Now that our Florida trip is over, we have to get on the stick and start planning for our big USA trip that we hope to start in August. We’ve got Tour Books from the AAA, maps of all kinds, and we’re making lists of places we don’t want to miss. But before we get hot and heavy into research and planning for that trip, we figured it might be good to take a look back at our recently completed 11 day trip, and see what worked, and how that info can be transferred to our future road trips.
The first thing we clearly found out was that our Hyundai Sonata Limited is a great car for our travels. The car has a good sized trunk, so there is lots of room for all kinds of stuff that we wanted to have with us. From a case of water, to our large suitcase, to even an emergency jump starter, we had no shortage of space. The back seat is an added space benefit, and gave us a place for our cooler but also an easy place to throw sweatshirts and jackets. The front seats are very comfortable, it’s an easy car to drive, and has plenty of power to go as fast as you want on the Interstates. It also gets great gas mileage, so that every tank got 400 miles or better before we had to refill, meaning that even on travel days, we bought only one tank of gas a day. She will make a very good companion for us on our long trip!
We traveled with our GPS, even if we didn’t always follow her advice, as we were also following AAA Triptiks. There was a lot of “recalculating” done by her in the course of the week, and we still wonder if the couple of times we did follow her directions, she wasn’t getting back at us, as some directions seemed a little off. One thing that we did this trip was not mount the GPS on the windshield. Always seems like a reach to us to hit the buttons, and we’re not really thrilled that when it’s mounted on the windshield it blocks our view to the right. So Frank found this “sticky” pad for the dashboard. It mounted in a great place just above the radio, was easy to see and operate, and didn’t block our view. We will be getting a lot of use out of this!
Speaking about the radio, we were very happy to be able to listen to the same thing all up and down the coast courtesy of our Sirius/XM Satellite subscription. Considering that Frank made his living for 43 years working in AM radio, that may seem strange, but the radio landscape in America has changed, and the days of enjoying listening to multiple stations as you go up and down the coast is gone. Signals are weak and fading, all the radio stations tend to sound the same, and finding something you want to listen to can be a pain, so we were very happy to have the company of Jimmy Buffett’s Radio Margaritaville for the entire 11 days. We never changed the station!
And the last thing we got for this trip and we loved, was the new Coleman cooler we bought for the back seat. It was just the right size (45 quart) for all that we wanted to keep cold, had a drain in the back (and not a lot of coolers seem to have one these days), and wheels that made it easy to roll into our motel rooms. The one problem is that the telescoping handle (kind of like a rolling suitcase) does not lock into position, so if you are pulling it the handle is fine, but if you try to push it, the handle un-telescopes. It needs to lock into position, and we’ll be working on a solution to that issue down the road. We ordered a seat cover that is designed to go under a kid’s car seat, so the back seat was kept clean, and we strapped it in each morning with the seat belt and a bungie cord, and it was super stable. The cooler made it easy for us to do one of our favorite things, and that is have lunch along the way. Some days it was at a picnic table at a rest stop (once we were in warmer states), and other days it was in the front seat of our car, but either way we like this a lot better than buying lunch. Something that I guess we both did when we were on trips with our parents, something we did for the first time on our honeymoon, and definitely something we did with our three kids when they were growing up, and we were on the road.
So some successful items that enhanced our road trip and that we will definitely be using again in the summer, and for all our future travels, as this adventure of ours continues.