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These days, I’d like to sit down for a tete-a-tete with good ol’ Father Time. I don’t know who thought it’d be funny to land us smack dab into the second half of August already (say whaaaaat?), but I sure as heck am not ready for the summer to be over just yet!bet
One big reason is because I haven’t gotten the travel bugs out of my system yet this summer. Between research and work and baking and blogging and attempting to maintain a semblance of a social life, I have definitely come down with a bad case of cabin fever. And that can only ever amount to one thing in my book, the BIG question I ask everyone around me every single day…
I don’t know about you, but I’m one huge ball of emotions when it comes to the entire lengthy process of planning a road trip. I’ve basically broken down my 5 Fundamental Emotion-based Stages of Road Tripping to a science. Observe:
Stage 1: The Casual Reference. Almost every road trip begins with a light conversation that may or may not directly relate to roadtripping. At this point, no serious thoughts about actually embarking on a trip are actually entertained. The seeds of thought, however, are sown at this stage. Example:
(Casual conversation, over a cup of Joe at Starbucks)
Me: “I love food.”
Friend: “No way, me too!”
Me: “I hear Seattle has some killer maple glazed donut bars.”
Friend: “That’s so cool! We should totally go sometime.”
Me: “YES! Also, speaking of donuts, we should work on that donut-propelled jetpack that we talked about last week.”
While no concrete commitment has been formed, note that the idea of roadtripping has garnered a mutually-recognized level of excitement from all parties involved.
Stage 2: The Pre-Planning Excitement. After a considerable amount of time has elapsed since the casual conversation, a trigger usually occurs that allows all parties to revisit the original idea of embarking on a journey via land together. During this stage, plans begin to take semi-tangible shape. Example:
Me: “This donut is REALLY good.”
Friend: “You know what would taste even better? A maple glazed bar donut from Seattle.”
Me: “No way! Whoever told you about that must be a genius because that sounds awesome.”
Friend: “Should we road trip to Seattle then?”
Me: “You bet your Muggle butt we should!”
*Celebratory high fives and fist bumps all around*
Stage 3: The Planning Slough. This is the part that all road trip novices tend to dread–the actual planning of the actual road trip. This stage does not require example nor explanation: often, trying to solidify plans is as pleasant as watching the fat from a pot of soup solidifying at the very surface, and every once in a while you have to skim across it to scrape off the melty gooey icky stuff.
A few planning tips to make planning less like pot-o’-soup fat and more like delicious Oreo-stuffed peanut butter cookies (recipe below!):
- Keep a master list of all the things you NEED for your trip tacked somewhere visible, like on your fridge. This master list should include things that you need for every road trip (toiletries, bedding, changes of clothing, camera). My master list is filled in particular with our favorite snack items, such as Oreos, Golden Oreos, things made from Oreos (cough these cookies), and Wheat Thins.
- Distribute responsibilities among all parties of your road trip, according to each person’s interests/strengths. For example, I really enjoy searching for best lodging deals, so hotel bookings usually fall to me–but I would never voluntarily deal with things that are car-related (gas, maintenance, driving), so I usually leave that to somebody else.
- Make the most enjoyable tasks a group effort. My friends and I all LOVE the food planning aspect of road trips (surprise surprise), so we usually hit up Von’s a day or two before the trip as one big group and still manage to figure out last-minute logistics at the same time. Two birds, one stone!
- While you’re shopping at places such as Von’s, record all of your road trip essential purchases and enter to win a car via The Best Road Trip Ever Sweepstakes, because what could make planning any more awesome than roaming around in a shiny new vehicle?
Also, keeping a huge stash of Oreos, Wheat Thins, and other awesome snacks on hand for PRE-road trip stress eating is super duper helpful. Visual evidence to support this point:
Stage 4: The 18-Hours-Before-Departure Chaos. You know the drill: fire, chaos, running around frantically trying to find your razor and privately cursing yourself for playing Mario Kart until 3 AM last night instead of packing. To be fair, the rest of your party is doing exactly the same thing.
The mayhem in this stage can be mitigated with my Stage 3 planning tips (see above).
Stage 5: The Road Trip YAYS. So you’ve successfully managed to survive road trip pre-planning, planning, AND the 18-hours-before-trip mayhem stages without killing each other or eating all of the available snacks (or, if you did eat them all, you had enough foresight to buy more before your ride arrived)? CONGRATS, it’s time to finally embark on your road trip!!
I’m not quite ready yet to reveal where our next big road trip is taking us–in typical fashion, I’ll be saving that info for after the trip!–but you bet that at least one will be happening before year’s end, and I can’t wait to share it with all of you soon. In the meantime, I have a whole dozen of these Oreo-Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies sitting in my kitchen, waiting for me to road trip my hefty stomach over to devour them. My family tried them and said that they were DELICIOUS–and let’s face it, who ever doubted it, right? So make sure you make these to munch on while you’re planning your next big excursion!
Where would you road trip if you could go ANYWHERE? Don’t forget to enter The Best Road Trip Ever Sweepstakes!