BE PREPARED

Road trip! It used to sound so exciting. Exploring, eating at Cracker Barrels all across the country, using public restrooms. But now that I am of a certain age, the prospect of spending five hours a day in the car on an odyssey of discovery is fraught with the anxiety of what to take along. Staying in motels is dicey these days, what with bedbugs and everything. And how I remain the same size after eating in restaurants for two weeks also is cause for concern. So I am making a mental list of things to take with me on our trip this year.

Pillows are a must. Good Grief, the ones in motels are a joke. They are either flat as a pancake or so stiff and firm that they resemble rectangular rocks. So I will have to find room in the back seat for my chiropractic water pillow, my Tempur Pedic between-the-knees pillow, and my little square armrest pillows. Thank heavens we aren’t traveling by plane, or else that would be all I could take with me. Oh yes, and the buckwheat filled neck pillow. For car napping. And the lumbar pillow, so that I won’t develop nagging lower back pain. Of course, the presence of all these pillows gives my husband a nagging pain, but it’s a little further down.

Snacks are essential, because he doesn’t always want to stop for lunch. Or breakfast for that matter. And those “free breakfasts” at motels are so sugary. So what should I bring? Maybe some granola bars. Sugary, but whole grain. Or apples. Except that they are not even slightly filling. Hardboiled eggs are good, but they stink after the second day out. Raisins? Fattening. This will take research. I may have to spend some time Googling what skinny people eat on vacation.

The wardrobe should be a no-brainer. Capri pants made with a little stretch. Flip flops. We don’t eat dinner in fancy places, so one pair of linen pants and a cotton sweater should suffice. I gave up bathing suits about fifteen years ago, so we no longer sit by any bodies of water. Wait—what about long hikes or endless hours spent in museums? Ok, I will bring my walking shoes, “developed with inner shock absorbent footbeds that return the thrust of the heel strike upwards for increased walking/running efficiency.” That should have me springing around like a teen. Either that, or bouncing. Note to self: take a few good sports bras…

Apps. Yes, I have to download a few of those apps that tell you what good stuff to visit in towns like Applebong, Missouri, and Indian Burn, Minnesota. And I hear that there are some really excellent audible books. Friends say they enjoy hearing Mark Twain or Thoreau read by people like Helen Mirren or Anthony Hopkins. But we will want to stay awake behind the wheel, so I am looking into the Rob Lowe book or something like “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Or maybe Rob Lowe READING “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

No Binoculars. They look ridiculous hanging around necks. No black socks and sandals for HIM. Unfortunately, he does like maps, so I will just have to pretend that standing on a street corner beside a man with a fully unfurled three foot map is not embarrassing. And I do have to make sure that he doesn’t take his zoom lens. Or even a camera. We’ll have a session on how to use the perfectly good camera built in to his phone the day before we leave.

I think that covers it. Well, bug repellent. Ok. Sunscreen. Check. Dental floss—it’s ok to use on the interstate, none of those people will ever see us again. Oh yes, and Tums. Beano. Band Aids. Ben Gay.

Gotta go. We are leaving in three weeks. I barely have enough time to get ready.

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