Ohio to Maryland, With a Stop at Fallingwater

Today was all over the place. On the one hand, Christy made me an egg and ham sandwich for breakfast, and soon after I left her house, I stopped at a Tim Hortons to buy a large coffee for only one dollar. I’d thought Tim Hortons was a Canadian thing, but I’m glad the U.S. is selling their brands – I loved it!

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Today’s drive was almost immediately different from yesterday’s. While I spent my first day driving through Midwestern fields and passing through big Interstate cities, today I drove through hills and forests, and probably half of the trip was driven on two-lane highways down back roads and through small towns. I even saw a lot of changing leaves! I tried to take pictures, but my iPhone (while driving) could not capture what I was seeing.

On the other hand (remember, today was all over the place), it rained pretty much the entire time I was driving. And there were tolls, bane of my existence. And then – road trip catastrophe! I was around big cities when my gas tank was half full, but I figured filling up wasn’t really necessary. When I hit a quarter tank, I decided to keep an eye out. Then my meter fell to two dots (very specific, I know), and I was in the middle of hill country western Pennsylvania, with nothing but trees and the occasional farm house in sight.   Continue reading

#32DaysInMyCar Has Begun!

Day one is done, and I’ve covered three states!

I’ll admit, about an hour into my drive this morning, I had that rush of worried feeling.  All the talking and planning was suddenly doing, and the reality of roadtripping for 32 days felt ridiculous.  I’m an introvert!  Why am I staying with friends and strangers every night for over a month??  The good thing about over-hyping something is that the humiliation of quitting publicly is enough to get you through those panicky moments.  And I’m glad it did, because the rest of the day went great.

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Well, kind of.  I’d planned to stop in Indianapolis and picnic on the Funky Bones exhibit (as made popular by The Fault in Our Stars) at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.  After four hours of driving, I discovered the museum is closed on Mondays!!  Agh.  Determined to fulfill my plan, at least partially, I picnicked on some colorful tables underneath weird sculptures, trying to ignore the yard workers passing by with weed-eaters and leaf-blowers.   Continue reading

#32DaysInMyCar

Today marks the beginning of my month-long roadtrip!  I’ll be visiting old friends, seeing new sights, and making the most of my free time before moving to Greece.

Because my schedule will be so unpredictable, I am ignoring regularly planned blog posts (although I will continue to post book reviews every four to five days).  I’ll update when I can, but I don’t promise daily posts.  And instead of writing essay-type blogs, I’m going back to my roots:  stream-of-consciousness posts about my day!

Follow my adventures on Instagram with #32DaysInMyCar.

Packing for a Month-Long Roadtrip

My #32DaysInMyCar roadtrip begins tomorrow!  I am so in love with organization that I truly enjoy packing.  Luckily for me, the month of October will involve me living out of my car as I stay the night in eleven cities with multiple friends.  I threw a wrench in my own plans by including a five day trip to Dallas, meaning I have to pack for a plane as well.  The trickier the better!

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I’m packing a small suitcase as my main luggage, which I’ll take into people’s homes.  I’m a fan of rolling clothes, and putting as many things (toiletries, socks, makeup, etc) in individual bags.  When traveling, I always take a white laundry bag to keep my dirty clothes separate from the clean ones.  And since October should hopefully get chilly, I have two scarves (one bright, one subdued) for fashion and for warmth.

The nice thing about this trip is that I will be staying with different people every couple days.  That means I can pack fewer clothes and not care about people seeing me in the same outfit twice.  Of course, the Internet will have documentation of my fashion apathy, but….the Internet knows a lot of embarrassing things about me.  What’s one more?   Continue reading

How to Plan a Roadtrip

My 30-day, 3,800-mile roadtrip is still two months away, but half the fun of a thing is anticipating it.  I’ve been color-coding calendars, putting together lists, and compiling suggestions on how to do this right (aka fun and cheap).

Ways to Save Money

  • Use the GasBuddy app to find the cheapest gas stations while on the road (suggestion courtesy of The Traveling Praters).
  • Stock your car with lots of food and snacks with discounted rates at Sam’s Club.
  • Because you have all that cheap food, try to avoid fast food restaurants as often as possible.
  • Avoid motels.  Stay with friends (or friends of friends) as often as possible.
  • Bring your own water bottle and fill up at gas station soda fountains.

