Since I was a small child, traveling with my mother on lengthy road trips across America, I’ve clocked a lot of miles on America’s highways and byways. Though I’m accustomed to the long drives and the sometimes boring stretches (especially that particular part of I-10, from San Antonio to El Paso), even I need ways to pass the time – and the state lines.
Now, that I’m on the road yet again – making the seasonal journey between northern Michigan to southern Louisiana – I’m giving some thought to such diversions. Here, in no particular order, are the six ways that I often combat boredom on the road:
Conversation: Whether riding with my mom from New Orleans to New York or traveling with Dan from South Padre Island to Los Angeles, I’ve always found that conversation is an ideal way to ignore the discomfort of road travel. With Mom, I could talk about movies and music and current events and our upcoming destinations – while with Dan, well, the topics haven’t really changed, which is helpful for me.
Auto bingo: When I was a kid, I used to love playing auto bingo with my mom. Since she was driving and unable to have her own card, we would share one – trying, together, to spy the things (from silos to police cruisers to tanker trucks) pictured on the bingo card. It was a hoot and a half, especially the time that we needed to spot a pig, and a whole truckload passed right by my window. Today, Dan and I have our own bingo card – but we have yet to play it. Maybe tomorrow?
XM Radio: What would Dan and I do without our XM? From comedy channels to old radio serials to Monty Python skits to classic tunes to news programs, our XM keeps us entertained for hours on end. However did Mom and I travel without it?
Truck stops: If our legs are feeling sore, or we just can’t stand another moment in the car, Dan and I simply seek out a truck stop – whether it’s a Pilot, Petro, Flying J, Love’s, or Travel Center of America. There, we typically find quirky gifts, yummy snacks and beverages, relatively clean restrooms, paperbacks and audiobooks, and, if we’re feeling so inclined, a restaurant, an arcade, and private showers.
Wireless Internet: I must admit that, as with my childhood journeys with Mom, Dan tends to be the designated driver while I tend to be the designated navigator (ironic considering that I’m directionally challenged). Since I often sit in the passenger seat, I often have access to my beloved laptop, which can usually find a wireless signal, even in the most remote of places – meaning I can surf the blogosphere while the asphalt passes beneath me. What a world we live in!
Audiobooks: In recent years, Dan and I have discovered the wonders of audiobooks – particularly audiobook versions of James Lee Burke’s Dave Robicheaux series, as read by the amazing Will Patton. Why, just today, we listened to Burke’s fourth Robicheaux novel, A Stained White Radiance – and it was awesome indeed.
Have you ever experienced lengthy car trips? If so, what do you do to fight the boredom?
8 hours ago