, EATING. He just began to regain his appetite & ability to eat (from the sores in his mouth) as the weekend went by. Dad, keep taking that supplement I brought you! (Hey, everybody, meet Dad. He's a reader now.)

Coming home was a different story. I hauled ASS. I stopped once, to get gas & make a pit stop; the rest of the way I composed a thousand blogs in my mind, made elaborate lists to share with you, and then I got home, had good times with the dogs, took a shower, took a nap & promptly erased most of this important stuff from my brain. :)
I can tell you this: here are the key, important elements to a good road trip, and driving advice, from Jen the Zen Road Trip Master:

1. Bring plenty of snacks. You should always have pretzels, and you should always try something new, even if you end up hating it. (sugar-free mixed-berry Mentos - let's just call them the YECHmaker!) If you are going to eat Doritos or Cheetos, I recommend a big roll of Viva paper towels - but actually, I recommend them anyway, they are extremely useful.

2. I tend to drive 5-9 miles over the speed limit, especially on sparsely populated interstate. Also, feel free to make up your own base speed limit, as I did, thinking it was 75 mph on I-35. Once I realize that by going 81 mph I was violating my own rule, I backed 'er down to 78 mph.

3. If you have a fuel-efficient car, not necessarily a hybrid, you may feel smug about your mpg the entire trip. (38.9 - YOU GO, LaFonda the Honda!)

4. You should bring new music, but you should also bring oldie-but-goodie, shout-sing-along music, for when you get tired. If this includes George Michael, it helps to have a sunroof, so you can get your big arm movements & very gay jazz hands going to accompany your singing.

5. Oh, yes, if you are bringing new music, in the form of MP3s burned on to CDs? 12 hours worth? You should have a car with a stereo that PLAYS MP3 media. Otherwise, you have to stop at SuperTarget at 9 am in Des Moines at the semi-beginning of your road trip, and buy a CD player and FM antennae transmitter and batteries so you get your DAMN MUSIC to play for the next 6 hours and return trip as well. Did I mention yet that items purchased on road trips are excluded from your personal budget? They are.

6. Do not speed in work zones. 'Nuf said. You are like a captive sitting duck & according to their press on those big orange signs, fines are double and a minimum of $250. That is like, more than two of those CD players that play MP3s and two of those FM transmitters and god knows how many batteries. Tickets and fines are NOT as easy to gloss over in one's personal budget. I do not tell you this because I was ticketed, but because this is one area in which I become Extremely Serious, because we all know you just can't fuck around with the construction zones. So I don't.
Not worth it.

7. When you get back to the city, the left lane will immediately cease to be a passing lane, and instead function as a lane for fucknut cocksuckers to dilly-dally in, oblivious to the fact you've been driving over 6 hours, and they can't hear you muttering "cocksuckers" between your teeth as you pass them on the right, but they will see your unkempt hair-do and your baleful glare from behind your cateye sunglasses. And they will be very, very afraid. (Hey, look, there's another difference between James & Jennifer vs. Solo Jen road trips. Solo Jen shares her road rage a little more freely.)

8. If you road trip to visit my father, you will start using the word "cocksucker" at an inordinately high rate. He watches Deadwood, what can I say.

I'd like to make this an even "10" but it will have to wait. I've only eaten snack food and drunk diet soda all day - my body wants a big glass of water and - shocker - Thai food. I'm home, I missed my hubby so much, but I also can't wait to get back up there for Father's Day. Perhaps I'll discover the best new road trip snack food ever, and have some more handy tips for the traveller then. :) (Y'all should put your favorite road trip snack in the comments!)
posted by PlazaJen, 5:19 PM