Are you planning a road trip?

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.



About Message In A Fold

I am an over the road truck driver in Drive-Away Transport part of the year, and the sole bookkeeper of this operation the other part of the year. I do a lot of whining until I can get in my craft room and play with paper and glue. View all posts by Message In A Fold

12 responses to “Are you planning a road trip?

  • Jann Gray

    Great list of “travel preparedness” tips! Appreciate you taking the time to not only share them, but give us the “backstory” for them as well! Hugs…and Safe Journey

    • Message In A Fold

      Thank you Jann. When you were traveling to your Dad’s during his illness my prayers for you followed your every mile.

      I see too much out here to not share a bit of what I’ve learned so my friends remain safe throughout their journey.

      Love you my Friend.

  • aspot2stamp

    More great stuff to share with us 🙂 Thank you for thinking of us. My brian has always been a bit …ok alot of a over thinker when it comes to the getting the vehicle ready for our outings but you have enlightened me to a few new ones. I on the other hand am the over planner for the inside stuffs. I always have a toy box ( small tote ) for the kids books ,paper ,pens and pencils did have crayons but they dont hold up well in the heat :0 I save all the little fastfood toys for the van that way the kids only get them when we are out and about and cant get tired of them. We have travel bingo games I found at a garage sale and that keeps them busy for a long time 😉 color books and video games.the masses are a mixed bag for me so keeping them all entertained is a chore sometimes. I found a used dvd player at a yard sale last Saturday for $2. so that will be a new source of entertainment for them. Now to find some dvds for the van while we are out at the sales.Not sure I want to leave the household ones in the van where they can be messed up by the elements. I hope you are staying cool in this aweful heat, we are due some thunderstorms tomorrow so maybe that will cool us down a bit. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

    Say Hi to Joe
    Love and hugs,

    • Message In A Fold

      Good that you have Brian anticipating the road adventures and keeping problems down to a minimum. Most excellent husband you have there.

      Speaking of Brian, and I was, what has been determined to be wrong with his stomach? Has he been seen by the doctor. I know you said an appointment had been made but I can’t remember when.

      Okay. I’m going to call you “The Cruise Director”. Did you ever watch the Love Boat? If so, remember Julie? Well you make me think of her. Arranging all the guest entertainment. 🙂

      You have mentioned the food and snacks that get packed. I bet you are an organizational whiz with all the prep you do. I bet your family has fond memories of past trips. That is the best part of family time together.

      Love you – Leslie

  • Pati Mishler

    Oh how sweet my sis, thats good news, and very informative, i appreciate knowing these little tidbits. Your nuggets of wisdom will i am sure help someone in very desperate need. Always good to learn something new, or, it can also remind us of what we already know, we all need a kick start here and there.

    • Message In A Fold

      Do you remember seeing the cars beside the road when you were with us? Maybe not. You were totally caught up in seeing all the world has to offer. All the strange and wonderful stuff 🙂

      It only dawned on me yesterday that not everyone knows what goes on out here. Guess I’m too entrenched.

      How is your work going? Still part time or have they added work for you.

      Sis, I’ll be so glad when you finally spill the beans on your upcoming adventure. I’ve done run out of any more ideas. Maybe another hint will help 🙂

      Love you Sis

  • gardenpinks

    When we were planning a longish trip then Rod always made sure he had plenty of tools in the boot plus a breakdown sign. Then he checked tyres including the spare, tightened battery cables, filled up the washer bottle, checked the radiator, oil levels and anything else! I made sure there was baby wipes, bottles of non fizzy drinks, boiled sweets and snacks but no chocolate – doesn’t that stuff make a mess when it melts?? Books and such things weren’t good for our children as they could bring on travel sickness so mental games had to be used instead. The route would be planned – no GPS – and written out but the map packed in case of diversions!
    In winter when Rod was travelling for work then a pair of wellingtons, a shovel and blankets were packed.
    As you say all good preparation. I well remember as a child coming back from a family holiday and the vehicle my dad had developed a flat tyre and it had to be changed on the side of a busy motorway. Not great fun! We were all made to move up the embankment well away from the road, fortunately the flat was on the embankment side so dad had the vehicle between him and the rest of the traffic, not that it would have saved him if a lorry had ploughed into the vehicle. Fortunately there were no mobile phones then to cause accidents!

    You and Joe stay safe 🙂
    Love and hugs
    Lynn xx

  • Pati Mishler

    LOL, i am SOOOO very glad that i have you trying your best to figure this out, lol, if you recall, you did this a plenty to me growing up!! lol, actually , i am still part time at housekeeping at the hospital. Wish i was full time, things we want to do, need to do, but, not on part time money, lol. Ok, another hint, a lady is going to visit me this coming friday to look at our car, lol. THAT!! lol, is your hint, ( OH ) no, we are not selling the car, lol. Then, ( deep sigh ) then, maybe i can give you another hint,lol Hmmmmm, after ALLL these years, it feels so good to do this back to you, lol, cant help having a bit of fun, lol Love you sis and Joe

    • Message In A Fold

      I have been so busy and exhausted recently. All I do when I get in the hotel room is flop on the bed. Too tired to even take a shower.

      I’m so excited for you. I know your secret now!

      The woman coming to “look at your car but not buy it”. Yes, indeed I know for sure.

      Your car is going to be painted metallic pink so it will sparkle like glitter as you drive through town. Your interior will feature daisies covering the seats. Your stereo system is going to be a giant Boom Box vibrating your tunes like the young kids do. And, best of all your suspension system will be hydraulic so you can raise and lower your car in all kinds of bouncing up and down positions.

      Sis – you are “Pimping Your Ride”.

      You just have all kinds of fun teasing me with little hints. I know what is happening 😀

      Love you Sis

  • Pati Mishler

    OMGOSH!!! You are TOOOOOO funny :-D, i absolutely love it, metalic pink with daisy’s on the interior,lol. Well as we both know that i absolutely LOVE daisy’s, not happening, metalic pink? No! not happening!! lol Hydrolic’s ? NO, not happening, lol, BUT!! Tadaaaa!! ( hint again) If all work’s out as planned, i WILL be driving the car, lady is not comming today to look at car, may have to be put off till another day, ( monkey in the wrench ) or should i say, we have a hitch in the plans, small hitch, it either work’s out, or it doesn’t.

    Another ( hint ) the lady that is hopefully comming to look at car, works in Oklahoma City.

    Am i making you ( CRAZY )? It’s actually too soon to give it all away yet.

    Ok smarty pants, lol, if you DO know whats happening, YOU spill the beans, lol, lol.

    Just when i know something is going to happen, things change up a bit, know the feeling?

    Love you both, have fun, get some rest sis, and you both be careful.

  • Taylor Trowell

    Some genuinely choice articles on this web site , bookmarked .

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