While waiting in a line for the next available stall in the Women’s room of a Love’s Travel Center and truck stop I thought about traveling families.
Joe and I have often remarked at the number of newer model cars beside the road. Some red tagged for towing and others with people standing around the vehicle or off on the embankment away from the faulty car.
Your family car is full of precious cargo and I want to leave you with a few tips to make sure you all arrive at your vacation spot then, later, home to your private sanctuary.
The first thing to consider is driving times. How long it will take you to get from Point A to Point B.
Since I do this for a living and we travel thousands of miles a year the best way to gauge how long your trip will actually take is to keep in mind one (1) hour for each 50 miles of your trip.
If you will be traveling 150 miles then figure three (3) hours.
Between all the summer road construction, slower speeds through major towns, and the occasional bottleneck resulting from a car accident up ahead, this formula of 1 hour for every 50 miles is a good one.
If you have the good fortune of arriving at your destination in less time then consider it a bonus and be grateful of your safe travels.
Next. Check your tire pressure. This I can’t emphasize enough. You have no idea how many vehicles we see on the shoulder changing tires.
This is the single most dangerous thing you can do. I’m serious!! The idiots we travel with that are on the cell phone, some texting while others are dialing, more often than not veer to the shoulder then correct to get back on the road.
Check your tires! Please! Make sure you locate the manufacturers recommended maximum tire pressure.
This is a photo of one of our tires.
The maximum on our tires is 80 psi. Joe keeps them at 80 all the time.
Why? The friction of your tire in contact with the road surface (asphalt or concrete) heats the air in your tires as well as the rubber. Low tires cause the rubber to expand and weaken the sidewall of your tire. The result….bang. Flat tire and your butt is hanging out near traffic and has become a target for some yayhoo not paying attention to their driving.
One other thing Joe and I notice. Drivers of cars, more than pickups, have a tendency to steer where they are looking. You look at the disabled car and soon enough you have an up close view then you have to correct the steer back to the road. Sometimes there is an over correction and I often wonder if the seat got wet.
It may piss you off to no end having a big truck change lanes in front of you then get back in the right lane after passing a disabled car. This is done for safety and as a courtesy to the stranded motorist. When we pass a car beside the road we make that poor little thing shake, rattle, and roll from our turbulence.
A rocking vehicle on a jack is a tragedy waiting to happen. A catastrophe in fact. So if you see someone beside the road changing a tire…..give them room. You have no idea who is waiting at home for them.
Go to your local sporting goods store and purchase a Golf Umbrella. It has a span of nearly five (5) feet and can shade several family members waiting on the embankment for road service.
We always carry one. We’ve had one for over eight years and have had to use it twice. So it is a good investment. Provided you can find a place to store the dang thing.
While shopping at your local Target or Walmart pick up one of the travel size empty bottles to carry shampoo in your luggage. Buy an extra one and fill it 2/3’s full of dish soap.
If you purchase milk in gallon plastic containers clean one empty bottle out and fill it with water. Also purchase one of those cloth grocery bags while you are at the store. They cost anywhere from $.50 to $1.
While you are at it purchase, or bring along a roll of bathroom paper. Store the water, dish soap, and bathroom paper in the cloth grocery bag.
The soap and water is for clean up after changing a tire or fiddling under the hood.
The bathroom paper is for those times when a child, inevitably, says “I have to poop” and you are miles from the nearest gas station, rest area , or truck stop.
This is an oft seen road side emergency we encounter in our travels. So it always pays to be prepared.
There are many truck stops on your route. Love’s Travel Centers has an App for smart phones. You enter the state you are traveling through and a list of Love’s Travel Centers comes up.
Tap on the Love’s listed at the exit you want then tap on the fuel price icon. You will see the current cost of diesel and unleaded.
Love’s is not known for their “Gourmet” food choices but each store has fast food.
Clean bathrooms, cold fountain drinks, hot coffee or tea, and even some cheesy souvenirs can be purchased at Love’s. There are also coloring books and other child entertainment things to purchase for your trip. Love’s has a selection of DVD movies for your viewing pleasure and/or CD’s for your listening pleasure. I’m not quite sure what they have for children but you can rummage around to find something.
One final bit of Bossy Business. If you find your vehicle has overheated taking on some of the steep terrain of the US and has shut down. Please, please, a thousand times please. Turn your ignition OFF.
The newer cars with fuel injection have a pump in the gas tank. This pump, while the ignition is on, continuously pumps gas (or diesel) to the engine. The dang thing doesn’t know the engine has stopped and keeps pumping away.
Gasoline spurting into an overheated engine results in an engine fire that will consume everything in a matter of minutes.
You don’t want to be totally stranded like that on any highway. So please. Turn the ignition off if your vehicle has overheated and died.
I want you all to have the best summer vacation you have ever had. And I particularly want you to have a safe one. Remember – you have precious cargo and we truck drivers want you to be safe.