My fiancé (as I am now newly engaged 🙂 ) and I decided to buy a car a week before we were about to start the final leg of his 3 Michelin star experience and satisfy my culinary-traveling whatever you would like to call it…
We were to travel more than 4 800 kms from Montreal, Quebec, to the quaint town of St. Helena, in the heart of Napa Valley, California. Seemed like a great idea, since neither of us had ever traveled through the Mid-West.
In total, it was one week of running around to 1- buy a car and get accepted on the financing (which I must thank daddy for because he largely contributed to our acceptance) 2- shop for car insurances, buy CAA membership and a GPS (that decided to so perfectly stop working somewhere between Buffalo and Pennsylvania) and anything and everything else car-related, 3- continue our search for an apartment/room in St Helena, 5- sign our lease for an apartment upon return to MTL, and 5- work, pack and move things out of our Montreal room (which my brother so graciously lent to us and his flatmates so generously accepted that we crash for what was originally a 2 week stay and turned into 3 months…)
Well, we can now say that we’ve seen the great lakes that separate Canada from the USA, not once, but twice in one day ! And crossed the border 3 times… Yes three times, once at Lacolle, once in Champlain, and once closer to Kingston (did I mention I don’t like GPS’s)… The fun never ends when you’re on a road trip!
We’ve stopped in Cleveland, Ohio, and killed our palate on our first dinner meal:
Drove through Indiana, Illinois and Iowa, and saw corn fields and soya bean fields that went on endlessly.
Spent the night in Denver, Colorado and drove through the next day:
And headed off to Salt Lake City, passing through Wyoming State, where we saw some antelopes and camels???:
In total, it was more than 60 hours over the last 5 days… Enough to make you go crazy!
But thankfully, we made it and we learned so much along the way.
I have to that admit the physical pain sometimes becomes overwhelming. Our spine is now S-shaped, and we probably gained 5 pounds from all the fast-food we’ve been eating on the road. However, this huge amount of time spent together is a couple’s true test and forces you to make it or break it. In our case, I don’t remember the last time we were so in love!
My 5 cents of advice to avoid your couple from crumbling:
1- Reward yourself with at least a glass of wine, a pint of beer, your fave drink or all once you’ve completed your daily distance goal.
2- Reveal something new about yourself to your partner.
3- Chat up the cashier at the gas station, the waitress at the dinner or the couple having a drink beside you at the bar: you’ll need social interaction and you’ll probably be to beat to party.
4- It’s not the mile high club, but you can definitely become a member a of the mile-long club… 😉 Just watch out for truckers…
5- (For your partner’s sake and self-esteem) When you’re in the passenger seat, try to be as discreet as possible holding on to the holly-f#@* bars and pumping the “imaginary” brake.
A little bit of advice when planning:
1- Map out your route: Technology is great but when your GPS is out of batteries and you’re at a fork in the road, you’ll be thankful for your good old map and to remember what cities are along the way.
2-Opt to spend the night in a place with a swimming pool: laps in the AM before you hit the road, and once you’ve reached your destination. Your back, hamstrings and glutes will thank you!
3- Switch driver after 3 hours and pace yourself. Pushing further will only tire you more, and catch up with you the next day! And be sure to get in a little nap when you’re not at the wheel.
4- Pack a lot of gum, water bottles (and be sure to put them in the freezer when you’re in the hotel/motel: you’ll save on ice-packs and they be refreshing).
5- Pack comfy shoes and comfy clothes!
Shout outs also go to Caz and Craig (ytravelblog.com) for your post with tips for traveling couples!