Travel Tip: McCool’s Rules for Road Trips

“We’re lost but we’re making good time.”

Yogi Berra is credited with saying this but it is also one of my rules when I am on road trips. I allow time to get lost—follow unmarked roads to wherever they take me. It is my mini-adventure.

red Ford Mustang convertible on dirt road in Everglades

Some other rules for road trips I have:

Avoid Interstate highways. I stay off the interstate highways and find the smallest possible blue highways and roads. Charles Kuralt said: “Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to travel across the country from coast to coast without seeing anything.” I want to see anything and everything so I drive primarily on country roads, scenic byways, forest roads, and other wonderful smaller roads.

Avoid Chains. Hey, I can eat at chain restaurants at home. On road trip adventures, I want to experience local specialties and things I cannot easily find at home. I look for roadside food stands, diners, and mom and pop joints instead of bright neon fast food places. I try to get fuel from local stations, stay at non-chain motels, and shop at local stores.

Average 30 MPH. Although I can drive as fast on some scenic roads as interstates, speed is not my intent. Most scenic roads are curvy, hilly, and require frequent stops. If I can use cruise control, then it is not a great scenic drive. On long scenic drive days, I average 250 to 300 miles.

2 Hours of Non-Driving. On days that I expect to drive 8 or more hours, I will take one or more hour-long breaks. During those breaks I will hike, bike ride, or visit attractions. Driving days are filled with many other mini-breaks—for fuel, food, shopping, visiting small attractions and tourist offices.

Sometimes road trip rules though I will break. Here are details: Travel Tip: Road Trip Rules, When To Break Them

How about you? Do you have any road trip rules?

driving on unpaved road in Virginia

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6 thoughts on “Travel Tip: McCool’s Rules for Road Trips”

  1. When it comes to a roadtrip, everyone in the car is allowed to have an hour of their choice of music from their iPod (or if the trip lasts several days, each person is allowed one day to control the music). Everyone else in the vehicle is allowed up to two song vetoes per day. No disagreements, and compromises have to have at least a 2/3 agreement to carry.

  2. How about just enjoying the moment and no fretting about social media until coming to a complete standstill (no, not at a rest stop!) Relax, be in the moment.

  3. I definitely agree with the no chains rule, so much that I even practice it at home. I’m also in the middle of an impromptu road myself, I left TX over the weekend after some female drama made me want to get away from the mrs. Currently camping up on Pike’s Peak in Colorado, not sure where I’m headed next.

    I like the site, keep up the good work and keep on traveling!

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