“The couple that kept their sanity in a car for 5 weeks.”
During the summer of 2015, we drove across the country for 5 long weeks, in my Mustang! The trip not only made memories we will remember for the rest of our lives, it also brought our relationship closer together then ever before. It made us learn new things about each other. Our history and our true colors were brought out in both good and bad ways; And I would do it all over again and again if I could.
Privacy, what is that? Travel, no matter what your situation, will always bring you closer to the person your traveling with. Per our case, we were locked up in a car for sometimes 12 hours at a time, day in and day out, for 5 weeks. When we would stop, we’d either sleep in a tent or a tiny, sometimes sketchy hotel room. No matter what we did or how many times we fought, we couldn’t get away from each other! Some hotel rooms had paper thin walls, or in our case, one hotel in Minneapolis had a bathroom door that wouldn’t close so you would hear and see everything! No privacy at all, but we were able to find the humor in all of that. That is what being a couple is, finding the good stuff in life together no matter what.
Brainstorming & Teamwork began to play an important role in our relationship. For places we wanted to go eat or see, and for the times we got stuck in traffic or roads were closed due to flooding, we had to brainstorm together and build teamwork to pull ourselves through it and find a solution. We would get angry at each other, but traveling together in a small space, didn’t allow us to have space from one another. It did however, allow us to talk about it and work it out instead of running away.
This trip not only allowed us to grow as a couple, but as individuals. Learning how the other handles stress can take you a long way both at home and on the road.
When we began this trip, we had only been a couple for a year, so it really allowed us to learn things about one another and see each other’s true colors which we may not have been able to do otherwise. When travelling, you see your partners best and worst moments.
Driving across the country & how to survive:
So as you probably figured out, traveling in a Mustang has it’s own space restraints. We had to pack very conscientiously in order to make it work. Both of us sat up front with pillows and blankets within reach in case we got cold or tired. The backseat consisted of mostly food. We had a cooler on one half of the car, and a banana box full of food on the other. In the trunk is where we kept our clothes, sleeping bags, and a small tent. We made sure to only pack about a week’s worth of clothing since we knew we would be stopping in places that would allow us to do our laundry for free at family and friends’ houses. In the cooler, we kept cold lunch meat, bottled water, and other perishable items with ice packs. Every time we would stop for the night, we would put our stuff in a refrigerator and freezer if able to and then repack it in the morning. In the banana box, we kept snacks, bread, fruits, toilet paper, paper towels, and cleaning supplies. Those cleaning supplies and paper towels came in handy for Dairy Queen messes in the car! On that note, it was very difficult to not resort to fast food stops. On the days where our drives were about 10 hours long, we would grab dinner or lunch in a drive-thru. I tried to order smaller portions and healthy alternatives such as wraps or salads and we both tried to order from the dollar menus to save our money as much as we could. When time and money would allow it, we would try to NOT go to chain restaurants. It was so much better to eat outside of the car and taste the local foods. We also tried to stop at grocery stores here and there to stock up on snacks and water. Keep in mind when your traveling, especially out west, you can drive for hours and not come across any food, gas stations, or hotels so always be prepared. One night, we left Four Corners Monument traveling towards Phoenix, and we were far from being prepared. We didn’t have a hotel lined up, and we were driving for what felt like hours. There was no service to Google a hotel. When we finally came upon a small town, we pulled over into a gas station to look at hotel prices. The town looked like something out of a movie. A dog was roaming the streets, starving and alone. A homeless man came up to our window yelling at us because we wouldn’t give him any money. All three of the hotels nearby were outrageously priced. Still with not enough service, I was able to text my Father (in Pennsylvania) to book a hotel for us about another hour outside of the town since I couldn’t do it on my phone. We were stranded and panicking, not to mention exhausted. All we wanted to do was sleep. DO NOT allow yourselves to be in that kind of position when your traveling. Be smart and plan ahead.
Map out the places you want to see ahead of time:
I dreamed about our cross-country road trip for most of my life. It wasn’t until about a year before getting the chance to go did I actually start planning it. The Roadtripper app was my lifeline! I was able to map out our trip showing each destination as well as mark the places I wanted to see. With this app, we were able to discover new places we wouldn’t have known about otherwise. I only booked the first few hotels ahead of time, just because we didn’t have any real destination and we didn’t want to have time constraints. At the end of each day, if and when we got to a city we wanted to spend an extra day in such as Minneapolis or Yellowstone, we would book a hotel over the phone or online and show up about an hour later. If you do have time constraints, and know precisely what day your going to be at each destination, then definitely book ahead of time because it will save you money in the long run. It also helps if you have friends or family members you can stay with along the way, like we did.
Take it from us, a couple that travels together, stays together.
Thank you all for reading,
Crystal & Shane