Continue reading

Travel Tip: Roadtrippers

I found the Roadtrippers app a year ago, and I played with it for a couple hours before hiding it in a “Useful Travel Apps” folder.  Because it is well-named, I thought of it again a few days ago.  I mentioned on Facebook a desire to take a seven-month roadtrip in the time between leaving Dallas and going to Athens.  Several people surprised me, insisting that I take advantage of my free time and explore the country.  When it comes to traveling, a little encouragement goes a long way, so I spent all of Tuesday creating a month-long roadtrip for October.  Continue reading

Travel Tips – Travelling with a Cat

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My cat and I are extremely attached to each other, and my love of traveling is only marred by my sadness at leaving Rory behind.  The solution?  Bring him with me as often as possible!  Continue reading

How to Keep Your Sanity on a Solo Road Trip

I have high standards for road trips.  For one thing, I will only call something a road trip if it would be extremely uncomfortable to go both there and back again in one day.  Five hours?  That’s an afternoon drive.  I tend to reserve the title “road trip” for car journeys at least seven hours long.  This is completely arbitrary and totally dependent upon the fact that I went to college seven hours from my hometown.  However, now that I live thirteen hours from my hometown and have made that trip alone three times, I like to think I’m an expert.  Here are some tips for making solo road trips bearable: 

    1. Don’t Go Solo.  I know, I know.  The whole point of this list is that you’re driving alone.  But if there is any way to bring a friend with you, do it.  Don’t be a martyr.  Having someone else in the car means entertainment, but more importantly, it means you can nap while they drive.
    2. Wear Comfortable Clothes.  You’re alone.  You’re mostly going to be stopping at gas stations where everyone looks their worst.  So wear both sweatshirts and sweatpants.  Leave off makeup and pile your hair on top of your head.  Wear slippers, even.  You’re going to be sitting still for hours and hours–be as comfortable as possible.
    3. Stock up on Podcasts.  I’ve recently gotten into podcasts, and they are a fantastic way to kill an hour or so on the road.  I’ve been really into YouTubers turned Podcasters Grace Helbig (“Not Too Deep”) and Rhett and Link (“Earbiscuits”).  If that’s not your style, check out Stuff’s post on the 15 Best Podcasts of 2014.
    4. But Mostly Audiobooks.  Podcasts only last an hour, so for a really intense road trip, you’re going to need something longer.  Thankfully, there are audiobooks, which often last up to 14 hours!  If you get a really good story, this can make the time fly by.  I like to listen to books I’ve already read, which allows me to keep my primary focus on the road.  Best road trip audiobooks:  The Hunger Games series by Susanne Collins.  They never get old, and they are always riveting.
    5. Create Caffeine Games.  Obviously you’re going to need a lot of caffeine to make it through the day.  Why not keep your brain occupied by trying to find diverse ways to caffeinate yourself?  Start with homemade coffee in a thermos, then stop for soda, or gas station energy drinks, or drive through Starbucks.  Don’t let yourself do the same drink twice!
    6. Eat in the Car.  I once traveled with a friend who insisted on stopping to eat inside fast food restaurants.  And I mean, I guess this allows for some peace and the ability to zone out, but what a waste!  All I could do was count how many minutes we were wasting by sitting a building rather than in my car.  This is, actually, one of the benefits of traveling solo.  You can do what you want!  And I always want to drive through (never Arby’s, those lines are too long) and eat while I’m driving.  Combining activities makes me feel incredibly productive.
    7. Call Those Friends You’ve Been Ignoring.  I always choose to text people over calling them.  But sometimes it’s nice to catch up with friends or family via a verbal conversation.  I’ll never do it during real life, but stuck in a car for hours?  Phone calls start to look appealing.
    8. Create a “Middle School” Playlist.  Singing in the car is a no brainer.  But around hour two, I start to get tired of whatever band I’m currently loving.  It’s during times such as these that you need to break out your “Middle School” playlist, full of all your old favorites–those songs you haven’t thought about in a decade but know every lyric once it’s playing.  My playlist has a lot of N*SYNC, Smashmouth, and Counting Crows.
    9. Take Back Roads. This is not great advice if time is of the essence.  When you’re in a hurry, interstates are your best bet.  But if you find yourself taking the same long road trip every few months, why not change things up and find a back road or two?  You’ll be amazed at how having actual scenery will keep you interested and entertained.
    10. Take Multiple Days.  Know your limits.  If you can’t do fourteen hours in one day, split it up and book a hotel.  Staying at a hotel alone is its own kind of fun.

How do you survive long car trips?  Do you have a travel tip that I missed?  Comment and let me know!