Car trip tips…the winter version

This was one of those days that I should have known better, and still got lucky.  A few hours after this photo was taken, the southern part of Missouri and Northern Oklahoma was hit hard by an ice storm.  I tend to be rather “aware” when it comes to keeping an eye on the weather (thanks Dad).  So, I thought I would share some rather obvious tips for hitting the roads in any type of weather.

Handy items to have in the car:

  • an spiral bound atlas, (large print for some of us)…the spiral makes it easy to fold to your page, and an atlas will tell you what county you are in, if you are listening to the radio and a storm is approaching.
  • hand-powered/battery-operated weather radiogeeky, yes, helpful, even more.  Sometimes it is hard to get a radio station that will be in your area, and that has actual people on the air.  This truly helped me make the decision to move on north, instead of waiting til the next day to head home.  The hand cranking does get tiresome, and impossible while driving, so get batteries.
  • a cell phone that can get the internet, without wi-fi…ok I am lucky and a total geek.  I have an iphone that I am crazy about…’s radar maps…that sums it up, (oh and finding a starbucks for caffeine refueling, hotels in the area that you can just press the phone listing and it will automatically dial, listening to “This American Life”, texting my neighbor to find out how it is at home…)  Of course – don’t try and do this while driving.
  • cashnothing to do with inclement weather, but essential when the prospect of art purchases loom.  Do not expect artists to take checks, and definitely not credit cards.
  • blankets, old towels, etc….good to wrap art in…and yourself if necessary, plus the towels come in handy when you spill the coffee.
  • ice scraperbut remember to bring it in when you get out of the car.  it is hard to chip the ice off the handles without it. I wish I would have also thought to wrap my wiper blades in plastic as well (like a newspaper delivery bag).  The embedded ice kept the blades from clearing my windshield.  I also found that having a squished penny (travel souvenir) saved me when I found the gas cap cover sealed in ice, it was thin enough to chip it open.  Who’d a thought?
  • bottled waterit is good for you especially if you are coffee-fueled
  • snacks…avoid getting cranky
  • car chargerI have one that can also charge my laptop and camera batteries, on those days that you are shooting and driving a lot.  Although batteries seem to have a longer life these days than just a few years ago.
  • AAA membershipwhen I had to have my car towed in Augusta, KS, this was worth the membership fee and then some.
  • basic tool kit, duct tape, flashlight, first aid kitfor all of the obvious reasons
  • good music, patience, and a sense of humor