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Every summer for the last few years, Dian and I have taken a long trip to get to a blogging conference. We have driven from our home in Dallas to San Diego, Tennessee, New York, Florida, and I’m sure a few other places I can’t even remember.
Every year before the long road I am never looking forward to it because I know I’m going to be doing all the driving but once we get on the road, I’m reminded of how awesome it is to get out of my daily routine and see a little more of the world. I want to share with you 5 reasons why you should consider taking a road trip this summer.
A Road Trip Creates Memories
As you get older, you realize that the quality of your life depends heavily on the memories you make. I think one of the reason life seems to fly by so fast in adulthood is because there are fewer opportunities to make special memories.
We go to the same cubicle or workplace every day, talk to the same people, perform the same tasks and the days melt into a hazy grey with none of the bright color that doing something for the first time provides.
Hitting the road, seeing new things, doing something out of the ordinary, this provides you with something you can look back on fondly. Some of my best memories are taking my kids to an amusement park or sharing the long car rides with my wife. It’s fun and creates a lasting memory for you and your loved ones.
You See Things on a Road Trip You Would Never See Otherwise
We live in a crazy country filled with interesting people doing amazing things and you just don’t know what’s out there until you stumble across it.
For instance, when we drove to San Diego, we drove until the sun went down and then pulled off into the next town we came to for dinner and a hotel. We found a little motel in Van Horn, Texas and as I was checking us in I asked the guy behind the counter where a good place for dinner was. He looked at me a little strange and said, “You aren’t here for Chuy’s?” I said I had never heard of it and with a look of mild shock he gave me directions down the street for the little Mexican restaurant.
Once we got to Chuy’s I was totally unprepared for what I saw. The waiting area was plastered floor to ceiling with pictures of John Madden. I’m talking about the Oakland Raiders coach and football announcer, pics of him in every stage of life; his college days, his coaching days on there sidelines, his announcer days, personal and candid shots of him. There were literally hundreds of photos of him everywhere.
I was trying to process how odd it was that there would be such a huge fan of John Madden in a little Mexican restaurant in a little town I had never heard of before but I still wasn’t prepared for what happened next. As we were taken to our seat, (And this place was packed, it had to have been the only place for dinner in the entire town because it looked like the entire population of this tiny little town was in this restaurant) we were seated under a giant mural of Jesus coming over the mountains to bless the restaurant and the John Madden bus.
The reason they love John Madden is pretty interesting and you can read more about that here but the point is I never would have known this crazy place existed if I hadn’t been on a road trip. I haven’t even mentioned the time I saw the mummified remains of a long dead Indian woman or tried cactus flavored ice cream. There is weird stuff out there, go see it!
It Reminds You How Big This Nation Is
If you don’t live here, it’s tough to wrap your brain around how big America is. If you live in Europe, it’s nothing to commute across multiple COUNTRIES every day to go to work or do whatever else it is you need to do. I drove West for an entire day and never left the state of Texas. In fact the next day I drove for another half day before I ever hit El Paso and that’s just one state.
America is big and we have big stuff. Want to see the Grand Canyon? It’s massive. Gonna check out Yellowstone? You don’t understand how big that place is. Gonna hike the Adirondack Trail? Pack a couple lunches because it’s going to take you a while.
I’ve seen mountain ridges I would never be able to hike, trees bigger than most downtown skyscrapers, cactus big enough to take shade under and oceans as far as the eye can see. This is a big country, don’t just fly over it to get to where you want to go, take a drive!
It Reminds you of How Brutal and Beautiful Mother Nature Can Be
Mother Nature is crazy. One time Dian and I were driving and saw a Microburst ahead of us and to our left. It looked something like this but in the middle of nowhere.
As we headed for it we debated about what to do. Dian wanted to pull over and I wanted to speed up to try to out run it and since I was driving, I won. As we got closer to it, the road turned in such a way that we skirted the edge of it so we got to see it from every angle but stayed totally dry. It was a beautiful site and something we will always remember.
I will also remember being just outside San Diego and going up the mountain pass. It was hot and totally desolate, imagine what Mars looks like and this was even more desolate than that. Not a single bit of green for as far as the eye could see and oppressively hot and dry.
Then we hit the pass on the other side of the mountain and it was like someone hit a switch. The temperature dropped about 50 degrees and the grass seemed to spring up out of nowhere and there was green in every direction. Nature is awesome and a road trip lets you see it in all its varieties.
Road Trips Are Great Ways to Reconnect with Your Family
If you are in a car with someone for 8 hours a day or more, you are going to talk. You may be like me and not really like to talk but on those long car rides you are desperate to have a conversation to keep your mind off the road. Especially if every time you stop talking, your wife puts on music from a decade before you were born. Good grief that woman has terrible taste in music.
So you talk abut everything and remember why you love this person. It’s an awesome experience and something that only happens when you remove all the distractions that come with everyday life and lock yourself in a tiny traveling room for an entire day.
Be Sure Your Car is Ready for a Road Trip
Before I hit the road, I always take my car up to Walmart and get the oil changed. From June 15th through September 20th, Walmart has their Pennzoil® High Mileage Vehicle® oil change on Roll back for $35.88!
When I was a teenager, my dad sat me down and taught me how to do routine car maintenance. I had to change the tire, check the radiator fluid and change the oil. I remember that day promising myself that I would absolutely never change the oil myself again and I have kept that promise for almost 30 years. Taking it to Walmart is a no-brainer because I can drop the car off at the automotive center for the oil change and then go do some grocery shopping or just pick up a few things for the road trip and they are done about the same time I’m done shopping so I’m not wasting time.
My little Jeep has got enough mileage on it now to use the 75k+ miles Pennzoil® High Mileage Vehicle® oil. I’ve been using this oil for about the last 3 years and it has performed very well for me and kept my motor in amazing condition over the years. It is specifically designed for high mileage vehicles and cleans out the sludge that other oil might leave behind.