Introduction: Go on a Road Trip

Picture of Go on a Road Trip

So there I was, imprisoned, when suddenly, like a shining light through the darkness, an offer letter to intern at Squid Labs split my shackles, and I was free. There was only one caveat: I had to make my way across the country to sunny Alameda, Californ-ai-ay.

Rushing around Cambridge, I formed an alliance with prank, who was moving out to the city of the angels.

We piled our earthly possessions into his prius hybrid, sent the rest ahead by post, and pointed west. We blasted through a last desperate line of mole people and were free, rocketing westward at some fraction of the speed of light.

Step 1: Acquire Stuff

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stasterisk says:

What you need:

  • A Car
  • Music

What you may want:

  • Maps (click and drag your route, at google maps!)
  • Lots of water (especially if you're crossing a desert at any point)
  • A buddy (ideally, one who can drive)
  • Cash
  • A First Aid kit
  • A spare tire
  • Things to sleep on
  • Other entertainment (books?)
  • A camera
  • A patch of free time

prank says:

  • A Towel

what else would you need?

trebuchet03 says:

  • Oreos
  • AAA - $50/year gets you awesome maps of everything! And Trip Tiks!
  • Tire Pressure Gauge

Step 2: Visit Canada

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stasterisk says:

every country has its own unique culture.

Canada was similar in many ways to the United States - but they did something entirely different with their bulldozers.

Step 3: Eat Regionally

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prank says:

Nutrients are important. Ideally, you should be shocked by every restaurant you enter, either from the ambiance, which you find utterly bizarre, or the food, which you find utterly _______.

stasterisk says:

Eat while driving or find your favorite podunk diner and have a seat for a good chow down. No matter which way, you don't want to be eating the same energy bars or trail mix after a week in a car. Let your mouth feast as your eyes will.

Step 4: Void the Warranty on Your Car

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prank says:

What most people don't realize is that a prius is actually the epitome of off-road vehicles. Treat it as such. Even if your car isn't a glorious prius, take it places you wouldn't during your morning commute.

stasterisk says:

crazy australians.

trebuchet03 says:

Unimproved Route 66 - bad. Stay on that road too long with a regular car and you're asking for trouble. I lost a headlight in less than a half mile (at which point I turned around).

Step 5: Stop to Enjoy the Sunset

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stasterisk says:

Especially if you should find yourself in Nebraska

prank says:

Nebraska is one of the great states of our union. hooray!

Step 6: Make Small Talk With Local Law Enforcement Officers on the Interstate

Picture of Make Small Talk With Local Law Enforcement Officers on the Interstate

prank says:

Policemen are lonely, sitting on the side of the road all day. The best way to invite them to chat is to drive really fast by them.

stasterisk says:

Don't get pulled over, while road-tripping.

Step 7: View the Wildlife

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After rumbling through their habitat in an off-road vehicle, capture the startled looks on their faces.

Step 8: Brush Your Teeth on the Road

Picture of Brush Your Teeth on the Road

stasterisk says:

Always practice good oral hygiene.

prank says:

stasterisk tried to brush my teeth. I didn't let her.

Step 9: Fill Up on Gas

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prank says:

When filling up with gas, strike a pose! Make the "sexyface". This will improve your mileage, and bless your gasoline.

stasterisk says:

Try not to run out - even if you're blasting across the countryside at 222 mpg in a hybrid.

trebuchet03 says:

Fuel stops are a great time to check your tire pressure, oil and WASH YOUR WINDSHIELD. But, and I say this from experience, smell the washing fluid first - make sure no one pee'd in it :/ Check your tire pressure if you've had large changes in elevation ;)

Step 10: Take Pictures Everywhere

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Be sure to practice touristic behavior, to the maximum extent, especially when you see beautiful features like this bridge

Step 11: Make Mexican Hot Chocolate in the Desert

Picture of Make Mexican Hot Chocolate in the Desert

There's only one thing to do when you run out of water in Death Valley - cook your milk!

After extensive research, we discovered that the best location is at ghost lead mining towns.

details at the How to Make Mexican Hot Chocolate instructable

Step 12: Stop in Ghost Towns

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And swing on their stuff.

Step 13: Stay Awake

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If you are driving.

Caffeine, loud music, daylight, fresh air, and sugary cold drinks can all help, but nothing is as good as getting sleep.

Step 14: Catch Exits

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It's a drag if you miss 'em - keep a map or a navigator handy.

Step 15: Just for Fun: Straddle the Coasts

Picture of Just for Fun: Straddle the Coasts

stasterisk says:

If you're starting on one. Put your foot in the ocean. When you arrive, put your foot in the other ocean. If you feel so inclined, do the same in any lakes, ponds, puddles, or streams you come across.

prank says:

If you're going from Montana .. to Utah .. you won't be able to straddle the coasts. eit!

Step 16: Get There -- It's Delicious

Picture of Get There -- It's Delicious

All road trips end in California. If you're not in California, your road trip isn't over yet. You might have to finish it at a later date.

Wasn't that fun? Of course it was. Canadian bulldozers, Nebraskan sunsets, goats and more! Do it again!


magpie21 (author)2011-01-14

Where is this at, exactly?

porcupinemamma (author)2009-08-01

I would love to take a road trip that has stops at antique and flea markets. Do you know of any site or book that might chart out a route?

RiddleOfSphinx (author)2009-03-13

Now, what are the chances of seeing the exit sign for Cozad,NE on instructables....Interesting.

Douglass (author)2008-10-12

As soon as I get My license I'm going on a road trip !!

