How not to drive across country

This past December, my best friend decided she was sick of living in Los Angeles. She quit her job, sold her furniture, packed up her bags, said goodbye to friends, and headed home to Boston. Never being able to say no to an adventure or a chance to see new places, she scooped me at the airport on her way out of the city.

We had AAA plan out our trip (which they do for free if you are a member) from Los Angeles to Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, New York City, and finally home to Boston in time for Christmas. But when a snowstorm hit each city we planned on passing through, a big change of plans came causing us to head through Texas and Oklahoma instead of the Rockies (yes, tumbleweeds are real!). Now normally on Life Abridged we provide useful information and tips on what to do, but this post is straying a bit from the norm. If you’re planning on driving across country any time soon, here’s a list of what NOT to do.

  • Do not drive into a storm thinking everything will be sunshine and rainbows on the other side. Keep an eye on the weather when driving and give yourself plenty of time to make unexpected stops.
  • Do not forget your iPod hookup. It’s a long ride and there are lots of really bad local radio stations. And the good ones, don’t last for very long.
  •  Do not assume that just because it’s South that means they don’t get real snowstorms–Arizona, New Mexico they definitely get real, make-your-car-slide-across-the-road snow._DSC0358
  • Do not visit the Grand Canyon in the winter. While there aren’t any lines and it’s still an amazing sight to see, it is freezing! And you won’t be able to sit and gaze at it for too long. Also, the entire Northern rim of the Canyon is closed in the winter, so make sure you book a hotel along the Southern rim.
  • Do not forget your GPS. While iPhones are great and do get you to your destination, having a GPS is much more practical.
  • Do not pass by a rest area because you can just stop at the next one. Some times the roads through these less populated areas stretch on for hours._DSC0380
  • If there is too much stuff packed in the car, don’t choose to leave the cooler with all your snacks and drinks behind. Just don’t.
  • Lastly, do not forget your camera. While unforeseen events may arise when you embark on an adventure those tend to make the best stories, and take you through some of the most amazing places you might not have seen otherwise.



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