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July 15, 2008

Rules of the road...


J0438492_2 It’s day 3 that I’ve been on the trip, and the first time I’ve tuned out. Rather than plugging my Zune into the car’s sound system and sharing my eclectic downloads with the group (a strange mix of such artists as Kanye West, Justin Timberlake, Blink-182, John Mayer and the Foo Fighters) right now, I’ve got my earbuds in.

It’s not that I’m tired of talking with everyone. It’s that I’ve spent so much time talking and laughing since Saturday night that by last night I was losing my voice and my throat was killing me. Since I’d still like to have the use of my vocal chords by the time we get to California, I decided to remove the temptation to join in the conversation and tuned out instead.

Now I’m staring at the rolling, open Wyoming landscape out the window and bracing myself for the curves in the road. (Devra takes ‘em faster than I probably would. Not judging, just noticing, as my old yoga instructor would say).

So it occurs to me that all road trips have certain rules, some spoken, some unspoken but implied. This trip’s no different. It seems to be an unspoken rule, for instance, that one does not hog the electrical outlet all day. One does not use more than one cup holder apiece. One does not scoot back one’s seat so that the person directly behind one has no leg room. When we stop for gas, it’s understood that the person pumping gas shouldn’t have to do everything else too. (Like yesterday, my job was scrubbing 129 dead insects from the windshield while Sarah filled the tank.) A driver does not deny a request for a bathroom stop.

I’m lucky to be with three car-mates who understand the unwritten rules of the road. But we’ve come up with a few official rules as well:

1) If we stop at a rest area, everyone has to try to use the bathroom. As Devra says, you don’t have to go…but you must try.

2) Before one switches lanes or takes a sharp curve or turn, one must warn the other passengers. This rule came about because both Sarah and I get horribly carsick if we happen to be looking down at our computers and the car suddenly veers in another direction.

3) Along the same lines, the driver must warn the other passengers before she careens off the road. However, if she is simply going to have a head-on collision with another car or a pole, there is no need to warn the passengers, as this will not cause carsickness.

4) Devra is not allowed to answer her phone while driving through the mountains. This came about because she seems unable to follow rule #2 (and presumably #3) while driving on a curvy road and also talking into a phone. I doubt I’d be any better at it, so probably the rule applies to all of us. Those are all the official rules we’ve come up with…so far. But it’s only day 4, after all, and we still have many miles to go. Plus, Aviva just joined us, and she may have her own special rules we'll all have to learn.

Back to staring out the window. Sarah’s desperate to find a whole herd of buffalo (so far she has only seen one, standing alone in the middle of an enormous pasture of nothing) and it feels like the right thing to do to help keep an eye out. Maybe it’s not an official rule of the road, but later, I may need her to help me try to spot a tree…I haven’t seen one in a while and it’s freaking me out.


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Love it! there are seriously no trees until Western WYO. It's weird...


You know the Cows road game, right? It's a two-person game, and each player gets one side of the car. You count how many cows you pass (you must count each cow, so if you pass a huge herd you only get credit for the ones you can count). If you pass a cemetery on your side of the car, you lose all your cows. (The typical thing is a cemetery, but you could make the reset item whatever you wanted, like a tractor or a Hummer.)

You could also play with windmills. Or buffaloes.

Loser buys the beer.


I am TOTALLY using that cow game next time I take a road trip. BRILLIANT.


Here's more on the cow game:



Here's a question about unspoken rules -- WHO GETS SHOTGUN?!


One of our rules when we road trip is that the driver gets control of the radio... Any music disagreements yet?

Have a great days drive today ladies!


Hey, Meagan...

I just learned that if you rub a dryer sheet on the windshield, those bugs come right off, and others don't really stick afterwards.

Just trying to keep you from having to scrub more than is necessary! ;)



And since you're all adults, these rules probably get followed a whole lot better than they do on a family trip!

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