I’m a New Yorker and I’m heading out on a three-month road-trip across the country. I haven’t driven, on a regular basis, in a decade but my dad bravely and generously offered the use of his car for the summer. We spent the day together going over the details of my chariot, a 2007 Honda CRV. I thought we’d jack up the car, practice changing tires, change the oil, check spark plugs, and diagram under the hood. Turns out you don’t have to get your hands dirty at all. All you need in a pinch is one finger to dial a 1-800-number. I’m sure there are road-trip purists out there, or even every day drivers, who disagree with this approach. But really, it’s just much, much easier to call someone when you’re in a bind. You’ll see, my dad has a healthy appreciation for AAA and for Johnny Law.
To keep it safe on the road and minimize risk, I came up with some rules for The Stretch.
1. Stop driving before it gets dark. The last thing I need is to be stranded on the side of the road at pitch black. The goal is to stay alive and not get kidnapped or killed on the side of the road. Seems reasonable enough.
2. Try to have a plan for where I’m sleeping when I stop and hope there’s some kind of free breakfast. So far, this is easy. I have a feeling this structure will wane after a few days.
3. DON’T BE STUPID AND RUN OUT OF GAS.
4. Don’t drive too fast or like a jerk. Don’t be homicidal and text or check email while driving. Don’t fall asleep and/or drink behind the wheel.
5. Call someone to let them know I’m alive at the end of every day. I’m doing this trip for personal adventure, not to scare the bejeezus out of the people who love me.