Tips for Driving Solo Across Country
The facial expressions I received when asked if I drove across the country by myself were the best. I am not sure what makes driving long distances such a magical feat, but for many this is not practical or approachable. After my experience, I would encourage everyone to do it. It was easy, delightful and beautiful. I had no idea our country had so many different terrains and landscapes. The weather was pristine, only catching one rainy stint on the trip, and the rest of the time the weather was brilliant).The air was crisp, and the roadways were smooth.
I managed this trip while pulling a U-haul with my small Jeep. I remembered at one point driving on the windy bends of the Sequoia National Forest and thinking about how cool it was that everything I own was on this adventure with me. Driving a trailer was also easier than I expected (albeit hard on the gas, I had to fill up frequently). I made it up and down mountains, around curvy bends, and through cities.
My trip included stops for major landmarks or cities:
Sequoia National Forest>>>Grand Canyon>>>Santa Fe>>>Oklahoma City>>>Cincinnati
I craved three things: the big trees, the vastness of the canyons, and the Navajo vibes of Santa Fe.
I took photos with my iPhone 8 Plus, a phone I purchased just before leaving. I knew I wanted quality photos with ease. I captured moments by spontaneously clicking around without looking (very professional, right?) as I was driving.
In order to have time to explore I researched each area and used Pinterest to save the places I wanted to stay or things I wanted to see. I booked two nights at the first three stops (Visalia, Flagstaff, and Santa Fe) as to give me one full day to soak before driving to the next.
Here are some basic tips for tackling a trek across the country :
1. You are only as incapable of this as you tell yourself you are. If you are afraid of car trouble, buy a year of AAA. If you are afraid of bad guys, buy a little pocket knife. YOU CAN DO THIS.
2. Be willing to make stops. I like to stop every half a tank. This also tended to be my timing for having to use the restroom. Sometimes your body adjusted oddly to your conditions. Both of the times that I drove across the country, I had to use the bathroom more than usual.
3. Have plenty of snacks and water or other beverages ( I liked having La Croix on my trip to add some flavor and a little bubble). I placed a Trader Joe's cooler on the seat next to me with the zipper on my side. Inside I had little packs of turkey, hummus, grapes, drinks, and carrots. Reusable ice packs are great, as most places you stay have a fridge and freezer to freshen everything overnight. I also had a box lid in front of that with snacks. My go-to this drive was Veggie Straws, but the last drive it was pistachios. I also included Triscuits, apples, dried fruit, and Cheez-Its.
4. Purchase an unlimited data plan for the month you are driving. It was a huge relief to be able to use my phone whenever, wherever without the worry of overage from using maps and music, etc.
5. Buy a car mount for your cell phone (as little as $10 at Target). This was life changing for navigation or changing a song without having to look down.
6. Keep change and cash for tolls. Not every city/state has them, but I ended up spending about $20 on tolls in OK. Many of the tolls were coin only. Luckily I had a big change purse.
If you are inspired, go and do this. You will not regret it. Our country is beautiful!