Elizabeth and I grew up playing Oregon Trail and are beginning to share an even greater appreciation of the hours the men and women endured in their wagon trains traveling west. We drove down to Dallas from northern Wisconsin on the 4th of July and 18 hours later, we arrived at our destination! We thought once we were to Texas our driving would be reduced, but have found that the west is much more spread out than the east coast! Elizabeth looked up the distance from Dallas to San Diego and it was 19 hours! Needless to say, my pregnant wife was less than thrilled. Fortunately we were able to break it up and set up a few concerts on the way and visit family and friends. We both agree that this current tour has been one blessing after another and we can’t decide what part of the trip we are most looking forward to because everything has been so special. We thought since we have been driving so much, and it is summer vacation time when many families take road trips, we would share a few tips of how to not just survive, but how to thrive on the road.
1. Stock up on Audio books and music. We actually look forward to getting in the car to find out what happens next in our story! This trip we stocked up at the library with audio books and CDs. We also are fans of Cracker Barrel, not just because of the food, but because they have an audio book rental! Some of our favorite books we have read thus far include, Saint by Ted Dekker and are currently listening to Love and Respect. We also listen to music. Every once in a while I spoil my wife with live music.
2. Always do a head count when you leave a rest stop! No matter how small the caravan, we have found that even with two, it can be necessary! Last week we had an early drive so Elizabeth offered to drive the first shift while I slept in the back of the van. She needed to use the bathroom fairly early in the drive, so she stopped at a rest stop and hopped out while she figured I stayed sleeping in the back. She jumped back in the van thinking she was being efficient and drove off, while I groggily walked out of the bathroom to see my wife driving off onto the 80 mph Texas highway leaving me without a cell phone! She did come back 40 minutes later after I figured out how to get in touch with her without a cell phone. I highly recommend memorizing your wife’s phone number. I had to borrow the rest stop attendant’s phone to call my dad for Elizabeth’s number and wrote her number in the sand. Oh the practical lessons you learn from Jesus…
3. Don’t be rushed to get to your destination. This is coming from my pregnant wife, but don’t hesitate to stop at the bathroom. It is not worth making yourself miserable. Also, take advantage of the attractions along the road that interest you. We recently stopped at the sand dunes outside of Yuma, AZ. It was a relief after driving through the western desert to get out of the car and to interact with landscape we have never seen
4. Take the opportunity to visit family and friends along the route. The highlights of our trip are the people we have been able to spend time with; both old and new friends and family. We stayed with a couple in Eldorado, Texas who we had met at a graduation party in Virginia Beach. We came into their home mostly strangers, and left feeling like kin. They showed us the life of cattle ranchers and we decided if music doesn’t work out, maybe ranching would serve us well! They also shared their morning routine to rise early and read a devotional together and we were reminded and encouraged of the importance of keeping the Lord at the center of our marriage. We also had a chance to stay with each of our aunts on the drive to San Diego in both Tucson and Phoenix. We were overwhelmed with gratitude for family and feel so grateful for the connection staying with family seems to forge.
Perhaps you have road warrior advice for us. We are always open to ideas! We hope you have safe travels and truly enjoy the memories that are made on the road!