Summer is nigh upon us, and that means two things: Your electric bill is ridiculous, and it’s time for a summer road trip.
We’re going to suspend our disbelief here. We’re going to pretend that there is no reason why any and all of us cannot take off for a week or two and explore this beautiful country of ours during the most gorgeous weather of the year. We’re going to pretend that we have little to no responsibilities and that we are free, fun-loving 25-year-olds with generous benefactors who fill our gas tanks, and us with a sense of adventure that never steers us wrong.
While we’re at it, let’s pretend I get to work both the Miami and Hawaii auto shows this year. Neither of which have anything to do with road trips, but a little dreaming can’t hurt…
And with that, let’s take off on our summer road trip!
First, the rules…
Road trip rule #1: Always use a fake road trip name. Your escape from reality can not possibly begin until you truly separate yourself from reality, and that means you need to take on a different name. You should be called this name by all road trip partners, but never in the presence of anyone who could possibly check your ID. You might think you are far too old to have your ID checked, but many establishments now check literally everyone that orders a drink. This even applies to AARP members. The more ridiculous the better, so “Barky Von Schnauzer” is a perfect name for a jaunt through Nantucket.
Road trip rule #2: Always drive a convertible. I don’t care what kind of amazing super car of the future any manufacturer has at the auto show – this car could have 800 HP, shine your shoes and come with that special kind of masseuse and it still wouldn’t get as much attention as an under $40K convertible. You simply must have a convertible to have a proper summer road trip. It cuts down on both luggage and passengers (two people in the front, one in the back, a spare pair of shorts, tee shirt and bathing suit in the trunk) and just looks cool.
Road trip rule #3: Driver controls the music. Only and always. Passengers who attempt top wrest control of the stereo shall be left upon the side of the road to be picked upon by vultures/Hells Angels/long-distance truck drivers/you-on-the-return-leg.
Road trip rule #4: At least one person must know basic car maintenance. Change a tire. Check and add or change oil. Spark plug business. Etc. No cell phones or 3G Googling allowed.
Road trip rule #5: This is not some buddy movie where you’re going to get swept up in some grand adventure within 20 minutes, come up with quotably hilarious responses to drug dealers taking all your stuff and get out of all the felonies you and your three pals have committed in the 24 hours between raiding both the Bunny Ranch and Lance Burton’s bird house. You must be okay with the comfortable silence, the fact that nothing especially noteworthy will happen during this trip other than finding a new little piece of yourself and growing a bit closer to your road trip companions, for better or worse.
Cool with every rule? Good. For the next few weeks, I’m going to lead you on a few road trips you can take on a week or less in the US: the Northeast, the Southeast, the Midwest, the Southwest and the Northwest. We’re going to see true Americana, the kind I have been truly fortunate to experience while traveling throughout the US on the auto show circuit but probably would not have sought out on my own. We’ll see some cool stuff, I promise.
I wouldn’t trust that Jeep guy, though. He’d totally throw you under the bus for that one little joint when you and I both know he’s got copious amounts of weed hiding in the trunk inside his guitar.
The Booth Babe is an anonymous auto show model who dishes about what really goes on behind the scenes. Read her blog at http://doyoucomewiththecar.blogspot.com. And if you treat her nicely, read her each Sunday at Thetruthaboutcars.com