Derin (author)2008-08-29

Ankara-Istanbul is a single toll road,and we have OGS

chardster (author)2008-07-14

Its polluted on every coast in the US

chardster (author)chardster2008-07-14

Thanks for driving a Prius!

chardster (author)2008-07-14

IM taking a road trip in about 4 1/2 hours

Weissensteinburg (author)2007-07-16

No pictures of you at squid labs?

It's not the destination... It's the journey... or something like that :p

But when the destination is squid labs...

lemonie (author)Weissensteinburg2007-07-16

Getting there's not the point, it's the trip (how does Easy Rider end?) I appreciate your perspective, but that would make this "How to take a road trip to Squid Labs", a different thing altogether. L

Weissensteinburg (author)lemonie2007-07-16

But when you're on a road trip, you want to get some where. And once you get there, you take a picture =]

lemonie (author)Weissensteinburg2007-07-16

Well maybe, but I think it's about the journey. Have you ever set of with no particular intent or anywhere to go? L

Weissensteinburg (author)lemonie2007-07-16

That's not a road trip, it's a mid life crisis =P

lemonie (author)Weissensteinburg2007-07-17

You lack something, a sense of adventure?
E.g. one Saturday we decided to go to Newcastle to watch Rugby in a pub (not that exciting, and doubtful whether is was worth the 2 hour train ride).
However, we stopped off in York, and then Durham, and got there long after the match had finished. Getting there was not the point (and it never was), taking a trip in the general direction of somewhere was.
And it was a great Saturday too.


Weissensteinburg (author)lemonie2007-07-17

But you had the intent of going somewhere =]

abnor (author)Weissensteinburg2008-07-03

road trips in general are trips ON the road. not really a trip to go anywhere. the guy who made the instructable just used the excuse of having to go somewhere ( or being invited ) to go on a road trip. if he had named it squid labs trip, then it may have been shorter, less funny, and wouldn't have included the pacific and atlantic coast.

stasterisk (author)abnor2008-07-03

I definitely considered flying instead, but decided to drive for the adventure. So I went on a journey on the road. If I'd flown in an airplane, it wouldn't have been a road trip. If it makes your rigorous definition of "Road Trip" correlate better, I did eventually return home.

abnor (author)stasterisk2008-07-04

hehe, well, i'm glad you didn't get lost

lemonie (author)Weissensteinburg2007-07-19

Yes, somewhere, but we weren't really going anywhere. L

Weissensteinburg (author)lemonie2007-07-19

Still though, it's a road trip if you had an intent of going somewhere.

lemonie (author)Weissensteinburg2007-07-19

Well ours was a rail trip, but yes. The original point I made on Monday was was related to your comments on significance of the end destination. Next week I'm off to Norwich...

Weissensteinburg (author)lemonie2007-07-19

I never said it was significant, just that it's only a road trip if there's a destination in mind.

lemonie (author)Weissensteinburg2007-07-19

That's where we differ I suppose. I say a trip is just that, where as you would say a trip must have an end point (hmm...) I had meant to comment on your new image previously - I like it (but the camera needs to be a bit to the left so that robot can look through the viewfinder) L

Weissensteinburg (author)lemonie2007-07-19

As long as you are always currently going some where, it's a trip in my book. Thanks..but it was Garth Knight who made the image..I wish I was decent in illustrator, but i'm not at the moment. So give all the credit to him.

stasterisk (author)lemonie2008-07-03

I set off with no particular route in mind. It turned out pretty well.

abnor (author)lemonie2008-07-03

that's also called exploring. but, who does that anymore when you have maps?

Here's a better version of the panorama,
and a picture I took of SFO from Squid Labs:

Very cool! Muffinator and I plan on going to burning man once I graduate HS...I just realized that we can use this instructable!

I made this panorama from the roof of the Squid Labs air traffic control tower

The picture taken at the Pacific is very nearby. Also, you can see me in my other instructables, at squid labs. Is there a picture you're thinking of, or interested in?

nah, I was just wondering why there wasn't a picture of your finishing point.

hondagofast (author)2007-07-29

My dad went across the country in a 1967 Ford Econiline van (in '74). Starting point: Long Island, New York. Destination: Arizona. Trip time: two weeks.

jc817 (author)hondagofast2008-07-03

MY dad went across the country too. Starting point: Also long island new york. Destination: texas. took him 2 weeks, but he hitchhiked the whole way. Now thats a trip haha.

roadrally (author)2008-06-30

good article. im going on the next road trip rally in the fall, this is quite helpful for planning, especially since we'll be needing to travel light. (still looking for another team member if anyone wants to join, check out the website and email me)

Rishnai (author)2008-05-27

On my last two week road trip I literally took 70 rolls worth of photos. I'm serious, I counted the receipts.

billymurray (author)2008-03-11

I've taken my car and only came back home 1 month later ! what really helped me was wearing that cafepress T-shirt with "I WANT TO GO ON A ROAD TRIP" written on it.

stasterisk (author)billymurray2008-03-11

Nice! Post pictures!

MarKilmer (author)2008-02-26

This is a pretty entertaining instructable. Road trips, best done in the fall when you don't have air conditioning(105 and your car breaks down isn't fun). I've been from east coast to Alaska several times so I know how how it goes.

Brennn10 (author)2007-08-23

The Lewis and Clark expedition!

stevoIution (author)2007-07-17

All road trips end in california? I thought this was supposed to make road trips sound inviting.

stasterisk (author)stevoIution2007-07-17

Really? I thought it was just supposed to tell you how to take one.

stevoIution (author)stasterisk2007-07-18


trebuchet03 (author)2007-07-16

Hey, throw me on as a collaborator :D I have some interesting tidbits from my country crossing :D

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