It’s not every day that you get to check off one of the items in your ‘life’s ambitions’ list, but I have just managed to do exactly that. Item number 5 on the list (okay, I don’t really have an actual list, but I couldn’t resist doing a ‘My Name is Earl‘ impression) is to take a huge road trip out West.
I know that driving to California and back is nowhere near as impressive as Robin and Patties recent hike, but it is still a 5000 mile round trip and by far the furthest I have ever driven.
It started as a bit of a silly idea – some friends invited me to Northern California for Thanksgiving, but the flights were pretty pricey. Well, I could always drive instead I joked..
The more I thought about it, the more I thought ‘why not?’ Okay, it’s not the best time for driving over the Rockies and Sierra Nevada mountains, but I had a ton of vacation time to use up and there was beer waiting to be drunk in California!
Now – most people driving on a trip of this size would probably do it in summer and stay in motels or guest houses at night, but I’m not most people – I’m that quirky guy from England and I wanted the full road trip experience.
So, that’s how I found myself on a 5000 mile round trip at the start of winter using my car for accommodation! Fortunately I have the perfect car for ‘camping’ in – a Honda Element - which is designed for just such an occasion. Just fold the seats down flat into a bed and throw down camping mats and sleeping bags then put up the privacy curtain and it’s just like being in an aluminum tent!
Here’s some of the many things I learned while driving across this great country:
1. Firstly, this country is HUGE! Really! Well, of course we all know that, but somehow I had never really appreciated it fully until this trip. On the first day I drove for 15 hours straight and travelled over 1,200 miles only to find when I looked on the map that I was only half way on my trip. In the UK where I am from, a 1,200 mile drive will get you all the way across the country AND back again.
2. When driving on highway 80, you probably won’t see any police cars between Iowa and Utah. This is because they’re all waiting for you in Nevada and if you speed there, you WILL be pulled over.
Okay, I got my first ever speeding ticket there – and believe me, the fact that I drove a huge distance, only to get a speeding ticket in the middle of the desert amused my collegues back at the office no end!
3. When jumpstarting a car, the connections go red to red and black to ground, despite what a so called expert may have told you to the contrary. Connecting any other way will probably blow half the fuses on your car.
4. Sleeping in the car at the highest rest stop on highway 80 in December during a bad snow storm is probably not the most sensible decision you can make. Even with 3 camping mats, a duvet folded over 4 times and a very warm sleeping bag, it’s going to be VERY cold!
5. Finally, when undertaking a trip of this length in a car during winter weather, you have to be prepared for emergencies. Make sure you have water and food in the car, first aid kit, toolbox, emergency car kit, plenty of windshield washer fluid, a spare can of gas, foldaway snow shovel, flashlight and more.
Fortunately, 4imprint can help here – we have many of the things that you need for a winter road trip or should probably carry in your car during the colder months anyway.
I have created a special hidden custom store just for my blog readers which includes some of the many items I carried in my car in case of emergencies as well as a few other choices.
You can view that store here.
The one thing we unfortunately don't sell is snow chains or cables for your tires. Hmm, maybe there's a promotional product in the making – tire cables that leave your logo in the snow when you drive…
If you'll excuse me, I'm going to have a word with our product designers!
2 shots of snowy Nevada
What your nice clean car looks like after driving through the Sierra Nevada mountains at night in a huge snowstorm!
Sleeping at the highest rest stop in the Rocky mountains may be cool but it's also VERY cold!