Posted by: cj | November 24, 2008

Are we there yet?

There are many state parks and beaches along Big Surs winding Highway 1. Photo from

There are many state parks and beaches along Big Sur's winding Highway 1 on California's coastline. Photo from

Gas prices have fallen below 2 bucks for the first time in what seems like forever, so it just might be time for a road trip.

I’ve been lucky enough to have been able to find the time to get several road trips under my belt. I’ve been up and down California many times, winding along Highway 1, which hugs the Pacific coast and offers beautiful views of cliffs and surf on the way to idyllic coastal cities such as San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Pismo Beach, Carmel, Monterey and San Francisco. There was a winter drive inland to the Red Rocks of Sedona, Arizona. In Italy for winter break of last year, I crammed in a three day road trip from Milan to Rome, spending a day in Florence (three days isn’t nearly enough to spend in any one of those cities alone, but we had to rush back to Milan to make the plane back to the states). And finally, a six day summer road trip across the U.S. to move me from Los Angeles to Syracuse for school.

I’ll go into detail about those trips in later posts, but here are some tips and resources that I’ve picked up on that’ll help with all those long hours in the car.


  • Bring CDs or an iPod for those long stretches of road where there’s no radio reception.
  • Bring snacks, drinks, canned or dry food for when you have the munchies, or to cut back on the food budget. Don’t forget a can opener if the cans don’t have pop-tops. We had crackers, apples, nuts, beef jerky, tangerines, string cheese, fruit gummies, Capri Sun, canned tuna, beans and corn. (We were pretty happy to have our first hot meal in five days when we got to Chicago.)
  • Pack an ice cooler for perishable foods. You can buy ice on the road, or if you’re staying at a hotel, you can fill up from the ice machine to keep the food fresh.
  • A GPS makes things easier for the times you want to explore…or for when you’re lost. Black Friday is coming up, so keep an eye out for deals on electronics.
  • Take advantage of AAA membership deals at AAA-affiliated hotels and motels. Lodging is usually cheaper in the suburbs than in bigger cities.
  • Bring a pillow or two.
  • Check out Katie’s post on checking your car.



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