My sister-in-law and I have a bit of a reputation for almost dying on road trips. Okay, “almost dying” may be a bit of an exaggeration but there is always something that hinges on traumatic that takes place.
Like the year we followed Map Quest directions and drove a mini-van filled with sleeping children over a mountain “road” that was basically a hiking trail with huge craters, sharp corners, and a very steep cliff on one side that made it impossible to turn around.
We prayed a lot during that ride.
Our husbands were certain that we were exaggerating. We were not and the dents on the undercarriage of the van were our testimony. We seriously contemplated leaving the vehicle at the top of the hill, calling the husbands who were in far-off New York, and telling them the van was on a mountain in Tennessee and we were taking a taxi home.
We didn’t, of course. But we were this close.
This past weekend we went to Pennsylvania to a Women’s Retreat where I was the speaker. It seems that since here we were, years and years later, all grown up and professional-like, that we would be able to calmly drive the seven hours required without any incident.
And, really, if you think about it, we didn’t have any huge problems. I mean, a GPS that led us down a side road, across a rickety bridge and into the woods where there were multiple “private property” and “no trespassing” signs (somewhere around the 4th sign I finally said, “Uhm, this really doesn’t seem like a retreat center.”) and a car that was vibrating so hard it was difficult to hold onto the steering wheel (the tire with the huge bulge was gracious enough not to blow so we could make it to my brother’s house where he could change it for us) and a few mangled directions after we managed to break the iphone that had the GPS on it… really, those are minor details.
The excellent news, of course, is that we made it and that God showed up at the meetings and we were blessed to spend time with such a beautiful variety of women.
But I did want to share with you a few pieces of advice that I’ve learned through the years as I’ve traveled hither and yon.
1) Bring a map. Like, a paper one.
I hate to break it y’all but a GPS and the printable directions from google maps?? Not always reliable. They may just take you off into the middle of the woods where death (or great lost-ness) will be breathing down your neck…
And what if the battery dies in your electronic device? Or your iphone breaks? ahem.
2)Bring a sense of humor. Seriously.
Whatever goes wrong is probably not as terrible as it seems. Just relax. It will make a good story one day.
3) Leave your music at home and turn off the radio.
A road trip is the perfect time to talk about all the serious (or not so serious) stuff that has been rolling around in your head for months. I love music, but sometimes it is easier to just throw in a CD than to talk through the real stuff I’m facing.
And that would be a shame because some of my best friends were made through roadway conversations.
Tell me something that you’ve found to be essential for road trips…