Setting off on a cross-country trip with friends, family or just oneself is in some ways the American dream. But doing it without a plan can oftentimes prove disastrous. Here are just a few ideas before heading out on the road.
1. Consider Vehicle Reliability
Be honest with yourself: Can the family truckster pull off a 6,000-mile round trip without leaving you stranded on some lonesome stretch of highway? If not, consider getting a new set of wheels. With today's low-cost auto financing, a reliable vehicle is one item you can check off your to-do list. If you plan on driving your current vehicle, get the oil changed and check the fluid levels for the transmission, brakes, power steering and windshield. Be sure the tires can make the trip safely. If necessary, have them rotated. Also, check your headlights and turn signals. You're going to be spending quite a bit of money on this trip, and the last thing you need is a ticket for a faulty light.
2. Organize Your Personal Documents
It may seem like common sense, but be sure to have your driver's license or state identification card up to date. Plus, remind anyone else who may drive to do the same. A recent copy of your car insurance is also a must. These are the two items that are required by all local law officials if an accident should occur. Your vehicle registration should also be in the glove box. Depending on where your trip takes you, a passport is also a good idea. You may not need it, but you might want to take a trip across the border to Mexico or Canada if you are nearby. Make a copy of each of these and store them in a secure place.
3. Navigate Without Fear
How long has it been since you used a map? Not the one on your phone but the kind that you actually have to pull out, unfold and find the location of the next town or turn off. Believe it or not, many places in the United States are still lacking reliable internet connections, so it is a good idea to have a physical map in your vehicle. A road atlas is invaluable. Most contain mileage charts showing distances between major cities, as well as driving times. But if you choose to use your smartphone, at least know how to use the mapping app in the offline mode.
4. Prepare for the Worst
A first-aid kit is critical. Be sure to have bandages of all shapes and sizes, as well as antibiotic cream. Pack plenty of ibuprofen or acetaminophen for aches and pains, cold and flu medicine, antihistamine for allergies, and antacids for upset stomach. Planning any outdoor activities? Don't forget snake bite and bee sting antidotes, which can be purchased at any sporting goods store. If you are under a doctor's care, pack plenty of your prescribed medicine. Also, if you plan on crossing international borders, it is a good idea to carry a copy of each prescription.
5. Dress for the Occasion
Depending on the time of year, your trip across the continent will invariably take you into several different climate zones, and you need to pack for each one of these. Sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat for arid conditions; ponchos, rain jackets or umbrellas for inclement weather; gloves, coats, boots and wool caps for frigid temperatures. You may not need all of these, but it is best to have them packed in case the need arises.
6. Pack These Basic Supplies
Other items to consider include a phone charger, audiobooks and music, a small cooler, refillable water bottles, a small knife, hand sanitizer and wipes, blanket and pillow, jumper cables, paper towels and toilet paper, a flashlight and, of course, duct tape.
As the writer Jack Kerouac once said, "The road must eventually lead to the whole world." Get out there and go, but be prepared.
Everest as seen from China. Wikipdia photo. While Mt. Everest might be closed to foreigners, a single Chinese commercial climbing expedition has been on the mountain for the past few weeks acclimatizing and waiting for a weather window to make a summit push. If they succeed, it would likely make them the only humans to stand on the planet’s high point this year. There has been little Everest news as of late, minus that involving 5G towers, but according to the Adventure Blog, the Chinese
Two Chinese teams on Everest launched their summit bids earlier this week. Pixabay photo. After Nepal and China completely blocked foreign access to Mt. Everest for this climbing season during the COVID-19 pandemic, two Chinese teams were allowed on the mountain. One team is a commercial expedition, while the other is a group of researchers who are there to make the most accurate survey the mountain yet while there is no traffic on the peak. With bad weather keeping teams in Base Camp for