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SGBrou Jul 20th, 2006 01:40 PM

Any Advice on Road Trip Necessities
My Husband and I are headed on a 10-12 day road trip from Dallas to San Francisco, stopping at Ruidoso, Telluride, Bryce Canyon, and Yosemite on the way (mix of camping and hotel stays). Anyone have any advice on what to bring, what not to bring? How do you keep a cooler cool for 10+ days to keep picnic items ready for lunch?

saps Jul 20th, 2006 01:47 PM

<How do you keep a cooler cool for 10+ days to keep picnic items ready for lunch?>

Buy ice along the way.

see this recent thread...;tid=34828598

marleneawe Jul 20th, 2006 02:03 PM

When you purchase gas you check your cooler if it is in need, drain the water out and purchase ice. DH and drove 9,642 miles round trip to Alaska and back. We had a cooler with food, so we did not have to eat out all the time. Checked ice every morning, added as needed. Also have a good spare tire. Have your vehicle checked all hoses etc.

FainaAgain Jul 20th, 2006 02:51 PM

For San Francisco - bring a sweater. Even if the forecast is in 80s.

suze Jul 20th, 2006 03:31 PM

You buy ice every day or two. Blocks last longer than bags of cubes.

If you have a radio/stereo in the car, books on tape or CD are a wonderful way to pass the time.

jennhawk Jul 20th, 2006 05:08 PM

Good question-it has taken me many miles from Florida to Oregon to maintain a (kind of) organized car on a road trip. We recently drove the length of CA south to north and back and these are things that really helped:

Lots of hand wipes and paper towels, small bags for trash, gallon of water for possible overheated radiator, AAA card, windshield screen, charger for camera that can be plugged into cigarette lighter (can be found at Brookstone, Best Buy)so you can recharge batteries while driving, envelope for all travel papers (confirmation #'s, brochures), firm-sided bag (available in car care section at Target) for "quick grabs" in the car-maps, binoculars, snacks.

Something we have to remember to do, especially if we haven't gone for a while, is to make sure some food are on top in the cooler-cheese, some meat-that will be ruined if it becomes water-logged. We made a shelf in bigger cooler w/ smaller cooler and put that stuff on top of smaller cooler. It also helps if small items aren't buried-beware the frozen hand in the bottom of the searching for the hot dogs!!!

Have fun. Bryce is beautiful-consider Zion if you have time. Hiking in the river is the best.

sfamylou Jul 20th, 2006 05:19 PM

We like to fill ziplocks with ice from free motel ice machines. Keeps things less wet!

escargot Jul 20th, 2006 07:53 PM

a first aid kit
a car emergency pack (from a local auto shop with road flares, etc)

GoTravel Jul 21st, 2006 05:30 AM


A couple of beach or lawn chairs in case you see a park or festival and you just want to stop and people watch. Also great for sitting around the campfire.

Tiki torches make your campsite so much more festive.

We have one of those giant white Coleman fishing coolers. It is about four feet long and holds everything.

Pack squeeze-able condiments (ketsup, mayo, mustard, and butter) in ziplock bags. Don't forget salt/pepper, can opener, and a wine opener.

I freeze my lunchmeat and let in thaw in the cooler.

I also freeze my meat in marinade that I'm planning to cook over the campfire and let it defrost in the marinade.

Anonymous Jul 21st, 2006 06:26 AM

Almost very hotel or motel that you stay at will have free ice available. Most will provide a mini-fridge upon request, so you can freeze and re-use those blue freezer packs, which are so much tidier than ice.

sfamylou Jul 21st, 2006 07:11 AM

Anon, I've had more than one blue freezer thing leak. That is much, much bigger of a mess than melting ice.

rb_travelerxATyahoo Jul 21st, 2006 07:19 AM

The hotel "free ice" is for guest use while at the hotel, NOT filling your coolers.

However if the hotel has an in-house or attached restaurant, they probably have excess ice-making capacity and are usually glad to let you fill your ice chest ... right from a large bin instead of those small units made to fill only one hotel icebucket at a time one finds near the hotel rooms.

Bring toilet paper. (Not "free" toilet paper found at hotels.)

GoTravel Jul 21st, 2006 07:21 AM

rb, you've NEVER used the ice machine in the hall to fill your cooler?


We use them all the time.

SGBrou Jul 21st, 2006 08:13 AM

Thanks so much for all this advice!! Thanks jennhawk you sound like an organizer like me. GoTravel what fun ways to spice up the trip and good thinking about letting the meat thaw in the marinade!

esm Jul 21st, 2006 08:19 AM

GoTravel, that's a very good tip for freezing meat in marinade. Thanks.

Once I put my lunch meat in the freezer (by accident) and it later tasted mushy. Maybe it works for some cold cuts and not others.

GoTravel Jul 21st, 2006 08:51 AM

The freezing meat in the marinade is an old sailing trick I used that worked camping.

oaktreela Jul 21st, 2006 06:40 PM

If you are a coffee drinker, you might want to buy a few packets of coffee from Starbucks. We found the coffee in the hotels to be inconsistent at best. The coffee that they supply in the rooms is often tasteless. We found bringing our own was the only way to insure a good start to the day. Very important!

xrae Jul 21st, 2006 07:42 PM

It probably goes without saying, but make sure you have good state maps that show the larger local roads.

And I am LOL over the disagreement about whether to use ice from the hotel machines to fill your coolers. Ever stayed in a hotel on a NASCAR race weekend? One pre-race activity is seeing who can fill their track coolers before the ice runs out. :D

coldwar27 Jul 22nd, 2006 03:12 AM

A good sense of humor! When I drove from FL to VT with my bf at the time, a sense of humor was a must since we have very different ideas about good driving. It is no fun wasting time arguing because you can't get up and walk away. :)

LaRee1L Jul 22nd, 2006 04:31 AM

Put a table cloth in with your things - I have never found a clean table whether it's at a rest stop or a park.

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