Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Man Cave: Top 10 Road Trip Tips

Summer is here. Like many Americans our family will be making a few road-trips. I love road trips, and over the years I have made literally hundreds. In today's Man Cave I have distilled all my accumulated experience and knowledge into 10 vital tips for a successful road style. So load 'em up, leaves in 5 minutes, with or without you.

Before I begin, women, let me be clear: the most important ingredient to a successful road trip for any man is to make good time. It is the prime directive. When we pull in to the hotel at the end of the day, we find no joy in bragging about how our family bonded, or how we took our time and stopped at every viewpoint. No. Real men want to say one thing, and one thing only: "Wow...we sure made good time."

With that in mind, here are my Top 10 Tips for a Manly Road Trip:

10. Bring a cooler full of food that can be prepared while driving. You make better time if you don't have to stop. Agree with the family that you will stop one time, and one time only, for fast food. This keeps the kids happy. While there be sure to buy a caffeinated soda (and save the cup).

9. Dehydration is your friend. A properly hydrated body will have to pee way too much. Peeing equals stopping. You'll never make good time that way.

8. Never stop for gas in Oregon or New Jersey. Letting some other dude fill your tank is not manly.

7. Always drive through Montana or Wyoming. The high speed limits will save you time.

6. Eat sunflower seeds. I learned this tip from by brother-in-law. Salted, unshelled sunflower seeds are the perfect road-trip car snack. De-shelling the seeds in your mouth gives you something to do, and unlike crackers or pretzels you can only consume one at a time, thus preserving your manly physique. Most importantly, salt causes you to retain water (see number 9). Spit the shells into an empty cup (see number 10) or the floor of your car will soon resemble a major league dugout...which is not necessarily a bad thing, I guess.

5. Arrange family members according to their alliances. Extended time in the car will quickly reveal which family members are friends and which are enemies. No matter what happens, never threaten to "pull this car over". That will only slow you down. Instead, master the art of the rear-view-mirror-death-stare. Or better yet...

4. Bring lots of electronics. On a road trip with kids there is no such thing as too many. iPods, iPads, laptops, Game Boys...the more the merrier. There should be no reason for interaction between the kids. Ever.

3. Limit your driving to 8 hours per day. Hemorrhoids are not manly.

2. You don't make good time backtracking. It is the person with the map's fault, always. When the wife is driving, try to get some shut-eye. The kids can figure out the map.

1. Rest stops should resemble Nascar pit stops. Every person should know their job, and the family should work as a team to quickly and efficiently refuel, resupply, and get the car back on the road. At every stop, everybody pees, whether they need to or not. If you are the one that needs to pee again 30 minutes after the last rest stop, you lose. See number 9. Then see number 10. Good time is made or lost at rest stops. And just like Nascar, as you drive away you should always peel out.

So there you have it. Be safe, and enjoy your time on the roads this summer!


  1. okay, admittedly the pee breaks are almost always me... but I just cannot follow rule 9 - sorry! And though rule 10 might be helpful in this situation, only for the manly: it's a lot more difficult for us ladies ;o)

    To make up for the pee breaks however, I am EXTREMELY good at the rear-view-mirror-death-stare and am never afraid to plug my kids into something on the road - myself for that matter.

  2. I like your list! I must be the manliest woman road triper. I love to say we made good time and I hate stopping! I really do need to master that death stare though. I can't even get the kids to be quite when just driving to the grocery store...although my kids are pretty good on big road trips.

  3. It's pretty easy when you're on a road trip with your buddies. But it's a different world when you're with your family, since you need to take care of the needs of your kids while driving. That is why it takes a team effort to make the whole experience manageable.

  4. Leisa...the "team effort" thing is dead on! LOL. When our kids were little we definitely did our share of tag-team story reading, roadside potty breaks, and juggle-the-crying-baby. Our biggest road trip question in those days was: how can we arrange our trip so that the kids will sleep through most of it? (We made good time that way.) :o)