5 Summer Driving Essentials
Yeah, so I could do a Google search and come up with five lame things you should do to your car before you go anywhere this summer. ("Check your tire pressure!" says Kiplingers. Thanks for that hard-hitting communique, People Who Get Paid More Than Me!) Instead, this is a list of things that should make some kind of a difference when the backs of your legs are stuck to the vinyl this summer. Music
"Everybody tells you about music, Fitzgerald," you say. Yeah, but the difference is that their taste in music stinks. HowStuffWorks.com wants you to download "Take it Easy" by the Eagles. Really? Like that's not going to come around every 32 minutes on every classic rock station in America?
There are some awesome songs to enjoy while driving that you don't hear much on the radio anymore: songs like "Brand New Cadillac" by the Clash, for example. Tough to beat the friendly stranger in the black sedan from the Ides of March's "Vehicle." Bo Diddley's live version of Roadrunner was the best thing about Mazda's commercial in the last year. (Ed. Note: BoldRide.com is not responsible for tickets generated by this playlist.)
It is my mission to make sure that nobody ever eats in a McDonalds when they're on the road. Ask anyone I've traveled with: We always eat right, in some local dive somewhere. My go-to resource isn't Google which will recommend Wendy's as a fine local establishment or Yelp, which seems to be populated with people that are really good about complaining about things ("Pizza was decent, not sexy." What?!) No, I'm all about RoadFood.com, the website of Jan and Michael Stern, who write about greasy dumps for Gourmet magazine.
Most of the entries on RoadFood.com are generated by local contributors, and the Sterns will add their recommendations whenever possible. I use it constantly when I'm traveling, and I've never missed with it yet. On a recent trip to Indianapolis, I took their recommendation for the Workingman's Friend and had the most fabulous grilled cheeseburger in my life, alongside a frosted glass of beer that looked like it came out of a Viking movie.
I found one website whose summer driving essentials included -- I'm not exaggerating -- jumper cables, two blankets, two towels, washer fluid, oil, coolant, tools, a flashlight, disposable cameras, rope, duct tape, a fire extinguisher, road flares and a first aid kit. I'm going on a road trip, I'm not disposing of a hooker's body.
All you really need is a cell phone, a credit card and AAA. I like AAA Plus because the mileage is further. Even if you have roadside assistance from the manufacturer of your car, you may be in the middle of nowhere. That's fine if you're driving a Ford. If you're driving a MINI, you're going to be flatbedded to the nearest MINI location, which might be hours in the wrong direction. AAA Plus will haul you 100 miles in the direction you want to go.
The most immediate means of identifying yourself to be a complete d-bag is to wear driving shoes. Pilotis, Simpson Racing, those leather loafers from the Herrington catalog....all ridiculous unless you're on a track somewhere. Even then, Ol' Dave Marcis wore black Dexter wingtips and he drove 200 mph for a living.
What you want is something comfortable that doesn't get hung up on the pedals. I'm a Converse Chuck Taylor All Star man, myself, but some folks swear by the leverage offered by a good set of cowboy boots.
I was a loyal NPR listener for years, but podcasts have changed the way I listen while I'm driving. Having an iPhone makes it easy, although Apple's Podcast app is the worst. I like the Stitcher app. In the three years I've had it, I've racked up almost a thousand hours listening to interviews and stories unlike any I ever heard on the radio. It has kept me sane on many a long night's drive.
I'm a daily listener to the Adam Carolla Podcast, and I like his other shows (CarCast and Ace on the House), too. Marc Maron's WTF is a must for anyone who enjoys comedy and music. The Nerdist podcast gets some great guests on, and I've recently fallen in love with the profane and hilarious Bill Burr Monday Morning Podcast.
Anything I'm missing in your summer travel essentials?
Image Source: Telegraph.co.uk