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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Perks of Traveling Alone

Thelma and Louise, via

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to cross an item off of my bucket list -- completing a road trip on my own.

Tyler needed to be out of state for an interview and we had already committed to a Lake Tahoe trip with our friends, so instead of driving together with the pup in one day, I dropped Tyler off at Sea-Tac and hit the road with Zora for two days. It was great and intimidating and fun and scary and I am so glad that I did it.

For a girl who entered her twenties still paranoid when pumping gas by herself (thanks a lot, 4th grade teacher who read Danger in the Desert aloud), this was a major step. I bought my snacks, picked out a potential hotel, mapped my route (with help from Tyler), and was off. Here is what I learned…

Baby carrots are a must. Nothing feels grosser than sitting in a car all day, but something fresh and crunchy between your teeth can make you feel a little less terrible about yourself. It also mitigates the guilt of eating half a bag of dark chocolate-covered, salted almonds on your own. In addition, I packed peanut butter sandwich materials, bananas, raisins, chocolate mint Clif bars that tasted like Thin Mints, and a Starbucks refresher per day. I wish I'd brought beef jerky or one of those little pretzels and hummus guys. Next time.


The Radio
When you drive alone, you have complete control of the radio. As third in the line of Anderson children, I rarely had say over what came out of the speakers and though I rarely had complaints, there was something about being completely in charge that made me giddy. I did not have time to craft the perfect road trip playlist, but the freedom to listen and re-listen to Louis Prima's greatest hits was a pleasure unparalleled. I also sang Disney songs, my one-woman version of The Beach Boys' "I Get Around" and The Mamas & the Papas "California Dreamin'," right down to the flute solo. But, I suppose I do that with Tyler in the car anyway.

I stayed with Zora at a Best Western in Medford, OR and it was infinitely better than the times we have crashed at a Motel 6. I don't usually mind Motel 6s with Tyler since we're only there to sleep for a few hours, but I knew that if I felt sketched out, my nervousness would rub off on Zora and she would bark at every strange noise. Instead, she wore herself out at the dog park across the street and slept comfortably in the room while I caught up on HGTV and wondered if there would be bagels at the continental breakfast the next day. (There were.)

Little Miss Guard Dog

The Act of Driving
As you may have noticed, we go on an outrageous number of road trips. What you may not know is that I am never the driver. Tyler says the only person he trusts behind the wheel is his dad and even then, he will not sleep in the car. That being said, I've logged many hours of highway etiquette observation and it came in handy this time around.

The best thing you can be when dealing with crazy drivers is predictable. Making my way through Olympia on the back end of rush hour, I encountered some cars that changed lanes four times in less than a minute. I stayed predictable and to the right. And this song (warning: not for the language-sensitive) on the radio made me laugh and keep my cool rather than get caught up in the road rage (Watch it pal -- puppy on board.).

The only really scary driving was passing trucks and RVs on the two-lane highway. At one point, I was fifth in a line of cars waiting behind two semi-trucks and just missed my chance to get in front of the semis with the rest of the group. I ended up sandwiched between the trucks for another few miles before another passing opportunity came. It was awkward.

California/Nevada, looking like AZ

Once I made it to my destination, I was exhausted but happy. After 14+ hours on the road, I truly earned my hot tub time and started feeling more like the independent, near-27-year-old I'd envisioned myself becoming.

Next up, traveling with a little pup in the big city…

1 comment:

  1. So true about the radio! I love being in the car by myself with no one to disturb me - haha!

    Ashleigh x